What about desecration of other holy objects and sites?
Last month, Newsweek published a report regarding alleged abuses of the Islamic holy book the Quran at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Although Newsweek's report was eventually discredited and retracted, the content of the report incited demonstrations and riots, resulting in further anti-American sentiments, injuries to persons and deaths. The Washington Post recently published an article citing five confirmed cases of intentional or unintentional mishandling of the Quran. Organizations like Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the American Civil Liberties Union and many others have voiced their outrage and concerns over the alleged and confirmed mishandlings of the Quran. The FBI, the Pentagon, the State Department and other arms of our government have been allocating resources to investigate these allegations. Our government will eventually find fault and if warranted, prosecute those who violated any applicable laws. They will make changes to help insure the rights of prisoners are protected. Thousands of man-hours, resources and taxpayer dollars will have gone to addressing this issue.
As an American who holds Judeo-Christian beliefs, I am struck by the news media and other organizations' lack of attention and emphasis on the abuses of Judeo-Christian and other faiths' holy books and places of worship. In a recent article published by the Liberty Post, a Jewish Rabbi questioned "Where were the protesters when Muslims desecrated Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank City of Nablus?" The rabbi's son was killed in October of 2000 while trying to retrieve any Torah scrolls and other holy objects that may have been left intact after the desecration of the site. The rabbi also noted the desecration of the Church of the Nativity by Palestinians in April of 2002 and the dynamiting of 2,000-year old Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban regime in March of 2001 as other examples.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Saudi Institute in Washington. In the article, Al-Ahmed notes that the Bible is considered holy in Islam and by most Muslims. However, in Saudi Arabia, the hard-liners known as the Wahhabi Sect rule the country. They confiscate and destroy the Bible and other religious texts and symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment. Having a Bible may get a person killed, arrested or deported.
Our nation continues to pursue what is inherently right for mankind. Our forefathers laid the groundwork. Many men and women sacrificed their own lives for freedom, one facet being freedom for all religions. Despite some cases at Guantanamo Bay, we are as a nation attempting to do what is right and just. There are many in this world who will use these cases as if they represent all of America. They are wrong.
The news media and organizations of this world need to recognize when something is blown out of proportion only for the purpose of inciting American animosity. The Guantanamo Bay incidents, I believe, are just that. It troubles me greatly to know they have not exposed the years and years of Judeo-Christian desecrations. That exposure would have painted an entirely different picture on this occurrence. The news media has to take responsibility and not give individuals an excuse to incite animosity toward the U.S., when it is really not about being anti-Islamic.
Programs in jeopardy
The Leonard Kirtz School and the MASCO workshops have been in the news. A lack of funds may jeopardize and/or radically change programs for the mentally/physically challenged people in our society. The lifestyle of these special people is very different today than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Today the challenged individuals, like my son, go to school, workshops and various other programs. They live a life of dignity where their physical, emotional, social, academic and occupational needs are addressed and met.
When contemplating changes, will the quality of life change for this sector of our society? Because we have been told there is a lack of funds, will there be a levy on the November ballot? New or renewal? If not, why? I implore the people who are making decisions and the voting public not to forget the people who cannot speak and act for themselves.
KAREN L. CHUEY