- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Leave task of interpreting Islam to the experts

Thank you for printing Saleh A. Mubarak's Oct. 6 letter to the editor, "Koran must be read in context." It was a response to Cal Thomas' Oct. 3 Commentary column, "Can we be fooled twice?", which quoted selectively from the Koran to suggest that Islam is not a religion of peace.
Many people use verses from the Koran out of context to discredit Islam. Americans must realize that, to avoid misconceptions and problems, questions about Islam should be referred to legitimate and learned scholars in Islam.
It boggles my mind that Islamic studies are taught in many universities by Jews, Christians and even atheists. Most people would find it ridiculous if classes on Talmudic law or the intricacies of Roman Catholic theology were taught by Muslims.

Los Angeles

Hunting down one terrorist, dealing with another

According to your Oct. 5 editorial "The uncertain ally," had the Sept. 11 attacks not occurred, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, with President Bush's approval, was set to give a speech launching a new Middle East initiative including support for a Palestinian state. Yasser Arafat could have had a Palestinian state long ago most recently in July 2000, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made an astonishing offer to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in a shared Jerusalem.
Not only did Mr. Arafat not accept Mr. Barak's offer, he made no counteroffer, because he does not truly want a Palestinian state next door to Israel. What he wants is what Osama bin Laden wants the extinction of the state of Israel.
Mr. Arafat is a terrorist. The Palestine Liberation Organization was removed from the list of terrorist states and organizations in 1993 when Mr. Arafat signed the Oslo Accords and promised to make peace, renounce violence and terror, and accept the existence of Israel. He has done none of these things.
When a suicide bomber murdered 21 youngsters and horribly maimed dozens of others outside a Tel Aviv club, Mr. Arafat wrote a letter to the bomber's parents thanking them for their son's "heroic martyrdom operation," saying it was "the model of manhood and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and the homeland."
Under Mr. Arafat's leadership, it should not surprise or shock anyone that Palestinians danced in several cities to celebrate the Sept. 11 atrocity. The Associated Press filmed a demonstration of 4,000 in Nablus, but the film was never aired because Palestinian Authority officials threatened the AP that they could not guarantee the life of the photographer if the film were broadcast.
It does not make sense to hunt down one terrorist while we make deals with another.


Don't exploit attacks for Cyprus agenda

Ahmet Erdengiz's Oct. 8 letter to the editor, "Greek Cypriot 'grief' over Sept. 11 attacks is hypocritical," is a work of misinformation designed to push his organization's agenda at the expense of the Cypriot government, its people and your readers.
Cyprus holds offshore accounts for many companies, organizations and individuals. Like the United States and many countries in Europe, Cyprus was deceived by Osama bin Laden and his followers. That does not mean that the government of Cyprus is pro-terrorist. As the United States did not knowingly train terrorist pilots, Cyprus did not knowingly harbor the accounts of terrorists.
In addition, it is a well-known fact that Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoulis and the government of Cyprus have given their unwavering cooperation to U.S. investigators.
Mr. Erdengiz's own boss and the so-called leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Rauf Denktash, has ties to terrorists. From the late 1950s until 1974, when Northern Cyprus was invaded by Turkish forces, Mr. Denktash was the head of the terrorist organization known as the Turkish Resistance Organization, or TMT. Members of both of the two major ethnic groups on Cyprus Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots hold Mr. Denktash responsible for the murder, torture and intimidation of both ethnic groups. His goal, which was successful, was the separation of the two groups through terror and inflammatory rhetoric.
Also, since the 1974 invasion, Mr. Denktash has led a brutal and successful campaign of killing and ethnic cleansing against Greek Cypriots from Northern Cyprus, not to mention the swift forced closing of Turkish Cypriot papers that were critical of him.
Mr. Erdengiz conveniently forgets that his closest ally, Turkey, has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
As documented by the State Department, Turkey's human rights atrocities include extrajudicial assassinations of Kurds and Kurdish politicians, the annihilation of 3,500 Kurdish villages between 1984 and 1999, the killing of more than 30,000 Kurds and the torture of Kurdish children as young as age 2.
Mr. Erdengiz has exploited the horrible catastrophe of Sept. 11 by spreading misinformation and distorting facts to further his own agenda.


U.N. sponsoring terrorism?

Giving Syria a seat on the U.N. Security Council is like giving the Mafia a seat on a crime prevention council. Syria is not only a brutal, authoritarian nation, it is a major sponsor of terrorism.
For decades, the United Nations has sanctioned brutal dictatorships and terrorist regimes; to do so in the name of promoting "human rights" and "peace" is intellectually obscene. The inevitable result is a world plagued with brutality and terrorism. As history and logic reveal, sanctioning terror breeds terror.
It is unconscionable enough that the United States did not join Israel in opposing Syria's bid. Given the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, when some 5,000 people were murdered, it is immoral for America to stay in the United Nations or to allow the United Nations to stay in America.
In its war on terrorism, the United States should have put the United Nations on its list of terrorist-sponsoring organizations.

Calgary, Alberta

Flying and profiling

Fred Reed, writing about airport security in his Oct. 8 Police Beat column, "Signs are not encouraging for effective flight safety," thinks we cannot do "the obvious and practical thing from a police point of view," which is to "search, very carefully indeed, anyone looking Middle Eastern or carrying a passport from a Middle Eastern country" because it would be politically unpalatable.
Could he be right? If he is, I won't be flying any time soon.


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