Mailbag: 'Phobia' of Muslims not dominant

I enjoyed reading Mona Shadia's article "Tangled in the layers of a hijab" (Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C., Dec. 8), but I am afraid that the term "Islamophobia," used in the editorial note for that article, may mislead readers into wrongly believing that most Americans have a fear of all Muslims.

There is fear of Israel and Jews in many Islamic nations in the Middle East, but Jews don't call it Judeophobia. There is fear and killing of Coptic Christians by some Muslims in Egypt and Iraq, but they don't call it Christophobia. Some Americans fear and hate blacks, Mexicans, foreigners, Mormons, Catholics, etc. but they don't think all Americans share that fear and they don't call it a phobia.

It is true that there have been incidents of hate crimes against some Muslims, but these are done by a relatively few unstable and ignorant people, whereas most Americans respect the right to freedom of religion guaranteed in our Constitution.

What we need to do to prevent hate crimes is to educate the public about all different religions through interfaith dialogue, such as the Thanksgiving event held last month by the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council at the California Zoroastrian Center in Westminster, where representatives from many faith groups, including Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Muslims, Sikhs, Bahais and Zoroastrians, recited prayers of thanks to God and country and learned about each other's beliefs.

Maneck Bhujwala

Huntington Beach

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council.


Does writer truly support seniors?

I am quite confused by Tim Geddes' latest comments regarding the "proposed" senior center and funding. I must say he is consistent in his vitriol against it, which is quite clear, and he is consistent with his diatribes over the last few years on that issue.

Based on some of his other op-eds, though, he fits into the realm of the ultimate flip-flopper in the likes of some Republicans and Democrats. He is so much the self-proclaimed/anointed advocate for seniors and their rights with trailer parks — which I have no problem with; seeing as I am a senior advocate and a productive volunteer and member of a senior nonprofit in Huntington Beach, I applaud him for that — yet he wants to constantly stifle the efforts to provide seniors an adequate and high-quality facility the likes of which exist in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

I really wonder what Geddes' hidden agenda is, if there is one, or if this is just a grandioso way of making himself the spokesman for seniors and getting his name in print. If he really cares about seniors, then perhaps he should belly up and get involved with seniors firsthand, not just by his acerbic pen in the tabloids.

There is a wonderful organization in Huntington Beach that does just that: the Huntington Beach Council on Aging. And no, we are not what Geddes refers to as minions of Dave Sullivan. We truly care about seniors and are active advocates (see the website We put our money where our mouth is and do the job, not just write acerbic articles against things that would be in the best interest of our seniors.

Drew Kovacs

Huntington Beach


Candy man on the crosswalk

Recently I was driving by Dwyer Middle School and saw the nice crossing guard at the corner of Palm Avenue and 17th Street take down a large candy cane hung from a set of miniature football goal-posts (attached to a football banner displayed there) and give it to a young blind girl walking with a cane and her father, about to cross the street.

There were several smaller candy canes also hung from the mini goal-posts that other children passing by were receiving, but the crossing guard gave the little girl the biggest one, which made everyone in our car fight back a tear. Definitely the best Christmas moment for our family this year, and one we thought people might enjoy reading about.

Mike Smith

Huntington Beach

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