Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 13, 2004

Dwyer's view of Islam betrays ugly stereotypes

Sun columnist Michael Olesker is to be commended for unmasking Republican Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr.'s distribution of his nephew's now-famous juvenile rant which charged that Islam is a "militaristic and violent" religion to fellow Maryland legislators ("Delegate gets holidays rolling with ill-thought slap at Islam," April 6).

Mr. Dwyer appears to hold stereotypes espoused by Christian radicals who elevate themselves by marginalizing and squashing others.

But Mr. Dwyer would be wise to abandon some of his stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.

Here are some facts: The first major group of Muslims who came to America were African slaves; in recent years, Islam has been the fastest-growing religion in the United States; most Muslims in the U.S. are either Asian immigrants or African-American converts from Christianity -- a minority of Muslims in America have Arab or Middle Eastern origin; the Quran recognizes Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah and Adam as prophets; finally, the Quran espouses respect for other faiths -- particularly Jews and Christians -- and challenges Muslims to demonstrate respect and piety by following the example of the Prophet Muhammad.

In Maryland alone there are more than a dozen Islamic centers and mosques which are frequented by thousands of Mr. Dwyer's fellow citizens.

Just because they follow a religious tradition different from his brand of fundamentalist Christianity does not make them violent.

Mr. Dwyer should bring his nephew to an Islamic center so that he can prepare a follow-up letter to Maryland legislators on the true meaning of Islam, and how Christian and Jewish tenets are held in highest regard by Muslims.

Mujeeb Basha

Laurel

Steady leadership in war on terror

I am a little amazed that some members of the 9/11 commission seemed to insinuate that the Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing should have been a strong enough warning to the Bush administration to perform specific actions that would have stopped the attacks ("Excerpts from Rice's testimony," April 9).

Was that memo a stronger warning of the gathering threat than the 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers?

I, for one, am not buying it. Former President Bill Clinton and Richard A. Clarke looked the other way while Osama bin Laden organized his terrorist network and set the wheels in motion that resulted in the carnage of Sept. 11, 2001. It has only been through the steady leadership of the Bush administration that this country has come through these events.

The fight against terrorism is tough and will go on for years to come. But I am glad we now have a president who takes action before gathering threats become too large or dangerous to ignore.

Andrew Williams

Baltimore

What Bush believes often proves faulty

So "`Bush understood threat', Rice says" (April 9). Yet we were still left wide open to attack by terrorists.

President Bush also understood there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but we have found no such weapons.

How can we be expected to believe that this court-appointed administration is capable of lucid and enlightened decisions?

Elizabeth Keeling Carter

Baltimore

Stop stonewalling the Sept. 11 panel

The Sept. 11 commission is investigating the events leading up to the tragedy in order to prevent future attacks. President Bush, who initially opposed creating the commission, has stonewalled its work repeatedly.

The White House has deliberately and consistently withheld critical information from the commission. It has played games with deadlines. It has repeatedly tried to limit the testimony from administration officials and even the time the president himself will spend with the commissioners.

It is time for President Bush and his administration to stop the games and stop the stonewalling.

The security and the trust of the American people is at stake.

Emily Barss

Pasadena

Only impeachment will reveal the truth

The revelations [about information the president had about terrorist threats before Sept. 11] explain President Bush's reluctance to convene the 9/11 fact-finding commission ("Pre-9/11 report described as a recap of past threats," April 10).

What we're learning qualifies as gross executive negligence, if not actual criminal behavior.

Congress must immediately bite the bullet and impeach Mr. Bush.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the American people will learn the truth only under trial conditions, and the only possible venue for that trial is the U.S. Congress.

Kirk S. Nevin

White Hall

No need for approval from United Nations

I can't believe the letter to the editor advocating the impeachment of President Bush for "war and lies" ("Impeach president for war and lies," April 9). It has never been established that President Bush lied about anything.

The writer decries the fact that the United States went to war "without the approval of the United Nations." Since when does the United States need the permission of the United Nations to act in its best interest.

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