When I think about the 10 staff members and two police officers shot to death at the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, I realize that I am a lot of things ["A U.S. blunder in terror fight," Editorial, Jan. 13]. I am an attorney who believes very strongly in the freedom of speech. I am a comedian who believes that telling the truth through comedy is a powerful tool. I am a Muslim who loves Muhammad and dislikes those who kill when their feelings are hurt. And I am also sad.
People are dead, scores of family members and friends have had their hearts ripped out, and a nation grieves. The Long Island Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemns this attack. We pray for those affected by this tragedy and will continue to work to ensure this does not happen in our communities.
Salaam Bhatti, Bay Shore
Editor's note: The writer is a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA in Amityville.
I want to apologize to the world for President Barack Obama.
In the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks in France, the leader of my country has provided little more than rhetoric in the battle on terror that America embarked on more than a decade ago. I believe myself to be an average American and like many have become disgusted with our leadership, or lack of it. I do not want my world neighbors thinking that I agree with the way our country is being run.
My country has been disrespectful by not participating in the Paris demonstration..
Martin Stevens, Centerport
A less tragic outcome of the Paris hostage situations on Jan. 9 could have been achieved ["Crisis exposes security gaps," News, Jan. 11]. Once gunman Amedy Coulibaly announced from the kosher supermarket his intention to kill hostages if the police captured the Kouachi brothers, the two situations became inextricably linked. Greater strategic thinking by law enforcement about how to resolve the dual crises should have then taken place.
Cherif and Said Kouachi and their single hostage were cornered in a printing plant. There was no possible way they could have escaped alive. They possibly could have been captured in a less lethal attack. In any event, Coulibaly was holding several hostages. More innocent lives were on the line at the market.
If the objective had been to save as many lives as possible -- in addition to capturing the terrorists -- the first raid should have been against Coulibaly, not the Kouachi brothers. Doing so would have given the supermarket hostages a greater chance of survival in the presence of a madman who linked his fate, and theirs, to that of the Kouachis.
Bernard Otterman, Old Westbury
It was with great pleasure that I recently spent 10 days in Paris, one of my favorite places in the world. We stayed in an apartment in the Marais, just a few short blocks from the Charlie Hebdo offices. Three days after our return, the shooting began.
Our civilization is threatened by relatively small groups of radicals who seem to attack hard and fast, much as the Nazis under Adolf Hitler did in Europe so many years ago. Yet, despite our advanced western civilization, we seem unable to counter or prevent these acts of terrorism. Indeed, the City of Light has become darkened by death, destruction and hatred.
Still, I cannot fathom what the real motives of these groups are. I don't think that religion has much to do with it, but it seems to be the touchstone that attracts and radicalizes so many young people. Power, wealth, fame, notoriety and control probably are the real underpinnings of these movements. How long will they continue, and at what cost?
I remain hopeful that our leaders will again make the world safe. I am Charlie.
Burton J. Glass, East Rockaway