I would like to respond to the article "Pakistan's 'repression' condemned" (The Sun, Oct. 19).
Orchids to the Baltimore City Council and Council President Mary Pat Clarke for being the first city in the U.S. to pass a resolution "supporting religious freedom throughout the world and condemning the systematic repression of the Ahmadis by the Pakistan government."
It is unfortunate, however, that Malik Zahoor Ahmad, press attache at the Pakistan embassy, was chosen to represent the true situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan. Mr. Malik is either misinformed, ignorant of the facts or is in the habit of fabricating stories.
Mr. Zahoor indicates in his comments that anyone believing as Ahmadi Muslims do cannot be true Muslims. This is not up to Mr. Zahoor nor even the Pakistan government to decide.
According to Islam, a person has only to declare belief in the one God and that Muhammad is his messenger to be considered a Muslim. God, only, has the final say in this matter.
The constitution of Pakistan, itself, guarantees freedom of religion and that "every religious denomination and every sect shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions."
His statement that "when Ahmadis are put in prison, it is for such crimes as rape and robbery, not because of following Islam," is completely false. If a person were known to have committed such crimes, he would be excommunicated and no longer considered an Ahmadi.
There is a massive amount of documented evidence of the systematic and governmental persecution of Ahmadis for their faith alone.
Many international agencies have carried out investigations and published reports. These agencies include Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists and the Human Rights Advocates, Inc. of the U.S.A. An excellent resource is "Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan" by Mujeeb-ur Rehman, a well-known senior member of the Pakistan bar.
It is hard to believe that Malik Zahoor Ahmad is unaware of all of this information.
To conclude, an esteemed body such as the Baltimore City Council would certainly not have carelessly passed such an important resolution without having been presented with a thorough investigation of those facts. Which, indeed, they were.
I just had to write and let you know how I enjoyed your transportation supplement (Oct. 19). It was most interesting and informational.
I couldn't put it down until I had finished the quiz puzzle. Everything was so understandable and graphic. It gave me many VTC things in transportation that I have never thought about before and it was everything one needs to know about transportation.
President and Mrs. Clinton no doubt selected Johns Hopkins University as a venue for explaining the socialization of medicine in America because the venerable medical school offers no curriculum in family or general medicine, the non-specialty upon which universal coverage will depend.
Apparently, few of the best and brightest sub-specialty-bound med students in attendance were able to read between the TelePrompTer lines: The two lawyers making the pitch were actually telling many of them to forgo a life of hard work and big salaries for a life of harder work and much lower salaries.
Perhaps the real message at Johns Hopkins was: "You should have gone to a prestigious law school like we did."
Secretary of Licensing and Regulation William Fogle's proposed statewide ban on smoking in private work sites is an emotional and irresponsible reaction to the tragic Sunday explosion that was not caused by the smoking but caused by a human mistake and negligence.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer's initial supportive response to Mr. Fogle's proposal is totally irresponsible. If an administrator such as Mr. Fogle is allowed to override the legislative process through the General Assembly on this issue, where will it stop?
I have lived in Maryland for 22 years, obeyed the laws, paid my substantial state and local taxes and I fear fanaticism and dictatorial activity by state administrators who challenge the integrity of the legislative process.
We, the residents of Maryland, cannot allow a regulatory ban to take place. If we do, we will be allowing a precedent of immeasurable proportions that may challenge our future liberties.
Lydia E. Koutze
German History Revisited
In reply to Nelson Marans' letter to the editor, Oct. 27, entitled "Germany's History," I would like to reply.
My intent when writing my letter was not to paint Germany or Austria as a perfect place to live. I was not commenting on their political system, but on their criminal justice system and the cleanliness of the country as a whole.
Obviously they have their problems, will always have to live with the stigma of the Third Reich and the Nazi years, just as we Americans live with the constant reminder of our past in relationship with the Negro race and slavery.
I have many friends and relatives living in Germany and I am well aware of the discontent between the Turks and the Germans, but I must admit I have seen more hatred and racism in this country then I have seen or heard about in Germany.
The true meaning of my letter was to address the issue of crime in Baltimore. If Mr. Marans feels that his rights and personal freedom are not threatened in the United States, I might suggest he visit Baltimore and the surrounding city neighborhoods any time of the day or night and tell me if he still feels that his personal freedom is not being taken from him. . . .
Hate groups are not just in Germany, they are here in our back yards. Dislike for different races is not new, it is the topic of every party and closed meeting in today's society. It is a situation that will never change. It just might not be addressed or spoken out in public but this problem exists and always will.
Inasmuch as I and many other people are fully aware of what happened in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s, the reality is also in admitting that Germany is not the only country that has had a Holocaust.
Unfortunately, it has happened in other countries in the past and is still occurring in today's world.
Linda M. Hess
In response to Nelson Marans' Oct. 27 letter on Germany, I say Germany is not a picture postcard paradise.
I have never visited, or lived in, any country that is. I would be very wary of any assessment of any country that was based solely on its tourist brochures or other publicity materials.
At the same time, to continue to judge Germany solely on the basis of the terrible actions of the Hitler regime also creates a distorted picture.
I do not forget nor do I diminish or minimize the terrible destruction and pain that occurred during World War II. I view the hate crimes committed against resident aliens in Germany with concern.
Today, however, in contrast to the 1930s, Germany has a democratically elected government in which citizens are encouraged to participate.
Dissent is possible; the German government today does not maintain concentration camps (as did Hitler's government in the 1930s) to which dissenting politicians or citizens are sent as a method of intimidation.
Various German public figures have taken part in public service campaigns to reinforce the importance of tolerance. Thousands of ordinary citizens have marched to protest the violent crimes against foreign workers or asylum-seekers.
From my experience as a visitor in Germany over the last 13 years, the German media devote considerable time and attention to covering hate crimes and the need to take strong action against those who commit such crimes. German society does seriously wrestle with this problem.
Finally, like Mr. Marans, I appreciate living in a democracy. So do the vast majority of German citizens, who would be surprised to learn that they live in a virtual Nazi police state.
Bonnie M. Mulligan