Letters to the Editor [Archives:2001/44/Letters to the Editor]

October 22 2001

Dear Editor,
I am an American. I have been reading many news sources on the Internet both to learn more about other peoples and cultures and to see world reaction and opinion in regards to the recent turmoil that is affecting us all.
I have read your editorial about the targeting of Muslims and Arabs in America and Canada. I am saddened that you may think this is something common here.
I want you to know that such hatred is not as widespread as the media may have people believe; indeed myself and many others I know are actively speaking out against such prejudice. It can be difficult to decipher from media reports, but there are in fact steps being taken towards awareness, tolerance, and the safety of those populations, both on community and official levels.
My message to you is, please do not believe that the majority of American people are so prejudiced, that they hate so blindly, that they would all commit such acts. As in any country there are people who do hate, but they are not representative of our nation. My heart is with all those around the world who have suffered from the hatred of others. At the bottom of it all, we are all humans upon this earth, and it is only by human respect and tolerance from all that we can hope to get past crises such as we are all facing now.
I simply cannot believe it is the will of our Creator to hate and kill one another. We must all take responsibility in our personal lives to ensure that we do not forget that, in spite of geographical, cultural, or political differences.
I wish peace to you, and to us all.
Trish I.
[email protected]
Dear Editor,
I read your article about Americans attacking Muslims in the United States. While it is true that there have been some attacks, you make it sound like all Muslims are being persecuted here and that the government and media are not doing anything about it. There have been repeated pleas from the President and the media not to attack Muslims, because the war is not against Muslims but against terrorists.
Over and over again, governors and mayors all over the USA have been going to mosques and spreading the word of peace. A group of terrorists does not represent an entire race or religion. That fact is true everywhere. There are good and bad people in every race and every religion. Racism is here and everywhere. But believe me that it is looked down upon, and the vast majority of the people here are not racist. The punishment for hate crimes has been more severe over the last few years. The more educated the person the less likely they will be racist. The acts of terror are always committed by ignorant people.
Being an American that grew up in Saudi Arabia, I know that not all Arabs hate Americans. I have met several nice people of Arab origin that were intelligent and peaceful. I have also had Arab people that have spit in my face for being American. I have been told to go back to my country and that I was a devil woman. I have been cursed out in Arabic for no reason and have had a friend “Ali,” who got into a fistfight coming to my defense. You cannot judge a whole race by the action of certain individuals.
Leyla C.
[email protected]
Response to: “Enough is Enough!”
First of all, I am a simple 62 year old farmer in the mountains of Virginia and, thanks to the marvel of the internet, I can read your good paper.
Reading the news of the brutal murder of young Tariq just sickens me. However, please understand that the vast majority of our citizens deplore this sort of action, as I think most of your people do also.
What you see here is a group of thugs acting out of sheer hate. This is evil at its worst and will not be tolerated. But this is very rare in Canada and the U.S. Our laws will not let this go unpunished and this is where we differ from some Middle Eastern states. We live together peaceably with many nationalities, religions, and races. I am a devout Reformed Presbyterian but my neighbors are Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Jews, etc. We accept each other as children of God even though we differ in our distinctive beliefs. I cannot understand why you make no reference to the two Christian girls who are being tried in Afghanistan just for being Christians. They have devoted their lives to service and were there only to help the impoverished and starving people. Is it right to execute these young ladies for sharing what they believe is Truth? What they believe is their peaceable calling on this Earth? All this is just too complicated for me to comprehend. I hope someone helps me understand this.
Paul Cunningham
[email protected]
Dear Editor,
I have just read your editorial View Point (Enough is Enough) published in issue 40 – October 1, 2001 through 7 October, 2001, Vol XI, and agree with you 100 %. It’s time for all men of good conscience to put aside their differences, establish some kind of working dialogue, and recognize the killing of the innocent for what it really is cold godless murder.
Edmond Smith Jr
[email protected]
Re: Yemenis Condemn Strikes
The USA was attacked by a large powerful well-funded organization that funds and supports the Taliban and is protected by it. They carried out attacks within Afghanistan too, such as the assassination of the head of the Northern Alliance. The Taliban would not and likely could not turn in bin Ladden and his key associates. The Taliban also is an oppressive regime that persecutes and even executes those who don’t rigidly follow it’s harsh rules. Women in particular have no freedom at all, and risk sadistic punishment and death if they want an education.
I am glad that the Taliban did not surrender bin Laden because I think it would have been meaningless. He did not act alone. This wasn’t some little murder mystery, you can’t have a simple trial by jury. This was the most vicious and horrible of atrocities, but only one of many in an ongoing WAR!
The policies of the USA are imperfect, but also evolving and changing as many things are changing throughout the world. There are many countries in the Mid East that have oppressive regimes; some secular and others religious. The USA does support and have mutually cooperative relations with some, most people here wish you all, including the Palestinians would have freedom and peace. It isn’t always the fault of the US, and particularly it wasn’t the fault of the 6000+ people that were murdered. Approximately 2,500 were from various other countries, including Yemen. Also how horrible would it have been if the Taliban had surrendered bin Laden, and then what would the US have to have been supportive of these fanatics? That would be crueler to the majority of the people in Afghanistan than to fight to get rid of the terrorist, and as a by-product their supporters; the Taliban.
The US has continually donated food and supplies to people in need, and is giving tons of much needed supplies now.
Also remember this; none of the civilians killed is being intentionally targeted. The people on the planes and at the World Trade Center were intentionally targeted.
We are still being attacked now in our country, with biological warfare, and with likely additional attacks promised from bin Laden and his supporters. We have no choice but to fight this.
Statements like this by Dr. Qasem Sallam, about our struggle against terrorism, ” a pretext for the US to kill women and children in Afghanistan.” are meant to promote more hate in the world. We need to work together to find the solutions to complex problems. Hate is simple but it’s not the answer.
Jacalyn Engler
[email protected]
Americans are Not All the Same
I am a citizen of The United States of America. I am not of Arab origin, nor am I Muslim. This does not mean, however, that I am not a friend to any peace-loving person in the world. I am a citizen with no connections to our government. I stumbled upon your online newspaper while trying to further educate myself about recent events as seen through the eyes of those in the Middle East.
I am saddened by a particular news item that I have read in your paper, concerning murders or other hate crimes against Yemenis and other Arabs in the United States. Regrettably, there are some ignorant and terrible people who have no regard for human life. These individuals exist in all areas of the world, and the U.S.A. is no exception. My reason for writing to you is not to discuss politics, or the foreign policy of my country, your country, nor that of any other. Those issues are best left to our governments. I am writing to you as one single American, who would like you to know another side to this story that I have read in your paper.
Ignorance is not an excuse for hatred. The people who commit these crimes can not be excused and I see in our newspapers that these people are being prosecuted and I know that our legal system will treat them very harshly.
There is another side to the story that I have read in your paper, though. If some fruits are rotten, that does not mean that the entire crop is bad, and that it should be discarded. I am saying that just because there are some bad people here, does not mean that we are all bad people. I would like you to know that for every bad American who would harass or harm an innocent Arab or Muslim, there are thousands of other Americans that would seek to protect these innocent people. I can tell you that there are many non-Muslim Americans volunteering to stand guard outside of neighborhood mosques at night. I can tell you of many cases of non-Muslim Americans who would stand in the way of anyone who would wish to do harm to an innocent person who is Arab or Muslim. I can tell you of Americans who have given money out of their own pockets to help pay for damage done to homes or businesses owned by Arabs or Muslims. I can tell you of Americans who have donated their time to repair these same homes or businesses. I can also tell you that for every person who would harm or threaten an innocent Muslim in America, there are thousands of others who have done, or would do, the things that I have mentioned to you in this letter.
I want you to know that neither a good person or a bad person can be defined simply by their citizenship or their religion. Any person who does not believe this is ignorant. There is no excuse for ignorance. There is also no excuse for not knowing that there is more than one aspect to every story. I hope that I have helped to share with you another aspect to these tragedies that I have read about in your newspaper. I wish you well and I will leave you with this thought. On a cold and desolate night, when you are hungry and weary, you would be welcomed into my home, where you would find warmth, comfort and sustenance, without regard to your race, nationality or religion. I am not the only American who feels this way. Please do not judge us all, by the actions of a few.
Mel Smith
[email protected] Kentucky, USA