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Hate propaganda deserves to be condemned

Senders of Islam movie tied to Jewish charity | Sept. 26, story

Hate propaganda deserves to be condemned Kudos to Meg Laughlin of the St. Petersburg Times for her investigative reporting exposing the connection between a Jewish charity in Israel and the massive distribution of the Obsession DVD about radical Islam's war with the West. Pro-Israeli letters to the editor chided the Times for ignoring the message and questioning the messenger.

First of all, the DVD clearly demonized Islam and Muslims and associated them with Nazism and fascism. The purpose of the DVD is to create fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. The timing and geographic distribution (swing states in the election) reveal its political intent to sway the election toward the candidate best spewing this Islamophobic campaign, Republican John McCain.

The message is not educational, it's hate propaganda. Should newspapers be in the business of spreading hate propaganda? That is precisely what happened in Germany in the 1930s. Joseph Goebbels' propaganda campaign in the media demonized the Jews and blamed them for Germany's ills, commencing the psychological phase of the Holocaust. The Germans embraced the message without questioning the messenger. Maybe it's time for newspapers to abandon propaganda for profit and get back to ethics and reporting the truth, an important cornerstone of a free democracy.

Any hate propaganda, no matter whom it comes from, should be condemned. Any attempt by a foreign entity to influence an American election by violating American laws should be prosecuted.

I am disappointed to learn that some Jewish Israelis and Jewish Americans are supporting this campaign to promote fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims, since Jews have also been the unfortunate victims of these tactics in the past.

It is hurtful to me as a Muslim because throughout Islamic history and civilization, Jews were well-treated and protected by Muslims and even flourished side by side with them. Can we all join together, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu and others and say no more to hate? The truth will set us free and we can work together to promote freedom and justice for all.

Pilar Saad, Tampa

Senders of Islam movie tied to Jewish charity | Sept. 26, story

A welcome effort to even things up

Thank you, Meg Laughlin. You researched and wrote an excellent article as a follow-up to the insert we received with our Times a couple of weeks ago. At that time I was infuriated with the paper for "selling out" and accepting this type of "advertisement," since it is clearly intended to "fan the flames of fear." Spreading that kind of fear does a disservice to all.

Laughlin has provided some excellent information as a follow-up to the reissue of Obsession. It would have been for the best if her column had accompanied the DVD, but I like to think that the inclusion of this type of advertising caused such an uproar that the paper decided to make amends.

I feel it was a mistake to accept this "advertising." It wasn't good for anyone, but at least Meg Laughlin's column has leveled the playing field somewhat.

Judi Larson, Sun City Center

Senders of Islam movie tied to Jewish charity | Sept. 26, story

A needed warning

How many of the naysayers have bothered to view the DVD Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West? I have.

How many of you politically correct advocates bothered to noticed that it is stated more than once in the movie that only 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population is made up of Islamic radicals? It states that the other 85 to 90 percent of the Muslim population is made up of peace-loving people.

How many of you are so blind as to have missed the startling mirrored examples between the Nazis and the Islamic radicals? They are using the indoctrination of the population, starting with the very young. How many of you missed the statement of fact that history repeats itself because people choose to ignore what is happening in front of their faces?

Will our wake-up call come too late as it did for Europe and the United States during the Nazis' time? This time we may not be the winners!

Donald E. Muller, Seminole

More accuracy, less fraud on Nov. 4 | Oct. 3, commentary by Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning

A needless burden

First of all, voters are asking: "What fraud, Secretary Browning?" The "no match-note vote" law is a solution without a problem.

Additionally, Kurt Browning's statement that "This law does not keep any person with an unverified number from being able to vote" is misleading at best, disingenuous at worst. That's because he left out three critical words at the end that voters need to know: "This law does not keep any person with an unverified number from being able to vote a provisional ballot."

Provisional ballots are problem ballots for a reason. They may not be counted.

Unfortunately, in this case, this law certainly will prevent voters from having their provisional ballot counted if, in their busy work week, they run out of time to get back to the elections office, or if a child gets sick, or their car breaks down, or they simply forget to go back and clear up the ID issues that are most likely to be a clerical error by a state employee. It's hard enough for working people to find time to vote during the work week. Requiring them to show ID a second time in that same week or have their ballot tossed out is unreasonable.

Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark is right. These errors are most likely not the voters' fault and it's wrong to put voters' ballots at risk because of it. Let unmatched voters show their valid ID on Election Day so they can vote a regular ballot and be counted.

Pamela Haengel, vice president and co-founder, Florida Voters Coalition, St. Petersburg

Thinking twice about a surge in Afghanistan Sept. 30, David Ignatius column

Futile fighting

This column makes an interesting point about the vague "enemy nexus" we are fighting in Afghanistan. Perhaps the real question is why are we there at all.

Afghanistan has long been known as "the place where empires go to die." It was so for Britain and then the Soviets. We are now, again, intervening in what is clearly a civil war, in a place so hostile and so foreign to our military and its systems that "victory" will be even more elusive than in Iraq. Afghanistan and its "nexus" are no longer any threat to us — unless we squander our lives and fortune on their internal battle.

Eric Anschutz writes, "Most Americans have concluded that the wars in Vietnam and Iraq were massive strategic blunders, but the war in Afghanistan remains in the minds of most, a necessary war, 'the central focus of the war against terrorism.' The fact is that realization of our goal there, to capture bin Laden and destroy al-Qaida, is as elusive and distant today as it was six years ago, when that war began. And the fact is that every day we are there, more Afghan civilians die (collateral damage, they call it), resulting in ever-increasing hatred for America, and ever-increasing support for the Taliban and ever more recruits for al-Qaida. With every passing day of the war in Afghanistan, we get less secure there, and here."

Why are we fighting a war in Afghanistan?

Ed Flanagan, St. Petersburg

Errant teachers vex poor schools | Sept. 29, story

In defense of Dixie Hollins

I don't think any school should be criticized to this extent. Just because our school, Dixie Hollins High, does not have all the money in the world does not give anyone the right to question a student's ability to learn. Just because a student's lunch price is lower than another's does not reflect by any means their drive to learn.

Also you speak of our teachers, but don't acknowledge that it was a teacher from this school, Lisa Alcott, who won the high school math teacher of the year award. And to refer to some of the teachers in our schools as trash that has been passed on from other schools is extremely offensive.

I am proud to attend Dixie M. Hollins High School for all four years of my high school career.

Mike Perez, St. Petersburg

Hate propaganda deserves to be condemned 10/05/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 6:50pm]
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