Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Hate Must be Denounced

To The New York Times, Nov. 23, 2015

Re "Donald Trump Again Insists He Saw Celebrations in New Jersey on Sept. 11" (First Draft, nytimes.com, Nov. 22):

Every morning now, I see a news item quoting leading candidates for president of this country I live in and love, and I think that I am living a nightmare.

Where are the denunciations by millions of Americans to this frightening incitement to hate? What does this fear of disagreeing with those statements mean?

This must not be allowed to continue and fester.

Someone among the grown-ups has to denounce it before we are swept into a dystopia beyond my imagination.

I am really frightened by the future that we are creating.

Rita Lasar, New York, NY. The writer, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, is a co-founder of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Religious Liberty for All

To The Oregonian, Dec. 8, 2015

Jon Meacham, in his book Thomas Jefferson:The Art of Power, writes, "[I]n 1786, a statute for religious liberty from Jefferson's pen became law. The bill, Jefferson said, was 'meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo and the infidel of every denomination.'" If we start to discriminate against one religion, soon it will be another and then another. Religious division inevitably leads to war.

Peter Wright, Lake Oswego, OR

Xenophobia is not the Answer

To The Seattle Times, Nov. 18, 2015

In 1939, 61 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not accept 10,000 largely Jewish refugee children from Europe. Is that something people would still agree with today?

If not, we need to stop advocating reactionary, fear-based policies. The risk of admitting refugees is not zero, but it is also not so high as to be unmanageable. Gaining admission to the U.S. as an official refugee takes 18 to 24 months. No refugees admitted since 9/11 have committed acts of terrorism.

If the Islamic State really wants to attack targets within the United States, are they really going to queue up waiting for two years to obtain official status? Or is it more likely they would simply send people as "tourists" using the legitimate passports of their many Western recruits? The attackers in Paris were almost all (and perhaps even exclusively all) French and Belgian. Shall we keep all of those nationalities out of our country too?

Xenophobia is part of the problem, not a solution. We should expect more from our leaders than the promotion of fear.

Tara Van Niman, Redmond, WA

Know-Nothings Will Fail Again

To The Desert Sun, Nov. 22, 2015

Thirty-one governors and many in Congress want to pause or halt taking any further Syrian refugees. This after hundreds of Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. since 2011 without incident-including in [most] of the states opposed.

Opposition to immigration has a long tradition in our country. From the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 laws have been passed to restrict immigration of Irish, Germans, Jews, Asians and Catholics, among others. The idea of excluding terrorists-then called anarchists-was first considered by Congress in 1889. Theodore Roosevelt urged the exclusion and deportation of anarchist immigrants in his first address to Congress in 1901. Despite all this, our nation has thrived by the efforts of immigrants from around the world.

Today, we are in far more danger from our guns (35,327 killed or injured year to date), our cars (32,719 dead in 2013) and our drugs (44,000 dead in 2013) than from Syrian families fleeing devastation and horror. Death from guns, cars and drugs is certain. How many Americans have been killed by refugees?

The know-nothing tradition has never been allowed to succeed in America and it should be recognized and thwarted at every turn. Folks come to America seeking refuge-all immigrants are refugees. …

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