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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Offering Alternatives to All Fundamentalists

August 23, 2003

Re "From Dhaka, With Hope," Opinion, Aug. 17: Ted Widmer tells us about the American Studies Institute, a new program that offers Muslim college students from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh an alternative to religious fundamentalism with "the strongest weapons in our arsenal: hope, tolerance and an educational system second to none." It sounds like a great program.

Why not extend it to Christian students from the U.S., where some religious fundamentalists preach the rapture of the church in which true Christian believers gain immortality but the rest of humanity faces apocalyptic terror? Or to Jewish students from Israel, where some Jewish fundamentalists call for blowing up mosques on the Temple Mount?

Nancy Gallagher

Newbury Park

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