Mailbag: Muslim column increases understanding

I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading Mona Shadia's weekly column in the Daily Pilot. I grew up here in Southern California and had never spent much time with people from the Middle East, or people of the Muslin faith.

After 9/11, my feelings for Muslims went on a downhill slide in a big way. I wanted nothing to do with Muslims. Then, five years ago, my wife and I went on a cruise from Barcelona across the Mediterranean to Alexandria, Egypt. As we docked, I heard the evening call to prayer, and I thought, wow!

The next day, I hired a driver, and my wife and I toured Alexandria. It was fabulous! The history is amazing, the city, and various digs, etc. I went into the main mosque (my wife did have to go "behind the screen," but she understood this is the custom) and was greeted warmly by everyone wherever I went. The city was really interesting, but the people are what made our visit so great.

My entire outlook on people of the Muslin faith changed 180 degrees that day. We had a wonderful time in Alexandria, and then went onto the Giza plateau for the most amazing experience ever, the pyramids!

It was a trip I will never forget. The Egyptians were so warm and welcoming. The disastrous action of a few radicals will never diminish my respect of the Egyptians I met.

Thank you for Mona's column. I hope it will bring a better understanding of the teachings of Muhammad to those of us who were brought up in different faiths. Keep up the good writing!

Bruce Johnston

Newport Beach


Dog column had (mostly) good info

I think that maybe you should pay greater attention to Mona Shadia's column, "Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C." Fourteen of the first 15 paragraphs in her July 12 column, "Loving dogs at a distance," were informative and appear appropriate to the intent of the column.

I now know why certain persons react to my happy and goofy West Highland white terriers as though they are demons from the netherworld about to do great bodily harm. I appreciate that information.

As to one of the paragraphs in the first 15 paragraphs, where was her editor when it came to grammar, syntax and coherence? Can you tell me what this paragraph means or is actually saying:

"If you follow those opinions, you can still have a service dog, guard dog, or even a dog as a pet, provided that you keep it mostly in the backyard, make sure it doesn't touch your prayer area, care for it and play with it."

As to the rest of the column, I have a feeling that the local high school newspapers are of much higher quality. She uses the word "weird." And why would a newspaper publish her discussion of her hygiene issues and the numerous washings of her hands?

Please tell Ms. Shadia to never refer to herself as a dog person; she doesn't have a clue as to what that means and should stick to cute, stuffed animals.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar


Columnist should spell dog backward

Are you kidding me? What country does Ms. Shadia think she's in? "Loving a dog, but only from a distance." Like loving kids, as long as they are not yours.

Ms. Shadia thinks washing her hands many times a day and praying five times a day is going to make her cleaner. Maybe true on the outside, doesn't look like it on the inside.

I think Ms. Shadia may be looking at the wrong end of the dog regarding her sanitation issues. I also think she should try spelling dog backward.

Stan Kay

Newport Beach


Column gives reader hope on relations

Re. "A play on perceptions and understanding," Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in OC, (June 21):

This was one of most outstanding columns that I have had the pleasure to read. Her treatment of Muslim/Jewish relations was inspirational. The story of taking her Jewish friend to a mosque could serve as a primer on race relations. The sprinkling of humor made it a great read. How often do we see a Muslim/Jew story that is positive and gives us hope? I'm no Pollyanna. I'm a crusty, cynical old guy, but it even gave me hope.

Dave Sullivan

Huntington Beach


Turning to Christ is the way

I found it interesting reading Mona Shadia's experience, "Praying five time a day is hard to, do" (July 5), on praying. She states how some Christian "schmuck" shared his faith in Jesus Christ and it led her to return to the Muslim mandate of praying five times a day. She goes on to state how praying more often makes her feel better and connects her to God.

If this is true, imagine how great she would feel, and how much closer to God she would be, if she turned to Jesus Christ. Christians are told to "Rejoice evermore and pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

Furthermore, it is important to "prove [test] all things and to hold fast to that which is true" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The single most important thing we need to test is our faith. Is the "God" I'm worshiping the true, living God? Countless souls pray to "dead" gods and idols, and no matter how many times they may pray, God will not hear their prayers.

Contrary to what Muslims may say, Allah and God are not the same. Allah grants admittance to heaven to those who construct the tallest of ladders reaching to heaven, with each rung being their "good works." The more good works, the greater the chances of entering.

Russ Niewiarowski

Newport Beach


Opinion pieces a waste of a read

I thought I was reading an insert for the Orange County Register on Friday! Between the horrible letter by John Merzweller of Huntington Beach and Chuck Cassity's new column, I realized I'd just wasted five minutes of my life I would never get back.

I guess I know now why no one seems to bother to pick up and read all those "free" copies of the paper that litter driveways and sidewalks all over town. The paper has lost its way.

Amy Litton

Costa Mesa


Can we control coyote population?

Re. "Commentary: A coyote entered my yard, killed my dog" (July 12):

In November, I lost my dog in the same manner. In the evening, I was in the house, the doors were open, and all the lights were on both inside and out. I let my dog out for some water and he vanished. A coyote took him away.

If primates in the wild can be tagged and dolphins in the sea monitored, you cannot convince me that there is not a way to control the coyote population here in Orange County. We need to study now and be proactive now — before it is too late.

Teri Kennady

Newport Beach


Laguna should follow Newport's example

In a recent 5-1 vote, with one council member absent, the Newport Beach City Council approved the use of bicycle sharrows to be painted on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.

Sharrows are traffic lane markers used to remind all road users the lane is designated multi-use for both cyclists and automobiles. The council was responding to a one-year study and a letter of recommendation by the Bicycle Safety Committee of Newport Beach.

With plans for sharrows on Pacific Coast Highway in neighboring beach cities, maybe Laguna Beach will follow the same recommendation for these traffic safety devices.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach


Bring art into your life

Re. "History of 1960s commune to be displayed," (July 13):

I enjoyed the article about the farm at UC Irvine. In the mid-70s the land beside the Farm School was given to the Orange County 4-H to use as a farm. It existed until 1998, when UCI started to use that land for building.

The two or three 4-H clubs used the land to raise animals to show at the fair. We had up to 25 horses, steers, goats, sheep, ducks, geese, peacocks, calves and rabbits. It was run as a co-op in that the members fed the animals, cleaned the pens, etc.

There were many adventures, including one project by the performing arts department at UCI. They made a stone ring in the pasture. Then groups of students would come out and do ritual dances among the herd of cattle that were grazing in that pasture. Now the kids could ride their horses among the cattle, but it was not safe to be on the ground, especially when there were cows and calves. The cows were very aggressive.

The kids tried to tell them that but they said this method was used in the jungles and nothing happened. The kids were sure it was a satanic cult or something. We had to have a meeting with someone connected with the project who tried to explain to us what they were doing.

One day the kids were watching these dancers and one came running in yelling when a bull was chasing him. Of course they thought this was great, so the next time they saw them go out they locked the gate! The students had to crawl over or under barbed wire.

Wonder what happened to the project?

Marilee Stockman

Newport Beach


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