I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading Mona Shadia's weekly column in the Daily Pilot. I grew up here in Southern California and had never spent much time with people from the Middle East, or people of the Muslin faith.

After 9/11, my feelings for Muslims went on a downhill slide in a big way. I wanted nothing to do with Muslims. Then, five years ago, my wife and I went on a cruise from Barcelona across the Mediterranean to Alexandria, Egypt. As we docked, I heard the evening call to prayer, and I thought, wow!

The next day, I hired a driver, and my wife and I toured Alexandria. It was fabulous! The history is amazing, the city, and various digs, etc. I went into the main mosque (my wife did have to go "behind the screen," but she understood this is the custom) and was greeted warmly by everyone wherever I went. The city was really interesting, but the people are what made our visit so great.

My entire outlook on people of the Muslin faith changed 180 degrees that day. We had a wonderful time in Alexandria, and then went onto the Giza plateau for the most amazing experience ever, the pyramids!

It was a trip I will never forget. The Egyptians were so warm and welcoming. The disastrous action of a few radicals will never diminish my respect of the Egyptians I met.

Thank you for Mona's column. I hope it will bring a better understanding of the teachings of Muhammad to those of us who were brought up in different faiths. Keep up the good writing!

Bruce Johnston

Newport Beach

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Dog column had (mostly) good info

I think that maybe you should pay greater attention to Mona Shadia's column, "Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C." Fourteen of the first 15 paragraphs in her July 12 column, "Loving dogs at a distance," were informative and appear appropriate to the intent of the column.

I now know why certain persons react to my happy and goofy West Highland white terriers as though they are demons from the netherworld about to do great bodily harm. I appreciate that information.

As to one of the paragraphs in the first 15 paragraphs, where was her editor when it came to grammar, syntax and coherence? Can you tell me what this paragraph means or is actually saying:

"If you follow those opinions, you can still have a service dog, guard dog, or even a dog as a pet, provided that you keep it mostly in the backyard, make sure it doesn't touch your prayer area, care for it and play with it."

As to the rest of the column, I have a feeling that the local high school newspapers are of much higher quality. She uses the word "weird." And why would a newspaper publish her discussion of her hygiene issues and the numerous washings of her hands?

Please tell Ms. Shadia to never refer to herself as a dog person; she doesn't have a clue as to what that means and should stick to cute, stuffed animals.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar

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Columnist should spell dog backward