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Letters to the Editor

Speaker sets therecord straight
Re: “Speakers should be careful with words” Nov. 3, 2003

Brandi Becker is way off with her baseless and unfounded criticism, by flat out lying, misquoting and misinterpreting statements I made at a recent Patriot Act discussion panel at USF. Either Ms. Becker was not paying attention to my speech, was using selective hearing or came to the event with pre-conceived ideas.

In her opinion letter Ms. Becker accuses me of hypocrisy by “lumping all Christians into the same category as Ashcroft,” a statement I never made and is not something I believe. She continued twisting my words regarding those who promote hatred in the name of religion and claimed, “According to Bedier, Christians nationwide are embarking on what he refers to as a “Holy War,” in the hopes that their savior Jesus Christ will once again return. He then proclaimed that Christianity as a whole is becoming a religion of hate.” A statement I never made and do not believe in.

To set the record straight, in regard to statements I made about the rise of anti-Muslim incidents, I mentioned that part of the reason is due to a few public officials that have used their position to spread hatred. People like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Jerry Vines, all who claim to be men of God, have made repeated anti-Muslim hate messages that have only promoted hatred and division in our society.

In fact, they and others like them misrepresent the true Christian faith. I also added Ashcroft to that list, who in the past has also repeated such messages.

I never lumped the actions of the persons mentioned above to the Christian faith. In fact I pointed out that they do not represent Christianity. I never judged all Christians; on the contrary, I drew a parallel between those radicals who misrepresent Islam and the radicals who misrepresent Christianity and both are united in practicing and preaching a religion of hate.

Ms. Becker’s true colors shined when she defended racial/ethnic profiling and said “But it is virtually impossible to ask that profiling be stopped.” It is easy to make such bigoted statements when you are not the subject of profiling.

As people of this nation we have the obligation to uphold the Constitution and expose those who spread hatred, even if they claim to be from amongst our own religion.

Ahmed Bedier is the Communications Director of the Florida office of the Council on American- Islamic Relations.

USF needs to be wary of Big East officials
Re: “USF joins Big East” Nov. 5, 2003

Congratulations to USF for stepping up to a major conference. Competition will definitely increase, as will recognition and opportunities for bowl games. Who knows, maybe a national title is somewhere down the road for USF as well.

However, USF should be careful about dealing with Big East officials. I seem to remember not too long ago when the Atlantic Coast Conference was recruiting teams from the Big East to come join their conference and the Big East erupted with lawsuits and all kinds of noise, saying the ACC was invading its conference.

Now look what the Big East has done to C-USA. Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese said, “The ACC had a choice. We had no choice.” This may be true, however, “We didn’t force people to do this. We probably could have (taken more schools).”

The ACC is not guilty of stealing teams from the Big East; Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College all came on their own accord. Tranghese is guilty of the same action he accused the ACC of, and it seems like a little two-faced action from the Big East. USF should be advised of this tendency of their new conference when planning future dealings.

Ben Forlaw is a senior majoring in history.

Government needs to regulate drugs
Re: “Lecturer says many don’t recognize the truth about ‘X'” Nov. 4, 2003

I am disappointed that USF hosted the ex-head of the Drug Enforcement Administration Bob Stutman for a lecture series. I don’t believe our community gained much from listening to a man who oversaw the most spectacularly unsuccessful government agency in U.S. history.

Since the DEA’s inception, drug use in America has soared. There have been several heroin epidemics, and crack cocaine was invented. Drug related homicides have increased exponentially, teenage marijuana use has continually risen, ecstasy has moved into mainstream use;,coca growth in the Andes has doubled every decade, opium growth has had similar success in central Asia and drug money has helped fund terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.

Due to its lack of success, the DEA has consistently used shadier methods. No-knock search warrants, unrestrained wire-tapping, collusion with repressive governments (Burma, Laos, Turkey, Mexico) and unlawful searches have all reduced American freedoms.

If only America would learn from other countries and see that the best way to deal with drug use is for the government to regulate it. As Stutman emphasized, American drug users are taking a gamble every time they use a prohibited drug because the government refuses to ensure its purity. Stutman should be ashamed that his agency is responsible for so many avoidable deaths and injuries.

Furthermore, Stutman cited dubious scientific evidence to back up his lecture. New Scientist magazine has stated several times that most research into ecstasy is funded by the U.S. government to only report on negatives. Last month, the journal Science issued an apology for publishing a report on ecstasy. The article used faulty methods citing the very same John Hopkins University research Stutman referred to in his lecture.

I am disappointed that USF would host a lecture by a man whose agency has caused huge damage to America and the world.

Ben Mostyn is a graduate student studying political science.