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Watching words in the war on terror

July 29, 2007

Re "Anti-terrorism bill advances," July 26

The current discussion over inadequate federal funding for local anti-terrorism efforts is myopic. The focus should be on the reasons for the international terrorism threat, which are connected to American imperialism and humiliation of Muslims worldwide. Once we rein in imperialism and stop humiliating Muslims, we will discover a greatly diminished terrorism threat.

Robert Lentz

Sylmar

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Re "Turning against terror," editorial, July 25

Your editorial rightly asks whether Western leaders are capable of digging a chasm between Muslims and such terror groups as Al Qaeda. Muslims have been vigorous in denouncing terrorist acts as inexcusable. Islam enjoins us to tread the path of reconciliation, justice and equality, and it respects the sacredness of human life and dignity.

Muslims are the real victims of injustices. In Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir, Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya, Muslims are marginalized and their inalienable rights to independence and self-determination continue to be abused and neglected. Western leaders can mitigate the unspeakable humiliation by dedicating substantial efforts toward lifting economic sanctions and occupations that strike civil populations indiscriminately.

Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London

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You mention that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken to avoiding the words "Muslim" or "Islamist" to describe terrorist acts they perpetrate. Instead, he simply calls them criminal; this has apparently pleased British Muslims and angered critics. I'm with Brown. Remember, there are Muslims who can't find the humor in a political cartoon depicting Muhammad. If a word, idea or picture can please moderate Muslims who don't want to be painted with the same broad brush strokes as their radical brethren, then what's wrong?

Words have power. The wrong words can have devastating results. Case in point: President Bush's "bring 'em on" comment during the war in Iraq.

Eric H. Potruch

Westchester

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