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Mosques don’t lead to extremism

Daniel Pipes writes in his blog entry “No Saudi money for American mosques” (The Hill’s Congress Blog, Aug. 22) that Saudi Arabia’s financial support for the building of mosques in other countries helps to create an atmosphere of intolerance and even violent extremism. This narrow view does a disservice to the vast majority of Muslims, who live peacefully as loyal citizens of the United States and elsewhere.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia funds the building of mosques overseas to support Muslim communities, and never without the permission and support of local governments. We expect those Muslim communities to be integral members of the larger society, to enjoy a rich spiritual life and to live in harmony with people of other faiths.

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We consider it our duty, as the birthplace of Islam and home of the Two Holy Mosques, to support Muslim communities. We have done so for Muslim communities in the United States, and the members of those communities have overwhelmingly shown themselves to be loyal Americans. The Muslim congregations have contributed to their larger communities and worked side by side with other religious organizations to promote tolerance, charity and understanding.

If the leaders of a mosque preach intolerance, they should be taken to task, and if they preach violence, they should be removed and sanctioned according to the laws of their country. That is what we have been doing in Saudi Arabia, where we have removed imams from their positions and conducted effective campaigns to promote tolerance and to combat extremism, particularly among our vulnerable youth.

Saudi Arabia is a traditional society that practices a conservative form of Islam. But strict adherence to faith does not foster violent extremism, and we are strenuously fighting that ideology and the terror it has spawned — in our country, in our region and around the world.

Saudi Arabia has done as much, if not more, than any other country to fight terrorism, terror financing and the misguided people who promote extremism and violence. We are committed to this struggle for the long term, internally and internationally, and are proud to work closely in this cause with the United States and our other allies.

From Nail A. Al-Jubeir, director of information, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C.


Racial profiling needs a new name

Racial profiling should be called “racist profiling.” Proponents of racist profiling should be called “racists.” The term “bigoted profiling” should be used for profiling by law enforcement based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, facial appearance, clothing or musical preference. Using these terms would help significantly in making these discriminatory practices seem less innocuous.

As a frequent victim of racist profiling and bigoted profiling, I can tell you that it makes me burn with rage. It wastes a lot of my time and is a major inconvenience, particularly when being searched by border guards. It makes me feel like law enforcement considers me a second-class citizen. 

Racist and bigoted profiling results in more arrests, charges and convictions for minorities. About 14 million white people and 2.6 million black people report using an illegal drug, but 10 times as many black people go to prison for drug offenses. If white and black people were treated the same by law enforcement, illegal drug usage would be decriminalized.

The best way to end bigoted profiling is to require law enforcement to keep statistics on the characteristics of targeted individuals to determine which law enforcement members are unfairly targeting minorities. Then these members can be given remedial training.

From Ashu M.G. Solo, Wilmington, Del.