Omar, Well said. The religious and nationalistic pride that is the glue that holds people together is also the first tool of the leaders who seek to incite the people to achieve their own personal goals.. and good people do bad things under such an influence.
Pat Ballew, Misawa, Jp
"Statistics means never having to say you're certain."
-----Original Message----- From: Omar Rumi [mailto://firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2001 12:54 PM To: MATH-HISTORY-LIST@ENTERPRISE.MAA.ORG Subject: Re: The Fall of the Alexandrian Library
Re: Book burning etc. by muslims ...
 There is a typo ... the paragraph should read.
"I am not aware of any book burnings by Muslims, who are directed by faith to venerate knowledge and truth from whatever source it may come. While the Qur'an is carefully preserved in its original form, other books are NOT considered to be a threat."
 The destruction of statues and other depictions is an unfortunate misinterpretation of Islam by the Taliban. The Islamic prohibition against physical representations of Allah are simply a means of making concrete the obvious conclusion that Allah cannot be imagined in the human mind. Any attempt to do so will fail in credibility, because the mind which constructs the image will rebel against its synthesity.
 Islam is a religion of compassion and brotherhood. The unspeakable acts of cruelty, such as the dismemberment of limbs, practiced by people who identify themselves as Muslims, is a sad commentary on the beautiful and emotionally satisfying way of life described by Muhammad.
 The acts of the Taliban are widely condemned by Muslims, just as the acts of misguided men are condemned in other cultures. War is a way of life in Afganistan today, and war always brings out the worst in us. We should be cautious in faulting the religious and philosophical tenets of the culture for inhumane and unreasonable acts of men who are at war.
 Statues and other sacred items of the various religions are not anathema to Islam. Islam is very tolerant of other religions, and has always allowed Jews and Christians to preactice their faith without interference. This is still true after the period of the Crusades and the unfortunate territorial disputes of the Middle East.
 For modern countries where Islam is the predominant faith, there is a general failure to demonstrate a satisfactory balance of power. The human rights record is abominable. Whether this is a fundamental flaw in Islam is a good subject for debate. Religions attempt to provide a guide for good human conduct. Is there today a truly democratic method of government that is satisfactory, or is this an ideal that still eludes mankind? Perhaps the Swiss have something. In this nuclear age the question takes on special interest. If the deteriorating environment will support prolonged debate.