Your special report featuring Egypt's grand mufti, Sheik Ali Gomaa ["A Voice of Moderation," March 17], though welcome, appears to me too little, too late.
You refer to a recent Gallup study, which found that "93 percent of Muslims from 35 different nations call themselves moderates." Given this overwhelming majority of Muslim moderates, how and why is it that supposed fringe factions are still in the ascendancy, wreaking havoc? It would seem more incumbent upon moderate Muslims of influence to blunt as ferociously as they are capable the extremists so destructively misrepresenting Islam. Yet pressure from moderate Islamic leaders has had little impact. Many civilized nations of the world refused to stand against the terrorists in Iraq. Can you imagine the positive state of affairs that would exist now—the benefits both political and economic, not to mention ethical—had Muslim and non-Muslim nations joined in the battle to help form a stable Iraq? According to your article, Khairy Ramadan, an influential editor and columnist, maintained that "the biggest inducement to extremism is . . . the economic and social inequalities arising out of a lack of democracy." And what is it that the United States is trying to achieve in Iraq? The very democracy Ramadan advocates. Not just irony, but irony that's tragic.
Clarendon Hills, Ill.
Sheik Ali Gomaa is the right person to lead the charge against the tide of Islamic extremism.
Evan Dale Santos
I suggest you do a follow-up on Egypt's grand mufti in six months, one year, and again in two years. Perhaps there is some hope there.