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More Brave Writers Targeted in Bangladesh

As a researcher on Bangladesh, I read the article ``Bangladeshi Writer Draws Death Threat,'' April 1, with great interest. However, it underestimates the seriousness of Islamic fundamentalism and that of the persecution of minority non-Muslims. Both of these issues have been ignored by the rest of the world since partition of Bengal in 1947.

The ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has made no secret about its dislike of secularism, which is practiced in the Marxist-run West Bengal State across the border in India. BNP has amended Bangladesh's secular constitution and added Islam in its place.

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I have visited Bangladesh several times and the reality is much harsher than what Taslima Nasreen, the subject of the article, writes. School curriculum, dress, and many other aspects of life are being changed through Islamization.

Many courageous Muslims and minorities have written about this. Like Ms. Nasreen they are the target of fundamentalists and the governing party. Bangladesh's minority human rights groups compare their plight with that of the non-Muslim minorities of Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Sachi G. Dastidar, Bellerose, N.Y.

Stand up for victims, not criminals

I am very disappointed in your editorial ``Caning Americans,'' April 8. It expresses great concern about the potential harm to Michael Fay but none about the emotional and physical harm done to victims of crime and vandalism.

Also, the editorial says nothing about what would be truly effective in stopping crime. Your only concern is for the criminal! I believe that the rights and feelings of law-abiding citizens should take precedence over the rights and feelings of those who thoughtlessly inflict suffering on others.

It is unfortunate that the words ``no cruel or unusual punishment'' in our Constitution have effectively been interpreted to mean ``no severe punishment.'' William F. Marquardt, New York

The Navy is listening

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I strongly disagree with your editorial ``They Still Don't Get It,'' March 15, which implies that the lessons of Tailhook have gone unheeded. As a retired Navy officer and a member of the Tailhook Association for many years, I can say categorically that neither the Navy nor the Tailhook Association has condoned criminal behavior.

It would certainly appear that criminal incidents did take place; and, if proved, the military justice system can more than adequately respond. The problem with Tailhook was that the incident became a witch hunt. Cases under investigation became so infused with innuendoes, half truths, and outright false accusations that the real offenders were lost in the smoke.

However, none of the above means that the Navy did not take notice. There have not only been tangible efforts to address all the implications of Tailhook and sexual harassment (such as the sensitivity training you mentioned), but there has been a genuine cultural change that is far greater than most people realize. The Navy is aware of the problems, and they are being corrected.

The Navy remains an invaluable asset of our country, and the officers and enlisted personnel that serve still maintain honor, integrity, and selfless service. Benjamin Woodworth, Germantown, Tenn.

Adults, listen to what you're saying

The front-page article ``Putting a Gag on Abusive Words Challenges Schools at All Levels,'' Feb. 25, got me thinking.

I am in high school and constantly hear the swearing, ``verbal violence,'' and ``abusive language'' that was mentioned in the article. This is no longer just an issue in the high schools and junior high schools. I hear children using words that I didn't even know existed when I was their age.

Society has given children all the reasons why they should use this type of language. A child can turn on the television any time of the day, to any channel. Adults use this language around the house and expect the children to understand why parents are allowed to talk like this but children are not.

People should consider what they are about to say and how they would feel if they were hearing it come out of a child's mouth. Angi Klibbe, Ft. Collins, Colo.

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