Editor, Daily Nexus,
This is in response to Joey Tartakovsky’s letter, (Daily Nexus,” Assumptions Cloud the Complex Fedayeen Argument”, April 11). Mr. Tartakovsky claims (incorrectly) that India is free of terrorism and extremism that plague other Muslim nations. Why is he incorrect? Even if we discount the violence in Kashmir, blaming it primarily on Pakistan, there are still other states in India that have had their share of internal violence. Most notable of these is Gujarat, which has had serious ethnic and religious strife over the last several years, some of it seemingly encouraged by its chief minister, Narendra Modi (a Hindu), some of it carried out by Hindus, some of it carried out by Muslims.
Mr. Tartakovsky claims that the violence in Kashmir is due largely to Pakistan and then asserts that that is an example of Islam in a non-democratic context, conveniently ignoring the fact that Pakistan was a democracy until a few years ago. One can of course counter that Pakistan’s democracy was highly flawed due to corruption, but then again, so is India’s. India is indeed a democratic, pluralistic society. To claim that it is free of extremism and terrorism is blatantly false.
If Mr. Tartakovsky wants better examples of democratic, predominantly Muslim nations that are relatively (but certainly not entirely) free of terrorism, then the most obvious choices would be Turkey and Bangladesh.
Separately, Mr. Tartakovsky claims that the Iraqis were liberated Thursday. I agree, but with the following qualification: It is certain that Iraqis were freed from the clutches of Saddam Hussein. Whether or not they will be better off in the long run remains to be seen, and will depend in large part on how good a job of democratic nation-building the Bush administration does.