Readers respond to "Little Osama," by Claudia Kolker.

Published March 4, 2003 6:51PM (EST)

[Read the story.]

I found Claudia Kolker's article thought-provoking but ultimately unsatisfying, because she takes it for granted that little Osama's father killed him, without offering readers the evidence that led to his conviction.

I understand the point that Muslims too can be in denial about aspects of their culture, but citing the erroneous rumors about little Osama's case that were spread in Pakistan, a Pakistani's "expert" take on his culture's parental homicide tendencies, ambiguous theories by the prosecutor, and retracted confessions by little Osama's parents are not enough to convince me of Kolker's basic assumption: Mohammad Nasir's guilt.

I also understand that wasn't Kolker's primary intention; she didn't set out to prove his guilt -- but it would've been helpful if she had included those details that seem to have her -- and the jury -- convinced. If her citations are all she and the jury had to go on, I'm still skeptical, and now I have to go satisfy my curiosity elsewhere.

-- C.E.G.


Finally, someone on the left sees Islamic hatred, violence and bigotry for what it is. And I can't thank you enough!

As an ex-Muslim both born and raised in the United States, I've addressed the issue of both Islamo-cultural and Islamo-religious hatred, violence and aggression for years: The Islamic crimes against human nature were obvious to me from a young age. As an American born and raised ex-Muslim who spent time in Karachi, Pakistan, I have more direct exposure to Islam than many American-born Muslims who will start the next flurry of CAIR (Center for American-Islamic Relations) racial bias accusations.

Islam not only hates all that is outside Islam, Islam also hates within. Forget the tales I can tell, and just re-read Kolker's story. The author illustrates, using documented events, what those within Islam have known for years, but what we've been gagged from saying.

As a hard-left leftist (I lean toward socialist), I have listened to my political allies' endless chants about how Islam is culturally misunderstood, about how Islam needs to catch up to modern times via our "support," about how condemning Islamically fascist actions is judgmental and wrong.

But what about killing one's own child, beating one's wife, hiding behind Sharia (Islamic law) and using that religious law as a means to lie in court, fostering hatred under the guise of religious persecution and nationalism, telling outright lies, and even biasing one's own intelligentsia?

Such actions are not about misunderstanding, support, kindness, consideration or cultural advancement.

Such actions are about a religion that drives a social philosophy where hitting one's wife and child, killing one's daughter, deceiving to "save face," and placing the blame on those not like you or those who do not follow God and are damned to the fires of hell and boiling pus is perfectly OK. As one who has lived on both sides of that Islamic fence, I'm here to say, that this ethical standard is not OK. It is a nightmare.

--Mobeen Shirazi

Ms. Kolker's article demonstrates her naiveté about the status of South Asian Americans in the U.S. after Sept. 11. There is good reason for Pakistani intellectuals to believe that Americans are capable of killing a 6-year-old boy -- a number of studies have clearly demonstrated that hate crimes against Arab and South Asian Americans skyrocketed as a result of 9/11. "American Backlash," a report by South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT) showed 645 incidents that occurred in just the first seven days after 9/11. These included threats, harassment, assaults and fire-bombings. This included threats against Islamic schools and children. As a result, many in the Pakistani and other Muslim communities became virtual shut-ins, too afraid to even go outside for fear of being attacked.

Wake up, Ms. Kolker -- although you're correct to point out that Americans can act upon their hatreds, there are far more out there who are willing to do the unthinkable than you would believe.

-- Debasish Mishra
Chair, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow

By Salon Staff

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