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Letters to the Editor

Wednesday Jan. 9, 2002

Racist airline security

Over the past few months, we have all been told of the new airport security features and the "random" checks of passengers' baggage. As I flew home and back to school over the holidays, I have come to believe that these "random" checks are not so random. As I stood in line to board the plane, not one person of a Caucasian descent was checked; however, every, and I mean every single person of an "Arabic" descent was checked.

This saddened and disgusted me tremendously. I stood there stunned as I watched them check one after another, not believing the racism that I saw. As a society, how can we turn our heads and allow this? As an American, how can we not question and stand up against this act of racist profiling? We have all heard news stories of racial profiling against minorities, and many of us are disgusted by this and say that this cannot be allowed, but why can it be allowed with people of "Arabic" descent? The fact is racism surrounds us everyday, it is in our lives, it is in our society. We must stand up against this and raise our future generations with the concept of equality among all races, not just a few.

Patrick Cummings
political science freshman

More conservation stickers needed

I love the Wilbur Wildcat stickers, which now grace the light switches in the School of Renewable Natural Resource building, reminding us to turn out the lights when they're not needed. Every time I stumble over something in the dark, I know that I'm helping the university save money and helping the environment stay healthy, through less fossil fuel use and less pollution from generating stations. Thank you, Wilbur, for reminding us that together, we can save money and the environment.

Wilbur, could you please put stickers on the computer monitors in the libraries reminding people to turn them off when they're not needed? The monitors in the Science and Engineering Library were all brightly flashing their screen savers while the library was closed Friday evening, Dec. 14 to Monday morning, Dec. 16. Let's see, there are 62 monitors in just the public areas on the ground floor, plus private offices, plus all the other floors, and, oh dear, the Main Library, too. Yikes! That's like having 200-plus television sets on with no one watching for sixty-two hours Ouch!

I asked the library about this over a year ago, but I haven't heard anything from them yet. I hope that the campus community will help pressure the saving of campus-wide electricity.

Cindy Salo
School of Renewable Natural Resources

Dale and Durrani both misinterpret Islam

In response to Shane Dale's commentary Nov. 30, "Dangers of the Islamic fundamentalism" and Mariam Durrani's Dec. 5 commentary, "In response to misrepresentation of Islam," both essays are biased and exemplify the two polar extremes of the spectrum. Religion is a multifaceted, dynamic and personal endeavor, which seeks to understand the nature of reality and our place in the Universe. Religion involves philosophy, mythology and rituals. It is extremely dangerous to extract random quotes from ancient texts in order to judge or defame a religion. There are over 1.2 billion Muslims in the world-all with varying beliefs within the boundaries of Islam. Islam is not a danger to the United States unless it is forced upon us, which is not currently the case.

Dale states that Islam has "roots that are not peaceful and undoubtedly dangerous to the safety of our country." I agree with Dale in that Islam cannot be called a religion of peace. Islam was spread by the sword and spread out of Arabia with its main purpose to steal the loot of neighboring kingdoms. The horror the Muslims inflicted upon the Hindus of the former Punjab region (currently Pakistan) is historical. In defense of Muslims, Christianity was spread by the sword as well, but we are so quick to forget what the Spaniards did in South America in the 16th century. Also, Christian women in America received their freedom only relatively recently. Durrani wrote, "The Holy Quran does not justify the maltreatment of women and the idea of the independent, liberated woman is not forbidden." Islamic women don't even have a voting right in the majority of Islamic countries. According to Time magazine, in Pakistan, "laws passed during an Islamization drive favor rapists and equate the testimony of one man to that of two women. Although Islam encourages education, most females are illiterate." The same statistic is true of Muslim women in Kerela, India. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars or fly anywhere without permission. In Egypt, a woman cannot leave the country without her husband's permission. Regardless of what the Quran does or does not say, contemporary reality is that Islamic women are oppressed.

Also significant, Durrani believes that Islam was the first religion to give women the right to own and inherit property. Women of the Kshatriya caste, a matrilineal society in Kerela, India, have been educated and owned property long before Muhammad's (peace be with him) time.

Vijay R. Pottathil
general biology junior


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