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The West's views on Sharia need a Muslim rebuttal

Readers write letters addressing misperceptions of Sharia law, tree removal in Abu Dhabi, donations at hypermarkets and a faster way to commute.

I refer to the opinion article by James Zogby, Anti-Muslim bigotry in the US violates the nation's principles (April 3).

Sharia law has long been misunderstood by its critics. It is like any other law - very rational and just - but somehow it has been misinterpreted by the West as oppressive and inhumane.

Mr Zogby's discussion on negative views of Sharia illustrates the massive responsibility for Muslims to clarify certain misunderstandings before their laws are propagated as something they are not.

The sentiments he describes go against American freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights. They are also counter to what Muslims stand for and believe.

Sharia is just another set of laws based on justice and equality whose value, ironically, has been lost in translation.

Zahra Khan, US

Saving trees a noble cause

I refer to the letter Spare the shade trees of Abu Dhabi (April 4). Thanks and congratulations to Linda Sholz for her extraordinary measures to save the trees near her home.

I cannot believe the levelling of trees going on now. Removing trees for road construction or building projects is understandable. Cutting healthy trees down for no apparent reason is disheartening and sad.

Cora Yanacek, Abu Dhabi

Charity begins at the checkout

I was pleasantly surprised to see a notice at a reputable hypermarket in Festival City, Dubai, the home base of many generous people, exhorting customers to advise the cashier when checking out if they wish to donate their small change to a local charity.

What a splendid idea. This suggestion was mooted many years ago by irate customers who were annoyed that the supermarkets were allowed to retain thousands of dirhams for themselves, with the Municipality looking the other way.

I would, therefore, like to suggest that all supermarkets and hypermarkets follow the good example set by the hypermarket in Festival City, if they have not already done so. In the true spirit of Dubai, as far as is practicable, shoppers should patronise only those markets that fall in line. The Municipality also should make it mandatory for all hypermarkets to donate the left over change to a designated local charity.

Ivan Pais, Dubai

There's no need to go door-to-door


Regarding the news article Door-to-door census in UAE is scrapped (April 6), it makes perfect sense to rely on Department of Labour records, supplemented with things like birth and death records and other official data.

This approach may still leave uncounted people who have entered the country illegally.

But door-to-door counts will most likely leave out many more people and serve to further cloud the country's population picture. What's more, the figure of eight million residents may sound surprising, but given recent growth it seems entirely credible.

Bruce Dauphin, Dubai

Acquittal in school bus case welcome

I refer to the news article Three acquitted of molesting girl on a school bus (April 6). While no one unconnected can know what really transpired, on the face of it these reported charges seemed unfounded. These men seemed to have been wrongly charged, and I'm glad to see that their ordeal appears to be over.

Name and address withheld

To free the roads, turn to the Gulf

The Superbus, detailed in the news article Superbus catches flight to Dubai (April 7), is not a good alternative to cutting down the journey time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Even if time is saved, the investment in the bus and creating a faster dedicated track for the bus will be too costly. Rather, other solutions to traffic congestion are needed.

The most promising option, discussed but so far not implemented, is the establishment of a high-speed ferry service.

Having several fast, large-sized ferries starting from Yas Marina to Jebel Ali and stopping at set points in Dubai and the other Northern Emirates is a promising way to ease congestion on the roads.

For instance, a ferry could be planned and coordinated with the other land services available, such as the Metro and bus services. And, if these ferries were built locally they would serve the dual purpose of freeing up the roadways while generating business for local industries. It would be a win-win for the UAE.

Amit Bhattacharjie, Dubai

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