Heed King's, Muhammad's words

Today marks the 31st Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As a Muslim American, I encourage my fellow citizens to reflect on the importance of this day.

King famously stated, "I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." This profound notion has always been a core tenet of the Islamic principles of equality, as Prophet Muhammad said: "A white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

I urge my fellow Americans to acknowledge and celebrate our shared values. Let us take the advice of these two great men and strive to overcome prejudice based on race or religion. Let us compete with each other in piety and acts of goodness. By doing this, we will be honoring the legacy of racial equality that King's and Muhammad's missions embodied.

|Nasir Ahmad, Tinton Falls, N.J., nasirmahmad@hotmail.com

Put King on $1 coin

What the U.S. Mint is doing with the new $100 coin is wonderful ("A new face of Lady Liberty,: Friday). But I would be ecstatic if Congress would replace our paper $1 bill with a $1 coin, and I suggest the likeness of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. be used on it to continue the diversity on our coins, if we must have it.

Our country should follow the lead of almost every other country in the world by replacing it's $1 bill with a coin. It would save money by circulating longer than the paper bills, which we continually replace as they get worn out.

|Ben LaGarde, Glenmoore, blagarde2@gmail.com

Tuesdays with, without Toomey

David Bowie is a key voice in the soundtrack of my life. He was unafraid to speak up for what was right. In a time when segregation in the music video industry was a given, Bowie went on MTV and asked why they weren't playing black artists. He was polite, but he didn't back down. He was, a hero, if just for one day.

We can all be heroes for a day. I see this in my work with Tuesdays with Toomey, a group of local residents who gather every Tuesday at Sen. Pat Toomey's Center City office to share concerns with his staff ("When public servants forget the 'public' part," Jan. 6). We are polite. We are respectful. But we won't back down.

Two weeks ago, despite locked doors and disconnected phones, 50 of us spoke for the environment. Last Tuesday, on the anniversary of Bowie's death, more than 100 of us defended civil rights by asking Toomey to oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for attorney general. We were locked out again. It was cold, the kind that numbs your fingertips in your gloves, but we spoke up for the rights of minorities, the disabled, women, and LGBT members.

And we'll be back this week, because, we can all be heroes - even if just on Tuesdays.

|Vashti Bandy, Philadelphia

Tough doing business in Philly

The Inquirer, once again, has proven itself a left-leaning publication with little knowledge or understanding of the business community. Your editorial, "Just say no to Comcast" (Thursday), should have been titled, "Just say no to business (again)."

The City Council bill would prohibit companies from asking job applicants about their pay history. This legislation joins a long line of antibusiness bills passed by Council, such as paid sick leave and barring most employers from asking job applicants about their criminal background.

Add the much-maligned city wage tax, and an unending line of corrupt politicians to this regulatory environment, and you can begin to understand why doing business in Philadelphia has become so challenging.

We shouldn't be surprised though. With one exception, the Council is made up of people who have never built companies. Very few have even held private-sector jobs.

Philadelphians have no one to blame but themselves. Note to job applicants: If you tell potential employers how much you made at your last job, and you don't like the new offer, take your talents elsewhere. Unlike the businesses in this community, you still enjoy some freedoms.

|Chris Wichser, Berwyn

Satisfied Obamacare customers

I am very tired of the barrage of bad information regarding the Affordable Care Act. Much of the Republican criticism seems to revolve around their oft-repeated claims that the health insurance is "unaffordable" and has risen to the point where it is not helpful to the approximately 20 million people who use it.

Several young people in my family use it. They are beginning writers, artists, and architects who would probably go to an emergency room when they were injured or ill if they did not have policies under Obamacare. Several of their policies from last year did increase in price. The insurance companies offered other policies, and the government stipend remained the same or increased. In two cases, the policyholder is paying less money this year, and the benefits seem largely the same.

It annoys me that no one seems to be talking to satisfied policyholders. If someone would let the other side be known, maybe the force behind the Republican witch-hunt would be diminished.

|Diane Fiske, Philadelphia

Don't wall off Rittenhouse Square

I live on Rittenhouse Square. It is my garden, my park, a place where I relax and talk with friends. But the park is not mine alone. It is for everyone, rich and poor, all races, all age groups.

When you enter the park, you will see the mosaic of people who inhabit our great city. You will also realize the shortage of seating ("Rittenhouse bans wall sitting, but few notice," Friday). So, you sit on those walls, the edges of the fountain pool, or the grass.

If you want to protect the walls, build a curved concrete bench in front of them. Or, is this issue not about the fragility of the walls or the use of marijuana in the park? Is it because those younger people are different? The benches are mostly crowded by the elderly, often white. The walls are crowded by the young, of many races. Are they the only ones using marijuana in the park? Of course not, considering the aged are the fastest-growing users of the drug for comfort and pain control.

If you want to maintain the integrity of Rittenhouse Square, choose options that are inclusive, rather than an issue that appears discriminatory toward our younger park users.

|Gloria Finkle, Philadelphia, gfinkle@comcast.net

U.S. has intruded, too

Of course I am upset with the Russians meddling in our presidential election, but isn't it the pot calling the kettle black? Does anyone remember Mohammad Mosaddegh? The United States did some heavy-duty meddling with a democratically elected Iranian prime minister in 1953. Salvador Allende, president of Chile? The U.S. engineered his overthrow in 1973.

We can be angry at Russia, but we have to temper it somewhat, since we do the same thing.

|Joseph A. Liebreich, King of Prussia