Islam rejects brotherhood with other religions
The writer of a Feb. 3 letter contends that Islam is not "warlike" and not "aggressive." It (Islam) is not inherently "malevolent."
Rather confusingly, he then states that he is reminded of the saying that a "spoonful of truth can be used to stir up a gallon of lies." He then says that Osama bin Laden tried to "appeal for sympathy for the Palestinians by stirring up animosity against America." The Crusades were "historically" about Crusaders (bad people) waging war against the followers of Islam. The "Jews are perennially posing as victims," but when they have "held power they have been as cruel as their tormentors." And finally there are "no more Jews, Christians, or Muslims" we are one so "let us make peace."
To the extent that I understand this letter, I not only disagree with it but also find it rather repugnant. I do believe that there are features or aspects of Islam that make it very aggressive, especially in dealing with religious minorities. Islam itself believes in a theocratic state, ruled by religious law. The religion of Islam advances today in Africa (Sudan, Nigeria) and in Asia (Indonesia) by force.
Indeed, the problem with accepting Islam as some kind of "brotherhood with Jews and Christians" is that Islam rejects this concept. The British historian Paul Johnson has said: "The 7th Century Koran is still taught as the immutable word of God, any teaching of which is literally true. In other words mainstream Islam is essentially akin to the most extreme form of biblical fundamentalism." And unlike the Bible there is no corollary in Islam to the Reformation and Counter Reformation not to mention the Enlightenment.
There is palpable enthusiasm for Osama bin Laden across the Muslim world. The New York Times reported recently that in a poll of educated Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41, 95 percent of them supported bin Laden's cause. Saudi Arabia, a nation ruled according to the Islamic principles, has a criminal code involving barbaric punishments not seen in the West for hundreds of years.
My general impression is that the media (including The Vindicator) has presented Islam in a rather favorable (superficial) and not very critical light. There is little to no coverage of Islamic persecutions of Christians in Africa. Media coverage of the joy in the "Arab street" upon hearing of the events of Sept. 11 stopped after a few days. There has been almost no mention (not unusual for the national media) of the virulent anti-Semitism that pervades most Islamic nations.
It is hard to imagine a more persecuted people than Jews. The letter's contention ("Jews are perennially posing as victims") is really quite repugnant.
Contrary to the letter-writer's opinion, the Crusades were in part a reaction from France and other European nations to the spread of Islam (mostly by force) into previously Christian areas. On at least three occasions the military might of Islam reached deep into Europe. The Turks were at the gates of Vienna as late as 1680. The Moors controlled large areas of Spain until 1492.
When we look at Islamic nation-states what do we see? With the possible exception of Turkey, we see no democracies, no market economies, no rule of law, and no independent judiciaries. We see large numbers of Muslims emigrating to Europe and America. We see no migration to Islamic states. Is there nothing about the religion of Islam that is responsible for this state of affairs? And please spare me the drivel about the Imperialist West and the "running dogs of capitalism." Muslims have had 50 years to organize various nations and we see what they have accomplished.
RICHARD R. THOMPSON
City council going from bad to worse
Just when you would think that it couldn't get any worse, Youngstown City Council has risen to a new low. An accounting of the past year's activities regarding the convocation center provides us numerous examples of political infighting, political incompetence, power grabbing, and the politics of race.
It has been 13 months since the money for the convocation center became available. In that time, a site has not been chosen, the board convened to build the center has been rendered useless, and certain council members threaten to take their disagreements "outside."
In addition, stripping one of the councilmen from his committee chairmanships has nothing to do with competence, and everything to do with political wheeling and dealing.
Has the thought occurred to any of them to put their disagreements aside, and do what is best for Youngstown? The recent comments by Paul Lyden when he resigned from the convocation board ring true, and the successful coup by city council puts the entire arena project in jeopardy. Among thoughtful people in Youngstown, few believe that city council has the skills or the collective vision to see this project through to a successful conclusion.
The present city council is missing a sense of duty, service and humility. Gentlemen, self-righteousness is no virtue. And where is the leadership? As the convocation board disintegrates, and city council wallows in ineptitude, the council leadership that can move this project and this city forward is nowhere to be found.
If my memory serves me correctly, seven members of the convocation board resigned at last week's meeting. The seven members of city council should follow their lead.
Youngstown Community School doing a fine job
Last Sunday's editorial on charter schools is incomplete. There are generalizations, but as we know generalizations need to exclude specific schools.
The latest annual report of our Youngstown Community School shows that our school is doing what any quality school should do. And our auditor's report is highly satisfactory.
We do not criticize any other school. We just keep busy improving our program here.
Our new Youngstown Community School building is almost ready for occupancy. We will be moving 192 children in from Grade K through 3. We will add Grade 4 in the fall.
SISTER JEROME CORCORAN
Media needs to feature happy news, not bad
I am tired of reading bad news in the media. You have the bleeding hearts who never saw the four journalists who were mutilated and our so-called friends that we helped in the Gulf War, but who want us to leave their country. Thanks a lot.
What we need is some good news. For example, 38 planes and 6,600 passengers landed at Newfoundland. Lewisporte had only 4,000 people. The only time they have a traffic jam is when a moose is loose.
The citizens organized and after the first night, had invited the passengers to their homes, with some homes, such as those in Twillingate, 60 miles from the airport. Food poured in, the Salvation Army helped, schools were closed so that passengers could sleep there. Toys were given to children, and there were tours of the fishing villages. They could receive CNN news. The gyms were used for ping-pong and volleyball, and there were computers at the high school. After three days, the planes began to take-off from this Sept. 11 emergency.
Before the take-offs, the grateful passengers donated or pledged money for the Lions Club, churches, school labs. The Rockefeller Foundation donated money for the computer labs.
As you can see, there is good news out there.
EDWARD W. VERBA