Hashim Amla is a real role model

The South African cricketer deserves praise for his dedication to his religious beliefs, a reader says. Other letter topics: the Olympics, and pay and prices during Ramadan.

A reader praises South African batsman Hashim Amla for being true to his religious beliefs. Tom Shaw / Getty Images
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I felt compelled to comment on the opinion piece, Ennobling spirit of Olympics killed by corporate phoniness, by Brian Kappler.

I have spent a lifetime inspired by the Olympics. I was an English county swimmer "with potential" in my early teens, and the thought of competing at Olympic level is what gave me the drive to train at every hour of the day. The Olympics coming to my home country is something to relish, not criticise.

The legacy of the Games will live long in the UK. An estimated 10 million people turned out to watch the flame travel around the country with another two million estimated to watch it in London. And 75 per cent of tickets are already sold. Is this "phoniness"?

For the athletes this is their lifetime aim, regardless of the sport in which they compete (even fencing - Matteo Tagliario won the épée in answer to your question).

Children growing obese has nothing to do with budgeting for elite athletes. If children want to succeed then they will, and passing the blame for their obesity to governments or sporting bodies is at the best short-minded and at worse just an excuse; a really bad one at that. You don't need sponsorship to swim in the sea or run along the roads and paths.

Athletes are aware of the branding, because it finances them. The organisers and governing bodies are aware, as it enables them to provide these Games. I would suggest that the average person who just likes to watch sport doesn't pay it a second thought.

Pierre de Coubertin wanted a chance for the world to come together once every four years in the name of sport. Over the next three weeks we will see just that.

Perhaps a bit of the camaraderie that these sportsmen and women feel towards each other regardless of race, creed, colour or gender will spill over into the political world, and then his aim will have been fully achieved.

Ian Douglas, Dubai

Great sportsman sets an example

What can one say regarding Twitches of Amla's bat can do a fine turn (July 23)?

Hashim Amla is one of those cricketers, and characters, you only get once in a blue moon. He's humble, he's devoted to his religion and he's a wonderful example of a true sportsman.

Being a professional sportsman, he gets paid because of large sponsorships from big companies, such as Castle Breweries in the case of South African cricket. We know that Amla doesn't wear the Castle beer logo on his shirt because he is a Muslim.

I respect his decision and salute him for doing it, but allow me the question: how does he get paid? Does he share in the sponsorship money?

André Barnard, South Africa

Assad should be allowed to flee

I write in reference to Assad unleashes helicopter gunships on his own capital (July 23).

Despite my dislike for the Assad regime and my support for the civilians being shelled, I think it would be better if Bashar Al Assad did not end up like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi.

He is finished as a political force so he should accept any offer of safe passage out of the country.

My preference is that Syria have a government with a secular base and with the rule of law applying.

Frederick Melick, Australia

Will supermarkets also be punished?

Market stalls lose licences over pricing breaches (July 23)? Big deal. What about supermarkets, especially those inside malls?

Let's wait and see what happens to them.

James Donato, Dubai

Ramadan working hours apply to all

In A little planning goes a long way (July 22), one interviewee says senior staff are not "subject" to Ramadan hours.

The Ministry of Labour says all employees must work reduced hours regardless of religion, or if they choose to work them, they must be paid double time.

N Edwards, Dubai

India must respect Muslims' rights

Having read the opinion article India's Muslims left behind because of an old secular bias (July 23), I feel the scenario is more visible in Uttar Pradesh and a few other states where the Muslim community has comparatively fewer privileges in job allocations and admissions to educational institutions.

In the south Indian state of Kerala, the Muslim League is the second largest stakeholder in government, with five ministers.

The focus should be more on states where the Muslim community is long suffering and their basic demands are being ignored.

The provision of basic constitutional rights to Muslims in India should be respected and valued.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman