Letters: British Muslims condemn horror in Woolwich

These letters appear in the print edition of The Independent, 24 May, 2013

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The blood of the innocent shed in Woolwich calls for a high-level inquiry into how the Koran is being interpreted and taught in British mosques and madrassahs, and the links most of our mosques have with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

What happened in Woolwich is in line with what Salafi zealots have been doing in Syria and Pakistan to other Muslims who do not share their bleak view of the Creator.

M A Qavi, London SE3

 

Words struggle to describe the deep anger at this cowardly attack on our off-duty soldier. This has been an attack on every one of us and the nation stands united in its abhorrence and disgust.

But hard lessons need to be learnt about who knew of the radical ideology of these thugs. It is alleged that at least one of them was known for overtly jihadist views, so we need to know whether pre-emptive action could have been taken by the security agencies.

This attack has also exposed the blatant failure of the UK’s Muslim organisations and previous governments’ complacent attitude in cosying up to them. I have not seen any UK Muslim group or educational institution confront, in a structured and comprehensive manner, this pernicious anti-UK propaganda, rife among converts in social circles, schools, higher-education institutes, prisons, etc.

UK Muslim youth needs to be taught the fundamental democratic values of Britain and its core national ethos, together with patriotism. When it comes to the internal security of this country, every Muslim youth should be a soldier and a watchful guard.

And Muslim youth also needs to be taught that members of our armed forces heroically fulfill the tasks entrusted to them, and that foreign policy is an expression of our national interests, which can be changed through national consensus, civic efforts and legitimate lobbying.

Dr Lu’ayy Minwer Al-Rimawi, Co-Director, Master’s Programme in Islamic Financial & Business Law, BPP University College, London WC1

 

The savage killing of the soldier has to be condemned without reservation by all Muslims. This monstrous act fills us with utter revulsion, and our heartfelt condolences are extended to the victim’s family.

Last week, the British Muslim community was in the spotlight with the conviction of a sadistic Muslim paedophile gang in Oxford. This week, two misguided Muslims, most significantly new converts to Islam, have brought further opprobrium to practising Muslims in the UK.

These terrible scourges of paedophilia and terrorism within some strains of British Islam are sadly reflective of the broader incapacity of the Muslim community to fully integrate with the mainstream. If UK Muslims were genuine and effective stakeholders in British society, the ideological drivers that fuel immoral sexuality as well as bloody terrorism would be inhibited, if not eradicated.

British Muslims must disassociate themselves from all variants of imported religious fundamentalism so that fascist groups and far-right organisations cannot exploit burgeoning social tensions in the UK.

But there are also unpalatable, underlying reasons behind the Woolwich brutality. There is a clear correlation between Tony Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq a decade ago and the emergence of Muslim terrorism in the UK. This in no way condones this despicable deed, but Labour’s former leaders must be held accountable for dragging this country into needless, US-inspired foreign adventures.

They are partly responsible for providing Muslim militants, here and abroad, with their toxic propaganda. It is high time that the UK honestly addresses the roots of Islamic terrorism instead of focusing just on its contemptible results.

Dr T Hargey, Imam, Oxford Muslim Congregation, Oxford

 

There appears to be confusion among the British Muslim communities over the horrific episode in Woolwich. A segment of the British Muslim communities suggests that Muslims ought not to show their feelings of disgust about this cowardly attack.

They believe such outward expression of condemnation amounts to apologising and could be viewed as acceptance that it is Islam that preaches such acts of violence.

I suggest an alternative view to the community to which I belong. Any public condemnation of this or similar acts only highlights the feelings of solidarity British Muslims hold with the victims and is a show of defiance to the radical ideologists who try to hijack their religion to further their agenda of hatred and division.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike should stand shoulder to shoulder in sending such unified messages to the preachers and perpetrators of hate within our communities.

Dr Shaaz Mahboob, Uxbridge, Middlesex

 

I am a teacher at an Islamic faith school in Birmingham and involved in a local neighbourhood forum. I felt compelled to write to you to plead that you give us (the Muslim community) a voice to utterly condemn this horrific event.

Please help us to give a loud, clear and unequivocal response to this criminal act. This is an act of madmen: nothing in this can be associated with Islam.

We Muslims need to reassure our fellow British citizens that we stand with them against all forms of extremism, terrorism and acts of treason.

Kashif May, Head of RE and Behaviour, Al-Furqan Community College, Birmingham

 

Gay marriage law unfair to single people

The special concessions given to homosexuals are extremely unfair. Marriage and civil partnership give people the right to transfer property between them without inheritance tax and to draw on the spouse’s pension entitlements.

Why should these benefits be denied to single people, now the majority of the population? What is so special about homosexual sex that it qualifies for exemption from tax and extra pension benefits?

Many people share their lives with others but cannot marry them. Sisters who live together, relatives who may be dependent on each other, people in complex relationships which preclude marriage; all of these people would very much like the privileges which are being accorded to homosexuals.

If gays are to get these tax breaks, then everyone in society should be able to gift their property freely to someone they love.

But the liberal elite have made gay marriage a badge of their international club membership. If someone in the Netherlands does it, then so must Obama, Cameron and their pals. It’s infuriating and deeply unjust.

Heterosexual married couples are raising the next generation. It’s a tough job and I accept that they deserve support from the state. But anyone can have sex; you don’t have to be given tax breaks to get that together.

Jane Hayter-Hames, Oxford

 

Opponents of gay marriage, with Biblical backing, claim it will devalue straight marriage. What I and my partner want to know is: could gay marriage devalue civil partnership?

Peter Forster, London N4

 

GPs let down my dying mother

How I sympathise with Jane Merrick (“I wish my child hadn’t got ill at the weekend”, 22 May). My mother died last year having been seen by four doctors at her own practice, all of them missing the cancer that was widespread through her body and killed her a few days after I had no choice but to take her to A&E.

Her own doctor, writing to me weeks after I had sent him a letter outlining my disappointment and anger, said: “I have not been involved in your mother’s care from the beginning as she was seen by other doctors in the practice.” Point made.

 

Name and address supplied

If police, ambulance and firefighters can all work nightshifts and weekends, why can’t all the vastly higher-paid GPs?

Dai Woosnam, Grimsby

 

Many fear a frugal retirement

I’m delighted for Carolyn Slater, reading her IEA reports in Tuscany (letters, 21 May). Personally, I would choose France over Italy, but I have no doubt that retirement for her is wonderful, and that there are many such people around who, either as the result of a great company pension fund, thoughtful property purchase, or constant prudence in their financial affairs, succeed in having the retirement they planned and worked for at an age where they can appreciate it.

But I’m certain there are also very many others looking at a frugal retirement where they must work beyond the age they wish, due a poorly performing, or non-existent, pension fund. They will consider themselves lucky to have paid the mortgage off on their (average) property by the time they receive their (fixed) state pension, hopefully at 65 or 67 but who knows, with the proposed five-yearly review, possibly at 70. There will be more again who won’t manage even that.

Both quantity (in terms of time) and quality (financial comfort) are important for a happy retirement. Perhaps, in repeatedly raising the age at which the state pension becomes payable, governments have in mind that some of us won’t be around to draw it. Now, there’s a good way to pay off the deficit.

Lesley Wilson, Pontypridd, South Wales

 

No bribery

Your article “BBC offers staff £24m ‘bribes’ for move to Salford” (15 May) implied that the BBC had offered “bribes” to staff to induce them to move to the North of England. Staff were not “bribed” to move and at no point did the National Audit Office say that the BBC had done anything improper in terms of the relocation packages offered to staff.

Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, Salford

 

It’s just Chance

What qualifies the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be in charge of environmental and energy policy (“Switch to low-carbon future”, 23 May)? For that matter, what qualifies someone with no background in economics or finance to be Chancellor of the Exchequer?

David Gibbs, London SW4

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