Rights and responsibilities

The recent violence in Libya and other Muslim nations has a message for both sides.

Muslims must learn to deal with the freedom of expression. Resorting to violence can never be the answer to an opinion - no matter how offensive. As a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim community, I strongly condemn any acts of violence committed in the name of religion, and urge Muslims to remain calm. That's exactly how Prophet Muhammad reacted when he was faced with blasphemy.

Individuals living in free societies, however, must also understand the responsibility that comes with this valuable right of free speech. Since a deliberate abuse of this right can result in the loss of innocent lives, shouldn't a line be drawn somewhere?

Nasir Ahmad, M.D., Tinton Falls, N.J.

Emboldening jihadists

It is incredible to see in the reporting on the chaos in the Middle East focus so much attention on Mitt Romney's statement ("Romney broadens his criticism of Obama policies," Friday). It's simple to see why. The death of an ambassador in Libya and the near takeover of an embassy in Cairo makes President Obama look bad. The liberal media seems to see no legitimate question concerning the presidential policy that may have led to this.

Obama is the architect of the policy that attempted to reconcile Islam and the West. It seems not to have worked. There is an inherent distaste for American values and culture in much of the Middle East, and attempts at appeasement haven't change that.

The current chaos seems to show how feckless the president's actions have been, making us neither feared nor liked and giving the jihadists every reason to believe that attacks on America will bring no harm to them, further emboldening them to take action against us. The radicals who hate us will only be deterred by showing clearly and forcefully our willingness to use our power when we are attacked.

Alan Robisch, Mount Holly

Stand up for America

Federal officials interviewing the man behind the movie causing so much uproar is too much ("Officials question filmmaker in Calif.," Sunday). When are we going to stand up for ourselves and tell the Middle East that they are the ones who have to start to behave?

E. Gunnar Tarnow, Fair Lawn, N.J.

Get back to Oval Office

Really, what have we come to? The leader of the free world spinning his political spin on the David Letterman show while we are involved in a daily life-and-death battle in the Mideast. What must the families of the ambassador and the others killed last week think of President Obama? Would it be so difficult for him to find his way to the Oval Office and put in a few hours doing what the country has elected him to do? That would be governing, and perhaps saving us from another attack by al-Qaeda and more loss of life.

Donna Reilly, Tafton, Pa.

Don't blame the movie

America was attacked on 9/11 in Libya and Egypt, and this administration is blaming the assault on a poorly made movie.

Henry Coxe, Ambler

Confirm right to free speech

The Sunday comics featured a Doonesbury that mocked God, the Bible, Jews, Christians - all believers, actually. I found it to be mildly funny; how do you explain the contradiction between the story of Noah and the dinosaurs? Reading G.B. Trudeau's cartoon elicited a chuckle from me, perhaps outrage in others, but there were no death threats or violence.

So, which is it going to be, America? Are we going to continue tolerating and trying to understand those who will use every perceived insult as a call to murder and destruction, or are we going to vociferously confirm our right to free speech?

Rochelle Wolf, Wynnewood

Make policy on Iran clear

As Israel's prime minister appears on the Sunday talk shows to plead his case for U.S. help, it has become apparent that the Obama administration has no intention of using military power to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons ("Netanyahu takes plea directly from U.S. voters," Monday). This is a somewhat understandable position, given the electorate's weariness from a decade of wars in the Middle East.

If this is indeed the American policy, at least President Obama should be honest with the Israeli people so they can make alternate plans. After all, they are the only country on the planet whose existence is threatened by other governments on a regular basis. They do have the right to defend themselves.

Rich Holstein, West Chester

Romney's silver foot

Those of us of a certain age remember with fondness Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. She was still the state treasurer of Texas when she was the keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. We can substitute the name of Mitt Romney for that of George H.W. Bush in her never-to-be-forgotten comment ("Obama, Romney return to economy," Tuesday):

"Poor Mitt Romney. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Andrew Sherling, Cherry Hill

All are capable of mercy

Vicki Schieber's strength, compassion, and mercy regarding the murder of her daughter is admirable ("A victim's plea for mercy," Friday). She credits her deep Catholic faith for the beliefs that engendered her opposition to the death penalty for the perpetrator of the crimes against her daughter. I hope Schieber realizes that no religion, not even religion in general, has a corner on virtue and that non-Christians and non-believers are just as capable as Christians of feeling compassion and showing mercy. Opposing the death penalty need not be based on faith. It still is best to "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Michael J. DeLaurentis, Elkins Park, mjd@usintrenationaltaxservices.com

Tax options facing the city

There are two points in the article "Exempt sites complicate tax fixes" (Sunday) that seem to need a closer look.

The first is the delinquent tax problem. The chances of ever collecting a substantial amount of these taxes is slim and cannot produce a figure worth counting when thinking about our tax shortfall problem, but City Council and Mayor Nutter must write legislation that will ensure that this problem is halted. If the will is truly there, it does not seem a difficult task to produce a bill that would deal with delinquent taxes before more than a year or two pass. It should give the city the ability to seize such properties and put them up for public sale no matter who owns the property.

The second thing is the kneejerk idea to stop or severely cut back on the tax exemption for new construction. One of the reasons to keep the program in its current form is that we must consider the amount of taxes that were being collected on the properties before the new construction was done. In nearly all cases they were very low and were destined to remain low. There is a huge increase in the tax amount on these properties. Many of the early exemptions are already expiring. It would be good for the public to see in print what taxes are being collected on these properties compared with what was collected before the new construction. Halting or greatly reducing this program for a short-term fix would be a big mistake.

Kenneth Veith, Philadelphia, warren.veith@verizon.net