Islamic Electoral Victories and the People's Choice

In the editorial "Algeria's Fundamentalist Vote," Jan. 2, the overwhelming victory by the Islamic Salvation Front is depicted as "a protest vote against the corruption and mismanagement they [Algerians] associate with the long-ruling National Liberation Front," and not a vote for Islamic values. I remember the same opinion was expressed when the Iranian people demonstrated against the shah and for the Islamic Republic.

When is the West going to realize that there is a genuine movement among Muslims toward Islamization in different countries? Once Muslims are allowed to have a free parliamentary election, as in Algeria, they show their true feelings. Comments like "It's too early to assume that Algeria has veered toward some kind of dark age," show a lack of respect for the people's choice. Reza Fassihi, Denver, Colo.

In the editorial, the author refers to Islamic rule and the Islamic fundamentalist free vote as "dark age." I would like to correct this.

During the same time as the Dark Ages in Europe and the Western world, we had the golden age of our civilization as Muslims. Only when Muslim fundamentalist rule, Muslim laws, and Muslim morals were the guiding force of our society did our society flourish and achieve its peak civilization. It is unfortunate that our standard of living has decreased since then, our freedom reduced, and our countries fragmented.

Hence, we look forward to fundamentalist election victory throughout Muslim countries to again make our religion the guiding source and inspiration of the society, and return to our golden age. Taha Hamoui, Lancaster, Calif. Supporting US policy on Cuba

The Opinion page article "US's Mistaken Tack on Cuba," Dec. 13, suggests that it would be in America's interest to normalize relations with Cuba, lift the trade embargo, and help Cuba reintegrate into the Organization of American States. Nothing could be further from the truth.

America's Cuban policy, the rejection of dictatorship with deeds, is the right one. It has its foundation on moral reasoning. It is an approach that grasps ideas and values as motivators of nations. It engages the imagination and commitment of the American people by supporting the assertion of universal moral norms; all the more important given the empirical evidence of democracy's power as an energizing principle in politics within and among nations.

Today, there is still a great deal of sympathy for present United States policy toward Cuba. It is sympathy based on an understanding of the plight of the Cuban people, and it can be appealed to and activated by the argument that normalizing relations with Cuba would condemn its people to a longer incarceration period. Placing Cuba's population in such peril is not something the American people wish to do. O. L. Peraza, Derry, N.H. Pricing wetlands recovery

The editorial "A Plan for Wetlands Recovery," Jan. 6, is well written, but it is incomplete because it does not discuss the cost of achieving specific goals. One sentence mentions a proposal for a fund to pay for wetlands restoration, so obviously the writer is aware that such an ambitious program would not be free.

However, in order to make a more helpful contribution to the public-policy debate, dollars and cents must be discussed, too.

We are all for wetlands restoration in the abstract, but in concrete terms of "At what price?" the choice becomes more difficult. Mark Hendrickson, New Wilmington, Pa.

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