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God And Rushdie

March 15, 1992

Re "Free Salman Rushdie" by Digby Diehl (Feb. 23):

Diehl translates the word fatwa as "an Islamic curse or death sentence" and refers to the actions of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini as reference. Later in the piece, he again refers to the ayatollah's fatwa as an "all-encompassing curse."

It should be noted that a fatwa is not a "curse" or a "death threat." These words have their own equivalents in Arabic. A fatwa is a decree or opinion generated by a religious scholar.

The concept of an "Islamic curse" is absurd, as only God decides whom to condemn. Furthermore, wishing malice on someone, as the word curse implies, is not in keeping with the good-natured spirit of Islam.

IRFAN MIRZA, BEVERLY HILLS

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