Burn a Koran day
Stand against the book-burners
We, the members of the Tampa Rabbinical Association, and the leaders of the Tampa Jewish Federation, were very distressed to learn of the planned "Burn a Koran Day" on Sept. 11 at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville.
As Jews, we have a tragic history of watching bigots and fanatics burn our books, and we know that very often book-burning is the beginning, not the end, of provocation and violence against a people. We also know the pain which is added to a terrible situation when others remain silent in the face of such awful intolerance. And so we feel it is our sacred duty to stand with all good people, from all religions, against this shameful act.
It is both factually and morally wrong to blame all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks, and to assault their religion through the desecration of their holiest book. We cannot remain silent as their sacred scriptures are burned, nor can we accept the demonization of an entire religion because of the terrible acts of a minority from that religion.
We pray that the organizers of this travesty will desist from their plans, as we pray that our Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members know that these fanatics do not speak for the rest of us.
Rabbi Marc Sack, president, Tampa Rabbinical Association, and Jonathan Ellis, president, Tampa Jewish Federation, Tampa
Denouncing a Gainesville pastor's Koran burning | Sept. 7, World in a snap
Beware of repercussions
Looking at the photo from Kabul, Afghanistan, in Tuesday's paper, I am reminded of a sermon I heard 35 years ago.
When you throw a rock in a lake, watch how far the circles around it travel. It can be from one side to the other. The homily was about violence.
The Dove World Outreach Center, a tiny congregation of 50 members, along with the Internet and media have gained so much attention that people are willing to murder Americans because their religious beliefs may be trampled. Will it ever stop?
What do our politicians teach when they demonize each other for their own sake or their party's sake?
What are we teaching our children?
Christine Elliott, Spring Hill
A better plan
First, I would like to applaud the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville for wanting to do something to commemorate such a horrific happening to the United States as 9/11 and to honor its victims.
Second, I would like to remind them not to condemn all Islam for the terrorists who attacked us! Would the Dove World Outreach Center want all Christians condemned and Bibles burned for the acts of the Ku Klux Klan?
I am neither Muslim nor Christian. I think I have a more positive solution for the Dove World Outreach Center: Get a box for each of the 9/11 victims; print one of their names on each box; fill the box with items the troops need; send a commemorative box honoring that 9/11 victim to a soldier that is defending us!
After all we are Americans first!
Kim Britt, Tampa
Her belief: teaching | Sept. 7, story
Symbol of peace
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting such an enlightened article on the front page of my favorite newspaper!
Nour Elmohd, the teacher profiled, who is Muslim, and is not intimidated about wearing a hijab while teaching, is an inspiration to all the people in the United States and the world who are constrained by prejudice. This gifted young woman, who teaches that diversity is what the world is all about, is the kind of role model our children need to live in peace in our ever-shrinking world.
Within our family, four religions are represented, four different languages, five different ethnic backgrounds. And pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center should know that we all love each other and respect each other — so it's not impossible, one just needs to open one's mind and one's heart. Burning the Koran is not the answer. We all need symbols of peace not of hate.
Irene Prosser, Tarpon Springs
Her belief: teaching | Sept. 7, story
What about Christians?
Why a teacher who is a Muslim and has gotten a job at MacFarlane Park Elementary School should make the front page of the St. Petersburg Times is beyond my comprehension! I find it particularly irrelevant.
I find it extremely ironic that this fact should be touted when a Christian who might wear a T-shirt representing God or Jesus Christ would most likely not be permitted to do so.
And heaven forbid if a teacher should wear a cross with or without Jesus on it. I am sure that the teacher would be reprimanded and told not to show any display of his/her beliefs.
Sandy Loughrie, Tampa
Victim's kin decry chase | Sept. 5, story
I'm writing with both a sadness in my heart and an extreme sense of outrage! I want to know at what point did we start putting more value on an object than on a human life. I am referring to the tragic "accident" that occurred on Sept. 3, that ended with the death of an innocent bystander, as the police would call him. His name was Gary Smith, and to many he was priceless. To his son, a father. To his mother, a son. And to many, a friend.
I know that a crime was committed, but when do we weigh how important it was to retrieve that vehicle rather than to possibly save a life, or better yet, not end one?
If it was my car, and given a choice, I would have asked that the police not give chase. Maybe it's just me, but I value life more.
Althea Simmons, St. Petersburg
Fearing for son's life, mother tried to stop use of Taser | Sept. 5, story
Mother deserves no blame
Ana Ramirez and her son should not be facing charges for trying to save Christian Pagan's life.
I find it appalling that Officer Idania Felipe felt the need to use the force of the Taser gun not once, but three times, on a 5-foot-2 boy with Down syndrome. The fact that Felipe is still defending — as is the Miami-Dade Police Department — her right to have done so, is astonishing.
Many individual's with Down syndrome have congenital heart problems, like Pagan, and the use of Taser on them could result in a fatality.
I feel that what Ana Ramirez did was necessary to save her son's life, and any mother put in the same situation would have done the same.
Law enforcement and the lawyers involved in this case need to think long and hard before convicting an innocent mother who went above and beyond to protect her son.
Sarah Torrens, Tampa