Bahai News - 'Moderate' Syria

'Moderate' Syria

Friday, October 12, 2001; Page A32

In his Oct. 4 letter Robert Ratcliffe claimed that Syria is a moderate Islamic country.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is an anti-Semite of great repute throughout the Islamic world (witness his vicious and unsubstantiated statement to the visiting pope that the Jews were responsible for murdering the Prophet Muhammad as well as Jesus). Adherents of Judaism and the Baha'i religion have suffered greatly at the hands of the Syrian government, which uses torture and confiscation of property as part of its "secular" approach to dealing with ethnic and religious minorities.

Syria is a longtime supporter of a variety of terrorist groups including Hezbollah (with additional support from Iran), radical Palestinian groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the radical Kurdish terrorist group, PKK. In addition, Syria has taken over Lebanon.

Mr. Ratcliffe perpetuates ignorance himself, something of which he falsely accuses the West in his letter, by serving as a mouthpiece, essentially, of the Syrian government. Yet perhaps his greatest error is the notion that anyone in the Western world who dares to criticize an Arab or Islamic country is somehow ignorant of Islamic culture in the broadest context.

PETER COHEN

Washington


©Copyright 2001, The Washington Post Company

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