Readers Write (April 22): Characterizing Islam, judging leadership, rating professors, deciding on marijuana

  • Updated: April 21, 2014 - 6:17 PM

It’s not creeping sharia law but creeping disrespect that should worry us.


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False equivalencies, not that editors would know

The April 19 Letters of the Day (“If ‘blasphemy’ is the crime, the coverage ought to be critical”) indicate that the Star Tribune’s opinion page staff has yet to understand the concept of false equivalency. How disappointing.

The first of the two letters starts well, then veers off into equating any consideration of Amineh Safi’s use of the term “blasphemy” in her analysis of media coverage of Islam as being “creeping sharia law” thinking. Concern about serious disrespect — which the letter writer identifies — is not the equivalent of sharia law.

Worse is the second letter writer’s assertion that because some terrorists call on God during their attacks that we must continue to identify the terrorists’ religion. The Star Tribune’s own recent coverage shows that it is totally unnecessary to name the religion of a miscreant. For example, nowhere in the lengthy article on Victor Barnard is the Way International or Barnard’s Shepherd’s Camp referred to as “Christian.” There was simply no need to equate Barnard’s distortions as being a necessary outcome of the Christian faith.

Charles Curry, Apple Valley



Jail for leaders’ choices? That’d be a mistake

On April 17, the Star Tribune Editorial Board supported the appearance of Condoleezza Rice at the University of Minnesota. An April 18 letter writer then accuses the paper of promulgating “the mother of all false equivalencies” for suggesting what are fair comparisons between George W. Bush (and Rice) getting militarily involved in Iraq with President Obama’s use of military attack drones or failing to close Guantanamo. Further, the letter writer seems to question why much of the entire Bush administration (including Rice) is not in jail.

I have noticed that, for some, impersonal killing (via drones) is somehow more palatable than very personal traditional methods of warfare. Is there really a big difference?

There is no room here to go into the facts and circumstances that led our politicians (leaders of both parties) to agree to militarily challenge Saddam Hussein. There was enthusiastic bipartisan congressional approval! We can’t decide here on the merits of the Iraq conflict. But those who would encourage the jailhouse as punishment for a mistake of fact, interpretation or judgment are really encouraging a very scary form of tyranny. That we can decide.

Steve Bakke, Edina

• • •

There is a myth circulating that because the president says he wants to close Guantanamo, he would if he could, but that he can’t because Congress has stopped him. That is not so. The president has the authority right now in existing legislation to achieve that result by transferring detainees out of the facility. Those words were penned last September by Thomas Wilner, counsel of record for Guantanamo detainees in two Supreme Court decisions confirming their right to habeas corpus.

Wade Yarbrough, Apple Valley



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