- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001

Charen column unfairly stigmatizes Arab Americans

In her Oct. 18 column, "Survival instinct vs. political correctness," Mona Charen announced to the world that the Sept. 11 terrorists have succeeded in causing her to hate and fear at a level equal to them.

One purpose of terrorism is to kill innocent people in an effort to express political opinions. Other, more insidious, purposes are to cause fear in a society, to bring unease to the minds of a population and to foment suspicion at every turn.

Americans have lived obliviously in a world of safety and security for decades. Now, for the first time, Americans feel the same fear that exists daily in the minds of the residents of Northern Ireland, the Palestinians, the Kashmiris and any other people besieged by a regular threat of random acts of violence.

What Americans in increasing numbers have forgotten is that we live in a country based on principles of human rights. Those rights are the bedrock of our existence.

If our civil liberties are not protected right now, they are not worth anything. Rights were designed to protect us when the times are bad and, right now, the times definitely are bad if you are a Muslim.

Didn't the courts rule recently that racial profiling is illegal? Haven't the courts consistently upheld our right to a free education? Hasn't the U.S. government issued student visas to people of all nationalities?

What Mrs. Charen is proposing is against every basic principle of our society and has nothing to do with political correctness. Forcibly removing an ethnic group from the United States will not improve safety. It will show the terrorists that they have succeeded in creating panic, hate and distrust in a society that always has been a melting pot. By assuming we would be safer if we removed all Arabs from the United States, Mrs. Charen is exposing her racism.

Also, what about crazy white males who live in cabins in the woods? They certainly have shown themselves to be part of a dangerous group, with their cult religions and bombings of civilian targets. Should we ask them to leave, too? We could send them to the Antarctic, perhaps?

If safety is the concern, we should first ask what the FBI knew about 30 men who suspiciously signed up for hazardous-material licenses and then disappeared. That the FBI did nothing about it should be our greatest concern.

Safety is not an excuse for violating the rights of human beings whatever their nationality, religion or skin color. Have we learned nothing from the civil rights movement of the '60s?


NOLA AGHA

Brussels, Belgium




In response to Mona Charen's Oct. 18 Commentary column, I would like to ask: Where were you, Mrs. Charen, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City? Would you have advocated the profiling and deportation of people that "looked like" Mr. McVeigh?

There are more than 1 billion people who "look like" Middle Easterners. Why do you want to stigmatize all of them as terrorists? What happens when the next villains pop their ugly heads up and they are not from the Middle East? Would you advocate that their group be isolated and attacked?


HUSNI S. SAYED

Fort Collins, Colo.

Giuliani right to reject Saudi prince's check

Of course, America's alliance with Israel causes fury from Riyadh and Kabul to Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Tehran and Tripoli ("Saudi prince's aid declined," Oct. 12). Freedom's enemies consistently seek to delegitimize Israel, the region's sole democracy. America's commitment to Israel's security remains a fundamental global expression of American ideals. At their core, terrorist threats and hostile pronouncements from self-proclaimed monarchs are aimed at delegitimizing Israel because of the country's commitment to pluralistic, democratic and Judeo-Christian values. Those principles are rejected by the corrupt dictators whose regimes are founded on precepts incompatible with American values. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's integrity in the face of catastrophe may be his most lasting gift to America.


SETH EISENBERG

Weston, Fla.


(The writer is the former national executive director of Likud-USA, an international educational and philanthropic organization affiliated with Israel's Likud Party.)

Most writers question U.S. efforts to court Syria

Thanks for the incisive Oct. 9 editorial "Syria as peacemaker?" I think the World Trade Center attack was a wake-up call for America to see how we have been turning a blind eye to terrorism and its victims. We have been tolerating and covering up for Arab human rights violations, while, at the same time, holding Israel to a double standard.

Poor blacks in Africa can die by the hundreds of thousands in genocide in Rwanda or have their limbs deliberately amputated in Sierra Leone, and nothing is done. Yet, if one Arab child is killed accidentally by Israelis firing on snipers or terrorists, it is front-page news. Why? The short answer: oil. The longer answer: Saudi Arabian oil.

Yes, we need Saudi Arabia's oil, but we pay that country billions of dollars per year for it. We have made Saudi Arabia what it is. We have defended its despotic monarchy from Iraq. We have let Saudis be educated in our universities, and have allowed them to invest and work in our companies. They, in turn, have financed terrorists to attack us. (Almost all the destroyers of the World Trade Center were Saudis, they financed bin Laden for years, they bankrolled Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations, and they trained the Afghan radicals in their Wahhabi fundamentalism.)

Yes, boys and girls, it is sad but true: The Saudis are not our friends. Neither are the Syrians, Libyans or Yemenis. Ditto the Egyptians despite the $2 billion in aid we give them each year. The only faithful friend we have anywhere in the Middle East is Israel. Yet what message do we send our Arab "friends" when we continually sell out Israel to the terrorists?


CLIFF GOODWIN

Seattle




Your Oct. 9 editorial, "Syria as peacemaker?", questioning the election of Syria to the U.N. Security Council could not have been more apt.

One wonders why the U.S. administration has yet to vocally identify Syria as a state sponsor of terror inimical to regional security and peace, and to demand reform. The only good that possibly could come of Syria's new Security Council membership would be its summary dismissal from that post should it not cease immediately its proxy aggressions via Hezbollah and other terrorist groups based in its vassal state, Lebanon.


JENNIFER CROHN

South Orange, N.J.




Your Oct. 9 editorial "Syria as peacemaker?" seems to have little purpose other than to drive a wedge between the United States and our Arab allies, whose cooperation is essential to our battle against Osama bin Laden. References to "terrorism" and "terrorists" are not helpful at best and are misleading at worst. You would be well-advised to follow the lead of Reuters, and avoid using the word "terrorism" altogether, since one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Instead of attempting to explain why we should not address the roots and causes of Sept. 11 and our difficulties in building a coalition to prevent further attacks, you parade a litany of shopworn pro-Israel "never minds," yourself never minding the counterarguments. One of those is U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, for which the United States voted. In these difficult times, supporters of Israel would do well to keep a low profile and not get in the way of our efforts to deal with bin Laden.


MARSHALL FOREMAN

San Diego, Calif.

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