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Sheik's Followers and N.Y. Bombing

March 26, 1993

The article by Robert Satloff ("What Makes the Sheik's Men Tick," Commentary, March 18) purports to explain the motives behind the recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and the United States. His analysis of the reasons behind the growth of radical Islam is very dehumanizing in its portrayal of a non-Western ideology. In Egypt there is widespread popular support for the establishment of an Islamic government. Satloff treats the topic in an analytical fashion that fails to present Islamic revival as anything but another threat to stability in the Middle East.

It is ironic to claim that the United States is defending the principles of democracy in its relations with Egypt when we are supporting the authoritarian rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Satloff's analysis of the recent events both here and abroad reaches its conclusion in the statement that America's best interests can be served by the continued economic and political support of Mubarak. What about the principles of democracy?

When Americans believed that their way of life was being threatened by the policies of their President, we had the ability to vote him out of office. Is that a right which we reserve for ourselves?

The people in Egypt, be they sheiks, housewives, college students or urban professionals, have a right to try to seek their own solutions to their country's problems. It is the common people of Egypt who see the solutions to the myriad problems that face their country in the establishment of an Islamic state. It should not be the goal of United States foreign policy to strip the citizens of other nations of the rights that we as American citizens take for granted.

The current U.S. policy of supporting authoritarian leaders throughout the Middle East will be a further catalyst to the formation of radical Islamic groups.

ANNE McKECHNIE

La Habra Heights

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