In Dinesh D’Souza’s Feb. 5 article, “Bin Laden, America’s left and the hysterical reaction to the ‘The Enemy at Home’ (D’Souza’s book),” D’Souza argues that “Bin Laden isn’t upset that there are U.S. troops in Mecca” — since there are no troops in Mecca. This is technically true, but Osama bin Laden was clearly upset about the presence of U.S. troops on the Arabian Peninsula, as a reading of Bernard Lewis’ translation of bin Laden’s infamous fatwa makes clear.

D’Souza is entitled to his own complaints about the modern world, but to assert that satisfying D’Souza’s complaints will also placate bin Laden is disingenuous at best.

Likewise in his Jan. 30 article, “Somalia war is not an all-weather model,” Max Boot rants about “Islamo-fascists” while displaying no knowledge of the factions within Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union, much less an understanding of the Somali people’s search for a new system of resolving disputes that would be consistent with their political and social traditions.

Couldn’t The Japan Times find columns worth publishing from writers who have expertise about the Muslim world?

john philips

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