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Letters to the Editor 10/11

Hamas’ objectives not clear in Oracle article

In Friday’s Oracle, the article, “Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly criticizes U. South Florida” by Ryan Meehan about a recent edition of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, Meehan misquotes me as saying “Hamas was a humanitarian organization.”

In fact, as the Lexis-Nexis transcript of the program shows, I said that, “In 1995, there was – it was not against the law to raise money for humanitarian operations run by Hamas. And much of what Hamas does is humanitarian operations. I don’t believe in religious politics, but it was not against the law.”

Hamas is not a humanitarian organization, and I never said it was. It is an organization with political, military and social service wings.

Pointing out that much of what Hamas does is humanitarian (an undeniable fact, given the extensive network of schools, hospitals and orphanages in Gaza associated with Hamas) is obviously very different to calling it a “humanitarian organization.”

And there is no doubt that in 1995, raising money for such schools, hospitals and orphanages was in no way a violation of the law.

Let’s try to listen a little more carefully next time.

  • <b<Hussein Ibish is communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

    Al-Arian “witch hunt” serves only to divide

    In regards to Ms. McIntyre’s comments on Tuesday (as well as Ms. Thompson’s on Monday) about Professor Al-Arian, I believe that she is farther from the truth than anyone could be, and her remarks will do more damage than good. I may be a “bleeding-heart liberal” with my “head up my butt,” but I am still entitled to the freedoms of this country.

    Ms. McIntyre stated that “O’Reilly is only doing what USF should have done years ago.” And what is that, a Salem witch hunt?

    Al-Arian is guilty of nothing more than association with people whose actions are not his responsibility. I’m sure we all have had friends who have been involved in shady dealings (what’s in your closet, Shelby?), and should we be held responsible for what they do in their spare time? So why is it different with Al-Arian, a man who didn’t plot or bomb or even hurt a fly?

    Ms. McIntyre’s views are too hardline, too 1984, to be taken seriously. This is not a police state and we are all still free to meet and talk with whomever we choose. Will I be subject to daily dousings with holy water because I am Wiccan? Should homosexuals be forced on with right-wing agendas because they don’t subscribe to the same views as “the norm?” And should anyone who has ever gone to dinner with a person of Arabic descent be chastised for doing so? Is this not “the land of the free” still?

    If Ms. McIntyre had her way, as well as a growing number of people after Sept. 11, it seems our freedoms would become more and more restricted, subject to spot checks and brute squads, and this talk scares me. Look how well that has worked in Northern Ireland.

    This is not the time to be inflammatory or ignorant. America is still in a time of healing from our deep wounds and this type of salt in them will only make the healing take longer. Unity not disharmony, forgiveness not condemnation, peace not staunch militarism, love not hate – that is our responsibility as the USF community.

  • Sunday A. Cooper, women’s studies.

    Muslims encourage tolerance, peace not hatred

    This is in response to the letter by Mr. Silverman on Oct. 4. I would like to start off by reminding everyone that you (Mr. Silverman) are the same person who wrote a letter last year and told the Tampa Muslims to “leave the planet” because we expressed something we regarded as important, which I pointed out to be freedom of speech. That really does not fit in with your statement to “replace hate with tolerance.”

    Do you have tolerance of Muslims, Mr. Silverman? Your whole letter attacked us and preached hate in itself. And where did these accusations pop up from?

    I go to the mosque frequently to pray and attend classes on the Holy Qur’an, and never have I once heard suicide being preached, in fact it says in the Qur’an, “And do not kill yourselves”(4:29).

    You mentioned that there were reports of people celebrating the deaths of Americans, and I know you are right. There are sick people of all countries and faiths that would celebrate such a horrific tragedy, just as there are sick people of all countries and faiths that would kill people in cold blood. As for your remark on how Arafat did not pronounce a day of mourning, well, I know for a fact that they have been mourning for the Americans in the recent tragedy and for their own brothers and sisters being killed by the Israeli military. They can relate to how it feels losing their loved ones by acts of terror and having someone invade their homes.It bothers me to see you calling Israel “friendly” when it has a history of violence that continues now. Every country has bouts with violence and surely Israel is not an exception.

    Why do you also point out that non-Israelis burn the Israeli flag when non-Palestinians also burn the Palestinian flag? There is always a case to show for the other side, so stop trying to earn sympathy.

    I do agree that any person suspected in any act of terrorism should not be ignored or overlooked, including any Jewish and Christian professors and students, especially those who express extreme views of hatred toward others that are not of their “group.”

    Lastly, I would like to clarify myself in this letter. I am not here to discriminate against any religion or country. I just want people to realize that while there are terrorists who attack us, they come from all places and do not represent any religion or country as a whole. I have friends of all faiths, and we get along great and we represent something that can work in the rest of the world if only people will calm down and get to know one another regardless of who they are.

    I invite everyone to come up to USF Muslim students and not be afraid to ask questions, come to our meetings and introduce yourself to us, visit our mosques and learn something new.

    After all, how else will we continue the process of peace than to become friends? I end with a verse from the Qur’an that states, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other)” (49:13).

  • Jennifer Valko is a sophomore majoring in religious and international studies.

    Retaliation on terrorism right on target, appropriate

    Henry Vanden’s discussion of factors influencing our response to the terrorist actions of Sept. 11 would have been more meaningful if he had applied his criteria to our actual response.

    Retaliatory attacks on Afghanistan on Sunday were moderate and measured. Planners took pains to match very precise weapons systems to appropriate targets, critical elements of the Taliban’s command and control, air defense and governmental organizations. The attacks were designed to minimize civilian casualties and accompanied by simultaneous humanitarian airdrops to provide food and medicine to Afghan refugees. This does not mean that innocent life will not be lost. It does mean that such losses will result from the actions of terrorists and their supporters who locate among civilians and have no compunctions against creating unwilling martyrs to their cause.

    Susan MacManus’ comments are, as usual, on target. The Bush administration has achieved extraordinary success in forming an international coalition that will enable us to respond effectively to the terrorist threat. It is a stunning achievement.

    Ed Benton is incorrect when he implies that our attacks will incite further acts of terrorism. Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda and the Taliban will continue terrorist attacks whether or not we respond. Their objectives are to drive us from the Middle East, destroy the state of Israel and establish fundamentalist Islamic states throughout the region. Our support for the creation of Israel and our continuing commitment to its security and continued existence are the crimes for which we cannot be forgiven. Bin Laden said as much in the statement broadcast yesterday.

    What we should keep firmly in mind is that bin Laden and al-Qaeda have demonstrated that there is literally no terrorist act from which they will not shrink. What they view as conceivable and feasible will be attempted. The traditional call for us to go back, wear a hair shirt and attempt to “understand” why these people hate us is, essentially, irrelevant.

    The administration’s approach is realistic. Terrorism on bin Laden’s scale requires that nations give them sanctuary and support. Some have done so because they support the terrorist’s objectives. Others view their support as a bribe, a tacit agreement that they will be spared. President Bush has said that, henceforth, nations that enable terrorists will pay a price.

  • Mike Pheneger works in the Education Outreach department at USF.

    Article on film festival only promotes stereotypes

    I am an avid reader of The Oracle, and I must say that William Albritton’s Oct. 4 article on the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was the worst thing I have ever seen printed on the pages of this newspaper.

    I was delighted, at first, to see the words “gay and lesbian” on the very front page, but then I realized that the article was a tool of marginalization toward a community that is already viewed negatively as a subversive subculture. On the surface, Albritton appeared to be espousing open-minded, or at least fair-minded, ideals, but a deeper look showed not only an article that was poorly written, but one that was poorly researched and downright offensive.

    He thinks he knows about the lesbian “lifestyle?” Here’s my controversial lifestyle for you: I got up this morning and took my dog to the vet to have his teeth cleaned, took my kid to school, came to campus and studied some German before going to class.

    That is a lifestyle. The style in which I live my life involves bills, pets, a kid, work, school, even church, just like any other normal person.

    I also share my life with the woman I love. However, the fact that I love her does not constitute a lifestyle. That is an offensive and inflammatory word that implies all that is important to us is our sex lives.

    Of the multitude of films at the festival (most of which deal with men’s issues), Albritton chose to focus on lesbianism. Only one film deals with the topic of porn, the focus of which was the “lesbian lifestyle,” according to Albritton. Thanks so much for reaffirming the stereotype of lesbians as sex-crazed.

    He could have talked about so many other films, educational films meant to uplift the community, and yet he chose to placate the heterosexist student body by highlighting the one film whose central focus is sex.

    Shall I even comment on the “golly-those-people-sure-are-OK” type comments he chose to put in the article? Next time, if it isn’t too much trouble, you might want to interview a real, live homosexual, that is if you can break one of us away from our “lifestyles” for an interview.

    Please do not hold Albritton’s article up as proof of his enlightenment and how up-to-date he is with the issues. Please just look it over and know that he is an idiot.

  • Jana Bagley is a senior majoring in religious studies.