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Letters to the Editor. Respect for law

The lack of ``character'' in public school graduates, as referred to in the Monitor's recent reports on school reform, can be easily corrected by a change in curriculum. Instead of teaching religion as do church schools for the development of character, public schools could teach the rules of law in our democratic society. This would avoid conflict over matters that involve the emotional issue of ``separation of church and state.'' Teaching respect for the law through the knowledge of the principles of law would instill discipline, respect for authority, respect for the rights of others, and respect for one's own rights. These elements of ``character'' are neglected in public school systems, but are dealt with in church schools. Bob Jackson Omaha, Neb.

The United States will never be able to make any meaningful contributions toward peace in the Middle East as long as leading US periodicals insist on purveying the message that a Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim. Next to Robin Wright's well-written book review (``How Islam became the idiom of opposition'') Sept. 6 is a three-column illustration of Ayatollah Khomeini and his cause being cheered on by what are apparently meant to be Shiite Iranians. The problem lies in the fact that those ``Iranian Shiites'' are all garbed in the attire of Arabian Peninsula Arabs, virtually all of whom are Sunni and not Iranian. James Gehlhar Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Paul Quinn-Judge wrote about possible aid to the noncommunist factions of the guerrilla Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea Aug. 26. He referred to the potential recipients 10 times as ``noncommunist,'' but the Pol Pot regime is also a part of that coalition. Our intent may be to get the Vietnamese out of Kampuchea and establish a noncommunist regime there, but it doesn't seem that we are in a position to monitor either the use or the effect of such aid. We owe Kampuchea aid, but it shouldn't b e for politics or for fighting. We should be working with relief organizations to help them rebuild and feed themselves. We shouldn't interfere in any way that would result in a return of the infamous Pol Pot regime. Beatrice Tukesbury Palm Desert, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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