Letter to the Editor

Americans don't need a lobbyist for Arab views

Sunday, October 28, 2001

To the editor:

The comments made by Matthew Banks at a Southeast Missouri State University forum must not stand unchallenged.

"If you don't pay heed to it, you end up having airliners crash into the World Trade Center," Banks said. So if we do not desire terrorist acts brought against our nation, we should be more attuned to the needs and desires of the terrorists. The logic within that statement is self-condemning.

"The real big problem with the Gulf has always been the creation of a Palestinian state," he said. Presumably the desire within much of the Arab world to end the very existence of Israel does not rise to Banks' definition of "real big problem."

"The world doesn't see things as you do," Banks told the audience. True. Their are millions of peace-loving Muslims, many of whom are loyal, patriotic Americans. Our disagreements are limited to religious beliefs, and they are entirely nonviolent. But no one does intolerance like an Islamic-led government.

While I understand the value of hearing a diverse group of opinions, I would respectfully suggest that none of us need a lobbyist for the Arabs lecturing us on sensitivity toward the views of others. The university's job is to expose its students to a broad spectrum of opinions so that they may determine for themselves the validity of each. Judging from the thousands of SEMO students who chose not to listen to the clumsily crafted spin of Banks, I must assume that the university is doing a fine job in so educating them.

God bless Banks' right to freely speak his mind, and God bless America!

BRAD FOWLER

Cameron, Mo.