x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

UAE history needs a major rewrite in school textbooks

Readers respond to The National's coverage

The opinion piece by Peter Hellyer that detailed the poor state of history books on the UAE curriculum When textbooks are this bad, students can't learn (February 8), really shocked me.

I must say I am surprised to hear the situation is so bad. Aren't schools inspected on their materials? Couldn't feedback like this instigate change?

DOS, Dubai

The problem of old and out-of-date text books is not only limited to the lack of knowledge that's being passed on.

The moment a pupil - or parent - reads the texts, they instantly lose all faith in the rest of the material, let alone similar books. So even if there is some good content in a particular section, it doesn't register as it all automatically gets lumped in the same category. It becomes little more than a joke.

An old German saying goes: "Who lies once won't be trusted again, even if he says the truth". The same applies for an education system that disqualifies itself.

Nina Hoffman, Abu Dhabi

Capital's pyramids may boost growth

The idea of building energy-producing pyramids is a good one Abu Dhabi may build its own Giza-style pyramids (February 6).

The UAE has seen dramatic growth over the years and now Abu Dhabi has many laurels to its credit. This introduction may also increase the capital's share of tourist traffic in the years to come.

K Ragavan, India

Misleading take on UAE rulings

I write to express concern as to the article about the death penalty not applying to killers of non-Muslims: it was biased. The portrayal of the UAE's reading of Maliki law in particular was shocking.

Firstly, the headline of the column: Death for killing non-Muslim commuted by blood money (February 8) is misleading.

The court made it very clear that the issue is not about Muslim or non-Muslim claims; the deceased person not being Muslim has no bearing on the ruling as outlined in this judgment. I'm not talking about the lower courts, as that is a separate matter.

The family accepted blood money and had they opted for retaliation, they would have got the death penalty. So your headline emphasising the fact that it was about a non-Muslim bears no relevance to this particular verdict.

Secondly, the first paragraph is inaccurate. "A Sudanese man initially sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder instead of death because the victim was not Muslim today saw his sentence again reduced to three years after the victim's family accepted blood money."

The Sudanese man was not spared due to the fact that he killed a non-Muslim, but because the family accepted blood money. The article somehow tried to link the earlier ruling by the lower courts with the ruling for blood money.

If they had not accepted blood money, he would have faced the death penalty. So instead of trying to portray the UAE law in a negative manner, you should have praised the judge for his flexibility in turning to Hanafi jurisprudence in this ruling.

My major bone of contention is that such headlines and introductory paragraphs will inflame minorities in this country. I can also imagine that the western media shall make a big hoo-ha about such stories.

I would urge you to consider the local traditions of the area before writing. Many would use it as a perfect example of Islamic intolerance when in fact it shows the flexibility of Islamic law. Most issues are not black and white but open to interpretation.

Hassan Mallu, Abu Dhabi

Reform of speed laws overdue

I write with regard to the article Drivers caught off guard by speed limits (February 8) that reported reforms to speeding laws. This is a very important step by the police.

Thank you for saving many lives. I've been living in this country for four years and never received a single fine because I follow the laws. It's very simple.

Bert Braun, Abu Dhabi

If Machiavelli had lived to see this

Regarding the article Mubarak gives 6m government employees 15 per cent pay rise (February 8), how is it that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's government will not fall this time?

If Niccolò Machiavelli were alive today, he would have to rewrite his seminal work, The Prince. He would have been unable to foresee the situations that we all bear witness to today, where governments can get away with crimes with such impunity.

When he wrote his work, he focused on the subtle exercise of power. Now, however, he who ignores the power of the US to maintain unpopular governments is learning a hard lesson.

LC Nunes, Abu Dhabi