In "How many US Muslims? Our best estimate" (Nov. 29, opinion), Howard Fienberg and Iain Murray marginalized a majority of American Muslims that many institutions acknowledge exist and contribute to American society.
We should look at studies such as The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. According to Bishop Samuel Scheibler's opinion in the Los Angeles Times, this "exhaustive, accurate and impeccably scholarly research from an unbiased source counts the Muslim community at between 6 million and 7 million in the United States [or the year 2000]." It should also be noted that the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches 1999 lists the Muslim community in the US at not less than 5,782,000. When we decide who exists and who does not, let us refrain from bringing propaganda and agendas into it. We should take the bishop's words to heart and "deplore attempts to reduce, diminish or marginilize Islam in America."
Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar St. Louis
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Regarding "Bombings test Arafat's control" (Dec. 3): I commend President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for denouncing Yasser Arafat and taking actions to emphasize that terrorism is unacceptable. Over the weekend, as many Indians in Kashmir were killed as Israelis due to terrorism.
Indian leaders need to take heed from the Western leaders and take action against Pakistani terrorist groups. Some non-Western countries have faced the evil of terrorism far more than the US, but there is no public empathy in the US for their plight. It is time for countries like India to go on the offensive against terrorism and for our leaders to press "allies" like Pakistan to stop the use of terrorism for political goals.
Amit Goyal Menlo Park, Calif.
Unfortunately, acts of violence and terrorism committed in the name of Islam, enacted by the Taliban, have distorted the faith's universal message of peace, tolerance, and unity. Now that the Taliban regime has virtually collapsed, and the people of Afghanistan have an opportunity to rebuild their country from "ground zero," can the various ethnic Muslim communities and factions that comprise Afghanistan demonstrate to the world the nobility of Islam? Let conferences, such as those mentioned in your Nov. 26 editorial "Push soon for Pashtuns," be occasions for Muslims of Afghanistan to demonstrate that through Islam and its ethics bitterness and anger can be vanquished, showing the world how Islam can be used to construct a better future.
Abdulmalik Jehangir Hull, Quebec
In recent articles, we have been discussing how to use fingerprinting, facial recognition, and iris scans on fellow Americans at airports, office buildings, and malls. Yet, we don't know what to do with the thousands of defecting Taliban soldiers, many of who have received Al Qaeda training in bioterrorism. Why not use this technology on our enemies? In addition to deploying more troops and M16s to Afghanistan, we should be sending security experts and film to make a biometric record of every Taliban and other person with any association with anti-American groups. The goal: to create a database to be shared with any other party needing to identify potential terrorists. Future aid to any country should be conditioned on our right to expand this database as necessary. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but a photograph, fingerprint, or iris scan may be more useful in this war than an M16.
Kenneth H. Thomas Miami
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