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An explanation from afar

Dear Editor:I was about to answer Cathleen Krahe’s question (Letters, June 29) as to why Dr. Tawfik Hamid “was here talking to a group in Aspen and not in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan trying to reform the schools that teach an extremist interpretation of Islam” when I was distracted by a message from a Muslim in Bangladesh about the impending trial of his journalist brother:”Shoaib Choudhury is on trial because he urges his government to recognize the State of Israel. This is not a crime. He is on trial because of rumors originating in Saudi Arabia that he is a Mossad [Israeli Intelligence] agent, something so patently ridiculous that no reasonable court would even consider it. Why would a secret intelligence agent publicly proclaim his support for Israel in an Islamic country?”The Qur’an states that Allah/God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. His country proclaims that Shoaib’s support for Israel is treason because it is in opposition to their policy and that it is blasphemous, a charge they find convenient. He is on trial because he has Jewish and Christian friends and because he publishes their articles in his newspaper. This is not blasphemy, and it is not a crime, although some extremist Muslims would like to think that it is.”He is on trial because he writes plainly about the danger of extremist madrassas [Islamic religious schools] teaching children as young as five to hate Jews and Israel. The majority of Bangladeshis cannot afford any other form of education for their children and are willing to send them anywhere as long as they learn to read and write. Every charge against Shoaib is false. Shoaib works tirelessly for interfaith understanding. Bangladesh considers this treason and blasphemy.”There’s your answer, Ms. Krahe.Judith KingGlenwood Springs


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