Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Basic rights belong to all

One of the greatest things about living in the United States of America is the freedom we hold so dear, but often take for granted. It is an important aspect of our history and way of life.

I am as much a patriotic person as my neighbor. I pray however, that my neighbors are Farooq and Leah Jaswal and not James Coats and John Coyne. These men responded on April 12 to your article on April 2, about the reunion of Muslims held at Farooq and Leah Jaswal’s home on Whidbey Island.

I was enraged and traumatized by the events of Sept. 11. I am also offended by the atrocities that occur in the name of religion. I do not hate or fear every Muslim because of a few. I do not fear Catholics because a few priests are child molesters, or blacks because of the racial riots of the ‘60s. I do not hate them because they choose to believe something different than I do. To do this would put me in the same category as my “neighbor” John Coyne and James Coats, that of a racist.

This country was founded on freedom. Freedom of speech and religion are among the many we enjoy. We have the freedom to live wherever we please, something we trust we will be able to do without fear or prejudice. We have the freedom to practice what we believe in, whatever it might be. After living here for 20 years Farooq is a citizen who has enjoyed the basic human rights afforded by our constitution. Leah, an American like you, could be your daughter, who fell in love with a man who happened to be Muslim.

John, what language do you think Leah speaks, since she was born here? What language do Americans speak? And, what do “normal” Americans dress like? Don’t confuse religion with culture.

To ask a person who has lived in America for 20 years, and his wife, an American by birth (just like you!!) to renounce Islam is like telling John and James they can’t enjoy a basic right: the freedom to practice a religion of their choice.

Wendy Forbes Davidson


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