Mailbag: Opposing views on column about Islam

Re: "Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C.: In Islam, men, women equals," Jan. 28:

I wish to point out that the title is a tendentious lie. Women in Islamic countries do not enjoy equal rights with men. There is a mountain of evidence of that in books, documentaries and on the Internet. Anybody who says otherwise lives in a different world than the rest of us.

Think about women in Saudi Arabia who are not permitted to drive, a girl in Afghanistan wearing the burka, an Iranian wife stoned to death or a Sudanese girl subjected to genital mutilation.

Inequality exists, to some degree, in many places. But it is in the Islamic countries where the abuse is pervasive, systematic, enforced by law, accepted by the entire society and, most significantly, blessed by the clergy. The religious connection is obvious and undeniable.

Mona Shadia is of course entitled to express her opinion — on the editorial page. We, the readers, are entitled to factual information in a balanced way. That is not what we got on the front page. Please, do not offend us with such blatant untruths.

Mark M. Bridle

Newport Beach

Mona Shadia responds: The purpose of my column was to show that Islam as a faith expresses equality for women but that governments manipulate its teachings to oppress and mistreat women.

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Many Muslims defy stereotypes

Thank you for including the frequent columns by Mona Shadia in the Daily Pilot, which are a breath of fresh air each time I read what she has written. My wife and I have made 10 mission trips to Christian churches and groups in Egypt and we have made many Muslim friends in the process who are very much like Mona, not the radical minority that fill the negative news stories.

Dave Fish and Monica Moore

Corona del Mar

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Get both sides of charter debate

There's a lot of misinformation circulating about Costa Mesa's proposed charter. If voters don't get the truth, there could be serious consequences. One council member said that "the charter has no impact whatsoever on development."

What he failed to acknowledge is that, in its effort to "get out from under Sacramento," the charter allows the council to change the rules for public hearings, hearing notices and findings.

State law requires that public hearings be held on requests for variances and conditional use permits, and specifies the findings that must be made to approve a variance. The findings require that variances be approved only when necessary to give a property with unusual conditions (small size, unusual shape, etc.) the same development rights as other properties in the area. The variance must not constitute a grant of special privilege.

By adopting a charter, these provisions would no longer strictly apply to Costa Mesa, and city ordinances could be changed to allow a development-friendly council to more easily grant variances to their developer friends.

Another council member said that a charter would exempt Costa Mesa from state law requiring us to allow second units to be built on some single-family properties. In fact, that state requirement specifically says it does apply to charter cities, so it would not be avoided by adopting a charter.

When evaluating the charter proposal, seek out the truth. Ask questions. Seek other opinions. Research it well. Or there may be consequences. You may get a charter that doesn't do what you think it will and does do some things you didn't expect.

Perry Valantine

Costa Mesa

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