- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2002

So CAIR doesn't care to apologize?

As usual, Ibrahim Hooper, the Council for American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) spokesman, firmly sheltered in the land of freedom, politically correct speech and press, retains his arrogant and self-serving double standard of "do what we say, not what we do or we'll kick and scream loudly" ("Muslim activist won't apologize to evangelists," Page 1, Friday).
Should anyone expect CAIR to behave differently given his constant unwillingness to call Islam-inspired terrorism what it is, or to acknowledge CAIR's culpability and support of the worldwide it's-not-Islam's-fault attitudes of denial and irresponsibility for violent Muslim radicalism? Apparently, this organization lacks the contrition and humility that its members so shrilly and stridently demand from their detractors.
But their cries of injury and for apology most always to deflect their having to respond honestly and fully seem loudest when those courageous critics voice a truth that might result in their death in an Islamic theocratic state that restricts their rights.

Princeton, W.Va.

For Ibrahim Hooper not to apologize to those conservative evangelical leaders whom he compared to Osama bin Laden is wrong and hypocritical given his organization's constant demands of contrition by anyone he believes has criticized Islam, however remotely.
The obvious difference between the four persons mentioned by Mr. Hooper and bin Laden is that none of the four has ever committed terrorist acts that cost thousands of lives. None of the four has ever sat in a cave in the middle of nowhere and planned with his henchman the brutal killing of innocent people. None has ever been recorded discussing a desire to slaughter "infidels." And none has ever called for murder of people in the name of their religion.
The other difference between Mr. Hooper's comments and those of someone such as the Rev. Franklin Graham one of the four persons mentioned by Mr. Hooper is that the Rev. Graham's comments are based on his readings of the Koran and acts committed by real live Muslims in the name of Islam, while Mr. Hooper's are simply hateful and baseless conjecture.


Easy answers elude Pakistani politics

Moorthy Muthuswamy unfortunately confuses the political development and political culture of Pakistan on two major counts ("Pakistan's undemocratic underpinnings," Letters, Friday).
First, Pakistan's legacy of military governments has nothing to do with religion. The army is the country's most modern and Westernized institution. Three out of four of the country's military rulers (generals Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Pervez Musharraf) have been rather secular in their outlooks, and quite progressive in their social policies and personal lifestyles. Even Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, the fourth ruler, was quite pragmatic, despite being an observant Muslim. He used Islam to justify and perpetuate his rule, but he essentially was a secular politician who never seriously considered implementing Sharia law in the country, even with intense lobbying by religious fundamentalists.
Second, Islam is not incompatible with democracy. From 1988 to 1999, the democratically elected political leadership and its policies were denigrated by a record of mismanagement, kleptocratic economic policies and overall malfeasance. Each elected government was infamous for crony capitalism, nepotism and massive waste of public goods and services. With this record, it was no surprise that, when given the chance, the electorate voted for a military ruler who essentially ran on a populist and conscientious platform: good governance, ridding society of corruption and addressing the problems of the common man.
Mr. Muthuswamy needs to review his ideas on Pakistan's political history, sociology and political economy before deducing the causes and effects of the country's political culture and political development.


Cheerleading for simplistic divisions

Friday's Op-Ed column by Diana West, "Bush takes up Islam's pompom,"questions the president's knowledge of Islam and leaps into a negative portrayal of Islam and its believers.
Like so many who have tried to sort out the issues of the Israeli-Palestinian and other intraregional disagreements, she labels the players and observers as fighters. Are you "pro" or "anti"? This mentality sorts everyone into two groups rather than into many. It is also the currency of some observers and critics who want only a narrow view of the world. The pro/anti view propounded by Ms. West as well Israelis, Palestinians and their respective pundits has created a "tug of war" in which the United States does not need to take a side.
I wonder how she would react if our fellow Americans did not make a clear distinction between Zionism, Israelis, Jews or Jewish Americans? Similar distinctions need to made when referring to terrorists, Arabs, Islamic believers, other nationalities and cultures, and Arab- or Islamic Americans.
Two very important distinctions are always made about individuals or groups that commit crimes under international or U.S. laws. First, they are presumed innocent. And if found guilty, they are called "criminals."


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