Can't blame all Muslims for 9/11

Re: "Imam: Mosque not on hallowed ground," Tuesday:

I fully appreciate the feelings of former New York Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, who in discussing the Islamic community center planned for a location close to the 9/11 site, which already has an exotic-dance club nearby, said: "The strip club didn't murder my son." Well, yes, but neither did all Muslims collaborate in murdering Riches' son.

It's entirely reasonable to say that Japan, meaning the entire Japanese nation, was responsible for the 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese emperor approved the attack, and the Japanese navy carried it out. It's entirely reasonable to say that Germany carried out the Holocaust. Germany's dictator ordered it in his position as head of state, and German officials committed to obeying the dictator carried it out.

There is no way to assign blame for 9/11 to any part of the Muslim world except al-Qaeda. How many people does al-Qaeda represent? It was being sheltered in Afghanistan at the time of the attacks, but it didn't control Afghanistan.

Richmond L. Gardner


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His record says Sestak is the choice

I have been a registered Republican for more than 30 years, but after looking at the careers and voting records of the two candidates for U.S. Senate, I will be casting my vote for Joe Sestak.

Congressman Sestak's education, and his national-security and naval operations experience, make him uniquely qualified to be a senator Pennsylvania can be proud of. His responsiveness to his constituents and his excellent work ethic are well known, both in his legislative district and in the House of Representatives.

I am disturbed by what I see as we near the elections. With November fast approaching, many voters seem to be either angry or apathetic. It only takes a little time to learn about the men and women who will be representing you and your families. Your voice counts; please make it heard on Nov. 2.

Tracy Robertson


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All religions should be respected

I have read many articles like "Religious respect and civility a 2-way street," which was on the cover of Sunday's Currents section. It is a well-reasoned plea for tolerance, but, like most, a little late.

I think all religions deserve respect, but where was the angst among the elites when Mapplethorpe presented a crucifix in a glass of urine as art, or when the biblical Mary was symbolized as animal dung at the Brooklyn Museum?

When Christianity is mocked, all we seem to hear is: freedom of expression. Wouldn't it be nice if we had such concern over the desecration of Christianity and Judaism, and their icons, too? This two-way street, for too long, has been a one-way highway.

Richard Iaconelli


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Tax cuts for the rich don't help the rest

A recent writer said Republicans are listening. Yes, they are. They are listening to the top 2 percent of this country, their true constituency. Republicans are fighting hard to keep tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest, who saved tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the Bush tax cuts. That money is more likely to be added to the trust funds for their grandkids than spent. That's their trickle-down economics.

Why don't you do some research and tell us how many corporations actually pay the 35 percent tax rate that, on paper, they are supposed to pay? How many corporations, with their business deductions, loopholes, tax breaks, and overseas factories, pay little or no taxes at all?

Elaine Hughes


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Should the U.S. use Europe as its model?

If one can be clear-minded about the upcoming election and filter out what really is at stake, you might find that the question being asked is: Does this country want the security of cradle-to-grave benefits, as in Sweden and other European countries, where central planning controls all or most of your life's considerations; or does this country want the free-enterprise system, where risk plays a role, but prosperity is a possibility, and government is in the background?

Henry Coxe


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There you go again with your whining

Only the editorial staff at The Inquirer could come up with the pathetic whine about schools letting down blacks and Latinos in Philadelphia schools ("Failure is the rule," Monday). It exceeds every excuse in the book to blame the schools while never once mentioning the main problem.

It's the parents - or in most cases, parent - who fail to do the jobs they were put on this earth to do: make sure their children get to school, complete homework, etc. It's so bad that parents can't even be responsible enough to make sure their children eat breakfast.

Mike Nelson


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Deal with bells on a case-by-case basis

I am disappointed to learn that Councilman Jim Kenney is planning to draft a bill to exempt houses of worship and schools from the Philadelphia noise ordinance. This kind of knee-jerk legislation will ultimately cause more harm than good.

While it is debatable whether St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Manayunk should be able to ring its bell at 7 a.m., these types of situations are best handled through mediation between that church and its neighbors.

A citywide blanket exemption would prevent other more-serious noise abuses from being addressed.

Eric Cohen