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Wednesday, February 8, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM


Letters to the editor

Smoldering anger

Accurate skewering of pillars of belief by Western lights

Editor, The Times:

I fail to understand or sympathize with the hysterical Muslim response to Danish newspaper cartoons that displayed Muhammad in an unfavorable light. ["Cartoons turn ugly," Times editorial, Feb. 7].

One cartoon, for instance, shows Muhammad rejecting a line of suicide bombers because heaven has run out of virgins. Another shows Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban. A third shows Muhammad militantly oppressing women in a society where women are, indeed, dreadfully mistreated.

According to the theology of Islam, Muhammad's image shall not be portrayed. Yet the cartoons deal with murders by Muslim suicide bombers, and nuclear threats by the nutty president of Iran.

If Muhammad is the leader of these crazed religious extremists, why should he not be satirized by Western newspapers reacting to the murderous activities by Muslims bent on terrorizing hundreds of millions of "infidels"?

In the Muslim press, illustrations regularly appear that portray Jews drinking blood from babies they contend Jews have murdered, and Uncle Sam wantonly killing Muslim women and children. There is nothing in Western newspapers equally vulgar and disgusting.

The Muslim world had no trouble subscribing to the fatwa that gave any Muslim the right to kill author Salman Rushdie for a veiled criticism of Islam. Until similar fatwas are issued against Muslim murderers, I will have a hard time worrying about Muslim outrage over Danish cartoons.

— Tom Coad, Seattle

Where there's fire but no one spoke

It is appalling and hypocritical, but unfortunately, not surprising, that Muslims in European and Arab countries violently protest the publication of political cartoons they perceive as offensive to Islam in the free presses of European countries. Kidnappings of Europeans are threatened in light of these publications!

How pathetic they prefer to protest the tenets of democratic institutions rather than protest (peacefully) the horror encouraged and wrought by their own people and governments.

One example: In the Sudan, mass murder occurs daily. Arab militias (Janjawid) burn villages as they rape, murder, kidnap and enslave native Africans.

These actions are beyond "offensive." Where is the Muslim protest?

— Janice Borawick, Seattle

An alarm should sound

The whole world is watching the behavior of the Muslim world as it reacts in typical fashion to the latest perceived "insult," the publication of admittedly bad caricatures of their "prophet." ["Prophet drawings spur more protest," and "Danes examine their own attitudes," News, Feb. 7.] These same people see absolutely nothing wrong with publishing highly offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Christian material on a daily basis in all Muslim dictatorships.

All reasonable, thinking people need to educate themselves about this dangerous "religion of peace," which seems to want to kill everybody who doesn't believe that their "prophet" was an authentic "man of God."

The president continues to refer to Islam as "a noble religion." That is a political necessity of his job, but it is a foolish notion the rest of the civilized world can ill afford to agree with.

— Peter Hawley, Covington

Courage under fear

Forgive me if I missed it, but while the European press is being trashed and tarnished by the Muslim world that despises press freedom, our local papers seem to be absent from solidarity. I am writing about the now-famous Danish cartoons that dared fail to treat the Muslim faith as if it were, pardon me, universally sacred. They dared to show, among other things, a cartoon of Muhammad with a burning bomb in his turban.

Several European newspapers had the courage to reprint these cartoons in solidarity with press freedom. Granted, the French immediately fired the editor who made that decision, but at least they acted before they chose to tuck tail and run.

That seems to be better than our local press is doing. You report how thugs are punishing our allies who dared to exercise freedom of the press in their own newspapers, but you fail to stand by them by showing these images. It is ironic that the original purpose of publishing these cartoons was to express displeasure by the Danish media over self-censorship with Muslim issues.

Publish the cartoons.

— Tom Kerr, Milton

Women's consciousness

A lapse in the face

How ironic to read "Feminist author, icon Betty Friedan dies at 85" [page one, Feb. 5], about Betty Friedan, whose ideas changed our world, and find the fourth paragraph focused on her looks: "... her short stature, round figure, protuberant nose and deeply hooded eyes" were not important when so described in 1970 and have become less important in the subsequent 36 years.

Or maybe not. Perhaps the problem described by Friedan as the "feminine mystique" continues in "burying millions of American women alive."

— Maureen O'Brien O'Reilly, Seattle

Advice free

Hike within limits

I'm curious to see how many state-park shunners drive $30,000 SUVs, drink $4 lattes, watch $9 movies and spend God knows what to see the Seahawks play.

C'mon people — our state parks are a bargain ["Mandatory charge no walk in the park for recreation lovers," Local News, Feb. 1]. I buy a $50 pass each year that gives me unlimited use for Bogachiel to Curlew, Birch Bay to Beacon Rock.

I welcome the fees, since our legislators don't seem to value our parks as much as I do. I also find that by charging a minimal fee, it keeps people who may not be so appreciative of our parks out. So while the numbers are down, so are the partyers, vandals and problem visitors.

No one should be kept out of our state parks because they live on minimal means — and the law allows free passes for these fellow citizens. But for the rest of you — come support our parks and come get your money's worth to some of the best scenery on the planet.

— Craig Romano, Seattle


No. 43 in the lineup

Come on — let's quit whining about the refs and mistakes ["With a raspberry for the refs, fans welcome Hawks home," page one, Feb. 7].

We all know the reason the Hawks lost — W. It was a concocted scheme to help his rich friends in Pittsburgh.

— Bob Cromwell, Sammamish

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company