OPINION

Fighting Islamic fundamentalism

Your [commentary] in the September 3 edition of your newspaper titled «Terror and holy war» was important in a number of critical respects – particularly where you underline the central ambition of Islamic terrorism, which is to attack «the very ideas and values of the Enlightenment.» If you carry this understanding one step further what would you expect awaits the «enlightened» governments in Europe and Canada into which are presently pouring thousands upon thousands of Muslims and Arabs? I am not an American and am not venturing an opinion about the legitimacy of US involvement in Iraq (I have my own very serious beefs). But when I look around us, of all the Western nations, the US is really the only country that is aggressively (militarily) seeking out and confronting Islamic fundamentalism? My feeling is that to the degree that Greece and the other nations succeed in diminishing the viability of the American initiatives, even in Iraq – to that degree are these same nations preparing their own graves. With regard to your reference to Israel and Palestinian terrorists… I think you have it backward about who is replying to what. Israel’s «all out war» against the Palestinians is Israel’s reply to the terrorism that the Palestinians organized and willfully initiated. They call this military initiative their «intifada.» But if you had seen the blood, the pieces of bodies, and the wicked carnage of those two city buses blown up in Beersheba, and moved from there to Gaza where they celebrated and showered candies on everyone, then you would have understood just how true and poignant your short article was. Thank you again for your remarkable item, which, now that the Olympics are behind you, you can risk including in your excellent newspaper. ARNOLD HOLTZMAN, Yehud, Israel. With regard to your [commentary] on Chechnya (September 3), in which you suggest that the Russian occupation of Chechnya is the cause of the unspeakable violence committed by the Chechnyans, I’m afraid you have allowed the Greek experience of occupation by Turkey to bias you. Nothing, NOTHING, can condone or excuse what the Chechnyans have done. If their acts are understandable, then tell me please why the Greeks never resorted to such vile behavior when their country was occupied? No, the actions of the Chechnyans cannot be understood in any way except to say that they are the acts of violent, hate-filled people who are following the tradition of their religion. PAULA NEWMAN, Philadelphia, PA, USA.