Religious persecution in India the exception The editorial entitled "India's shame" (Feb. 17) implies incorrectly that the Christian community is being made a scapegoat because it is "politically insignificant" and can be portrayed as "foreign." The editorial also suggests that official condemnation of religious bigotry and affirmation of the freedom of conscience and worship, as well as the pursuit of perpetrators of crimes, has not been sufficient. This is incorrect.

The reality remains that there has been a strong condemnation by the highest levels of the Indian government of the regrettable incidents wherever they have occurred.

The killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two children has been deplored by the government and all sections of Indian society. A sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India has been appointed to inquire into the matter. Arrests have been made not only in this crime, but also in earlier incidents in Gujarat.

Every effort is being made to punish the perpetrators of the crimes so that the Christian community and other religious minorities can continue to practice their faith without fear or fetter in democratic and secular India. The vast majority in India stands for tolerance and respect for all religions and secularism, but is a bit surprised at the exaggerated reports and one-sided coverage in the media.

Navtej Sarna Washington Press counselor Embassy of India

Representations unfair to Arabs Like many people, I read the Monitor for its fairness, balance, and sensitivity in coverage of the Middle East, traits sorely lacking in the rest of the US media. I was disappointed to see in the Monitor two cases of gratuitous Arab-bashing recently.

An opinion piece about slavery in the Sudan ("An overlooked atrocity: slavery in Sudan," March 15) quotes a victim as saying, "The Arabs took my family two years ago." Later the author writes, "Most of these kidnapping victims are tamed through rape, brutality, and Islamization."

Then a photograph of a victim of Sudanese slavery in the March 18 Monitor is captioned "Free at last: Akuac Malong, a 13-year-old girl in Madhoi, Sudan, was released last year after seven years of slavery to an Arab owner."

Would Monitor editors allow such statements if a different ethnic group were involved, something like "the Jews killed my son during the intifada"?

I submit that only Arabs and Muslims are still considered fair game for such defamatory barbs, and that this is part of a deliberate effort by supporters of Israel to alienate Americans from Arabs.

Mark Sharp Doylestown, Pa.

Politics not all "gray" Regarding your feature on colorful politicians ("Once colorful, politics has turned gray," March 23): Have you been to Minnesota lately? Maybe Jesse Ventura was elected because he found the humor that let him break into a Minnesota crowd. He certainly turned out the disenfranchised voters.

Jeffrey Evans St. Cloud, Minn.

Good going, grampa Regarding the opinion piece by Daniel Schorr, "Grampa of gravitas?" (March 19): Congratulations, Mr. Schorr, on being labeled a "grampa of gravitas" and overly dignified. More of your kind of reporter are needed in today's tabloid world.

You probably remember who told us that we citizens get just about what we deserve in elected officials. It is we readers and voters who must also raise our standards in what we read and listen to and watch.

Mary Meyer Pasadena, Calif.

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