ISIS bombings violate Quran
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for bombing two churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday that killed at least 44 Coptic Christians and injured many more ("Bombs kill 44 at two Egyptian churches," Monday). Being an American Muslim, any terrorist attack saddens me. In addition to the loss of innocent lives, what makes me sad is an attempt by ISIS to justify their barbaric acts in the name of Islam. Have they forgotten the Quran instructing Muslims to protect all places of worship, explicitly mentioning churches? Can they call themselves true Muslims by acting against Prophet Muhammad's instructions that mandated full protection of Christians from any act of aggression from Muslims? Indeed, St. Catherine's Monastery in Mount Sinai, Egypt, houses a copy of Muhammad's letter in this regard.
I denounce all acts of terrorism conducted in the name of religion. My heartfelt condolences go to my Christian brothers and sisters who lost their loved ones in these heinous acts of violence.
— Nasir Ahmad, Tinton Falls, N.J., firstname.lastname@example.org
Minimum-wage hike a necessity
The commentary, "Minimum-wage increases a way to buy union support" (Sunday) ends with the sentence: " 'Compassion' has little to do with it." Indeed, compassion has nothing to do with the commentary. The cold, calculated look reduces the issue to battles between union vs. nonunion and Democrats vs. Republicans, but it ignores one basic truth - to pay people at the pitiful rate of $7.25 per hour for their work is immoral and disrespectful.
Fairly compensating employees should be considered a necessity for a civilized society, not an option when it's convenient. It is essential that we start with that premise and adjust the system from there. Sometime in life you do something simply because it is the right thing to do.
— Steven B. Erisoty, Philadelphia
Chamber wrong on pay history
I have lost all respect for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia for its decision to sue to block the wage equity law that bans employers from asking job applicants for their salary history ("Chamber will sue over pay measure," April 6).
My objection is more fundamental than the legislation's right-minded goal of wanting to close the gender pay gap. There is no reason employers need to know an applicant's salary history - male or female. When an employer has a job opening, it establishes what it wants to pay for that job, and filling that position should then be a matter of negotiation with an applicant.
That is common sense, but common sense seems not to be too common among the members of the Chamber's executive committee, which voted unanimously to file the suit. I am guessing none of them have applied for a job recently to experience how unfair it is for employers to have a leg up in the job negotiation by having asked for an applicant's salary history.
Hang firm on your legislation, Mayor Kenney.
— James Kristie, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Public schools deserve support
A letter writer asked, "Why should we keep funneling billions of dollars to prop up a failing system that is serving no one well?" ("Make way for school choice," April 4). To the contrary, public education serves millions of American children very well. I know from experience, since I have been a public elementary school teacher for 24 years.
On a daily basis I see great, dedicated educators effectively teaching children, who I watch grow academically and personally into caring and inquisitive young people. I see children with cognitive and emotional disabilities overcome their differences to achieve the high standards that are placed on them. I see a school community that uses all of its resources wisely to promote the best possible outcome for its students.
The writer's views represent the extreme conservative values of the Heartland Institute. Hopefully, the rhetoric will not fool the American taxpayer into taking away the needed resources of financially burdened public schools. Our public schools are mostly working and need more support, not less, to carry on the important work of educating America's children.
— Deidre Selig, Newtown Square
Use gas tax funds to fix roads
Thank you for publishing John Baer's column on how our Pennsylvania gas tax is being used ("Pa. gas-tax money goes off-road to the police," April 3). The state legislature should stop diverting funds that are supposed to be used to fix roads to partially finance the State Police. Is it because the legislators don't want to increase taxes and face a taxpayer revolt?
Having the highest gas tax in the country and some of the worst roads in country is a shame. But politicians have no shame, so what are the citizens of Pennsylvania going to do? Our roads are riddled with potholes, frost heaves, bumps, patches, and general deterioration - they're disgraceful. I travel the entire state, and I can attest to the fact these bad road conditions are everywhere.
Please keep up the pressure on this subject, and hopefully taxpayers will finally see what's happening and call their legislators.
— Patrick Thompson, Media
Vote for Gym as a 'Rising Star'
Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym has spent the past 20 years in grassroots organizing throughout the city and has been a tireless advocate for immigrants, students, women, and families. In 2015, she became the first Asian American woman elected to City Council. She is consistently on the front lines of the resistance against President Trump, and her work has garnered national attention.
So, we're not surprised that Emily's List, the premier national organization electing pro-choice women, has nominated Helen for the 2017 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. She is one of six finalists; last year, State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D., Delaware) was the first woman from Pennsylvania to be nominated. We are proud to support yet another fantastic Democratic woman from Pennsylvania for her outstanding work in advancing our causes.
Voting ends noon Friday, so please cast your vote for Helen today.
— Sinceré A. Harris, executive director, Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Philadelphia