x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Sign-language sermon a sign of progress

Letters from our readers also deal with proposed expansion of the GCC, al Qa'eda's morale after Osama bin Laden's death, the "too-loud" call to prayer, and other subjects.

ABU DHABI - A number of people with special needs and orphans, affiliated to the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care (ZHOHC), attend Friday sermon and prayer at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
A number of people with special needs,
ABU DHABI - A number of people with special needs and orphans, affiliated to the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care (ZHOHC), attend Friday sermon and prayer at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A number of people with special needs, "including the deaf and dumb", and orphans, affiliated to ZHOHC in Abu Dhabi, attended the Friday sermon and prayer at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. On this occasion, the Friday sermon was translated in the sign language. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi organized a reception for this group, in cooperation with ZHOHC in Abu Dhabi. Appropriate places were provided for them inside the mosque. Courtesy ADACH

Your front-page story Schools hit by teacher turnover of 60 per cent (May 11) made me smile.

I'm sure many teachers did, too, at some of the self-denigrating comments made.

As the husband of a passionate teacher who would love to stay with a school long-term and is still looking, I know that most teachers are passionate about their responsibility to their pupils. And I know only too well that stability in the teaching staff benefits the learning process.

Many teachers do not choose to start again. It's hard work starting with a fresh school, and moving home.

It is acceptable and acknowledged that there is always a small amount of natural turnover with international staff, but the main reason for turnover, in many cases, is principals and management who treat teachers "just like onions".

Look at some of the good schools, and you will see the low staff turnover that comes with contented teachers.

Kim Hunt, Abu Dhabi


Punishment doesn't fit crime

I refer toUS tourist denies he stole police handcuffs (May 12).

Even if this man did steal handcuffs from a police station - which would be a very foolish thing for anyone to do - five years in jail seems to me to be an awfully long sentence for what amounts to not much more than shoplifting. Shouldn't the punishment fit the crime? Brian Gordon, Abu Dhabi


Amazing progress for hard of hearing


I refer to Grand Mosque sermon shows growth of sign language (May 10). Hafsah al Habsi's article shows that people are realising the individuality of people with special needs.

This is very important. The progress of a nation can be judged by its humanitarian acts.

The western world is very well equipped in these matters.

As the mother of a child with a hearing problem, I cannot thank Allah enough for the resources and technology the human mind has produced.

This sign-language sermon the article mentions is definitely a welcome initiative, and the technological advances to help the hearing-impaired are amazing. Hats off to the people who are making this progress possible.

Zahra Khan, Dubai


Bin Laden's home bad for morale

With reference to Osama bin Laden's Pakistan home was 'command-and-control centre' for al Qa'eda (May 9),I believe the rank and file of al Qa'eda must be dejected now that they have a graphic picture of the lifestyle of their leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

They may have thought their ascetic leader was running between caves, dodging drone attacks. But in reality bin Laden was ensconced with family members in a three-storey mansion provided by some mysterious host or benefactor.

Lush green fields surrounded his spacious villa. In the backdrop, pine-covered mountains were shrouded by clouds and mists in the cool and temperate climate of this elite hill station. He had modern conveniences. Food was delivered.

Followers do not respect leaders who instead of marching with them take refuge in comfortable retreats. We can hope that bin Laden's followers, disillusioned, will abandon their guns, pick up laptops, and learn a new way of living.

Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai

Bigger GCC will need new name

Adding Jordan and Morocco to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf - as the GCC is formally known - may make sense politically or economically.

Geographically, however ... well, strictly speaking Jordan does border on the Gulf of Aqaba, and so could technically be called a "gulf state" - but it's not on the same Gulf as the rest of us! And Morocco is at the other end of the Mediterranean. We'll need a new name for the GCC. Why doesn't the paper run a contest?

Stanley Ortheris, Dubai

Put tolerance in social context

I refer to the story of the mosque with the prayer call some neighbours say is too loud.

One letter-writer (Misidentified complainers, May 11) notes that the imam acknowledged that most of those complaining are Muslims.

The imam also stressed the need for tolerance between people with different ideological and religious beliefs.

But in this case, whether the people who complained are atheists, secular, non-Muslims, or even non -practising Muslims, they all need to understand that they live in a Muslim and conservative society. Name withheld by request