Letters to the Editor

Readers write about reform in Saudi Arabia, the film "Fitna," and US troop successes in Iraq.

Human rights advocacy looks hopeful in Saudi Arabia

Regarding the March 26 article, "Small steps on rights in Saudi Arabia": I was incredibly pleased to see the steps Saudi Arabia is taking to incorporate human rights into the mainstream discourse. The fact that King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz initiated a formal commission is a victory in and of itself. I applaud his willingness to enter a more robust conversation on these fundamental issues.

It seems that discrimination against women overshadows a great deal of the rhetoric on human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia (with good reason). But I see new possibility in constructing the conversation around Islamic values. No value set has the moral upper hand on basic human rights.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Paul Russell
New York

Don't exclude or vilify atheists

In response to your March 27 editorial, "Arabian rights": I have read in horror that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had invited leaders of the Abrahamic Faiths to meet with him regarding "the disintegration of the family and the rise of atheism in the world – a frightening phenomenon that all religions must confront and vanquish."

The message was cloaked in tolerance for Jews and Christians, but this isn't about peace – it's about a new war against a new common "enemy": atheists. But we are not the enemy. Sure, we disagree on the existence of deities, but we're just talking. Yet this wonderful statesman wants us vanquished.

All humans have something in common. We live in a world where bigotry and intolerance has devastated or destroyed whole groups of people because of thought or lineage. King Abdullah is clearly trying to organize another such effort, and as always, it's all under the guise of "peace."

If he is really interested in peace, then all groups – monotheistic, polytheistic, and nontheistic, should be welcomed at his table.

Where there is exclusion, there can never be peace.

David Silverman
Piscataway, N.J.

National spokesperson,

American Atheists, Inc.

Responses to anti-Islam film

Regarding the March 26 article, "Dutch anti-Islam film plays to fears ... not on screens": Flamboyant Geert Wilders may be, but what crime did he commit other than breaking Islamic law? He is telling the truth. He is defending his country and all of our freedoms in the process.

Joe Kaffir
Washington

Regarding the recent article on the anti-Islam film "Fitna": What amazes me about what I saw of the film is that it just cites Koranic verses that have no relevance to the scenes that accompany those snippets. I could do that with Judaism or Christianity, but most decent Muslims don't attack other peoples' religion.

Asghar Shah
Tracy, Calif.

US troops are getting results in Iraq

In response to the March 18 article, "How will it end?": What a job our troops have performed. No military is perfect, but I think most people are finally seeing the results of this great military effort.

Even Iraqis are seeing improvements on a daily basis, and once we put a strong Iraqi military and civilian government in place, the fruits of our troops' labor will be seen by every country in the world. Thank God for the men and women of this American military.

Joe Maupin
Republic, Mo.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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