To the editor: News of the death of Dr. Maher Hathout, a Muslim advocate of interfaith peace, both saddened and surprised me. ("Dr. Maher Hathout, Muslim advocate for interfaith peace, dies at 79," Jan. 3)
I did not know the man personally, but a few days ago while rummaging through old papers in my office, I came across a copy of a Times op-ed article he co-wrote with Salam Al-Marayati that was published on Sept. 18, 1994. The article was entitled, "The Tyranny of Brotherhood," and it offered a scathing criticism of the leaders and the religious establishments in Muslim societies.
The piece is relevant today as it was then, before 9/11 and the upheavals in Muslim countries. I commend The Times for printing such an insightful and prophetic opinion before a serious debate about the subject ensued.
Our societies need more people who stand for peace.
Mohamed Dessouky, Aliso Viejo
To the editor: Some years ago as a guest on several occasions at the Masjid Omar ibn Al-Khattab, I was privileged to hear Hathout's spiritual messages promoting interfaith understanding and his scholarly teachings confirming the commonality of the basic concepts of the world's religions.
Although I disagreed with some of his political beliefs, I feel that Hathout's passing presents a great loss to interfaith dialogue in our community.
Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica