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Friday Letters: Let’s show we’re not biased vs. race or religion

Belgian state representatives observe a minute of silence on Thursday at the Federal Parliament in Brussels, during a ceremony for victims of the triple bomb attack at the Brussels airport and at a subway station. | Nicolas Maeterlinck/AFP

I wanted to take this opportunity to give my thoughts and prayers to the victims of the horrible attacks in Brussels, as well as their loved ones.

As a convert to Islam born in America, I feel it is important to stand with fellow Muslims in denouncing this violence, and in differentiating it from true Islam.

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Further, I believe that talk of “Muslim neighborhoods” and statements that “Islam hates us” only serves to further tensions between the civilized and the extremists. There are 3 million Muslims in the United States who do not (and should not) live in separate neighborhoods, and the actions of a few dozen do not represent an entire religion.

On the other hand, if we can show that we are not prejudiced toward a race or followers of a religion, we can stem the tide of propaganda that ends in this kind of violence.

Aaron Gage, Naperville

Too much time in cages

I have adopted over the years three dogs and three cats from both kill and no-kill shelters. My cats, Sylvia, Monty and Mario seemed to have suffered the least amount of trauma from the experience. But all three dogs, Opal, Trooper and Phoebe, had issues requiring an experienced owner. All three spent too much time in cages. Opal was placed in a cage with two other dogs. I adopted her with fresh bite marks. Phoebe spent six months at a county shelter. She came into the shelter pregnant, delivered and weaned six pups. Of course, the pups were adopted out first and she lingered in a tiny cage. The volunteer program there was almost nonexistent. All three had severe separation anxiety. It took Trooper a year to keep his leg down indoors while I was away. Phoebe was phobic of crates and baby gates. She literally chewed her way out of them, causing her gums to bleed and in one case, fracturing a molar.

I adored all three of the dogs, but they were damaged goods needing lots of individual attention and training. Years later I still get flashbacks to two of the shelters where the conditions and confinement were physically and psychologically abhorrent.

Living out a life in a cage is cruel and unusual punishment.

Mary Ann Mayfield, Edgewater

Getting worse

After all the talk during the 2014 race for governor about the multitudinous problems facing this state and the need for quick, decisive action to address them, who would have believed that 16 months later the situation in Illinois would be much worse than ever before: nine months without a budget, increased debt piling up by the minute, state universities withering away, vital social service programs gone?

Bad things are happening in Illinois that have never happened before, and bad things that were happening before are getting worse at an accelerating pace. What has changed? Illinois has most of the same citizens, businesses, institutions, legislators, and state employees that it has had for the last several years. What is different is that Illinois is now “led” by a fanatical right-wing ideologue named Bruce Rauner, who is willing to burn down the state to get what he wants. Oh, and the other thing that is different is that the Republican Party in Illinois has become radicalized and is marching in lockstep behind the new governor. Their destination: oblivion for their party and for the people of Illinois.

James Patrick O’Connor, Evanston

Would they be pleased?

I wonder how many of our grandparents and great grandparents who fought and/or died fighting the Fascists in Europe would vote today for either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. I wonder how many of them would be pleased with their decendants who are supporting them.

Greg Stone, Elgin

What gall

What gall! We have a governor who still does not have his act together after one year in office. Who still has not come up with a budget for 2015 — and attempts to distract the public by blaming others for his lack of skills. A governor who is holding the state and needy people hostage for his own selfish reasons. A city that allowed 52 schools to close, that has not provided sufficient funds to keep our schools operating, a Board of Education with plans to fire more teachers. A City Council that has placed our city in a financial crisis and yet feels it can criticize the Chicago Teachers Union for planning a one-day strike.

At this point, the CTU feels it is left with no other option since we have no state or city leadership that has come up with solutions to fund our schools or resolve the pension problem. No one has the right to criticize unless you come up with solutions, if none, than you are part of the problem. Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have failed our state and our city. Stop the distractions and do your jobs!

Ann Gutierrez, Tinley Park