September 18: The pope and Islam

Initial reactions in the Muslim world show that no one is allowed to criticize any aspect of Islam.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The pope and Islam Sir, - Re "European religious and lay leaders stand by pope" (September 17), Father Samir states that "initial reactions in the Muslim world show that the pope was misunderstood." Wrong. Initial reactions in the Muslim world show that no one is allowed to criticize any aspect of Islam. This, of course, includes anything we in the West might view as vestiges of primitivism, repression and irredentism. The real essence of the protests, riots and dramatic worldwide indignation is quite simple: Any criticism of Islam goes against the word and will of Allah, and anything that goes against the word and will of Allah must be punished severely by anyone who is a faithful, believing Muslim. There is no room for discussion, divergence, dissent, free-thinking, criticism, liberalism, pluralism, tolerance, gender equality, democracy or freedom of any kind because these Western concepts clash with the very heart of Islam. Let us not fool ourselves, what Islamists really want of us is our destruction. LOWELL BLACKMAN Ramat Ilan Sir, - I wish to commend Pope Benedict XVI for having the courage to express what modern man rarely has the foresight to acknowledge: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul." Contrary to the claims of Islamic leaders, the pope's comments were nothing more than a decisive and uncompromising renunciation of the present cycle of violence in the name of religion and an invitation to dialogue between religions. Terrorism is and always will be a show of inhuman ferocity that will never be able to solve conflicts among human beings. Only reason and love are the valid means of surpassing and resolving disputes between people. No situation of injustice, no feeling of frustration, no philosophy or religion can justify such an aberration. PAUL KOKOSKI Hamilton, Ontario Sir, - It seems the pope (the pot) is calling the kettle (Islam) black. Historically Christianity was just as much a user of the sword as Islam was then and is today. The difference is that Islam has not moved beyond the violence of 1,000 years ago. By attacking churches, followers of Islam simply reaffirm exactly what the pope is quoted as saying they do. Perhaps a change of tactics is in order if they wish to enlighten the world. ALIZA WEINBERG Rehovot Sir, - How do you protest to show that Islam is a peaceful religion? Riot and burn churches of course. MOTTLE GOODBAUM Jerusalem The real news Sir, - I used to think that European politicians, in their acceptance of Muslim "immigration without integration" and their steady 30-year tilt against the US and Israel and toward the Arab world view, had been naive and short-sighted. Then I read Bat Ye'or's book Eurabia, in which the Egyptian-born historian accuses those politicians of knowing exactly what they were doing - and where it would take their continent - and doing it anyway. Of course, it was a strategy that could not be spelled out to their electorates who, as politicians are fond of saying, wouldn't understand. EU envoy Marc Otte stated that Europe would not pressure Israel into allowing UN forces in Gaza or the West Bank, because "the EU is not interested in doing anything that might bring a right-wing government to power" ("EU envoy to 'Post': No pressure for new initiative," September 17). Europe seems to have thrown its previous caution to the wind. A right-wing government would stop suicidal concessions to the Arabs and strengthen the country, something that is against European objectives. The news is that Europe no longer has any qualms about saying so. TUVIA FOGEL Milan Seeking redress Sir, - "Irate China lodges protest over MKs' visit to Taiwan" (September 15) pointed out one of the most unjustified and unfair phenomena in international politics of today: The Republic of China (now popularly known as Taiwan), a vibrant democracy and now the world's 17th largest economy and 15th largest trading country, was one of the five founding members of the United Nations. After the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, the ROC government relocated to Taiwan and since then the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been governed separately, with neither side having any jurisdiction over the other. But in 1971, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, giving the ROC seat to the PRC. Since then, the people of Taiwan, now totaling about 23 million, have been left without representation in the UN. Despite the UN Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000, to recognize "a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level," the basic rights and human dignity of the people of Taiwan are not being recognized or respected. It is high time for the UN to take urgent actions and redress this unjust situation. The Republic of China wishes to fulfill its obligations as a responsible member of the world community and cooperate with other nations to provide humanitarian assistance and support global developments. In this era of globalization, the people of Taiwan want to be a part of the UN's effort to create a common future for humanity. EDDIE D.K. YANG Director, Information Division Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Tel Aviv Single-issue parties Sir, - Can a single-issue government like Kadima ever be considered "sturdy as an oak" as Gil Hoffman suggested in "The fall of discontent" (September 15)? Kadima was formed from a highly unlikely conglomerate of bedfellows, sometimes trading their ideological backgrounds to rally around one issue - convergence. Perhaps Hoffman's current description "a tree without roots, barely clinging to the ground" was really the more accurate description of Kadima from the beginning. It seems the frustrations of voters that led them to vote against another party or candidate, or voters' true belief in the benefits of convergence distracted them from considering what is required of a stable government. Single-issue parties/governments may appeal to our hunger for quick solutions, but it is questionable whether they can fill our need for stability. CAROLYN TAL Haifa Madam President... Sirs, - One of the attributes of a good judge is wisdom. It is interesting to note that in Greek mythology a women was chosen as the goddess to represent wisdom, Athena. In modern Israel, for the first time in its history a women was chosen president of the Supreme Court ("Dorit Beinisch sworn in as Supreme Court president," September 15). We now have a person with a good record, who is interested in defining democracy in Israel and is concerned about the civil rights of all, including children. I believe we all can join in wishing Dorit Beinisch good health and success as she begins her new career. P. YONAH Shoham ...and her predecessor Sir, - Larry Derfner fell over himself in praise of Aharon Barak ("The Jewish tradition of Aharon Barak," September 14). From what he wrote, I can only assume that he is unfamiliar either with Jewish tradition or with Aharon Barak's liberal tradition. Has Derfner already forgotten Barak's rejection of the highly qualified Prof. Ruth Gavison's candidacy for a seat on his court? Her "agenda," he said, did not fit the agenda of his "enlightened community." That does not strike many as a liberal reason, though it may be a "liberal's" reason. AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem Sad reading Sir, - Your story about Jonathan Pollard and Rafi Eitan made very sad reading ("Eitan tells 'Post' he regrets running Pollard," September 15). Why did you not inform us of these facts before the elections? Being 80 years old, I voted for Rafi Eitan, which I deeply regret now. How can a public figure behave like that and keep the secret for 21 years - disgusting to say the least. If there were a way to throw him out, many of us would do so right now, as he deserve to be punished for his horrible deeds. HANNAH BRAMSON Haifa Hasbara needed Sir, - Having just read David Horovitz's interview with Miri Eisin ("Miri Eisin takes on the world," September 15), it is obvious that our "powers that be" still follow the dictum of our great sage Shimon Peres: "If your case is good, you don't need hasbara, and if your case is bad, hasbara won't help." If only our Arab neighbors would follow it too. LEO MARKS Moshav Avihail Fools rush in Sir, - So Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has a "new diplomatic initiative" up his sleeve ("PM hints at new diplomatic initiative," September 14). On the justifiable assumption that the results of this one will be as disastrous for Israel as the previous ones (Oslo, for instance), wouldn't it be a good idea for us to sit back and wait for the Palestinians to come up with their own "diplomatic initiative" instead of us crawling to them all the time, begging them to make peace with us? When they decide that they're ready to live side-by-side with us in peace, we can decide whether their concessions are sufficient for us to agree to them. Unfortunately, Israeli ministers seem to have a history of rushing in where wise men fear to tread. I wonder why. CECILIA HENRY Kfar Bialik Times have changed Sir, - I was quite amused by the "From our Archives" section on September 14. At the lower right corner of the excerpt, an advertisement appeared: "What cigarette do you smoke, Doctor?" Accompanied by a photo of a white-coated doctor, this ad for Camel cigarettes continued in tiny print: "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." My immediate thought was perhaps they still do, but at least they can no longer advertise it in print. How times have changed. SHERYL PRENZLAU Jerusalem