Letters

Using Christian, Islamic principles to thwart terrorism

After reading the Feb. 4 article "Koranic duels ease terror" I have become convinced that there are solutions that actually solve the problem of Islamic terrorism.

Judge Hamoud al-Hitar, who engages Al Qaeda prisoners in theological debate, is a true hero in this "war on terror." Whereas Mr. Bush's ineffective approach has only added more fuel to the fire, Mr. Hitar's more Christian-like approach has managed to actually dampen some of the flames.

By initiating a "battle of ideas" rather than a military campaign, Hitar has not only revealed a path to victory, but also a path to forgiveness and healing by rehabilitating the terrorists. Mr. Bush, it seems, believes that by simply killing the terrorists he can put an end to terrorism. Hitar has demonstrated that through the Christian and Islamic principles of forgiveness, understanding, love, and truth, any obstacle can be overcome.

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I want to thank Hitar for showing the world that there is an alternative to violence, judgment, condemnation, and hatred.
Anthony Mustacich
Shelton, Wash.
Washington Corrections Center

We'd like clean air with that bacon, please

Regarding the Feb. 15 article, "New rules to stem pollution on factory farms draw fire": From my vantage point as a retailer to pork producers over the last 30 years, I have watched the business grow away from family farms to corporate control.

The real market control of production changed with the low prices of 1994 and 1998. When the small producer was driven out of the market, the large systems grew.

With small producers, the amount of odor produced was offensive but probably wasn't creating a health hazard to neighbors.

The large systems, however, do generate enough ammonia to cause health problems. They also drive down home values for those living close by. They should be regulated today just like any city with a waste handling facility.

The large producers should not be given time for a government study to be done. They have had since 1998 to implement best management practices as well as good-neighbor policies.
Paul D. Smith
Glasgow, Mo.

Black history in moments, not months

Regarding the Feb. 1 article "Black history: best taught in February or all year long?": As a retired teacher and the author of "Road to Awakening," a semiautobiographical novel that deals with racism, I have strong feelings about teaching children about other cultures. I wrote Road to Awakening because I felt the need for a book that would help awaken students' critical thinking and spark stimulating discussions about racial issues and race relationships.

Children need to know that all cultures contribute(d) to the history of the United States. They need to learn that many aspects of our history are a source of pride, whereas other aspects are shameful, especially those that reflected discrimination toward certain races or other groups of people.

Black history - along with the history of other important minorities - should be taught in our schools, homes, streets, churches all the time and not be restricted to a certain day or month. I think that we need to integrate those important parts of our history much more into our history books and curricula. We need to seize the "teachable moments."

Every time we hear a word that is a "put-down," every time we see someone "different," every time we see discrimination or prejudice - we need to use that moment to teach. We owe nothing less to our future generation.
Nancy Weatherspoon
Deer Harbor, Wash.

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