- The Washington Times - Monday, October 15, 2001

Muslim Americans are Americans first

There are those who consider themselves hyphenated Americans. In your Oct. 11 front-page story "Muslim students are wary of the war," the Muslim American students' ambivalence about the violence done to our country shows exactly how long their hyphen is and the side with which they really identify.

Every American must decide which side of the hyphen they are on. If it is not the American side, I suggest that they find another country. They want the freedom to speak and tolerance of their differences, yet they do not support that which allows their freedom.

I would imagine that American taxpayers are, at least in part, paying for their education. I, for one, am sick of America picking up the bill to make better lives for people who in their heart are our enemies who hold our values and our nation in low regard. It is time that we stop blindly following the politically correct dogma, and that we start expecting more from our citizens and guests.


BRENDA BAROZZI

New York




If the views of the students in your Oct. 11 story fairly represent a broad section of Muslims in America, we have a troubled road ahead.Has diversity, a crowning achievement of a free society, become now a endangering flaw? In reading your article, it seems that Muslims, citizens or not, have not assimilated and probably won't. Though they enjoy the blessings of liberty, they apparently feel no obligation or commitment to it. This fracturing of American society progressed rapidly through the last half of the 20th century.Now, Muslims citizens and visitors alike take shelter in the Constitution's Bill of Rights, while supporting and encouraging our nation's enemies who would destroy those rights for all of us.


GARY MORLEY

Paris, Texas




American Muslims who would not fight in a war against others of their faith in other words, those who are Muslims first and Americans second do not have any significant impact on our ability to fight terrorism.

As long as they do not support or assist terrorists in any way, they are entitled to their conscientious objection. That said, Muslims who serve in the armed forces including the reserves and national guard do have an impact and are honor-bound to come forward if they share this objection.

An amnesty period should be established, during which those who come forward would be honorably discharged. Those who remain should be expected to carry out any lawful order without reservation and to the best of their ability.

Any refusal, dereliction or hesitation, particularly if such an act endangers the lives of their fellow soldiers, should be a court-martial offense.


ROBERT A WOLPERT

Fairfax




I would laugh if the situation were not so serious. How fortunate for the young Muslims in your Oct. 11 story that 60 years ago our soldiers and patriots did not refuse to fight "other Christians."

Had they done so, these students would most definitely not be luxuriating in the expression of their opinions, however infantile. We would all be saluting Nazis who are quite well-known for their religious intolerance.


NANCY HESTON

Brandon, Fla.




America is a nation of immigrants, and many Americans have had to face war against their nations of origin. British Americans fought against Britain in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. German Americans fought against Germany in the First and Second World Wars. Italian Americans fought against Italy in World War II, and Japanese Americans volunteered from internment camps to serve their country in that same war.

But now, after America has been brutally attacked by Muslim terrorists, I am troubled that some Muslim Americans are expressing an unwillingness to serve their country against the perpetrators, simply because they too are Muslim.

In your story, student Altaf Hussain says, "Not under these circumstances and not for this war." If not now, then when? Muslim Americans need to realize that they enjoy their freedom because they are Americans, not because they are Muslim. The majority of Muslim nations are ruled by dictatorships in which Muslims oppress other Muslims.

Now is the time for Americans of all races and religions to step forward and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defend our freedom.


PHILIP BECKMAN

Columbus, Mo.




Regarding your Oct. 11 story in which Muslim students in the United States say they are not willing to fight a war against others of their faith, I would like to comment:

Thank God Christians were willing to fight fellow "Christian" Adolf Hitler.


BETTY WHITE

Brookeville Md.

Aid to Uzbekistan should be by the handful, not by the bucketful

President Bush's attempts to make allies out of Afghanistan's authoritarian neighbor-states reminded me of the cynical twist on an old saying, "You have to take the bad with the worse." It's hard to decide which dictator is worse.

We have to avoid falling into the same trap we did with China, presuming that improvements in China's trade status would automatically result in greater respect for human rights. That simply hasn't happened.

If Mr. Bush decides that we have to offer Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov cooperation and economic aid, it should be not by the bucketful, but by tiny handfuls and with the clear understanding that the aid is contingent upon demonstrable progress in human rights.

For openers, Mr. Karimov must agree to free the thousands of Muslims he has imprisoned for unsanctioned religious practices. As a people for whom religious freedom is sacred, we can accept nothing less.


KENNETH J. RUMMENIE

Buffalo, N.Y.

We must not give into anger

Regarding the Oct. 11 editorial "God Bless America," I, as a Japanese, carry the Stars and Stripes on my car. I do this not because I support President Bush's war against terrorism, but because I pay my highest respect to the men and women, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, political belief or religion, who have sacrificed and will sacrifice their lives against terrorism in America.

I am deeply saddened that Mr. Bush, who has chosen to define the nation's mission as a war against terrorism, has started this war without any legal definition of terrorism. I am extremely disappointed with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's confirmation that the military action in Afghanistan is self-defense in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, despite the fact that the General Assembly failed to conclude that there is an effective legal framework for the prevention and elimination of terrorism.

I am concerned about the Bush administration's primary intention to use its allies to protect only America, which, in effect, exposes the whole world to an attack using nuclear and biological weapons.

Mr. Bush has been successfully boosting patriotism among American people and morale among the international community by rousing anger. But we must be careful not to give in to this most primitive human emotion. Anger will only cause mass hysteria among freedom-loving people. What will unite people of all nations is freedom, liberty, peace and love.


HIROMICHI OTA

Ann Arbor, Mich.

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