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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Jihad and Oppression Go Hand in Hand

September 06, 2003

Re "To Rescue Islam From Jihad, Muslims Must Look Within," Opinion, Aug. 31: Donald Emmerson strives mightily to balance his comments on Islamic terrorism, but in the end he fails. He fails to see what Muslims, whether terrorist, pacifist or regular, see when they look at the world. From the Philippines to Algeria, across the Muslim world through western China, Kashmir and Chechnya, Muslims live as oppressed minorities -- majorities ruled by non-Muslims or under military dictatorships backed by France and the United States.

Emmerson's most glaring omission, of course, is his failure to mention the Palestinian territories. Under the Turks, the British and now us, without whose financial support Israel could not survive, Zionists have steadily dispossessed the Arab population. Unlike 1,000 years ago, Muslim societies are militarily weak. Combine military weakness with oppression and foreign rule and what do you get? Terrorism.

The Muslim cause would advance more rapidly were the militants to adopt the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi. However, that requires walking, unarmed and unprotected, into club-wielding police or soldiers. Would Emmerson like to go first?

Robert Moss

Bloomfield, N.J.

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