Readers responding to our March 23 story "Jihad Chic Comes to London" were wary of Muslims in the West. One said, "Muslims want to transform Europe into Eurabia." Another said that traditional beliefs are OK, but "it is the 'blood and chaos and hatred' that make Taliban jihadism a problem."
A Better Life, but No Assimilation
I still cannot understand why Muslims flee their native lands seeking a better life in Britain or any other Western nation, only to want to turn these countries into clones of the failed states they just left ("Jihad Chic Comes to London," March 23). The only rational explanation is that instead of assimilating into their adoptive homes, these radicalized Muslims simply want to spread their fundamentalist brand of Islam and transform Europe into Eurabia. Shame on the politically correct politicians, appeasers and journalists who sit idly by and allow these radical Muslims to do what the Nazis ultimately could not: bring the West to its knees.
Kelly Van Rijn
Washington Township, New Jersey
As an observant Jew who attends Yeshiva University, an institution that embodies traditional teachings and imparts them to its students, I feel strongly that there is a difference between a religion's traditionalism and violent extremism. To avoid "touching a woman's hand" may be traditional, but it is the "blood and chaos and hatred" that make the "intolerance and brutality" of Taliban jihadism a problem. I may be a traditionalist, but I most certainly am not a violent extremist.
Lawrence, New York
I am sick to death of immigrant Muslims being demonized. I recently spent two weeks in the Arab London neighborhood along south Edgware Road just as the Israeli siege of Gaza took place, and instead of burning Israeli flags and spouting anti-Semitism, those present simply stood, staring blankly as the BBC played on television screens in shop windows. I'm sure my experience deviates from the norm—I look different from many immigrants, though I wear a headscarf. But apart from the occasional sideways glance from an elderly woman at my all-American jeans, the mood that I got was one of mutual respect and understanding between people of diverse backgrounds trying to survive in a society that renders them "ticking time bombs." Sure, you get the occasional wack job. But even the choice of photography in this article did little except to scare—both women in veils and people praying are extremists? To be fair, I suppose the headline "British Muslims Are Nice People, Actually" might not be as sensational.
Worried About Obama
Fareed Zakaria's "Why Washington Worries" (March 23) provides a well-founded and logical rationalization of Obama's striking moves to fix U.S. foreign policy. I'm one of the conscientious-minded Pakistanis who are impressed with Obama's sensible and positive decision to consider sitting down with moderate elements of the Taliban to work out a compromise that is in the interests of all concerned, though we have our lot of fanatics who are skeptical of Obama's motives. Likewise, as Zakaria writes, "normally intelligent commentators" like Leslie Gelb are also skeptical. Let there be a poll of Americans to see how many of them agree with Gelb.
M. Saleem chaudhry
The old Mexican lament "so far from God, so near the United States" has never been more true than it is today. Your March 23 article "The Enemy Within," on Mexican drug violence in the United States, overlooks the source of the situation—and its true victims. Because Americans spend billions annually on mind-altering drugs while simultaneously enacting laws against them that are unenforceable, we not surprisingly breed— à la Prohibition—a hellish commerce that mostly victimizes our neighbors. The United States should at least have the integrity to produce and control these drugs within our own borders, and free our neighbors from the murder, corruption and political instability that our habits visit upon them.
Can We Stop Global Warming?
Sharon Begley's March 23 article, "We Can't Get There From Here," left out several important ideas. First, that science is a process that builds on existing science. Discovery does not come out of the blue but is more like a stepladder in which one rung leads to a higher one until a newer paradigm is reached. So her doom-and-gloom scenario of not being able to fix the world's energy problems today is really out of step with scientific discovery. In the meantime, until those breakthrough technologies are discovered, let's deploy as much of the existing technologies as we can. It certainly makes better sense than waiting for the technology of the future to get here before we do anything at all.
Michael C. Frank
Mebane, North Carolina
Kudos to Sharon Begley for her rational, scientific look at the complex set of possible attacks on the energy problem—and their limitations. She mentions future population growth as a given, but we should recognize it as a primary driver in climate change. Add in other impacts, such as competition for declining resources and the disappearance of wilderness and species, and we have reason for our media to get the overpopulation issue urgently out on the table. Had we listened to long-ago cautioners, we might have held down world population in relatively benign ways. Now we're faced with the need to solve the problem by our own planned efforts, before famine, pestilence and war do it for us.
It's true that renewable energy cannot sensibly be scaled up to meet current U.S. energy demand and still allow for population increases and economic growth. The cruel reality is that fossil fuels have provided the human race with a fantastic one-time energy boost. Now that we're coming to the end of that, we are going to have to learn to live sustainably on the energy that the earth can provide on a day-to-day basis. If we don't choose to reduce our energy usage, we will find nature making that choice for us through the long-established methods of starvation, violence and disease. If we want to avoid devastating declines in the American quality of life, we will need to put serious work into reducing both immigration and the U.S. birthrate. As for economic growth, we should be aiming for a steady-state economy, with its focus on making life happier for average people. Contrary to what most economists will tell you, perpetual economic growth is as much a pipe dream as perpetual motion.
Paula L. Craig
Falls Church, Virginia
Sharon Begley's essay—on the impossibility of reaching our CO2 emissions-reduction goals through the replacement of current energy production without some major new energy technologies—was both very interesting and depressing. I am surprised, however, that discussions of this problem almost invariably deal only with how the world generates its energy, as if that (and conservation) were the only path for human intervention. Few seem aware of, or chose not to factor in, the out-of-control mega–coal fires in China, India and elsewhere in Asia that produce no usable energy. It has been estimated that Chinese fires alone release as much CO2 into the atmosphere each year as all the cars and light trucks in the United States. Putting out these fires, many of which have been burning for decades, may also require some technological breakthroughs, but let's keep it in the forefront for possible action.
Philip A. Brooks