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An entire faith cannot be blamed for terrorist acts

Re: Forum fuels cries of "terrorist, terrorist,' Sept. 15 Times:

Editor: Shame on the Rev. Mike Frazier for promoting prejudice and unrest in his congregation and community. It is attitudes like this that continue to foster fear and unrest in our country and the world.

Seemingly, as a professed "Christian" man of God, this type of tenet is unconscionable. What happened to the Christian attitude of "love thyself, love thy neighbor?" The Council on American-Islamic Relations is at least taking a step in the right direction by trying to provide education in a forum-type setting.

Attitudes like the Rev. Frazier's and his supporters are just plain ignorant. And ignorance is the basis of all misunderstandings. The key word is "education." I'm sure no one is trying to change anyone's lifestyle, but just provide a better understanding of it, and that works both ways.

As everyone knows, nothing can be resolved in a day. However, at least we have community leaders who are trying. Granted, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are fresh in our minds, especially since the third anniversary has just passed. But by acting out and classifying all peoples of CAIR as terrorists, you are giving anyone free rein to call all Germans "Nazis," etc.

I personally know people who were lost on 9/11, and I'm not saying as a nation we should not be vigilant to protect our homes and loved ones. However, we cannot hold a whole faith responsible for the actions of some extremists. We will not survive as a people, as a community, a state or a nation, if we are caught up in this type of small-minded pettiness. We need to go forward and open our minds to new ways of trying to get along. Otherwise, we are all lost.

Susan Falcone, Hudson

Accusations prove need for education

Re: Forum fuels cries of "terrorist, terrorist,' Sept. 15 Times:

Editor: It was difficult to understand how a local pastor and his supporters could accuse county leaders of supporting terrorism because they attended a private educational forum on Islam, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit advocacy and civil rights group.

It was shocking to know that this display of intolerance exists in our community, and more saddening to learn that it was exhibited by a pastor in our community. How can forums providing information about Islam be seen as a form of treason? I thought the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed citizens freedom of religion and the right to believe in anything or nothing.

It seems the pastor and his supporters believe that it is wrong to sponsor forums to educate the community about Islam and to debunk the myths and misinformation about Muslims. According to the Times article, one of the pastor's supporters even stated that county officials and the other invited guests "supported and comforted an enemy of the United States" by attending the forum. Really, I didn't know that Islam was the enemy of the United States.

This incident further demonstrates the need for more such forums and dialogues, to help us become a community free of religious and cultural intolerance.

The pastor and his followers could benefit from forums like the one they criticized. They will learn that Christianity and Islam have much in common, and that violent acts of individual Muslims should not indict all Muslims as terrorists, no more than the criminal acts of individual Christians should indict all Christians as criminals.

If they learn only these facts, they surely will become more compassionate and tolerant Christians.

I support our Muslim brothers and sisters in their effort to make Hernando County a place we can all be proud to live in.

Irvin Homer, Spring Hill

Intolerance breeds crimes against man

Re: Forum fuels cries of "terrorist, terrorist,' Sept. 15 Times:

Editor: The Rev. Mike Frazier and Landmark Baptist Church are the true threat to the United States. Within his church walls is a breeding ground for intolerance and hate.

It is those who have shared the Rev. Frazier's mind-set throughout history that perpetrated the most horrific crimes against humanity, from the Crusades, through the Inquisitions, to the modern-day atrocities against people of the Islamic faith.

K.C. McShane, Spring Hill

Pastor preached bigotry to commission

Re: Forum fuels cries of "terrorist, terrorist,' Sept. 15 Times:

Editor: On Sundays, it is assumed that the Rev. Mike Frazier preaches to his flock at Landmark Baptist Church in Brooksville the tenets of Christianity: love, tolerance and the understanding of a good and moral life.

Last Tuesday at the Hernando County Commission meeting, the preaching changed to hate, intolerance and bigotry.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit Muslim advocacy and civil rights group, invited at least a dozen government officials to an August dinner at the Palace Grand Ballroom to learn more about the county's Muslims and their practices.

The affair was attended by at least 100 people, including Muslim doctors and other professionals in the Tampa Bay area. At the meeting, the county's Muslim community gave out small plaques to Commissioner Nancy Robinson, as well as Sheriff Richard Nugent and state Rep. David Russell for their efforts in reaching out to local Muslims.

At the Tuesday meeting of the County Commission, Frazier and his followers accused Commissioners Robinson and Diane Rowden of embracing terrorism by going to the event. As Rowden attempted to respond to the accusations, some in the audience started chanting "terrorists."

As the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 were all Muslims, in the minds of the Rev. Frazier and his followers, all Muslims who support CAIR are terrorists. That might be analogous to asserting that all Catholics were monsters because Hitler was a devout Catholic.

Neil A. Hilmer, Weeki Wachee

We must accept and embrace differences

Re: Pastor's talk of terrorists is what's truly scary, Sept. 16 column by Jeff Webb:

Editor: I feel that the Rev. Mike Frazier has a responsibility, one that is shared by any person who occupies a position similar to his in any community. He speaks of his views to those who will listen, and to those who attend his church. He speaks of his version of God and how he interprets the words and actions of this God.

Some people listen and allow his thoughts to change their perspective. Sometimes this change is for the good. Sometimes it only serves to spread hatred, intolerance and stupidity.

From what I've read so far, I have a difficult time finding the difference between Frazier's outlook and the outlook of those other extremists whom our sons and daughters are risking their lives and dying to defend our country from.

Both of these parties are very passionate in their beliefs, have a loud voice to express those beliefs, and have weak-minded people who blindly accept and follow the words of these so-called leaders.

Perhaps Frazier would have the same thoughts of Jesus when he gave up a day in the temple to spend it with the robbers, sinners, prostitutes and other nonbelievers, as they needed him more. It is this attitude of intolerance that is driving people away from the organized religions; they know in their hearts it is wrong, yet feel powerless to change it.

I hang my head in shame that in this day and age, and in this country, many still have not learned the lesson that history tries to teach us. The people who populate this world are diverse, varied and different. We either choose to accept and embrace these differences, or we doom ourselves to face our death, knowing we did nothing to stem the tide of hate that is flooding our planet.

Christopher Gross, Spring Hill

Column about pastor was right on target

Re: Pastor's talk of terrorists is what's truly scary, Sept. 16 column by Jeff Webb:

Editor: Thank you for that very appropriate column. You actually took the words right out of my mouth.

I believe the Rev. Mike Frazier probably would have been on the bandwagon during McCarthyism in the United States. And we all know what happened there.

Keep up the good work of calling a spade a spade.

Tim Calandrino, Spring Hill

Give Spring Hill a choice for trash pickup

Editor: To elaborate on H.L. Pozzi's comments (Sept. 14 letter):

Trash collection in Spring Hill is a joke.

First, the county gives Waste Management of Pasco an exclusive contract, where we pay for recycling and do the work for them, when we used to deliver recyclables voluntarily.

We put our trash in cans and bags, whether it's household trash or lawn cuttings, and they take days off, picking and choosing what they want to pick up.

When will commissioners make ordinances for the benefit of the community? Give us a choice of trash companies. It's always been a good way to have competition, not dictatorship.

G. Tapia, Spring Hill

High school gave evacuees a safe home

Editor: I am very grateful to have the Nature Coast Technical High School to go to at evacuation time.

Thanks to principal Tizzy Schoelles, assistant principal Tony Ann Orzes, custodian Abraham, the cleaning staff and kitchen staff for a place so safe and people who were so good to us.

I was very distressed to read that superintendent Wendy Tellone did not want the schools used for emergency shelters. As a senior citizen, I am hurt. I will help clean, scrub or be a "gofer" to keep them open.

Ruthavallee Keefer, Brooksville

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