A reader says security guards need to be vigilant rather than have more power.  Lee Hoagland/ The National
A reader says security guards need to be vigilant rather than have more power. Lee Hoagland/ The National

Should guards be empowered?

In reference to your article Mall guards: Give us power to protect (December 10), I don't support giving more power to security guards because most of them are not qualified to have it or use it appropriately. Guards just need to do their job properly.

It’s not the guards’ powers – or lack of them – that resulted in the mall attack on Reem Island. I think it’s the lack of vigilance that’s to blame.

Richard Isabirye J, Abu Dhabi

Teach them young if the UAE is to be clean

I refer to Fatima Al Shamsi's opinion article My pet peeve: spoiling the places we claim to love (December 12). I've seen both expatriates and locals throw stuff out of their cars in supermarket car parks and when I challenge them I generally get the same reply: "There are people who are paid to pick up the rubbish, so let them do their job".

This mindset needs to change. Campaigns that focus on “keep my vicinity” clean might be the way forward with badges awarded to clean neighbourhoods.

Perhaps schools could organise competitions to collect the most rubbish and it could start from kindergarten. When I was a child, there was a television programme called The Wombles, which focused on rubbish and how it could be recycled. Perhaps they should make a Middle East version.

Name withheld by request

Education programmes are desperately needed. Where I live, I see people throw rubbish out of their cars into the shared garage. And their children leave their rubbish in the park.

Every morning, a big pile of rubbish is swept up by the cleaners, even though there are rubbish bins provided. I would also love to see a mandated recycling programme.

Pam Durant, Dubai

I remember going to Jumeirah beach in the late 1990s, when the water was beautiful and full of colourful fish. So many people enjoyed spending time there. What I hated was that people would have a barbecue and leave all their rubbish there. Such activities spoilt the fun of those who came afterwards, as they had to look at that rubbish, or find a clean spot to sit on the sand.

Barbara Radwan-Wiehe, Dubai

Debate on veil breaks my heart

As an American living in the UAE, it is hard to explain the shock I feel when I read about the Reem Island murder. How could something like this happen here, I thought to myself.

When I first came to this country three years ago, I was amazed at the kindness and generosity of Emiratis towards me. I felt that the UAE’s safety was in stark contrast to where I grew up in the United States.

Abu Dhabi Police were amazing in the swiftness with which they captured the suspect. But there remains a sense of fear because something like this even happened.

As an American convert to Islam, I was shocked to hear fellow Muslims say that the niqab is “cultural, not religious”.

Indeed, several women I know who have converted to Islam wear the niqab as a religious statement. They support their wearing of the niqab with stories from hadith, and do not wear it blindly for reasons to do with “culture”.

Even discussing the possibility of banning the niqab in the UAE breaks my heart. Going home to the United States is difficult for me as a covered Muslim woman, and I cannot imagine that I would have to feel the same way in the UAE just because of one insane individual and her senseless use of Muslim clothing when committing a crime.

I urge the officials in the UAE to consider the hundreds of Muslim women who find refuge in the UAE and walk proudly in their niqab as it is a symbol of their faith.

Katherine Iman Barrus, US

Message for UN members

If you want more diverse representation in the UN and international bodies, then have those nations pay up both with money and by shouldering responsibility (Old alliances don't serve our new multipolar world, December 10).

PN Kearns, UK

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