Islamic world should condemn Taliban vandals

Regarding your March 5 article "Taliban carries out pledge to demolish non-Islamic sites" and editorial "Taliban's disrespect": The recent actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan, demolishing statues of Buddha held sacred by Buddhists worldwide, and representing priceless works of art for all mankind, is uniquely unfortunate and must be condemned unequivocally by figures of authority in the Islamic world to prevent further harm to the reputation of Islam and its message of peace. If Muslims allow themselves to be represented by the likes of the Taliban, who have shown no sensitivity to the religious sensibilities of other faiths, what kind of treatment can they expect from others? That this should occur during the annual hajj only deepens the terrible affront to Islam that these actions represent.

Randolph Scovil Atlanta

I am voicing my outrage on the recent incident in Afghanistan. The Buddha at Bamyan is only a recent display of the Taliban's vandal behavior. In 1997, they destroyed the horse statues of Herat and sold artifacts to Pakistani officials.

Unfortunately, I never saw these treasures because I was born in West Germany and raised in California by my Afghan parents, both of whom are not only peace-loving Muslims but also upright people.

The truth of the matter is that the Taliban are neither Afghan nor Muslim. Their motivation for destroying Afghanistan is not based on Islam or tradition. It is recognized by Afghans that the Taliban are a byproduct of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Department. Originally, the Taliban were trained in military science while in Pakistani seminary schools. Afghans believe that Pakistan will never allow an independent Afghan government to take power.

Amazingly, instead of using resources to feed and clothe people in Afghanistan, the Taliban are punishing stones.

When will the world take notice and stop the misery in Afghanistan? I know we are not fair-skinned like the Bosnians or rich in oil like the Kuwaitis, but we surely must have something worthy of saving.

Mir Hekmatullah Sadat San Diego, Calif.

Media should give voice to extremists

For reasons other than those given by Daniel Schorr in his Feb. 9 opinion article "An ethical change of heart," I disagree with the journalistic "absolute" of never agreeing to publish the statements of terrorists and criminals.

The escaped prisoner who wanted the public to know that his defense attorney never even talked with him for three months had a right to his desperation. This kind of maddening denial of rights is all too common, especially in death-penalty cases. The Croatian hijackers, Ted Kaczynski, and many other extremists have reasons, valid to themselves, probably not to us, but they should be heard before they are judged, so that they can be better understood.

Guy Ottewell Greenville, S.C.

Scandals: we need to move on

I thoroughly enjoyed Ron Charles's March 2 satire "A scandal of prehistoric proportions" on Bill Clinton's "Pardongate."

Mr. Charles is brilliant, and in such a wonderfully humorous way caught the personalities of those involved, as well the spirit of the continual investigating. Charles's point is well taken: This investigation is ridiculous and we all need to move on. Our country has so many important issues to deal with. Let the Clinton-haters find something more worthwhile to occupy their time!

Linda Draper Oroville, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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