Letters From the Issue of Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holy War

The Muslim Mafia: In the article "The Chosen One" (Joe Watson, March 2), Deedra Abboud, who converted to Islam, fails to say why she believes and accepts as factual the Koran's claims, such as:

Non-Muslims are friends of Satan and enemies of God, the numerous (ad nauseam) commands for Muslims to terrorize and kill those who are not Muslims wherever they are found, that killing people who are not Muslims is a good deed in the sight of God, that God transforms Jews and Christians into pigs and apes, that the 4th century B.C. Greek general Alexander the Great lived before the biblical Moses, that Jews believe someone named Ezra is the son of God, that Muslims are to kill any Muslim who leaves or tries to leave Islam.

This along with Islamic history causes many people to believe that Islam is not a religion, but a criminal organization that uses God as an excuse to perpetrate atrocities on those who are not members of the organization.

Mrs. Abboud also did not explain why in more than a millennium, especially in the last century with more than a billion Muslims in the world, not one discovered, invented, created, or did anything to advance civilization. All the progress made by humanity has been based on contributions made by the likes of Jews, Christians and atheists.

You deserve credit for having had the courage to publish the Danish cartoons that led to violent rampages by Muslims. Unfortunately, much of the world's news media have been too cowardly to print them to show how irrational Muslims can be. Indeed, it is the Muslim obsession with pillaging, destroying and killing that may be the reason they do not have the time or inclination to do anything that would enhance human life.
John Monkton, Phoenix

Cartoon controversy: As an American, I grow impatient at Deedra Abboud for being one of Arizona's chief apologists for terrorists, who have overreacted to the inflammatory Danish political cartoons.

Joe Watson's article "The Chosen One" let the Arizona chapter director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation paint herself exactly as she is -- "well-intended" but enacting political activism that only serves to keep women sheathed in black and two steps behind men.

The article claims Abboud "doesn't understand the fuss over the Danish cartoon controversy that's sparked violent protests around the world," including by those who directed their anger at the United States and its "war on terror."

However, while Abboud claims to be indifferent, Watson's article suggests that she's been welcoming, if not looking for, a fight over the cartoons. Worse yet, Abboud nonetheless seems to support the anger behind these types of socially deviant behavior, saying:

"I'm not defending the violence. But . . . they've really got a Nazi mentality in Europe right now."

Bill Straus, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, perhaps said it best: "The irony is unbelievable. . . . For years, the U.S. and various organizations have appealed to the Muslim leadership to do something about the hate and anti-Semitism smeared every day in Middle Eastern and Arab newspapers. And you know what the defense has been? 'We don't interfere with the freedom of the press.'"

Perhaps local activist Abboud could learn something from the legitimate leaders of her adopted country, and not (ironically) support those who are trying to interfere with global freedom of the press.
Scott Hume, Phoenix
The un-American way: I may have missed "The Chosen One" author's mentioning the alleged terrorist ties of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. Deedra Abboud will not admit to any ties, nor does she care very much about the vilification of Jews, Christians and other infidels.

Her treatment locally of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who is a loyal American and not an apologist for terrorists, has been at least shabby but more accurately un-American!
Howard Weinstein, Mesa

Duh, it's still a quarrel, Paul: If I am the unnamed "columnist for the East Valley Tribune who advocated that U.S. papers should run the cartoons" mentioned in "The Chosen One," your story is mistaken to say that Deedra Abboud and I have "quarreled."

Though Abboud and I had pieces in the February 12 edition of the Tribune taking opposing stands on the Danish cartoon controversy, though she sent me an e-mail that day objecting to the Internet links to the cartoons I chose to include with my piece, and though we both spoke at the panel Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict held on the issue February 15, we have had no direct words with each other about the matter, quarrelsome or otherwise.
Paul Green, Mesa

Democratic Demagogues

A liberal, by any other name . . . : Ah, what a cover story for the Democratic party ("Donkey Kong," Robert Nelson, February 23). Certain words must never be spoken when describing the Democratic party: liberal, elitist, left-wing, far-left. Instead, use: moderate, centrist, progressive.

Writer Nelson tries to change the spots of the Democratic party. These are not liberal, elitist, left-wing, far-left spots. These are moderate, centrist, progressive spots.

Yet the actions of people covered in the article still reflect liberal, elitist, left-wing, far-left ideas.

The best example is shown when the article mentions that the dastardly Republicans continue to try to increase disposable income through "the old drum of tax breaks."

U.S. Senate candidate and state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson, the newly identified moderate, centrist, progressive Democrat, still holds the old liberal, elitist, left-wing, far-left ideal that the way to increase disposable income is by having the "universities cranking out topnotch employees" and making sure that they have a place "where the air is breathable and the water is clean."

Which is a simpler, better way to increase disposable income? Reducing taxes for all or filtering it through more money for the universities and breathable air and clean air? Not being an elitist, I just can't get my head around how air and water will increase my disposable income. This is also a betrayal of 75 percent of the population that does not want to get a college degree.

I also love how Phil Gordon, a newly identified moderate, centrist, progressive Democrat, is exposed a week later as being a liberal, left-wing Democrat by embracing a democratic ideal of not giving back a rightful primary property tax decrease. While John Dougherty does a nice job of exposing the mayor ("History of Deceit," March 2), he neglects to mention that the mayor is a Democrat, providing cover for the Democratic party.

As for Janet, forget it.

She embraces Prop 200 and then fights its implementation through the courts.

She supports sending the National Guard to the border, but only if someone else pays for it.

She says she's a moderate, centrist, progressive Democrat, but her actions are the actions of an old liberal, elitist, left-wing, far-left Democrat.

It must be hell to be a Democrat, knowing you can't get elected if you tell the public who you are or what you really feel.
D. Ellig, via the Internet

Playing politician: While I agree with Robert Nelson's thesis in "Donkey Kong," I find it sad that Arizona Democrats have had to change their stripes (to mix another metaphor) to establish their "800-pound gorilla."

The only thing I can hope, as a Democrat who transplanted here from Chicago (where real Democrats thrive), is that the locals are using the Trojan Horse approach to politics. That is, they're trying to get elected with moderate ideas, and then will do what's right once they get past the state's middle-of-the-road to conservative electorate.

But if Janet Napolitano is any example, then that doesn't seem to be happening. I don't see her pushing many progressive ideas, unless you think her advocacy of doing more for the children is progressive. Hell, everybody's for that, in one form or another!

Pretty much what I see Donkey Kong (your name for Janet) doing is playing politician. Come on, her idea to beef up the National Guard at the border is nothing but pandering to the Neanderthals in this state to get reelected. If she really believes this is a good idea, she's as bad as the Republicans who've been screaming about Mes-cans for decades.

I notice you skewered her on this point in your piece in The Bird about state Representative Kyrsten Sinema ("Howl of Sanity," Robrt L. Pela, March 9) -- and it was a point well taken that none of the other media seem smart enough to see. You noted that she is so disingenuous that she's trying to get George W. Bush to fund her gutless anti-illegal-immigration Guard deployment, instead of getting state funds allocated.

What a race-baiting coward!
Harry Curtis, via the Internet

Quality of Life

Tax and the city: I'm beginning to think that the mission statement of your paper is: Make people feel as miserable about their community as possible.

First we had New Times Associate Editor Amy Silverman basically trashing life in the Valley of the Sun on a national radio show, even as the host baited and practically begged her to say something nice about Phoenix.

Now you're giving the citizens of Phoenix a one-sided argument in favor of voting down the bond issues in "History of Deceit." This is your free-press right; furthermore, I don't suppose I can argue with a lot of what John Dougherty asserts. However, as someone who really likes living here and wants to see realized the progress that the bond package would indeed provide for our city, I feel Mr. Dougherty and Randy Pullen are giving our electorate bad advice.

Randy Pullen lost the election to Mayor Phil Gordon, and now he wants to stall progress in our city? Let him buzz off. And, in fact, now that I hear more of what he believes, I'm even more convinced that he was the wrong man for the job.

Of course politicians at all levels of government are less than totally honest. At the same time, though, we elected these folks, and I believe that now it is time to trust them and let them improve our city in the ways that the bond package promises.

If we vote it down, that means at least another year will go by before anything happens. Is anyone else besides me getting sick of waiting?

And as for property tax increases, I would say to Phoenix residents: Do we want this city to become more like Portland and San Francisco, or more like Midland-Odessa, Texas, and Fresno, California?
Gregory Falkenstein, Phoenix

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