Letters for July 15 

Readers sound off on Zaytuna College, mixed martial arts, the use of the word "nigger," biodiesel, and more.

"Berkeley's Islamic Awakening," Feature 6/3

They're All Extremists

Loved the article by Don Lattin about the two with-it Berkeley Muslims offering a more inclusive path than that offered by "some Shiite extremists." In Islam you are either a believer or not. If not, "gorments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers ... those who deny our revelations burn in fire."

I'm enclosing some anti-Koran writings. I'm more inclined to give the enclosed writings credence than that of some convert apologist. Islam is insane.

I submit that Hamza Yusif and Zaid Shakir keep their mouths shut when they are around not just "some Shiite extremists," but around most Moselm Imams.

What's the use. Change your name, dress funny, oppress women, get into the religious swing. It's okay because other religions do it, too. Do these guys also believe that when their prophet died, he got on a horse and ascended into heaven?

Why should anyone believe what these guys say? Just look at what Islam does.

Bill Hoch, Oakland

"Tigers, but Ladies Too," News, 6/17

Carano vs. Santos

Yikes! Your interesting piece on the local female mixed martial arts scene wonders if there will "be a place for these fighters to compete." You must not have known that the first-ever major MMA card with a women's main event — to be broadcast on Showtime — will take place on August 15 at San Jose's HP Pavilion: Gina Carano vs. Christiane Santos for the Strikeforce 145-pound championship.

Let the record show that Carano, who is good-looking and charismatic, also has credible world-class skills, with a background in Muay Thai, an Asian striking sport in which she competed before turning into female MMA's first crossover media star and glamour girl. "Conviction" Carano against "Cyborg" Santos is one of the most eagerly anticipated men's or women's events of 2009.

Irvin Muchnik, Berkeley

"Racial Tensions Boil Over at Berkeley High," News, 6/17

Words Matter

I am a 51-year-old African-American human rights/civil rights activist. I was born and grew up in the segregated South. Predicting what happened at Berkeley High School is why for years I have pleaded with (and to no avail) African-American teens to avoid use of the words nigger and niggas. If a subculture desensitizes itself to degrading words, why would that subculture expect others to behave differently? Eve Shames, the student school board representative, said it best: "He said something really stupid ... but he has been getting the message for four strong years that it is okay to say it." I believe that certain words cannot be redeemed. It's been 46 years since I first heard the word nigger, and I still wince whether I hear it in a song lyric or from the mouths of children. Words matter. Select them carefully.

Alfreda Wright, Oakland 

"The Battle Over Biofuels," Feature, 6/17

What About Biodiesel?

Interesting article on biofuels. However, in the second paragraph, you lump biodiesel in with ethanol but never again in the article. You also fail to mention that biodiesel is often made from recycled cooking oil, like the biodiesel sold commercially in Berkeley. Vehicles running on biodiesel run twice as efficient as comparable gas or ethanol vehicles.

The main reason the City of Berkeley ended its seven-year experiment with biodiesel was because of their use of lower-grade biodiesel with a high bacteria content that was causing mechanical issues with their vehicles. Although European cities use biodiesel, Berkeley was the first city worldwide to use the fuel for its entire fleet, and at least two other cities, Telluride, Colorado, and Coconut Creek, Florida, have also followed suit.

How about an article dealing with the pros and cons of biodiesel?

Jim Scott, Berkeley


In our July 8 cover story, "What Is Killing the East Bay's Soul Food Restaurants?," we mistakenly stated that Lam Toro is closed when in fact it is still open.

In our July 8 music story, "Oakland Metro Operahouse Returns to Form," we misspelled the name of the Fleishhacker Foundation.


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