Even at this late date [front page, Nov. 12], while quoting the commander of the 1st Marine Division saying that almost every mosque in Fallujah served as an arms cache or factory for improvised explosive devices, The Post once again gives voice to the notion that the insurgency doesn't respect the mosques, whereas the reverse may be true: Islamist respect for insurgency brings mosques into a supportive role.

Fallujah's Rawdha Muhammediya mosque served as the headquarters for the self-appointed mujaheddin shura, or city government [front page, Nov. 10], as the Najaf shrine served as headquarters for Moqtada Sadr's militia; both cities were sites of major battles, destruction and significant loss of life.

Nevertheless The Post's reporting does not directly address the issue of whether insurgent use of mosques has occurred through seizure, cooptation or by invitation, and it is about time that it did.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, The Post has presented brief mentions of explosions in or near mosques related to bomb-making activities that hint at a mosque role in warfare. On Nov. 11, a news story related the life story of a Yemeni jihadi in Fallujah ["Seeking Salvation in City of Insurgents"] who claims each foreign insurgent has a coordinator back home, usually the leader of a mosque.

Too many lives are at stake to neglect reporting on what is culturally incomprehensible to Western thinking yet inflammatory to Islamic apologists -- that religious institutions serve as an international base for guerrilla warfare.


Falls Church