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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2010

Chance to understand was missed

In his Aug. 23 op-ed column, "Planned mosque puts residue of bigotry on display," S. Amjad Hussain missed a chance to build bridges.

It has been almost nine years since the 9/11 terrorist attack, yet building an Islamic cultural and religious center near Ground Zero remains an explosive subject.

The legal right to build the facility is incontrovertible. Dr. Hussain correctly states that our Constitution guarantees this right. He also correctly points out that many individuals oppose the Islamic center for the worst reasons.

Unfortunately, he intentionally ignores the nonlegal, yet legitimate, issue of whether the mosque should be built at or near Ground Zero.

Additionally, by stating that the Anti-Defamation League has "jumped on the anti-Muslim bandwagon" he intentionally misrepresents what the league said. It stated that the group proposing the center should take reasonable steps to accommodate the sensitivities of the victims' families.

That this issue is legitimate is underscored by the fact that both Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam spearheading the center, and his wife, Daisy Khan, director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, have expressed a willingness to address the concerns of those voices of reason who have suggested alternatives.

They have articulated a vision of Islam that embraces the ideals of plurality and freedom. They assert that their goal has always been to build bridges.

In contrast, by intentionally avoiding key issues and mischaracterizing alternative positions, Dr. Hussain increases misunderstanding and suspicion among Americans of all religious persuasions.

Scott Rothstein

Chairman, Jewish Community Relations Committee, Toledo

S. Amjad Hussain seems focused on blaming conservative politicians and "right-wing Christian clergy" for leading the charge against building a Muslim religious and cultural center near Ground Zero.

Building another mosque in a city that already has more than 100, two of which are within eight blocks of the proposed site, generated a spontaneous reaction based on logic.

Dr. Hussain and other supporters of this project stumble around like blind ballet dancers in a room full of mirrors, while tossing out allegations of bigotry. Their accusations are intended to strike fear in the hearts and minds of those who oppose their agenda.

Frank E. Miller

Maumee

As a 35-year union-construction electrician, I can tell you that a 16-story religious and cultural center near Ground Zero probably will not get built.

New York union ironworkers will probably refuse to set the steel. Bricklayers will probably refuse to lay the bricks. Carpenters will probably refuse to build the interior. No heat or air conditioning: The tin knockers will be on vacation, the plumbers will call in sick, and the painters will be out to lunch.

Frank Alberts III

Jackman Road

When we elect people to office, we expect that they will represent us, consistent with our point of view. But they don't.

President Obama said Muslims had the right to build a religious and cultural center near Ground Zero, a very unpopular decision.

Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) voted against making English the official language of America, another unpopular decision.

And former Sen. Mike DeWine (R., Ohio), who is running for Ohio attorney general, and retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) voted to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits. How unpopular was that?

We must elect people who will speak for the majority. Put term limits on all of them, including Supreme Court justices.

Tom Shondell

Sylvania

The Corps of Engineers is requiring Toledo to expand the Point Place dike ("Fix levee before the next flood," op-ed column, Aug. 15.

If this had been done when it was constructed, a cost per square foot of land would have been assessed on 1,400 property owners instead of 600.

The original assessment was about 40 cents per square foot. This charge was for everyone whose property was below a specific elevation.

Homes at the lowest elevation, such as Carland Beach, and those at higher elevations that experienced only street flooding were assessed the same square-foot cost.

The city paid this charge on streets, public rights of way, and parks within the designated area.

The exceptions were Edgewater Park, some of the yacht clubs, and a few residential waterfront properties.

There needs to be an intelligent and rational approach to determine a fair way to assess properties for the dike extensions. Properties assessed in the past should not be assessed a second time.

All properties that are to be added to the dike system should be assessed 40 cents per square foot of land, and the city must pay this same charge for city land within this added area.

That would be more equitable for all property owners.

Marge Nowicki

131st Street

I have been a Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority operator for 22 years. One of my most fulfilling experiences was to drive the Call-a-Ride service to Perrysburg.

On my first trip there, I saw seniors standing by the curb patiently waiting to board. I don't cry too often, but I did feel a tear roll down my cheek after seeing them exercise their freedom to get around.

David N. Cone

Hill Avenue

While it may seem unfortunate to Toledo Board of Education member Lisa Sobecki that private schools as well as Whitmer and Clay high schools are pulling out of the City League, I think many high school sports fans in the area have a different opinion ("TPS struggling to fill game days," Aug. 23).

Some think that the move was long overdue, because the city's public schools have not been very competitive, with the exception of boys' and girls' basketball. While I think dropping some sports is a move in the wrong direction, it had to be done.

Ms. Sobecki needs to turn her attention to the classroom. It doesn't help a school when it can field only a few players because of academic problems.

When she finds a way to solve that problem, perhaps the City League will return to its former lineup.

Mike Young

Claredale Road

When Congress passed the Bush tax cuts ten years ago, lawmakers agreed that the cuts would expire at the end of 2010.

Congress should live up to the agreement. Instead of tinkering with the law, Congress should let it expire.

Republicans would like to extend the cuts forever, but that wasn't the original agreement. Democrats are suggesting we could extend the tax cuts for selected groups, but this is misguided.

In the interest of fairness, they should just let it go.

Thomas J. Menacher

Maumee



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