Letters

A fuller picture of American Muslims

Thank you for the beautiful and articulate article "Muslim in America" (Jan. 10, Ideas). It is one of those few instances where you feel someone is trying to understand how it feels to be an American Muslim in these trying times. What happened on Sept. 11 victimized Islam as a faith and Muslims of all walks of life. I wonder how others would feel if their fifth-grade son came home crying because kids picked on him, and he wanted to change his name. Or, when he gave a teacher a box - a Christmas present - and the teacher replied: "It's not going to explode, is it?" in front of his classmates.

I trust that America will emerge from all of this a stronger nation. The media seem to have created an environment that is anti-Muslim. And this has terrorized Muslims of all ages all over the country. Reasonable journalists have to step up their efforts in shedding light on the implications of such "Islam-ophobia."

Mamoun M. Bader Hazleton, Pa.

This is a well-written, balanced article, but there was one area missing in the "Participation in American life" section: those who have served and continue to serve in the US Armed Forces (myself included). I've not seen any of the major networks focus on this area, despite the fact that there's a mosque on one of the Navy bases in Virginia. It almost seems as if we are purposefully avoided by American media. Incidentally, many of these Muslims who serve in the US military were born in other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. I hope to see a more sincere effort to present a more-balanced view of Islam by those involved in the mass media.

Timothy Stinson Miami

Skeptical of fuel-cell technology

"Bush team backs a vision of fuel-cell cars" (Jan. 10) was evidently contributed to heavily by fuel-cell advocates. We have had plenty of prophecy about electric, hybrid, and fuel-cell cars, but very few are on the road as they were forecast to be by now. There are several drawbacks. As mentioned, the primary one seems to be cost. Perhaps this will finally be overcome with research or creative taxation. But then there is the lack of acceleration. If America is to change "horses" in power plants, then the auto companies had better stop selling horsepower in every advertisement they produce.

In regards to fuel cells in particular, no mention was made of the source of hydrogen other than to say it is most plentiful. I do not know of any method (electrolysis or reforming hydrocarbons) that does not involve unwelcome side effects. How will the extra electricity be made in an era of tight emission controls, siting problems, and nuclear aversion? Will the public stand for gaseous hydrogen stored in their vehicles and service stations? What about the high temperatures and temperamental nature of catalysts involved in reforming onboard? These questions are not new, but they still require answers. If the answers were easy, we'd already have the problem solved.

Roger Lachele Dallas

Snow-bound without Bombardier

Your otherwise interesting article "Clever inventions that came out of the cold" (Jan. 8, Home Forum) neglected to mention one of the most important snow-related inventions of all - namely, the Ski-Doo, invented by Bombardier in Canada and still produced by the Bombardier Corp. Over the past decades they have played an indispensable role in the development and maintenance of our northland areas, and have, to a significant extent replaced dogs and sledges even among our Inuit population.

John Woodsworth Ottawa

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

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