Some passages from the holy texts of Islam and Christianity that address forgiveness and punishment:
THE NEW TESTAMENT
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15.
"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your father also who is in heaven may forgive you and your trespasses." Mark 11:25.
"And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
"If you punish, let your punishment be commensurate with the wrong that has been done you. But it shall be best for you to endure your wrongs with patience." 16:126
"That which you have been given is but the fleeting comfort of this life. Better and more enduring is God's reward to those who believe and put their trust in Him; who avoid gross sins and indecencies and, when angered, are willing to forgive. ..." 42:36-40.
"Let evil be rewarded with like evil. But he that forgives and seeks reconcilement shall be rewarded by God." 42:40
"To endure with fortitude and to forgive is a duty incumbent on all." 42:43
Sources: The Revised Standard Version of the Bible; The Koran, published by Penguin Books
Here's what some local residents said when asked if they could forgive the Sept. 11 terrorists:
"You make a conscious decision and choice to do that. You have to forgive them. If you don't forgive, [God] doesn't even answer your prayers." -- Kathy Kostelnik, Boardman.
"God loves us and he accepts us fully and totally. We, in turn, have to accept all brothers and sisters. We have to accept them 100 percent. If we start rejecting people, then we start judging them." -- Dan Rossi, Boardman.
"Maybe I can forgive, but I can't forget." -- Bill Nock, Lowellville.
"To me, they don't deserve it because they're really not sorry." -- Dawn Marzano, Boardman.