Letter: Islam hijacked

Sir: As an older Muslim, it saddens me and many of my generation to observe Islam being hijacked by men like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, reduced in spirituality and then used as a political tool of violence, all which is having a negative effect on impressionable younger Muslims and on how Islam is perceived in general.

Many Muslims protested for an end to the recent bombing of Iraq before the start of our holy month of Ramadan; to have continued would have been viewed as an outrage against Islam. But what about the outrages committed by Muslims during Ramadan? The murder of innocent hostages in Yemen as well as the planned bombings, the provocative and destructive rantings and rhetoric of Saddam Hussein, a call to all "good" Muslims to go and kill an American or British citizen by Osama bin Laden - are these not worse?

I would ask my younger Muslim brothers and sisters who support and demonstrate for Saddam Hussein how long they would continue to rally behind him if they had to live under his oppressive hand. Let us not allow the greatness and beauty of Islam to enter its Dark Ages, to lose its humanity and spirituality and become equated with terrorism, violence and oppression.