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Untangling Islam From Terrorist Attacks

August 25, 2003

I agree with Amos Oz (Commentary, Aug. 21), who argues that Islamic moderates have to assert themselves in trying to influence the Islamic extremists to stop their campaign of violence. As Oz points out, 25 out of 28 violent conflicts in the world involve Muslim extremists who often indiscriminately kill civilians, including women and children, in terrorist attacks. The voices of moderate Muslims are hardly heard. If they continue being silent without trying to make the violent groups understand that not all Muslims are ready to accept violence as the only way to answer grievances, they will contribute to a world conflict that no jihad can win.

David Shichor

Fullerton

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It is not appropriate to blame Islam for conflicts such as those in Chechnya and in the Palestinian territories. In both cases, the Islamic populations have been occupied and repressed by a superpower and past superpowers supported by military forces using fascist tactics. Ejected from their homes and, in the case of the Palestinians, expelled from the land of their birth, these groups have stood up for their human rights against horrific circumstances.

Islam is not at the root of the conflict in the Palestinian territories; it is the inhuman refusal of the Israeli government to even consider allowing Palestinians to return to their homeland and live as free citizens.

Thomas Haskin

La Mesa

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"The Terrorism Trap" (editorial, Aug. 21) states that "Palestinians should condemn them [terrorists] and understand that terrorist acts destroy the credibility of groups like Hamas." Yet in "Bus Bomber Was a Fervent Preacher," on Page A4, you devote almost a half-page, with two photos, talking about the life of the bus bomber who murdered 20 innocent people.

Frank Ponder

Los Angeles

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Just what do you mean by "Truce Ended After Israeli Airstrike" (Aug. 22)? Are you suggesting that the bombing of a Jerusalem bus filled with children was within the truce?

Words matter. Especially in the headline.

Ruth Strassberg

Venice

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