Saudi youth divided over country's future
Regarding "In strict kingdom, Saudi youth shifts gears of change" (June 13): As a Saudi studying in the US, I must first commend you on your sensitive depiction of Saudi youth and of the transition they are experiencing.
The article quoted numerous locals, mostly favoring liberalization. It did not, on the other hand, report on the equally large portion of youth who view the status quo as insufficiently observant of Islamic teachings and favor a change to an even more conservative and religious system. This explains the difficulty facing the government in trying to balance the views and requirements of these opposing constituents, which I feel they have done relatively well to the benefit of the region's stability. This is also why progress has been relatively slow.
Furthermore, even those in Saudi Arabia who are considered liberals do not call for social liberalization in its Western form. For although many Saudis, myself included, would like to see the lifting of some restrictions imposed on our society, almost no one wants to see Saudi Arabia mimic Western countries in their view of liberalism.
This is not to say that Saudi society does not want to evolve. It just means that our values and morals, which subjugate personal liberties to the greater good, remain vastly different from Western countries, in which personal liberties reign supreme.
Mohammed A. El-Kuwaiz
Regarding "Military Trial for US Citizen" (June 11): The arrest of Jose Padilla should put to rest any further arguments for racial profiling in order to promote domestic security. Padilla was Puerto Rican and born a Catholic. He came from Brooklyn, moved to Chicago, and converted to Islam in a prison in Florida. He would not fit any of the racial profiles.
His alleged ties to Al Qaeda, if true, would indicate what I imagine would be a common-sense tactic by terrorist groups: don't use anyone of Arab ancestry. This further undermines the value of profiling. Searching for terrorists by race is inaccurate, makes us no safer, and it undermines the basic freedoms that we are supposedly fighting for.
It never ceases to amaze me how prompt and vociferous are those from Middle Eastern countries in fighting alleged violations of their freedoms.
How refreshing it would be if they would show just a little understanding for what the rest of the country suffered and not be only sensitive to their own needs!
Lina del Tinto
Regarding "Mail-order houses" (June 12): As a child, I myself lived in a "patch" coal mining company houses in a town called "Republic" after the owners, Republic Steel.
Those houses were there long before I was born in 1926. My dad worked on ours to make it more comfortable, but we couldn't afford an indoor toilet, and instead had to settle for the outhouse equipped with last year's Sears Roebuck catalog!
You write: "Maybe it's time for the nation's lawmakers to find new ways to support the many local and state programs as they work to expand home-ownership for low-income Americans" (June 14, Editorial).
They needn't take such a bureaucracy-pleasing action. All Congress needs do is to raise the national minimum wage to at least $10 an hour and to peg it to the Consumer Price Index.
Roger G. Pariseau Jr.
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