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Letters to the editor

January 08, 2004

Problems with Islam


To the editor:

Faisal Husseini seems to believe that because I haven't spent time in Saudi Arabia, I cannot make an informed criticism of that country's government. Well, I've never been to Cuba either, but most people know that Cuba is basically nothing more than an island prison.

At no time have I ever claimed to be an expert in Islamic law. Again, however, I'm no expert on American law either, but the broad principles are easy enough to understand. The same applies to shar'ia, which in my opinion is barbarous, and indeed does relegate non-Muslims to second class status in Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

Husseini asks where I received my credentials and if I simply just listen to fanatics such as Franklin Graham, Falwell, and Pat Robertson? I'll leave aside the absolute absurdity of Husseini calling anyone else a fanatic; he is, after all, a man who wrote this paper and basically exhorted others of like mind to do whatever they could to turn the U.S. into an Islamic country.

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I've written this paper before and criticized Robertson in particular, so Husseini's assertion has no merit. The sadly ironic aspect of his reference to those men is this: When Falwell made offensive comments about Islam and Mohammed last year, Muslims in India rioted and several non-Muslims were killed. But when Muslims question the deity of Christ or insult Christians and Jews in other ways, the offended parties do not respond with violence. It isn't politically correct to say so, but when religious violence takes place, 99 percent of the time Islamists are involved. Kashmir, Chechnya, the Philippines, and many other places are all hotbeds of religious violence, and all of it instigated by Islamists.

While I believe Islam is in error theologically, I'm not a Muslim-hater. I realize that every person has the right to believe or not believe as he/she sees fit. However, I most certainly am anti-Islamist. Islamists cannot abide any beliefs other than their own and have no problem using violence to enforce that system or expand the reach of fundamentalist Islam if mere words will not suffice.

Doug Walker
Hagerstown




A poor act


To the editor:

Unless you've spent the past eight months domiciled at the bottom of a six-foot deep spider hole, you've undoubtedly read newspaper accounts and seen photographs or even video footage of two of President Bush's more famous campaign commercials for the 2004 election.

The first took place on May 1 when he toasted himself beneath the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The second was his choreographed, two-hour Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq to have dinner with 600 pre-screened and pre-selected troops at Baghdad airport. Apparently the second commercial was necessitated after the first met with such poor reviews.

Regardless, both the sailors aboard the aircraft carrier and the soldiers at Baghdad airport should be compensated for their roles as unwitting extras in these two commercials.

Since these servicemen and women obviously don't have Screen Actors Guild protections, Uncle Sam should establish a compensation fund. He could start by subtracting several million dollars from the two sole-source contracts awarded to KBR (a Halliburton subsidiary) for Iraqi reconstruction and oil services. The contracts may be worth up to $15.6 billion.

In addition to being the proper and patriotic thing to do for our troops, it may also encourage KBR to reduce the level of future charges to U.S. taxpayers for the delivery of gasoline to Iraq from the current $61 million to, say, a more modest $59 million.

Doug Martin
Middletown

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