Letters / Religious arguments ‘ridiculously’ simplistic

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AS a Muslim, I have to say that I find John Farrands’ arguments (letters, CN, January 28) ridiculously simplistic.

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I have known dozens of women who have got divorces, although it works slightly differently, in that the imam pronounces the word “Talaq” (I divorce) on behalf of the woman. My mother-in-law has been divorced several times, mostly on her own initiative.

Islam is a complex web with many shades of practice and Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) demands studies on the same level as civil law.

The offensive part of this is his selective quoting from the Koran – it is possible to do that with the Bible as well. His sentence about “the situation in Europe” is so vague as to be useless and his selection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is very partial; she is a populist writer with an axe to grind. I am somewhat familiar with Muslim feminist writing and I can tell you that most of it is more measured than hers.

Anyway, I would hardly put myself up as an exemplary apologist for Islam, but I do find this kind of crap pathetic.

Helen Musa, Queanbeyan

Back-to-school butterflies

I STILL get butterflies in my stomach when I think of my first day at school. The anticipation of seeing friends, and a few people I’d rather not face, finding out who my teachers would be, all that homework, study and exams. Okay perhaps they were knots in my stomach. But those nerves weren’t all bad, they were also about excitement and anticipation for the year ahead.
For over 3.6 million students across Australia heading to primary and secondary school over the next few weeks there will no doubt be plenty of butterflies.

For some children it’s particularly difficult as they face extra pressures like getting the best grades, or dealing with bullying, and others may be dealing with mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

If you are a young person with something going on, or a parent with concerns about your child, you don’t have to handle things alone.

Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation, provides support for young people aged 12 to 25 who are struggling with their mental wellbeing.

General mental health and wellbeing resources can be found at headspace.org.au. For online and telephone support please visit eheadspace.org.au or call 1800 650890, between 9am and 1am.

Chris Tanti, CEO, headspace

Now the birds have flown

THERE was the Birdman Rally, the Canberra International Dragway, the V8 Supercars, the Australian Long Track GP, the much maligned powerboats and now the National Poultry Show is gone.

Who cares? I do as each of these facilities or events attracted considerable local, region, interstate and international competitors and attendance returning many millions to the ACT, with an economy that can use all the help it can get.

As Chief Minister Barr, Mr Rattenbury and Mr Corbell seem intent on digging an ever increasing hole for ACT citizens before the 2016 election, perhaps now is a good time for supporters of the above to push for the return of such activities to the ACT.

I can hear the hissing and cursing of those cocooned in their own little ACT worlds and to those good people I say there are many in the ACT who hiss and curse at the costs and blowouts of the Alexander Maconochie Centre, the arboretum, Floriade, the tram, the beach volleyball courts amongst a plethora of extremities and, of course, the ACT Greens Labor government’s continual caving in to the cyclists of the ACT.

Michael Attwell, Dunlop

Drug-affected logic

IF the Australian community expects any substantial reduction in illicit drug use in 2016, I suspect they will be disappointed.

The drug elites who drafted Australia’s illicit drug strategy 35 years ago still ride shotgun today to ensure no directional changes are made by the 35-year-old creaky coach carrying the unsuccessful policy, and the sheriff’s horses must be of similar age as they can’t catch it.

A national illicit drug strategy that says to our young folk: we realise you may choose to use illicit drugs and if you do, try to ensure you use them safely is surely drug-affected.

This is like a road traffic authority saying to those at a pedestrian crossing: we realise that you may choose to cross against the red light and, if you do, try to ensure you cross safely. This surely would constitute mental disorder. Why then is such an approach stupid for pedestrians, but presented as common sense for prospective drug users?

Colliss Parrett, Barton

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