Letters to the editor September 16

Letters to the editor September 16

Mosque would symbolize conquest
I am writing in response to both the Guest Column by Rabbi Tuchman and the letter from Jodi Hirsh in the Sept. 2 edition.
The concept of separation of church and state is alien to Islam. Islam should be regarded as a combination of a religion and a political system, not merely a religion, which makes it different from other religions.
Under Islamic law (as practiced for over 1,000 years and consistent with every major school of Islamic jurisprudence) the world is divided into two houses, the House of Islam and the House of War. Muslims are obligated to extend the House of Islam and the rule of Islamic law until the entire world has been subjugated.
The attack on 9/11 was an act of war committed consistent with Islamic law.
Muslims have a longstanding practice of building mosques in order to show their conquest of lands (for example, the Dome of the Rock).  The proposed mosque would be on the 9/11 battle site because the landing gears of one of the planes hit the building. Therefore, it is appropriate to refer to the mosque as the Ground Zero mosque.
If the mosque is built, it will be a giant recruiting poster for jihadis in the Islamic world, be viewed as a symbol of American weakness and stupidity, and will encourage attacks on the United States.
The promoters of the mosque have refused to rule out taking money from Saudi Arabia or Iran for construction of the mosque. If the Saudis finance a significant part of the construction, do you really believe that the mosque will be used in ways consistent with American values?
Opposition to construction of the Ground Zero mosque is opposition to people who want to replace the Constitution with Islamic law. Opposition is perfectly consistent with American values, Jewish values and common sense. Support by non-Muslims for construction of the mosque is consistent with political correctness and ignorance of Islam.
If American Muslims want Americans to tolerate them, they should start by opposing construction of the Ground Zero mosque and by producing a consensus of the scholars (“ijma”) that the United States is outside of the House of Islam for eternity.
I am not certain what period of medieval Baghdad Rabbi Tuchman was referring to. Wasn’t a caliph in medieval Baghdad the first ruler to require Jews to wear a yellow badge?

James D. Silverman
Squirrel Hill
A ‘false choice’
Abby Wisse Schachter’s Sept. 2 column, “Election 2010: Choice between dependence and independence,” is antithetical to Jewish values. As human beings, not only are we individuals, but we are members of a community with obligations toward others. Surely food, shelter and means of maintaining one’s health are the most basic needs.
Our economy is on a long road to recovery. What happens to people in the meantime? Schachter offers us a false choice.  A person out of work, out of food and out of shelter is not an independent person. A person who cannot obtain medical care is not an independent person.  The programs she derides enable people to survive. In a representative democracy, government is not an alien institution. Rather, it is one of the institutions through which we can meet our obligations toward each other. Do we accept her false choice of independence or interfering bureaucracy? Or do we elect a government that both fosters an environment where individuals can grow and develop but still meets our obligations toward one another?
The next election will help determine the direction of the country.
Joan Saroff
Squirrel Hill
Better vetting needed
Although there were excellent rebuttals of Abby Wisse Schachter’s preposterous column in the Sept. 2 issue of The Jewish Chronicle “Election 2010: Choice between dependence and independence,” I don’t believe that the last word has been said, namely regarding the role of the your newspaper in publishing this article.
Wisse Schachter completely omits the causes of the economic chaos in which this country found itself in the early years of the 21st century, namely the
arrogance and greed of big business aided by the policies of the Republican Party during the eight years of the Bush presidency that caused the failures of financial institutions, the housing market and the automobile industry. These in turn brought about the massive unemployment and foreclosures that the Obama administration is working to turn around. The increased numbers of people requiring Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment compensation cited by Wisse Schachter are not the result of a Democratic desire to run the lives of people but rather to enable the victims of what should have been an avoidable economic disaster to survive until the economy revives. Wisse Schachter fails to say that the reason for 99 weeks of unemployment compensation is that for people who have been out of work even longer than that, many have lost their homes and are living in their cars. 
Beyond that she cites government ownership of 61 percent of General Motors but conveniently forgets to mention that it was President Bush who created the first stimulus package or the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and with it the first $17.4 billion for the troubled automobile industry. She also forgets to tell us that GM Chief Executive Ed Whitacre announced that the automaker has fully repaid U.S. and Canadian government loans of $4.7 billion and $1.3 billion respectively five years ahead of schedule and said there was “a real possibility” of an initial public offering this year.
It is one thing for the Chronicle to feature columnists and commentators of various political persuasions. Differences of opinion generate dialogue and provide food for thought. The misuse of facts to promote a self-serving agenda, on the other hand, is a disservice to rational discussion. As such the editorial board should vet such articles before publication.
Theodore and Elizabeth Stern