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Commentary

Muslims and Assimilation

April 24, 2004

Mansoor Ijaz (Commentary, April 20) argues that we need to get Muslims in Western Europe and the U.S. on our side in the war on terrorism by reaching out to them and including them in Neighborhood Watch programs, improving community outreach and appointing them to "sensitive defense, intelligence and foreign affairs postings." They aren't with us because they don't feel "included." Pobrecitos!

Sounds decent and humane, but under the circumstances, when virtually all the terror in our world is being perpetrated by radical Muslims of various nationalities, isn't that like putting the cart before the horse? Before we do something so Pollyannaish, why not reach out by inviting Muslim men in the U.S. and Europe to join volunteer Army and Marine combat units in the countries of their citizenship, to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan for our side and against the side of the jihadists? This act would undermine the Muslim-Crusader dichotomy so cleverly set up by the Muslim radicals.

The question I am waiting to see answered from the Muslim communities in the U.S., Britain and Western Europe is: Which side are you on? Fight for your adopted countries, for our (Western) side and show commitment to our values and way of life, and popular acceptance and inclusion will follow.

Arnold Springer

Venice

I wonder if Ijaz has examined another question, why "they hate us." We've heard it asked and answered by the same person: "Because they hate our freedoms." Simple-minded answers such as that persuade only fools; those who want thoughtful answers must look deeper. It's a very difficult thing to do, sort of like looking into the mirror and asking oneself, "Have I done anything to deserve the treatment I've received?"

This question, on a national level, ought to ask if the U.S. has ever interfered with any other country and, if so, how often and to what extent. Have we killed a foreign leader or organized or supported the removal of a foreign leader? Have we backed tyrants who have a record of persecuting their own people? Have our economic policies harmed people in other countries?

This country has been deeply involved for nearly a century in many other lands and, as a consequence, millions of people more than resent our interference. Many have moved on from resentment to hate, and if an observer will look at the record, perhaps he'll begin to understand the full nature of the problem.

Jim Steeves

Albuquerque, N.M.

Ijaz's commentary suggesting that a strategy of "inclusion" would bring more Muslims into the battle against the "modern scourge" of terrorism makes some sense. But when you consider the methods of terrorists, his own words seem to contradict the wisdom of such a plan. How can you "appoint Muslims to sensitive defense, intelligence and foreign affairs postings," given that the tactic of Islamic extremists is to melt into their communities, often camouflaging themselves with normal jobs and even normal families? Isn't Al Qaeda's method to be patient and "hide in plain sight" before striking? The spiritual robots who carried out the 9/11 attacks had lived in our communities undetected for months.

Like Cold War sleeper agents, or moles, they waited, planned and rehearsed their scheme until it was time to martyr themselves. Who knows how many similar creatures remain among us? Muslim leaders need to accept the fact that their religion has been infected by a virus that embraces death and delivers it with cold, unfeeling calculation. Clerics within their otherwise peace-loving belief system have hijacked the religion, convincing thousands of followers that there are rewards in heaven for those who commit suicide in the act of killing non-Muslims. The sooner rank-and-file Muslims accept the horror of this reality, the sooner they will begin to step forward, as many whites did during the early civil rights marches in the South, to condemn and seek out the killers in their midst.

John Johnson

Encino

"Tolerance and Fear Collide in the Netherlands" (April 18) shows that even this tolerant country, especially after the Madrid bombings, is afraid of its immigrants and wants to deny them residence. I would like to see all the immigrants in Europe and America whose lives have become very difficult because of all these acts of terror to very openly demonstrate against the terrorist organizations that turned them into pariahs in their host countries.

Yona Sabar

Los Angeles

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