It's poor vs. rich, not Islam vs. the West

Regarding John Hughes's column "The world's new divide," (Jan. 30): I, too, see a divided world, but not in the terms Mr. Hughes speaks of. I don't see a world divided between "the West and its allies on the one hand and much of the Islamic world on the other." The division I see is between the affluent and the poverty-stricken nations, the haves and have-nots. Between those who enjoy their individual freedoms and those whose basic human rights are continuously violated.

More often than not, many repressive governments happen to be friends of the United States. Much of the Islamic world lives under regimes that need Western, particularly American, assistance for internal security. The West needs access to cheap energy resources and it is much cheaper and more efficient to work with dictators than with accountable democratic regimes. This is why "much of the Islamic world" resents Western interests in the Muslim world.

The Muslim forces are radicalizing primarily because their right to achieve "modernity, democracy, advancement of women, and economic progress" are being denied by Western-friendly regimes and the Western-sponsored lack of democracy in their lands. Mr. Hughes's opinion might be useful for short-term usage, but it would definitely be costly for long-term American interests.

Hasan Kosebalaban Salt Lake City

Peace among world religions

An act of terrorism has created the first war in our new century. Suddenly, we have realized that even a modern, technologically sophisticated world is still vulnerable to ancient and ageless tendencies of hatred and vindictiveness. And no nation within that world is invulnerable.

In the midst of our political trauma, we are at last beginning to understand a simple religious fact: Radical religious views are as guilty of creating hate and prejudice as are radical political views. For the sake of peace, our world's religions, like nations and cultures, must learn to be respectful and cooperative with one another. Instead of condemning each other's faith, leaders and constituents of world religions must grow beyond narrow, judgmental attacks on each other's thoughts and practices. Internationally, we must embrace religious diversity.

Even as we lead the cause of worldwide freedom, let us as a nation, and all the religions we embrace, show the world at large how big the world of faith really is.

Rev. Don Reeves
Scottsboro, Ala.

Neighborhood courtroom

Regarding "Dog barking late? I'll see you in livability court" (Jan. 30): I wish we had something like a livability court in our town! Neighbors aren't comfortable even approaching neighbors about problems. An impartial judge who would make sure problems are addressed would be a great addition to the community.

Elizabeth Guimarin
San José, Calif.

Tour de France, it isn't

Regarding the comment on the Super Bowl in "Two teams, two tales, and the meaning of it all" (Jan. 29) which states, "This isn't the Tour de France. This isn't bicycling in lycra through the countryside. This is football. American football."

The Super Bowl isn't the Tour de France. It isn't 20 consecutive days of six-hour, high- speed, gut-wrenching, aerobic torture, descending mountain passes at 60 m.p.h. where a mistake can mean more than just penalty and yardage. It isn't putting the athlete's body on the line with only lycra and a feather-light helmet for protection. This is professional cycling. This is the Tour de France!

Doug Beyerlein Mill Creek, Wash.

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