ISSUE | ISLAMOPHOBIA

Hostile climate

The recent act of throwing a severed pig's head at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society mosque in North Philadelphia was clearly an act of Islamophobia, signifying grave disrespect toward Muslims. But it is much more than that. The act also reflects a growing climate in this country of intolerance aimed at practitioners of Islam. It represents an attack on the religious tolerance and diversity that are crucial elements of a just and democratic society.

We also note with alarm the anti-Muslim rhetoric and behavior that have been unleashed through the presidential campaign, which can only fuel further hostile acts.

Germantown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends condemns the recent hateful act aimed at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society. We express our solidarity with the Society and seek to join with our Muslim brothers and sisters, along with others, to counter the broader racist hostility and xenophobia that we now face.

The most effective actions to counter the hatred will be done in the spirit of hope and love.

|Germantown Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends, Philadelphia

Undoing racism

Thanks for reporting on the positive relationship being developed between the Upper Darby police and American residents whose faith tradition is Muslim ("Muslims march with police in U. Darby,"

Dec. 16).

"By getting to know one another, we can persevere through this challenging time," said Kamal Rahman, a leader of the Masjid Al Madinah Mosque and Islamic Center.

Amen. Communicating with each other is part of the solution to undoing racism and building peace.

On behalf of the steering committee for the CommUNITY Breakfast, conducted annually at Villanova University to mark "Undoing Racism Day," blessings for joyous holy days and a Happy New Year.

|Anne Minicozzi, Villanova, thecommunitybreakfast@comcast.net

Spreading the truth

There is a lot of fear and misunderstanding among the public about Islam. I don't think the solution is to tell the Islamic State that we are going to kill their followers and their families.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, led by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Khalifa of Islam, has been denouncing terrorism for more than 120 years. We have conducted "Stop the CrISIS" events around the world and recently launched a website, http://www.trueislam.com, to combat the false ideals of ISIS and others who distort religion for their own ends.

|Dr. Madeel Abdullah, Newtown Square, madeel1@gmail.com

ISSUE | WEST PHILADELPHIA

Is 30th Street Station project worth it?

30th Street Station is one of Philadelphia's architectural pearls. Changing it to extend Drexel University's campus footprint isn't the wisest decision ("On a New Track," Dec. 15).

People have dreamed up schemes to bridge the SEPTA rail yard for more than 20 years, with little or no practical solutions that didn't call for an exaggerated cost vs. potential. After all, we're talking about millions of dollars in extensive bridge work and baseplate construction just to cover the 175 acres between Walnut and Spring Garden Streets east of Drexel's campus and Powelton Village - and then what?

Who would really benefit from this enterprise. Many would tell you that this is a "pie in the sky" dream of Drexel President John Fry, though Amtrak, SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust, and others also are looking at transforming the area.

Actually, Fry's predecessor, Constantine Papadakis, mentioned it quite often as the solution to Drexel's lack of land on which to expand. Technically, anything is possible, as the university's College of Engineering will tell you - but, again, at what practical cost?

|Scott Cameron, Philadelphia, scottcameronart@comcast.net

Provide a mass transit link to the zoo

As part of Amtrak's bold plan to redevelop the rail yard above 30th Street Station, the city should seriously consider including a transit right-of-way that would link 30th Street with the Philadelphia Zoo. The zoo is one of the city's top tourist attractions, but its only mass transit connections are the Route 15 trolley and the nearby Route 38 bus.

Providing a light-rail link with Center City would reduce the constant traffic bottlenecks and parking issues at the zoo's main entrance, plus it would increase accessibility to the city and invest in clean transportation.

|Stephen Gliatto, Bala Cynwyd, gliat36@gmail.com

ISSUE | PORNGATE

A matter of respect

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin's lawyers excuse his pornographic, misogynistic, and racist emails as merely "male banter" (Thursday). That comment brings the problem into sharp focus. Too many powerful white men consider it normal to be disrespectful of too many people. How do we create a system of justice in which everyone is regarded with respect?

|Patricia McBee, Philadelphia

ISSUE | PENNSYLVANIA BUDGET STALEMATE

Republicans should consider Wolf mandate

In response to state Rep. Kate Harper's claim that she is working in Harrisburg, I beg to differ ("Hunkering down in Harrisburg," Dec. 16). She and fellow Republicans are doing what they do best - denying that an election took place.

Gov. Wolf was voted into office on the promise of funding education by taxing the Marcellus Shale natural-gas drillers. Harper has betrayed the citizens of this state, making Independents, like myself, think very hard about ever casting a vote for a Republican again.

|Richard A. DeKalb, Abington