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Letters, week of Nov. 6

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Muslim mom appalled by attack

Sahar Nasr

Wednesday, Oct. 22 is a day none of us Canadians will ever forget.

As many others, I have watched the news all day long with an increased anxiety and feeling of terror that engulfed my household. My daughter is a U-Ottawa student and works as a part time staffer in one of the MP offices right in the middle of the parliament complex.

While, luckily, it was not a workday for her, most of her colleagues and friends were there. She had served the past year as a page in the House of Commons and was there, day in and day out. She got to work with and know most of the House staff, security personal as well as politicians.

As a family we visited the Parliament in March of 2014 with my visiting parents. I vividly remember my parents walking down the Hall of Honour and taking photos next to all the great monuments and in front of the doors of the Parliament’s Library.

My parents were amazed by how open our government and Parliament is, to the point that we can walk through the heart of it without any barriers or scrutiny from the security. All this has changed!

On that day, Ottawa was shut down. The government offices, universities, schools and public transient were under a lock down. The sense of terror and anxiety had reigned over the population and Canadians watching the news unfold there. As a mother, a Canadian, and a Muslim, I was appalled.

Any lunatic can terrorize the majority for no other reason than his/her own beliefs and fanatic perception. I felt dismayed for the attacker belonged, by name, to my religion. While he is responsible for his own actions, it unfortunately paints a grim and deceiving picture of our Muslim population and religion everywhere. It was a sad day for all Muslim Canadians who had nothing to do with his radical beliefs or horrid actions.

Islam is a tranquil religion that encourages peace, good manners and good will towards everyone. It has been victimized by those hijackers, who claim to do whatever they believe is right under its name.

This tragedy has been growing for many years now and tarnishing the reputation of Islam and Muslims all over the world. From the 911 attacks to the ISIS atrocities, the violence is overwhelming. I don’t feel apologetic for their crimes; I am deeply saddened by them. Islam that we teach to our young generations, here in Sarnia and all over the world, is about one’s relationship with God Almighty. We teach them, as we have been taught, to be good people, to observe their duties towards God, their parents, their families, their neighbours and their communities. We teach them to live in harmony with the rest of the creation.

Islam is a way of life, not a set of acts of worship. Islam encourages us to feed the hungry, help the needy and provide for those who don’t have the means. Islam does not encourage us to transgress against any non-Muslims or Muslims alike. It does not grant us paradise when we kill non-Muslims or blow ourselves to bits. That is not our religion!

Sahar Nasr is Principal of the Sarnia Muslim Association Friday School




Bring back Remembrance Day

Sir: It is long past the time that the status of Remembrance Day should be re-instated.

It is ironic that the terrible attacks on the soldiers occurred in the only two provinces in Canada – Quebec and Ontario – that do not have legislation in place to make Nov. 11 a mandatory statutory Day of Remembrance.

This was taken away in Ontario in 1982 by the Conservative government of Bill Davis and Education Minister Bette Stevenson, on the advice of the Provincial Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. Their stand was that all children should be in school to learn about the part Canada played in WW1 and WWII.

I think they would feel much more connected with the history if they could attend a ceremony with their families.

This day has been observed for nearly 100 years since the end of WW1, and although it may be too late to change the status for this year, the Ontario government should re-instate the statutory Remembrance Day so that everyone in Ontario can participate as they wish, and not just a privilege for government and other services.

Thank you.

Kathleen Hayes



New councillor shares gratitude

Sir: As a City Councillor Elect, I can’t help but reflect on the number of people who have so strongly supported me over the last couple of months, and the sheer number of votes that were tallied for me on Oct. 27. First of all, I would like to thank all of those wonderful people who allowed me five minutes of their time on their doorstep to introduce myself and ask for their support. I enjoyed those conversations immensely. Each of them inspired me to push on and work harder to reach my goal.

It is with sincere gratitude that I thank all who voted for me. For those whose votes I did not get, I will be working for you too. My campaign would not have been successful without the help of so many individuals and groups from your testimonials, invitations to speak, mentorship, financial contributions, media coverage, sign placements, letters and phone calls and more.

I am ready to work for you now, and look forward to working with you over the next four years to strengthen our city and make Sarnia an even better place to live!

Cindy Scholten



Trail supporter well versed

We must not gut Howard Watson just to purchase more flotsam,

From the restaurants and box store, pushing product from offshore.

Should we choose to engage in the trivial pursuit;

For three hundred more seconds, take the Michigan-Murphy route.

Or re-engineer the alleged Modeland bottleneck;

To form a part traffic circle, where fewer get wrecked.

You may have to yield to an oncoming car,

But the blue light special is really that far.

It’s one crazy city that ruins its jewels.

Canatara could be next if the motorcar rules.

Rob Woodward



Club showed lack of respect

Sir: During the past two weeks we have witnessed disbelief and heartbreak as two of our Servicemen fell (in Canada) due to cowardly acts.

We cannot begin to imagine the loss that their family must be experiencing.

Throughout the area, countless residential homes, the Sarnia Legion, golf clubs, seniors’ homes and private businesses honoured and showed respect for their loss by lowering our flag.

I was shocked that it wasn’t until Saturday, Oct. 25th between 4:45 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. that the Point Edward Servicemen’s Club decided to lower their flag to half-staff.

Shame to the executive and members of the club for neglecting their duty.  I would have thought this club would have been the first to honour these men. It makes one wonder if this is still a “Servicemen’s Club” or just another “watering hole.”

A reminder to the PESC that Nov. 11th is approaching. Please act accordingly.

Jean Laidlaw



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