Revisiting Islamic principles in wake of beheadings

Regarding your June 24 article "Brutal terror tactics: How nations respond": As a man who was born into a Muslim family in Iran, I want to let the rest of the world know how sad I am for the beheading of the innocent hostages in Iraq. I agree with the experts that according to Islamic law, killing innocent people is not justifiable at all. In fact, according to the Koran, the blood of innocent men is of such high value that killing an innocent man is a sin considered equal to killing all men in the world.

I do not understand why the clergy and leaders of Islamic countries, such as the supreme leader of my native country - who calls himself the guardian of pure Islam - do not publicly condemn such brutal murders. Their silence about such an inhuman cruelty might be seen as an encouraging gesture and therefore, while murderers are beheading innocent people, they are beheading the very soul of Islam by their unjustifiable silence.

I believe that it is the moral task of everyone, especially religious leaders, to speak out against such barbaric murders.
Morteza Mirbaghian

Beheading is clearly an act calculated to sow fear, not to please God. Personal, tortuous brutality to anyone can only be justified at the very lowest levels of human thought. This truth reveals the flaw in Al Qaeda's rhetoric.

Al Qaeda is fundamentally about power, not moral spirituality. Its members want to use fear and force to impose their vision of Islam on the entire globe. Using fear as a tool has historically been a reliable path to power. Now fundamentalist Islamic groups of all stripes have seized the tactic. True Islam, as practiced by the majority of Muslims, is ultimately - like Christianity - about personal peace and moral spirituality, not the pursuit of power over others.

Fundamentalists must be defeated logically with the defects in their ideology. Any real progress in this war on terror will require it.
Whitney Selert
Reno, Nev.

All Americans were appalled by the executions of our countrymen Nicholas Berg and Paul Johnson, but I think the latest unfortunate victim, Kim Sun Il of South Korea, will galvanize the rest of the free world to take on these brutal barbarians now more than ever.

We really didn't require any further proof to take out a bad guy like Saddam Hussein; what we needed for it to be justified was more international cooperation. The United Nations must do better in the future, but the US must improve its diplomacy. Iraq is a big place, but the world is even bigger, and there are terrorists lurking elsewhere. The US certainly cannot do it alone.

Education is the answer, needed the world over, in order for people to see through the propaganda on both sides of an issue. Only through rational thought and mutual trust can people with differences be brought to the table for peaceful dialogue. Until that time comes, tit-for-tat fighting will never cease. You can trust a civilized country, even a third-world one with high standards of leadership, but there is no way to trust a terrorist, an enemy loyal to nothing, with no real home base and no chance to gain a solid foothold in a place where freedom reigns.

The lessons of history seem to be repeated far too often. You would think that in the 21st century, people could ascend to a higher consciousness of thought and solve such age-old problems. I'm not foolish enough to think we will ever obtain total peace, but a majority peace is possible through time, understanding, love, and vigilance.
Steve Nick
Vinton, La.

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