I take exception to Jim Hoagland's "Sexual Politics, Islamic Style" {Feb. 13} on several grounds. Not only is the headline offensive and misleading, but it does not relate to the article itself.

Hoagland does not define what an "Islamic style" of sexual politics is. How can there be such a thing as an "Islamic style" when Islam is a way of life that God gave to all humankind? What sources does Hoagland use to examine this topic? If Hoagland wishes to discuss Islam, then he should limit himself to valid sources on Islam. If he wants to examine current trends in any Islamic society, he must distinguish between what is Islamic and what is cultural.

Contrary to Hoagland's claim, the veil is not a "sign of intimidation," nor is it a sign of misogynistic tendencies in Islam. Islam does not promote misogyny. Furthermore, Hoagland's apparent displeasure at no longer seeing "smartly dressed young Tunisian women" in the French-style sidewalk cafe's shows his own ethnocentricity.

Moslem women have had full rights for more than 1,400 years. They own and control their own property, conduct their own businesses and participate in community affairs. They also have the right to inherit, to choose a marriage partner, to petition for divorce, to be educated and, for themselves and their children, to be supported and protected. Moslem women are spiritually equal to men. Although Western women have gained some of these rights since the 19th century, they are still made to feel that they must be sexually attractive to get ahead and to become successful.

As devout Moslems, we have never argued whether women possess souls, nor have we ever viewed them as the source of evil in the world. Hoagland should not juxtapose the Judeo-Christian concept of original sin on the Islamic concept of women, which portrays women as honored and protected members of the society. The concept of original sin does not exist in Islam.

Hoagland states that while there is no prohibition, it has gradually become uncomfortable for "smartly dressed women" to frequent street cafe's. He implies that this is because, in Arab cities, the streets belong to the men. This is not true. Female/male interaction in Islam is based on dignity, respect and honor, not on shame and fear. Hoagland is unclear as to how a discussion of women's role in society will "produce only losers." Open discussions on social issues are important in any society. Tunisians who are discussing these issues are not wasting their time and energy. Why does Hoagland believe that a moratorium on these issues is beneficial? Who benefits from this moratorium?

From what great fount did Hoagland gain the wisdom to determine -- as Western society has done throughout history -- that his way of thinking is the right way? Look at what Western society has gained: the disintegration of the family, homelessness, rising crime, teen-age pregnancy, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, AIDS, suicide and contamination of the air, water and land. This is hardly a glowing vision of the perfect life. Perhaps Hoagland could learn a great deal from what Islam has to say about such problems.

In what way is adultery, as practiced in the West, superior to a legal married state of polygamy? Where did Hoagland get the information that adoption is prohibited in Islam? We have adoption, but it is not the Western style, which severs a child from his roots and heritage so that he will spend a lifetime wondering who he really is.

How do Hoagland and others conclude that the Moslem woman's dress does not protect and honor her? On what authority does Hoagland refute the high status Islam gives to women? Did Hoagland study the original Islamic sources to determine what is the actual position of women in Islam? When examining another religion, one must go directly to the main sources of that faith, not only to those individuals claiming to be members of that faith. Unfortunately, some people who claim to be Moslems do not have the proper knowledge of Islam. This leads to many misunderstandings. I encourage anyone who is interested to come and find out what Islam really is.

-- Abdullah M. Khouj The writer is director of The Islamic Center.