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Published: Thursday, 9/9/2010

Turned tables, open eyes

Thanks to the media, the world knows of Pastor Terry Jones' plan to have a Qur'an burning tomorrow. Religious leaders of all faiths are imploring him to call off his plan ("Ignoring pleas, pastor vows to burn Qur'an," Sept. 8).

He intends to proceed even though the fire department won't give him a permit. Most people are calling it a despicable and hate-filled act.

Christians are saying that the act of this lone pastor does not speak for the religion. Perhaps now, Christians will realize that there are hate-filled sects in every religion.

Just as Islam should not condemn all of Christianity for this one act, Christians should finally realize that they should stop blaming Islam for the acts of a few terrorists.

It's amazing what you can see when you're finally on the other side.

Jeffrey Schwarzkopf

Nantuckett Drive

We have had a big debate about whether Muslims should build a mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero. Officials could have told Muslims that they could build the mosque anywhere else, except within a mile of the memorial, and still not have their freedom of religion infringed on.

Now the Rev. Terry Jones and his followers want to burn the Qu'ran, the Muslims' holy book. Where are our elected officials who have sworn to uphold the Constitution? Will they allow this?

Burning the Qur'an is against First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion. It is reminiscent of Hitler and the Nazis, who burned Jewish holy and non-holy books in Germany in the 1930s.

This is not supposed to happen in the United States, just as the burning of books in Germany wasn't supposed to happen.

I hope and pray that Mr. Jones and his followers come to their senses and call off this book-burning.

Marcia Grossman

Kenwood Boulevard

I decided that because of the insane plans to burn the Qur'an in Gainesville, Fla., and the potential for violence that could come from it, I would pray with an imam. I am Christian.

Imam Farooq Aboelzahab and I sat down in his office at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. I was allowed to lead a prayer for peace. So this week, there was at least one place where a Muslim and a Christian were praying for God's blessing of peace in the United States and the world.

Nothing at the center led me to believe it is focused on terrorism. I saw children's classrooms and men praying, and I heard children laughing.

I was treated with pleasantness and overwhelming joy. When I said why I came there, the center's receptionists nearly wept.

I acknowledged that we Christians were responsible for a great many problems in the past, such as the Crusades.The imam understood and similarly acknowledged problems with radicals of his faith. We concurred that the world would be better if there were more people who agreed to disagree and to pray for peace.

Afterwards, we hugged. He invited me back for breakfast at the end of Ramadan. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

We parted, set in our faiths. But there are a few Muslims who know that whatever transpires in Gainesville, Fla., tomorrow, there is a Christian who loves them.

Johnny Randall White

Hill Avenue

You cannot exercise your right to free speech by putting innocent people in harm's way. You cannot shout "fire" in a crowded movie theater.

You cannot burn the Qur'an in public, knowing your actions will jeopardize the lives of our soldiers.

Burning the Qur'an is not freedom of expression. It is a dangerous and irresponsible act that Mr. Jones can and must be held accountable for.

There are other ways to raise funds for a church. Have a bake sale.

William Poznanski

Melvin Drive

Americans are supposed to allow a slap in the face of a Muslim mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks, but are supposed to be fearful of a pastor burning religious books?

This is supposed to be the land of the free, but outsiders are stripping away our valuesand traditions.

These days, all we can do is step on eggshells as our country loses its identity. There should be more outrage about the burning of U.S. flags than of areligious book.

Muslims expect us to be sensitive to their faith. How can they support the outrageous idea of building a mosque near Ground Zero?

Steve Price

Penelope Drive

The Republican Party does not feel the pain of the jobless or distressed home-

owners. Republicans will, however, use the pain and its resulting anger to get back in office.

Once in, they will serve the interests of their base, the upper 2 percent, with tax cuts skewed towards the wealthy and legislation geared toward eliminating social and regulatory programs that their base does not need and finds bothersome.

Their goal is to eliminate what they call "big government." Tax cuts and the deficit are the tools to accomplish that. The deficit creates the impetus for spending reductions, and tax cuts deny revenue for programs.

That is why there was so little outrage about deficit spending during former President George W. Bush's administration. That's why Republicans have no problem extending unpaid-for tax cuts. They can then cut programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and regulatory agencies, which many Americans need.

In the end, the upper 2 percent will have what they want. The rest of us may have a little more money in our pockets. Will that be enough to pay for the services that have been taken away to get rid of "big government"?

Marsine Martin

Holland

I began my teaching career, fresh from the University of Wisconsin, at Sherman School in September, 1959, as a member of the social studies faculty.

Along with many other first-year teachers, I encountered a challenging environment. However, sparking my enthusiasm were the diverse community, the students, and a fellow faculty member, Bob Standriff ("Robert A. Standriff, 1930-2010; TPS educator retired, kept helping kids," Sept. 1).

Bob, who was also in the social studies department, assumed the role of adviser and friend. He taught me about the ins and outs of classroom management, organization, and keeping a focus on each student to make learning a lifelong experience.

His knowledge of community and relationships with students and families was invaluable.

Bob was my inspirational leader and mentor. When he left Sherman in 1963 to teach and coach at Scott High School, I was honored to move into his classroom and work with the eighth-grade class.

Bob Standriff passed away on Aug. 29. The young people of the Sherman community and I will never forget him.

Merrill Grant

Sacramento, Calif.

Editor's Note: The writer was Toledo Public Schools superintendent from 1996 to

2000.



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