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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about reform in Saudi Arabia, the film "Fitna," and US troop successes in Iraq.

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Human rights advocacy looks hopeful in Saudi Arabia

Regarding the March 26 article, "Small steps on rights in Saudi Arabia": I was incredibly pleased to see the steps Saudi Arabia is taking to incorporate human rights into the mainstream discourse. The fact that King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz initiated a formal commission is a victory in and of itself. I applaud his willingness to enter a more robust conversation on these fundamental issues.

It seems that discrimination against women overshadows a great deal of the rhetoric on human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia (with good reason). But I see new possibility in constructing the conversation around Islamic values. No value set has the moral upper hand on basic human rights.


Don't exclude or vilify atheists

In response to your March 27 editorial, "Arabian rights": I have read in horror that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had invited leaders of the Abrahamic Faiths to meet with him regarding "the disintegration of the family and the rise of atheism in the world – a frightening phenomenon that all religions must confront and vanquish."

The message was cloaked in tolerance for Jews and Christians, but this isn't about peace – it's about a new war against a new common "enemy": atheists. But we are not the enemy. Sure, we disagree on the existence of deities, but we're just talking. Yet this wonderful statesman wants us vanquished.

All humans have something in common. We live in a world where bigotry and intolerance has devastated or destroyed whole groups of people because of thought or lineage. King Abdullah is clearly trying to organize another such effort, and as always, it's all under the guise of "peace."

If he is really interested in peace, then all groups – monotheistic, polytheistic, and nontheistic, should be welcomed at his table.

Where there is exclusion, there can never be peace.

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