February 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 68  

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EDITORIAL

Letters

Caribbean event a mess

Re: “Wave patrons spit on, harass UCC gamers,” Jan. 27, 2004

To the Editor:
As a member of the Caribbean Students’ Organization, I was not only at The Wave on Saturday night, but at DV8 night club on Friday night, both events part of the CSO’s culture show weekend.

Firstly, on behalf of my fellow Caribbean people, I would like to apologize dearly to the gamers (members of the Western Electronic Gaming Association) who were disrupted and disrespected by patrons attending our event.

Secondly, to my Caribbean people, what have we come to? On both nights, I felt threatened by unruly people who were obviously just as distraught as me over the terrible running/planning of the events. We should not have to wait in line for hours just to get in or to get our coats. With a pre-purchased ticket, I did not even get in on Saturday night.

However, there is absolutely no excuse for such behaviour on our parts. Next time (not that I will be there), I hope that we as a people will be able to show each other and other Western associations more respect than we did that weekend.

Sheena Khan
Psychology II

To infinity and beyond!

To the Editor:
How egocentric is it to assume that life has formed on a planet so close to our own. Billions of dollars are being wasted trying to analyze whether or not there was once life on Mars.

If we ever hope to make real progress, we must first take a few small steps from our planet. A base on the moon would be a start, allowing manufacturing with lunar minerals and lower gravity (and no atmosphere), allowing for much easier transport. This will allow for supplies to be sent to Mars readily and support research teams. Maybe once we have an outpost on Mars we can then spend time on the question of “is there life?,” instead of making little progress studying it from Earth.

The problem is the public and their perception. Huge amounts of money are being put towards preventing our own deaths, but not to other sciences. Here’s a news flash: we all die. An extra two years of your life sounds good but it’s at the cost of the advancement of the human race. I’m not saying to eliminate health research and let us die at 30-years-olds like we used to, but just make sure it is not the main (or only) focus of our research.

When viewing what happened during the space race, it was amazing to see the results. People cared and wanted to contribute to the world around them because they had a collective goal to work towards. In this “what’s in it for me” world, people need something they can rally behind. Instead of constantly hearing news about murders, muggings, etc., it would be excellent to hear more progression and plans for the future which we could believe and know could happen.

Andrew Wallace
Master’s Mechanical Engineering II

IAC clears the air about flyers

To the Editor:
We at the Israel Action Committee would like to offer our sincerest apologies to Muslim students at Western for undue harm caused by a flyer recently distributed at an IAC table in the University Community Centre atrium. While it is no excuse, the flyer was circulated by mistake — one that we take full responsibility for. Please understand that upon our realization the flyer could be misinterpreted in a way that would unacceptably offend students (Muslim or otherwise) at Western, we immediately removed the flyer from circulation.

At the IAC, we try to model ourselves after the free and democratic state of Israel. Like Canada, Israel knows the importance of its diversity and multi-culturalism — a virtue strongly supported by its Arab Muslim community of approximately 1.5 million citizens. As such, it is extremely important for us to maintain strong relations with Muslim students at Western and the Muslim Students’ Association, and we will continue to work to this end.

Another concern of the IAC and more importantly, the state of Israel, is the quality of life in the Middle East and all major factors that could diminish this. Extremist Islamic Fundamentalists (more aptly called Islamists) have used a perverted version of Islam to invite violence in both Israel and Muslim Middle Eastern nations alike (not to mention the United States, as the World Trade Center was portrayed in our misguided flyer). The actions of these fanatics have and must continue to be condemned by all life and peace-loving citizens of the world. We at the IAC have full recognition that the heinous actions of these individuals, incited by their leaders, is quite un-Islamic, and we urge you to join us in this condemnation.

We recognize Canadian Muslims as another group that must, too often, combat racism. Please know that you have our full and complete support. We are proud of the groundbreaking efforts of some Muslim Western students in combating new inequitable laws in France that have banned Muslims, as well as other identifiable religious groups, from outwardly wearing symbols of their faith. We are proud to support such initiatives and you should know that we look forward to continuing to support these types of efforts — just as Israel would. May this represent the beginning of a new partnership in support of diversity, tolerance, equality and peace between our groups and other campus groups that support the pluralistic values that we know both of our groups strive for.

Israel Action Committee

Hijab-wearing an individual decision

Re: “On the hijab,” Jan. 20, 2004

To the Editor:
After reading Andy Patton’s letter, it surprised me individuals assume men force the hijab onto women. I apologize for disappointing your assumption, Andy, but I am an educated Muslim woman who acknowledges my rights and is confident in defending them, because I have my God-given proof stated in the Holy Qur’an.

Your claim that various Muslim “scholars,” whose credibility I would surely question, do not believe the hijab is obligatory is really of no relevance. Islam, like any other religion, should not be judged by its people, but by its scripture, which was revealed by God. Since the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language, we must understand its meanings by reference to the usage and conventions of that language. Translations, however accurate they may be, often do not properly convey the full nuances of the revealed word.

The specific verse on the hijab in the Qur’an states: “And tell the believing women to lower their eyes, and guard their modesty, and that they display not their ornaments except what appears of them. And that they draw their scarves (khumurihinna) over their bosoms… ” (Q. 24:31).

The word ‘khumurihinna’ in Arabic is the plural of ‘khimar’ which is defined as a “woman’s head covering; a piece of cloth with which a woman covers her head.” Thus, the hijab is an essential part of the Islamic faith and not merely a matter of Arabic custom.

Furthermore, your mentioning of certain Islamic states imposing the hijab on women is parallel to France imposing a ban on the hijab, because in both instances, freedom of choice is taken away. The Qur’an clearly states: “There is no compulsion in religion.” God gives us the guidelines and laws of life, and it is a personal decision to accept those laws, given that the individual is responsible for those decisions.

If taking action against the main trend in society means I will continue to uphold my Islamic values, and not subject myself to superficial standards set by advertisers who want to make the most money, then I am proud to be the deviant.

Raghad Ebied
Psychology/French II

Holocaust comparison is out of bounds

To the Editor:
In his youth, my grandfather was a religious man who trained to be a rabbi. Now, he avoids or rushes all the ceremonies and services that used to delight him. He’s not sure whether God is a malicious deity or if God just doesn’t exist at all. He can’t imagine that the God he grew up loving would allow him to be dragged from his home and exploited for slave labor. He doesn’t understand how a benevolent God could stand by while his family was marched off to gas chambers. He finds it impossible to keep his faith when he used to go to sleep breathing a thick, acrid smoke that was the remains of his loved ones.

Recently, a flyer was handed out on campus that compared the intifada with the uprising at the Warsaw Ghetto. The implication is that the Israeli government is comparable to the Nazis. It’s clear the Israeli government, like all governments, is far from perfect. That some people attempt to defend all Israel’s actions as justifiable is proof that dogma is sometimes stronger than reason.

That being said, it is an inexcusable insult to my grandfather and countless other victims of the Holocaust to compare a democratic government that has made mistakes to a group of people who deliberately murdered millions of Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies and disabled people.

To the individuals responsible for the flyer, how dare you cheapen the ordeal my family went through for your own political gain. I am ashamed to go to the same school with such people.

Jack Brzezinski
Chemistry II

A $14 break

Re: “A lost $14,” Jan. 27, 2004

To the Editor:
I would like to know whether or not Mr. Janiszewski has ever missed a class while at university. He is, in fact, in fourth year, and if he’s never missed a lecture, then I guess I can see how he would be upset about the $14 he paid for that cancelled lecture.

But come on! Most of us are relieved that in our busy schedule we get an hour or two off to go for a beer, grab some much-needed sleep or maybe even go and study. Some of us might gladly pay $14 once a semester to not have to listen to a boring professor.

My advice to you, Mr. Janiszewski, is to not be such a tight ass.

Matt Sanchez
Kinesiology IV

 

 

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