The Muslim Community of Portland would like to express gratitude to those who stood up against the hate crime that occurred at the Maine Muslim Community Center on May 2.

It’s extremely reassuring that the state of Maine is united against this hateful act. We appreciate the quick response and support of the city of Portland, and the law enforcement agencies.

We understand that this act was committed by a narrow-minded, irresponsible individual or individuals. We also know that this person does not represent any community in Portland and that he or she acted alone and out of ignorance.

We are citizens of the United States and for those doubters who tell us to go home — we are home, and we are here to stay. Our community is among other communities in Maine, who strive to make a difference in the lives of others and we have and will continue to reject any acts of evil.

Without a doubt this incident was hurtful, humiliating, disrespectful and tormenting but today the city of Portland is united against injustice. Our community is very thankful to everyone who denounced this intolerable discriminatory action.

We should always promote respect, integrity, and justice for all citizens, and we should stand against those who seek violence and spread hatred regardless of their religion, race and sex.

Gouled Hassan

Maine Muslim Community

Portland

Financial commitment goes with pro-life policies

Succinctly and without a pejorative connotation, a fiscal conservative doesn’t support subsidizing the cost of living for people who do not make enough at their current job(s) or do not work.

But by supporting legislation that limits women’s access to, or information on pregnancy options and opposing government payments to an insurance group that covers the medical procedure of abortion, more children are being forced into that demographic. Herein lies the fiscal obligation of a pro-life vote: demanding unwanted children into this world means you’re fiscally responsible for aspects of raising those children.

Personal beliefs on a woman’s right to choose, the moment that life starts and the fight for the unborn child are not being debated here. Fiscal conservatives voting pro life should take a long look at your family and religious values vs. fiscal beliefs and ask if they are at odds with each other. Evaluate the long term costs of raising a child to maturity: financial, societal and emotional. Part of poverty is a societal cycle of children requiring the community to raise them.

Truly pro life is truly concerned with the life of the child. Accepting responsibility from child to functional adult, the first 18-25 years, is easily done by supporting appropriate socialist programs and public education legislation.

When fiscal conservatives take pro-life votes they demand that children be born to financially andor emotionally unprepared parents. Conservatives then should also advocate for more social workers, school employees and an increase in government spending. The repercussions of this conservative social belief should lead to a long-term fiscal commitment.

Brendan Dagan

Bangor

Same-sex marriage foe’s myths easily defeated

On myths advanced in a recent Maine Vocices column by the Stand for Marriage chair Marc Mutty (“Yes on 1 campaign worthwhile,” April 24):

First, heterosexual marriages need no protection against lesbians and gay men who wish to marry; lesbians and gay men have no interest whatsoever in interfering with those marriages.

Heterosexual marriage is, however, endangered (about 50 percent) by other heterosexuals, to wit: those heterosexuals entering intimate relations with a married heterosexual, and those married heterosexuals entering such relations with a heterosexual not their spouse.

Those are the dangers that heterosexual marriages encounter. In point of fact, if every gay and lesbian couple who wish to marry did so tomorrow, no, absolutely no, heterosexual marriages would be damaged — not tomorrow, not next month, not next year. Myth No. 1 demolished.

Second, the definition of marriage as being “between one man and one woman” is not fixed, but is in fact cultural. For example, the Old Testament records any number of patriarchs who each had several wives. Obviously, then, the definition of marriage, even within the Judeo-Christian tradition, is not and has not been fixed, but rather has evolved and been culturally determined, which is what it is today: culturally determined.

And, as has happened between Old Testament times and now, as cultures mature and people become more knowledgeable, norms, customs, and mores that are harmful to people are changed, such as with the treatment of people of color.

Our current understanding of marriage has not, then, existed “since the beginning of time.” Myth No. 2 demolished.

Third, it is indeed fervently to be hoped that future children will be taught so that “tolerance,” a cold and condescending term, will not be necessary but, rather, their education will ensure their understanding that we are not all alike, and that equality in marriage does no harm whatsoever to married adults whose biology happened to make then heterosexual.

Evelyn S. Newlyn

Scarborough

Blaming teachers no fix for state’s financial problems

An insidious form of age discrimination has now appeared to gain respectability. In the name of fiscal responsibility, veteran teaching staff are being encouraged to retire often despite stellar performance levels. These requests are frequently framed by highlighting the seniority earned through their hard work as being to blame for job and program cuts.

If altruism is not in itself enough to entice senior staff to leave, Gov. LePage’s proposed changes to benefit packages provide the second punch. If a veteran teacher does not want to retire this year, they have been warned that chances are when they do they will be getting less. This has many veteran staff feeling cornered.

They are leaving to avoid being cast adrift on the budget reduction iceberg being formed for those staff members that remain.

Ultimately, these tactics will hurt the education of the students. Homogeneous streamlining may be a model that works well for assembly lines, but schools are not factories.

Caution should be used. We lead through example. Our example should be one that demonstrates honor for experience and dedication rather than one that promote scapegoating when problems are faced.

Our country is facing a deficit in the trillions.

Our finances must be realistic. The response should not be to eliminate valued teaching staff from town budgets. Instead, the solution should include ensuring that students be provided a quality education.

Cathleen Gallo

Kittery

News photographer Rec an artist, deserves raise

Just wanted to let you know that I was blown away when I saw the photos by Staff Photographer Gregory Rec in the April 24 Maine Sunday Telegram.

His illustrations of sheep and others accompanying the article “A Growing Concern” were beyond professional. He is truly an artist with a camera.

Give that guy a raise! You are lucky to have him.

Alice M. Larrabee

Boothbay