Regarding the Feb. 7 article "US losing the race to engage Muslims" by Sen. Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin: It seems that Americans are still at a loss as to why there is Muslim anger toward the US government, even as they admit that Muslims are frustrated by its foreign policies: namely, the Palestinian issue, support for autocratic, corrupt Arab regimes, and the US-led invasion of Iraq.
The Americans keep saying that they must "engage" the Muslim world as if we Muslims are mistaken in our assessment of American double standards.
We, the Muslims of the world, do not need to be engaged in this way. Rather, if the Americans are serious about addressing anti-American sentiments in the Muslim world, they should do the obvious - that is, reverse their unfair policies in the Muslim world.
Contrary to popular American opinion, Muslims do not hate freedom and democracy. We love them. In fact, freedom and democracy are true Muslim values, but many Muslim people have been deprived of these values in societies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait. And if we notice, these countries are very close allies of the US.
It is due to continuous American support for these regimes that democracy and freedom have long been absent - from Rabat to Kuwait City. We expect the Americans to impose sanctions on these states to push for free elections, which would install responsible governments accountable to the people.
Faris Osman Abdat
Regarding the Feb. 10 article "Donors: too much say on campus speech?": To say donors, or for that matter taxpayers, doenot have the right to request appropriate uses for the money they provide to a higher education institution is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy to me. In fact, I would encourage higher levels of oversight.
In none of the examples cited was there an indication that previous donations or funds be refunded. Rather, donors simply indicated that the type of speech each institution advocated - by allowing Ward Churchill an institutionally supported pulpit for his hateful views - was contrary to their beliefs. Essentially, they were exercising their right of free speech - with their pocketbooks.
Each institution is still free to do as it pleases, as is Mr. Churchill. No one said, "You cannot do this." Rather the message is, "I refuse to support this. You choose which is more important." I applaud their courage in the face of popular, liberal opposition to this view as an oppression of free speech.
It's refreshing to see a media outlet acknowledge the hard choices the nation faces in producing the energy we need. Bush's "Clear Skies" proposal, mentioned in the Feb. 9 article, "Clash over policies on energy, pollution," represents the best effort yet offered to provide Americans with reliable and affordable electricity (i.e., by continuing to rely on abundant domestic coal supplies) while demanding reductions in power plant emissions.
The emissions reductions mandated in Clear Skies are a tough target for the power industry - and represent, at an estimated $52 billion, the single largest capital expenditure on air pollution controls ever. But we support Clear Skies because it's based on a proven, successful, flexible approach that will get us healthier air without creating energy costs that hurt consumers, seniors, workers, and employers. We should get started on reducing emissions and not let the much larger global climate debate hold up progress on cleaner air.
Executive Director, Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy
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