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McGill Reporter
November 27, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 06
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To the editor:

I cannot thank the McGill Reporter and Ed Kromer enough for the article on Kathleen Ng, ("Kathleen Ng: Big green steps, little footprints," November 13, 2003). She most graciously saw me without an appointment and gave me extremely wise advice about many different issues.

McGill University and the environmental movement can be very proud to have such a diligent lady at the forefront.

David S. Rovins,
President, Préservation Laurentides
Sainte-Adèle, Qc

To the editor:

I wanted to thank you for your profiles of some of the new faculty this year at McGill, which I read with great interest. I also thought I might take the opportunity to offer a small correction about your characterization of the Baha'i Faith as "an offshoot of Islam." ("Arash Abizadeh: Passionate about reason", November 13) Saying this is a bit like saying Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism; it's not completely false, but just saying it like that is something of a distortion. It is quite true that the historical matrix out of which the Baha'i Faith first arose was an Islamic one, but it quickly established itself as an independent worldwide religion early on in its history, and is not a branch of Islam. It has its own distinct set of teachings, set of texts, calendar, practices, founder and so on. (A reliable academic source here would be Peter Smith's book, The Babi and Baha'i Religions from Cambridge University Press.) It should also be noted that while Baha'is hold a tremendous amount of respect for Islam (and, indeed, for other religious traditions), most Baha'is themselves do not come from an Islamic background. Thank you for considering this minor correction; I have only made a point of it because I believe that accuracy is especially important when one is dealing with the public portrayal of a small minority group, about which many people's knowledge may be limited to begin with.

Arash Abizadeh

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