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Western Involvement and the Rights of Bosnian Muslims

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The editorial "The Muslim Dimension," Sept. 9, accurately summarizes the fears of reopening the historic religious divisions between East and West "to offer real help to Bosnia, whose Muslims have been mercilessly killed and driven from their land." I have arrived at a similar conclusion while visiting Egypt in July, where I tried to understand the religious and ethnic dynamics of the region.

In my perception, due to the West's inaction in Bosnia, the general populace in Egypt was becoming quite resentful of our duplicity when compared with the "coalition" against Iraq. The fundamentalist movements in Egypt and other Muslim countries of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are already using the events in Bosnia to invoke historical memories of the "Crusades" as political resources in order to destabilize the governments which may have been somewhat pro-West in our recent past.

I admire the Monitor's courage to stand up for the rights of Bosnian Muslims who are being massacred and raped while the West sits and watches. Such a position, however, must be based on our broader conception of human justice, rather than on consideration of Bosnians as the "European Muslims - more Western than many Yugoslavs." Bilal Hashmi, Cheney, Wash. Professor of Sociology, Eastern Washington Univ.

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