Fear of radical Islam's spread drives fight against mosques | Aug. 9
Muslims are not the enemy
As a descendent of maternal and paternal ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, a mother whose son fought in Panama, and a convert to Islam for 20 years, allow me to set the record straight for Diana Serafin, ACT! for America, the tea party and others who spoke against Islam.
All Muslims are not radicals. Islam is not against the Constitution; we do not want to replace it with Islamic sharia law. And it is the world's second largest religion, not a political government. Muslims are not your enemies and Western civilization does not need to be defended from Islam.
Do not use immigration and birth rates as an excuse to protest as one-third of American Muslims are U.S. born converts. The content of the Koran, not immigration, is the real reason Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States.
Finally, the United States is a secular state, not a Christian country, as stated in the U.S. Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Sherri Sujai, Clearwater
No Mosque near ground zero and Muslim hypocrisy | Aug. 9, letters
In this country we have freedom of religion
There were some unfortunate letters published Monday in your paper which spoke fervently against building a mosque near ground zero, and about prejudice suffered by other religions in Muslim countries.
My question to the writers of these letters, and to all the other "patriotic" citizens who feel this way, is: Exactly what does freedom of religion mean to you? This is one of the most basic rights guaranteed to all of us in the Constitution. It does not say, "Except when you're a Muslim." Do not forget that many Muslims lost their lives on 9/11 as well.
My understanding is that the property is owned by the Muslim group that wants to set up the mosque. It is their private property. Should we take that away too? This is a moderate Muslim group that has lived and worshipped here for many years, peacefully, and wants to build a community center. They are Americans. They are the kind of Muslims we should encourage and welcome.
I will not compare our Bill of Rights to freedoms offered to other religions in Dubai, Yemen, Egypt, or Iran. I am an American. I do not want to emulate their culture. I am grateful every day that I was born here, and that I understand my rights and those of other Americans, no matter what their religion (or lack of one) is.
Lois Fries, Largo
Should people be allowed to build mosques in their community? The fact that that is a question being asked is enough for me to turn my face away in shame. I am embarrassed to live among a group of people, of Americans, who would even consider whether or not mosques should be built by American Muslims.
First of all, Muslims do not equal terrorists. Islam, like any other religion is a breeding ground for radical fundamentalism. After all, the Ku Klux Klan claimed to be a Christian organization. The leaders of al-Qaida, the Taliban and the like are merely hiding behind the legitimacy of Islam to corral impressionable youth who do not have any other form of proper guidance like, oh say, the intellectual and community-driven guidance they would find in a typical mosque.
Second, this is the United States of America. If Muslims want to be represented they should be. The ancestors of English, Irish, and other European/Anglo-Saxons took this land from other people and established a government that would work with influence from all cultures and all creeds.
This is not a Christian nation; it's not a Muslim nation either. As an atheist myself, I do not believe that those religions or any other should be in control of my country. But I do believe in the rights outlined by the Constitution and preserving our democracy. When we start telling people where they must pray and how they must pray, we have lost that democracy. It's not all Muslims or Christians in this country that I am afraid of. It is people who think that their "way" is the only "right" way.
A. M. Ibarra, Tampa
U.S. sends imam to Mideast | Aug. 11, story
So much for the principle of "separation of church and state." This radical imam is "being sent by the State Department on a religious outreach trip to the Middle East" according to the Associated Press.
So where are the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation? Don't they realize that their tax dollars are being spent by the government on "religious outreach." Maybe they are too busy bashing the Christian religion to be concerned about a Muslim being sent on this "religious outreach."
William Kunzman, Clearwater
The torrents of twaddle Aug. 10, Daniel Ruth column
I forced myself to consume Daniel Ruth's torrent of twaddle. His writing, like anchovies and scotch, is an acquired taste. I wonder how freshman English composition professors would grade his style and content.
Ruth serves up a feast of analogies. Only the most gluttonous reader can keep up with his thick ladling of partisan fare in every other sentence. Twaddle's contribution in the marketplace of ideas is one-half infotainment, one-half wit, and the remainder a tiny hors d'oeuvre of political insight. Still hungry?
Political lies, Glenn Beck's blackboard, and Mr. Ruth's "left" overs are all on the menu. However, for a pile of steaming political insight, 20 million idea-famished undergraduates tune in to a cable show for five hours a week to get a reasonable approximation of an associate degree in American history and comparative political philosophy. Fox's fast food take out has not-so-secret ingredients: mass appeal and credibility. Millions sold.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
More is better
There was a wonderful notice in the paper last Sunday: Columnist Daniel Ruth will encourage thought twice a week. Ever since the Tampa Tribune parted company with the great "R", I have waited (patiently) to read his work twice a week.
Thanks for adding Mr. Ruth to your staff in the first place. Ditto for two times a week, which helps "my Ruth fix."
Gary Gefke, Brandon