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Readers chide international leaders for their inaction as Syrians suffer under the regime. Rodrigo Abd / AP
Readers chide international leaders for their inaction as Syrians suffer under the regime. Rodrigo Abd / AP

Article on Muslim thought 'ignores economic factor'

Letter writers comment on Ibn Battuta and reform in the Middle East, Kofi Annan's meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad as well as Russia's foreign minister meeting with his counterparts at the Arab League.

Ali Khaled's article Why is enlightenment still 700 years behind Ibn Battuta? (February 29) is full of suppositions. Mr Khaled failed to realise that Muslim scholars were pushed aside for political expediency. The attempt to redress the dire position of declining influence has been met with apathy as decadent lifestyles became the norm.

This in turn breeds nepotism, tribalism and inevitable regression.

It is often seen that people with a narrow, preconceived version of history pander to the clichés expressed in the article. The replacement of the middle class by newly monied people supports a simplistic take on religion that simply pushes aside the pluralistic tradition of Islamic cultures.

The rise of Salafism is a proof of that. Salafism has spread with the help of petrodollars and is what is causing the present-day regression. As Muslim political leaders fail to relate to the masses, it is somewhat expected for the laymen to gravitate towards a form of Utopia claimed by the Salafist trend.

In time, this will fail and it will be up to the traditional scholars to pick up the pieces. The televangelist culture that dominates the religious landscape leaves no space for religious pluralism, as was the case in golden age of Muslim civilisations where discourse and education were valued and encouraged.

Not so in the modern era, where prime goal is to secure wealth as fast as possible.

JB, UK

Make use of two meetings on Syria

I refer to the article UN envoy: More force in Syria a bad idea (March 9).

The UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, was set to meet Syria's President Bashar Al Assad yesterday with a mission to end the clampdown on protests. Also yesterday, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was scheduled to meet his counterparts in the Arab League to discuss the situation.

I can only hope that these high-level meetings lead to something meaningful this time. The crisis in Syria is reaching levels that go beyond the Arab Spring, and risk humanitarian and economic disasters.

The bloodshed must stop and it is in everyone's interest to make that happen.

The Arab League must take this opportunity to pressure Russia to take a responsible stance. And Mr Annan must avoid buzz words such as "dialogue" and make his meeting productive; a serious stance by the regime in Damascus would likely be followed by similar ones by the opposition in the rest of the country.

These meetings really look like a last-ditch attempt by countries that want the crisis in Syria to come to an end.

If the talks do not lead to anything, I am sure the uprising will become more militarised as we saw after the double veto by Russia and China in February.

Ahmed Saleh, Dubai

Right to intervene?

I am appalled by the desecration of war graves in Libya. Is this the Libyan thank you for freeing their country from Muammar Qaddafi?

How many churches, synagogues and temples have been desecrated by extremists?

Harold Taback, Dubai

Rape sentence is welcome news

I refer to the article Life sentence for police officer who raped tourist (March 7).

This is excellent news and shows that Dubai is taking rape cases seriously.

May this be the first of many. I just hope that the sentence will not be reduced on appeal.

Peter Jenkins, Dubai

Sad retirement of a cricket legend

The news that the Indian cricket player Rahul Dravid has retired from international cricket was sad to read (India batsman Rahul Dravid set to retire from international cricket, March 8).

Dravid was one of the stylish batsman who had many laurels to his credit during his tenure on the Indian team.

Even though he has the ability to continue, his decision will be for his own good.

I salute this stalwart for all the achievements in his career.

K Ragavan, India

Wooden floors optimal choice

I refer to the article Wooden flooring instantly adds warmth and a homely ambience (February 17).

No other flooring gives a better look like wood flooring. Wood flooring is the best choice for decorating your home.

It looks great and stylish and it is easy to clean.

TF, Australia

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