Regarding Cheryl Benard's Jan. 4 opinion piece "French tussle over Muslim head scarf is positive push for women's rights": I wear hijab, or head scarf, as a sign of modesty. I cover my hair to keep my beauty only for my husband. It prevents unwanted attention from other men and it also keeps me from thinking vain thoughts of comparing my appearance to that of other women.
It's also a bold statement that I am a Muslim woman.
Contrary to the quote by Gammal Banna in the article by Ms. Benard, the Koran does, in many places, specifically state that women need to cover their hair.
Sometimes I think about comparing our practice of covering the body to some other practices in Christianity. For instance, when Catholics go to church and pray to the statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. what is Mary wearing? It's not a toga with arms showing, nor a fancy hairstyle, or jewelry or other adornments. All examples I have seen show her modestly dressed, completely covered, and with a cloth draped over her hair.
The question of French girls wearing scarves to school is not the same as the question of the status of women and dress in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. I can only imagine how awful those Muslim young women must feel to have their government force them not to wear something they have freely chosen to wear.
Fort Worth, Tx.
Regarding the Jan. 6 article "Why more senior citizens are carrying guns": I'm among the over-50 pistol-packers you mention in your article. As was reported, the police cannot be everywhere, while an armed citizenry can. Even the Supreme Court ruled that the police are not responsible for personal protection, but for capturing and incarcerating the criminals afterward.
In citing fear as the reason older Americans are arming themselves, you left out my motivations. I have a strong sense of justice and honor, and I intensely dislike bullies and crooks. I would never want to witness a violent crime and spend the rest of my life saying, "If I'd only had a gun."
Regarding your Jan. 7 article "The journey from box to house": I was happy to see people in the United States are still interested in exploring new ideas in design and reuse. Actually, the container has been used in Japan for more than 10 years. The most common use to date has been karaoke boxes, as they are called here. Some architects have also made attempts to adapt them for residential architecture.
I believe the reasons this approach has not gained more acceptance here in Japan relate to aesthetics and economics. It takes a lot of work and money to make a steel box comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, probably more than a box made of wood studs and plywood. That said, the idea is still exciting and appealing. I hope someone finds an elegant solution in the near future.
L.S. Peter Phillips
In May 2000, I reported in Architectural Record that Israeli architect Shalom Kelner had developed this idea of using containers to house some of the victims of a devastating August 1999 earthquake in northwestern Turkey. Each unit consisted of two shipping containers joined side by side and cost $15,000.
The 312 family units were set up within two months of the quake, just before the harsh winter set in. To the best of my knowledge, these units, in what came to be called "The Israel Village," are still in use.
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