Complexity of dealing with IslamIt is very difficult for Americans to deal with what it means to be Muslim in today's world. I submit there are three wrong ways to look at the recent Fort Hood incident, which have been prevalent in the media. I think it is incorrect to simply label Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as an Islamic terrorist, or to do the opposite and ignore his being Muslim as relevant to his violent behavior. I also think that painting him as the victim of a psychiatric breakdown, is incorrect. All three of these ways promote a denial about what it really means that he is a Muslim.
The actual situation is very complex and messy, yet extremely dangerous. Most Muslims throughout the world are not for violence. There is, however, a sizable group of Muslims (radicals) that believe that violence is rewarded by God. This makes it not only permissible, but virtuous, for them to kill themselves and/or others in furthering the cause of Islam.
However, radicals and nonradicals share many beliefs and can be influenced by the same religious leaders. Personal experiences or setbacks can move a peaceful Muslim into the radical camp. This is what appears to have happened to Dr. Hasan.
Thus Americans struggle to be fair to most Muslims and yet be appropriately alert to the dangers posed by radical Islam. How can one tell who is secretly radical or who might become radical? Yet resorting to the labels or closing one's eyes to the influence of being a Muslim, doesn't help in dealing with this dilemma.
PETER H. SWANSON
Sanford's actions justify impeachment
In order to uphold the basic integrity of the office of the governor, Mark Sanford should be impeached if he refuses to resign. As the chief executive officer of the state, the governor should be held to the same standards that other state officials and employees are required to uphold.
I could care less about Sanford's personal life or the state of his marriage. His personal affairs have nothing to do with the affairs of the state of South Carolina unless one compromises the other. When Sanford disappeared for days without any one in the line of succession knowing where he was, or his own staff having the ability to contact him, he abdicated his constitutional responsibilities without regard and that alone is substantive grounds for impeachment.
The South Carolina General Assembly should remove Sanford from the highest elected office in the state. I was proud to be employed by the state of South Carolina for over 20 years. Suffice it to say had I disappeared for more than three days without notification, termination would have been my consequence; surely the governor should be held to a higher standard.
It is my hope that the General Assembly will take the appropriate course of action to ensure that the governor is accountable. Removing Sanford is not political. It is the duty of the Legislature.
I hope they act accordingly.
SUSAN J. NICKLES
Confederate flag didn't deter Boeing
I thought it would be useful to point out what we didn't hear in the time prior to the announcement that Boeing was coming to South Carolina. That being that they had a problem with the Confederate flag at the soldier's memorial on the State House grounds.
For years we've been told by everyone from elected officials, members of the media and professional troublemakers that the flag's presence has been holding back economic development, or that it keeps businesses from being willing to come to our state.
Given that Boeing is the largest aerospace and defense contractor in the entire country and a textbook example of the kind of companies that we would want to attract, it doesn't seem as though that argument holds much water after all, does it?
Midlands blitz to clean up litter
Keep the Midlands Beautiful is celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. To honor that milestone, we are making our presence throughout the Midlands bigger and bolder. We have a new mission and vision statement, will soon be commissioning a sculpture and are offering new opportunities for Midlands residents to volunteer to clean up our community. On the third Saturday of each month, we are hosting a cleanup somewhere in Richland and Lexington counties.
We are also honoring great partnerships. PalmettoPride, the state's anti-litter and beautification organization, has selected Richland and Lexington counties for its newest Pride Week Blitz. The PalmettoPride team is working with Keep the Midlands Beautiful to promote, organize and coordinate cleanups and special events for the week.
I encourage all residents of the Midlands to participate in Midlands Pride Week. This is a great way to bring your family and neighbors together to cleanup your favorite neighborhood park, or a nearby body of water. Take a walk during your lunch hour and cleanup trash around your office. Get your office to adopt your street.
Midlands Pride Week blitz will run through Saturday. Information on this event can be found at www.palmettopride.org or at www.keepthemidlandsbeautiful.org.
Board chairman, Keep the Midlands Beautiful