Visit by pope welcomed by MuslimsThe Muslim community in...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

October 07, 1995

Visit by pope welcomed by Muslims

The Muslim community in Baltimore welcomes Pope John Paul II. This visit carries with it great hope for more cooperation among the divine religions. Islam has endorsed such cooperation since the message of Jesus -- love, peace, and brotherhood among all the creatures of Almighty Allah, our Lord. It is part of the global message of Islam.

It is more important than ever before, in today's world of the Muslims as well as the Christians, to take bigger and quicker steps against the ills of the world. Locally, to stand against the rise of immorality, drug use and alcoholism, which are the causes of more and more crimes threatening the safety of the family and the society. And globally, to help prevent wars among the nations in order that we may be the true successors and followers of Jesus and Mohammed, who called always for love, tolerance and peace; not malice, hatred or killing of innocent people, all of whom belong to the one family of Adam and Eve.

We hope that through this visit the doors of understanding between Muslims and Christians who are living in America, side by side, will be opened wider. . . .

Very few of our Christian brothers and sisters know that Jesus is mentioned numerous times in our holy book, the Koran. For 1,400 years, it as shown Muslims examples from the life of Jesus, his devotion, his teachings and his family -- specifically his mother, Mary, after whom a long Sura, or chapter, in the Koran is named -- to teach them how to co-exist with the followers of Jesus, who are a branch of the tree of Abraham.

Because of this and more, we welcome Pope John Paul II and we

wish him a happy stay in Baltimore.

Imam M. Bashar Arafat

Baltimore

RF The writer is chairman of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland.

Did Simpson jurors really try their best?

If the decision of the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial was based on the evidence presented, then it was a fair and just decision. We may not agree, but we must wholeheartedly support the process that rendered the conclusion of innocence. It was designed to oblige the accusers to prove for certain the guilt of the accused. If none of the 12 jurors felt the evidence compelling enough for a guilty vote, we can live with that. All we ask is their best effort.

If the outcome of the case was determined by other factors, then the jury itself is guilty of dereliction of the sacred duty that the people of their state entrusted in them. The task of determining guilt or innocence is a great responsibility and holds great power. The abuse of such power is criminal. It is no better to let a guilty man go free than to convict one who is innocent. If this jury neglected to weigh the facts, then it betrayed us all.

In addition, a jury sequestered for any length of time cannot be considered normal. The panelists become hostages. The stress of prolonged separation from loved ones and familiar routine must certainly take its toll. At some point, the cost of sequestration outweighs the benefits.

A major factor in the separation of the jury is the media. The press has the role of covering the story, but more and more, the coverage is becoming the story. It is beginning to have an effect on the outcome. We do not need the live coverage, nightly updates and endless detail. The "circus" and the "frenzy" have gone too far.

Duncan A. Douglas

Timonium

Seniors' homes better than image

As a long-time Catonsville resident who lives near a senior citizens' group home, I was distressed to read in the Oct. 2 Sun that there is so much controversy over this type of establishment. Residents of these homes are not hardened criminals trying to invade someone's privacy or bring harm. They are people who, after a lifetime of service to others, now require some daily living assistance.

Several years ago when the West Catonsville Community Association expressed concern about the proposed Lifespring Senior Housing, I would not take part in opposing the home because I believed most fears were unfounded and felt very strongly about the need for such a place.

Since then, Lifespring has come to Pleasant Villa Avenue and there is no evidence that the neighborhood has suffered from it. There has definitely not been an exodus of young people moving away from their singles dwellings. The homes continue to be well-kept, children still play outdoors, and the feared additional traffic is probably no more than if the house were occupied by a large family.

Joyce E. Green

Catonsville

Surprise! Naughty bits are in those films

In a Sept. 23 column, ''Naughty bits and busybodies,'' Patrick Ercolano ridicules a claim made by the American Life League concerning shadowy sexual messages in Disney animated films. also found the claims hard to believe, until I watched the segments in my copies of ''The Lion King'' and ''Aladdin.'' To my surprise, both items mentioned were present. Whether they were sanctioned by Disney or the result of animators and sound technicians run amok, only Disney can tell us.

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