- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 2, 2001

Daschle's deception

Your Nov. 29 front-page report on judicial confirmations quoted Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota as making two of the Democrats' most misleading and false claims ("GOP charges 'profiling' of Hispanic nominee").

His first claim that Democrats are "ahead of where the first Bush administration was in its first year" in confirming judicial nominees is based on the misleading comparison of confirmation totals rather than confirmation rates. As Mr. Daschle knows, presidents do not make the same number of nominations or make them at the same time; as such, comparing isolated totals is meaningless.

In 1989, President Bush began nominations in August and the Senate confirmed 15 of his 23 nominees. This year, President Bush began nominations in May, and the Senate has confirmed just 18 of his 64 nominees. Yes, 18 is higher than 15. But this year's 28 percent confirmation rate is less than half of 1989's 65 percent rate. No matter what the totals, the Senate may have done as much as it could in 1989, but it is doing as little as it can now.

His second claim that Republicans are "responsible for the large number of vacancies because they refused to allow the confirmation of these judges in prior years" is just a lie.

When Democrats ran the Senate from 1991 to 1994, judicial vacancies averaged 117. When Republicans ran the Senate from 1995 to 2000, judicial vacancies averaged 71. During Republican Senate control, vacancies were never as high as in each of the last six months under Democratic control. Republicans can certainly not be blamed for vacancies today being 25 percent higher than when Mr. Bush took office, despite his having sent the Senate 64 nominees by mid-October.



Judicial Selection Monitoring Project

Free Congress Foundation


Greek Americans determined to make 2004 Olympics best ever

Your Nov. 25 editorial "A reign of terror in Greece" was profound in its immaturity and outright belligerence to Greeks and the Greek state. Over the years, it has become clear that your paper serves the enemies of Greece. Rest assured that all Greeks are united to make the 2004 Olympics the best ever.

The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Inc. is a group of leaders of the Greek-American community. We stand for Greek-American brotherhood and the continuation and our 10,000-year old culture. Neither the claims of Thomas Niles, the former U.S. ambassador to Athens whom you cite, nor your editorial's assertion that "there were 100 political bombings" last year in Greece can be substantiated. If Mr. Niles knows the politicians and prominent members of the Greek Society that are aiding the November 17 terrorist organization, why hasn't he named them openly? Obviously, such insinuative, false claims are meant to hurt the Greek tourist industry, which is vital to Greece's well-being.

Former President George Bush said it best when, a few months ago in Athens, he was asked by the media if he would be attending the Olympics. "Both Barbara and myself have already bought our tickets for 2004," he responded. Greece was, is and will continue to be a peaceful country aligned with Western ideals. After all, it was our ancestors that invented these ideals thousands of years ago.




General Secretary

Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Inc.

Astoria, N.Y.

Islam and terrorism

The September 11 terrorist attacks sparked a vigorous debate among American Muslims about the competing demands of religious solidarity and national identity. The debate, however, should have nothing to do with either religious solidarity or national identity. Rather, the question is: What is right and what is wrong.

Quite simply, no one in his right mind can defend the killing of thousands of innocent people. Nor can any religion condone it.

True Muslims follow a religion of peace and mercy. Islam does not permit terrorism. In Islam, the killing of one person is equal to the killing of all mankind, while the resurrection of one person means the resurrection of all mankind. Islam expressly forbids the killing of innocents. The prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) prohibited soldiers from killing women and children. He listed murder as a major sin, and he even warned that "the first case to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be regarding bloodshed."

Once the prophet was asked, "Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?" He said, "There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human."

Notably, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fear and suffering possible. The prophet said that "when you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way. One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal."

One of the social values of Islam is to greet one another with "Assalaamu Alaikum," meaning "peace upon you." Muslims have been divinely directed to begin every work "in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent." The opening chapter of the holy Koran cites the main attributes of God as kindness and compassion, the same qualities one must invoke at the start of every deed. This reflects the nature and character of Islamic society: striving for peace, amity, affection and benevolence. Love and sympathy are characteristics of those truly faithful to Islam.

In view of these and other Islamic texts, it can be confidently and categorically declared that there is no relationship whatsoever between Islam and terrorism. The two are polar opposites. Islam implies complete submission to God; its root word in Arabic connotes peace. Islam asks people to fear only God. How can Islam allow any man to frighten other men? Intimidation and harassment are repugnant to the very spirit of Islam. The act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, and the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and in the hearts of true Muslims.



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