- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2002

Misreading Islam?

Frankly, I think Wesley Pruden does not understand Islam ("Connecting the dots in the sniper's tale," Nation, Tuesday). He misleads readers when he writes that "Islam, as reasonable people know, is not to blame for the sniper or Chechen terrorists" (or, presumably, the September 11 attacks). Rather, "a lot of Islamic mullahs" are to blame; for, indeed, Islam itself "may be a 'religion of peace.'"

The truth is that Islam is an evil religion, not because of its devotion to one God and a sense of brotherhood with other Muslims, but because it is only a fraction religious principle (devotion to supreme values and loyalty to truth) and mainly about social and political control backed by individual and collective militancy.

Indeed, only a very primitive or deluded person could possibly read the Koran and not conclude that it is hypocritical and blatantly contradictory in many respects. It encourages Muslim brotherhood but encourages Muslim men to treat their wives and daughters as chattel. It claims God loves people but says God will punish all who are not perfectly faithful to his will.

It encourages Muslims to be unfriendly to Christians and Jews and to hate Hindus and other idolators. It tells Muslims to be loyal to the Gospel of Jesus but then asserts that Christians are not to be trusted and says nothing about what that Gospel really is.

It claims that Jesus was a miracle worker, a spiritual offspring of God, a perfect man born of a virgin, but it also states that Jesus was a mere prophet, and it attempts to elevate the teachings of Mohammed, a known philanderer, probably pedophile (one wife was 9 years old), imperfect person, above those of Jesus.

It tells Muslims to follow the Gospel, which promotes a nonviolent religion based on love of God and one's fellow man (however sinful), but it openly encourages Muslims to commit heinous acts of torture, murder, war and destruction against any who "resist" Islam.

It even goes so far as to promise virgins, slaves, riches, plush gardens and fresh water "in Heaven" to all Muslims who die in a jihad, or struggle against "injustice." And as you well know, "injustice" is left up to the interpretation of each and every Muslim, many of whom are all too willing to oppress, torture, murder and commit suicide for any imagined "injustice."

In short, please don't imply to your readers that Islam (the word means submission) is anything but a religion of hostility, hatred and military conquest. "Peaceable" Muslims who do not see this are living in denial, and they have been lied to about the true character of their so-called religion.


BOB HURT

Clearwater, Fla.

'Foolish defense' of Saudi Arabia

As the longtime publisher of the National Review, William Rusher fought the good fight for decades and engendered in me a great respect for his work and writings which is why I'm particularly saddened to see his name above an astoundingly foolish defense of the Saudi dictatorship ("Friends when it mattered," Commentary, Thursday).

One of the most vital lessons I learned from reading the National Review during my formative years was the importance of recognizing one's enemies and distinguishing them from one's friends. At the time, America led the fight against communism. Today, the "ism" that threatens the civilized world is Islamism, and America again is the leading protagonist in the war against this primitive, suffocating theology.

That Islamism has developed into a global threat against life and liberty is largely due to the continued financing from the top three Arab oil producers Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq of which Saudi Arabia is the largest by far. How can the major financier of world terror be America's friend?

Mr. Rusher reminisces about the good old days when America and Ibn Saud, founder of the Saudi dynasty, faced a common enemy. But Saudi Arabia was our "friend" during the Cold War in the same sense that Josef Stalin's Soviet empire was our "ally" during World War II. Should America have played nice with Nikita Khrushchev because of our alliance during the war?

And although he doesn't mention it, others on Mr. Rusher's side point out how this Wahhabist-based regime graciously sells oil to the United States. But the Saudis desperately need American dollars because, as even Mr. Rusher points out, they've so botched their economy that it's back to camels and tents if they turn off the spigot.

President Bush who seems quite capable of distinguishing America's enemies from its friends, thank God has said it clearly: You're either with us or against us. By enabling and harboring America's enemies, there's little question which side the Saudis have chosen.


SAMUEL R. LEWIS

Oak Hill, Va.

Schwartz on D.C. statehood

The mayoral endorsement in Monday's paper ("Tony Williams for mayor," Editorial) stated that Republican mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz supports statehood for the District. This is erroneous. It is Mayor Anthony A. Williams who has stated most recently at an Oct. 17 forum at George Washington University that he is in favor of D.C. statehood. Mrs. Schwartz is not, although she does support full voting rights in Congress for D.C. residents.


TOM MCDANIELS

Press secretary

Carol Schwartz for Mayor Campaign

Washington

[Editor's note: The editorial endorsing Mr. Williams for mayor described Mrs. Schwartz's "D.C. statehood efforts," which include full voting rights for the District's congressional delegate. Mrs. Schwartz has, in conversations with a member of the editorial board, expressed her support for D.C. statehood.]

Drawbacks of 'Buck Rogers'-type train

Thursday's edition of The Washington Times featured an article on the futuristic "maglev train" ("300 mph to future," Metropolitan). Although high-speed maglev (magnetic levitation) technology has been proven and proposed for decades the current proposal would link the Baltimore-Washington area this "Buck Rogers" vision of mass transit is yet another costly venture toward reinventing the wheel, under the auspices of "relieving congestion." Despite their proven technology, maglev is costly to implement.

Together with the perennial monorail proposals, there seemingly is a frenzied drive to trash the venerable flanged steel-on-steel track guidance systems but why? An 80-mph-to-90-mph surface speed is amenable to promptness, safety and sobriety, while air travel accommodates the long-distance, high-speed venue. Besides, Spain, France and Japan have had their world-renowned 150-mph-to-200-mph trains operating over conventional systems for decades.

The solution to congestion and air pollution is not contained in the maglev train. Solutions are realized by the discouragement of "transportation corridors," by halting added traffic lanes, beltways, etc., and urban and suburban planning founded on conservation and the quality of life, not how long it takes to get from one place to another.


EDWARD ABRAMIC

Montreal

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