Regarding the situation of Aqsa Mahmood (From Coldplay to jihad, the Scottish girl who joined ISIL, September 4), I believe the world will not be able to find a solution to this problem until it begins to think of this as a form of mental illness.
I am in no way condoning any of this but it is important to have an understanding of what is driving cases like this one. I believe this is a phenomenon that happens mostly at a certain age, but across all societies and religions.
A classmate of mine was very successful at school but at the end of his adolescence he was at odds with his family and society as a whole. He became a follower of a Christian guru, threw away all his earthly possessions and wasn’t contactable to any of his friends and family. Luckily, he liberated his mind after three years and is now a perfectly normal person and practising doctor.
Something similar seems to be happening to these western-educated young people from Muslim backgrounds. Probably out of an idea of opposition or maybe retaliation, they fall prey to this simplistic and dangerous ideology that allows them to step out of their past and become somebody different, with a sense of purpose in life.
This happens a lot and is not limited to Islam. I think in addition to weapons, the world needs to invest thought and resources into how to detect this kind of attitude in its early stages and then intervene.
Alexander Schuetz, Germany
I do not sympathise with Aqsa Mahmood at all but I think part of the problem is perpetuating the idea of a vengeful deity instead of self responsibility and having a moral compass.
Her mind is clearly unhealthy but I believe she will be forgiven when she realises this.
Education is the way forward. So too is early intervention. Perhaps her parents had noticed something? Maybe others did too but didn’t think anything of it at the time?
Jen Bishop, Abu Dhabi
Anyone who becomes obsessed with religious extremism clearly has a disturbed mind.
Love, compassion and tolerance is what we should strive for, not hatred, harm and dominance of people who are different.
Maritha van der Walt, Abu Dhabi
This Ilyushin hides some plane truths
With regard to your story, Shrouded in mystery: the Russian cargo plane abandoned in Umm Al Qaiwain (September 6), I think the Umm Al Qaiwain tourism authority should take steps to preserve it.
The government must make it a historical place for visitors rather than just using it to advertise a hotel.
Muhammad Essa, Dubai
When I first saw this aircraft on my way back from the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon in 2009, I parked the car to visit.
It looked like a classical “gate guardian” at the entrance of a civil airport but I wondered how it got here in the first place.
Thanks to this article, now I know. If it could speak, I’m sure it could tell a very interesting story.
Alberto Menegazzi, Russia
‘Gawking’ can put women off fitness
Your campaign to improve the fitness of people in the UAE (Take the first step to a healthy lifestyle, September 4) is great. However, I want to remind you about the men who sit and gawk at women doing exercise.
They stare so long that it becomes uncomfortable. I dress conservatively and it still happens.
Name withheld by request
Activities like paddle boating, kayaking, surfing and gym memberships all cost a lot.
But there are still affordable ways to stay healthy such as walking and jogging.
Yulia Hulia, Dubai
Al Reef is a danger to my children
In relation to your story, Al Reef residents complain about speeding cars and bad parking (September 4), this place is terribly designed.
I’ve been living here for the last five years and it has certainly become worse. The pavements are inadequate, few routes accessible to handicapped people exist and even those are substandard.
It’s hazardous and dangerous, because people will park in the road instead of parking properly, drivers go against the direction of traffic and drive at excessive speeds. If you try to protest, the drivers ignore you.
Manazel, the community management company, do not seem able to do anything to correct this.
I’m always afraid to let my kids ride their bikes because of the poor layout and all the careless drivers out there.
This has to stop. Manazel should make it safe and the careless drivers have to be held to account.
David Martinez de Castro, Abu Dhabi
If a normal sized family saloon car cannot negotiate a safe way through the car park at Al Reef then you have to ask how an emergency response vehicle could get to where it needs to be in a hurry since it is at least four times as big.
David Marshall, Abu Dhabi