Letters: Muslim women loved and honoured

These letters appear in the print edition of The Independent, 25 June, 2013

Share

As a Muslim woman of mature years myself, I find a lot in Dorene McCormack’s letter of 19 June to commend. I can recognise and indeed honour her desire to see greater equality between men and women and her repudiation of vile or criminal practices like forced marriages and genital mutilations. As for practices such as segregated swimming, I am a bit surprised that she is unaware that there have been for many generations in this country, in places such as Highgate Ponds in north London, a time-honoured practice of segregating swimming facilities.

Dorene McCormack might also be interested to know that forced marriages are not exclusively practised by Muslims but also by Sikhs and Hindus and others. As to genital mutilations, it is a cultural practice in certain parts of Africa and has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, even if some Muslims choose to practise it.

For Dorene McCormack and others like her who feel offended that Muslim women are not equal to their men in this country I would like to reassure her that our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, while not kings like Shah Jahan, who can build monuments like the Taj Mahal to witness their love for their women, nevertheless in the main love and honour us. There is a small minority that is thuggish, criminal or downright cowardly who seek to oppress us, and perhaps in this country more of us need to know that we do not have to put up with that. 

Equally there is a need for some non- Muslims to recognise that, when they lay blame at the door of Islam for whatever it is that to them makes their country unrecognisable, they might have to look at themselves a little more honestly for the answer.

Satanay Dorken

London N10

Female genital mutilation is a barbarity performed, often without anaesthetic, upon pubescent girls. It causes traumatic physical and mental scarring which will stay with the unfortunate recipient throughout her life, rendering normal sexual relations painful and childbirth dangerous.

The whole world needs to concentrate upon eradicating this evil, performed at the command of pathetic men upon helpless girls. Parents who allow their daughters to suffer in this way need to be dragged through the streets and horse-whipped.

It was therefore sad to read Ian Quayle’s ill-considered letter (22 June) comparing male circumcision with FGM. Speaking as a circumcised male, can I assure Mr Quayle that, upon the invention of the Tardis, I would go back in time and heartily thank  all concerned in the matter. Although I was not consulted at the time, I am quite happy with the consequences. To compare a quick nick and dab of salve on a baby with the horrors of FGM  performed upon a fully sentient young woman is breathtaking: did Mr Quayle do any biology?

His letter performs two grave errors. First, it defocuses society’s attention from the specific evil of FGM. This needs to be eradicated and he should not confuse the issues. Second, it is quite unkind to insult my willy in a national newspaper.

Dr Ian Poole

Liverpool

 

Want a better NHS? You’ll have to pay for it

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (24 June) is too pessimistic about the NHS.

It is short of cash because so much has been wasted on needless prescriptions, wasteful prescriptions, hush money, incentives for doctors, etc etc.

Why do people expect everything to be free as a right? It is time they realised the cost of the NHS and paid a consultation fee, and hospital fee. Even £1 a visit would make a difference, or £5 as in Denmark.

Valerie Pitt

London SE3

How is it possible in a civilised country for patients to undergo second- or third-class treatment if they are unlucky enough to visit hospitals over a weekend?

Recent examples in different hospitals in different counties with family and friends confirm that interminable waits, inadequate attention, stressed nurses and very few doctors on duty is the norm on weekends for the NHS these days.

How can this happen? The NHS clearly needs more resources. Surely the Government is aware, but nothing happens.

Tony Hams

Tideswell, Derbyshire

 

Why is Syria  our business?

Am I missing the point somewhere? I don’t understand our enthusiasm to get involved in the conflict in Syria. Isn’t Syria a Middle Eastern state occupied in a brutal civil war, outside any European jurisdiction, and if we are to get involved then shouldn’t we be doing all we can to support the UN and NGO aid agencies in trying to reduce the horrifying toll on human lives?

It is the neighbouring Middle Eastern Arab states who should be using all their influence to stop this war. If arms and even soldiers are to be committed then let them come from these neighbouring Arab states.

In any case, the civil war is perhaps impossible to sort out because Russia totally depends on Syria to give it warm-water access to the Mediterranean, and so will inevitably support the Assad regime to ensure that this Mediterranean access is guaranteed. There is no point in getting involved in the fighting; Russia will not allow the Assad regime to fall.

In any case why should the UK see itself as the policeman of every failing state? We can’t afford it, it is not our responsibility and the result is that inevitably the lives of our servicemen and women are given for no purpose.

Adrian Starr

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

 

When will our Prime Minister get the message that he is a just a small pawn at the head of a small country, among world giants? It is time he got down to the business of sorting out the woes of the UK, instead of interfering in worldwide affairs and foreign wars.

Terry Duncan

Bridlington, East Yorkshire

 

If we had kept out in 1914

Dr Bendor Grosvenor (letter, 18 June) makes an interesting point. However, whether or not Britain was under any obligation to honour its alliance with France or its guarantee to Belgium in 1914, the fact is that, since the time of Henry VIII, British policy in Europe had been to prevent any one power becoming predominant.

We had been “singeing the King of Spain’s beard” long before the Armada; we had been a principal player in the War of the Spanish Succession against Louis XIV, even though there was never any direct threat to this country; and we were at war with the French revolutionaries and then Napoleon before the Grand Army arrived at Calais.

If Dr Grosvenor is saying that he would have been quite happy for us to have lived alongside a European mainland under German control for the last 100 years, I do not think many would agree with him, and Francophiles like myself would have found it difficult.

If the present turmoil ends, as it may, with Europe united under German leadership, with the UK excluded, two world wars really will have been in vain!

Peter Giles

Whitchurch, Shropshire

 

Powers to clear the middle lane

Mary Dejevsky (Notebook, 19 June) is quite right: we don’t need new offences to deal with middle lane hogs, tailgating, or any of the bad practices we see on the roads. Section 3, Road Traffic Act 1988 covers driving “without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road”. That gives the police all the power they need to deal with the careful but thoughtless drivers who seem to make up much of The Independent’s readership.

Anthony Bramley-Harker

Watford

Recent correspondence about drivers hogging the middle lane reminds me of the brilliant idea suggested years ago for saving money on the construction of new motorways: omit the nearside lane as no one ever uses it.

Sebastian Macmillan

Cambridge

Further to John Williams’ motorway bugbear (letter, 20 June), when I lived in Germany in the 1970s Mercedes and BMW cars were said to have eingebaute Vorfahrt, or built-in right of way.

Christopher Wright

Worcester

 

Co-ops lead  way to success

Hamish McRae’s inflation of the Co-operative Bank’s problems into a general trashing of the mutual sector is lamentable (“The worst form of ownership – apart from the others”, 19 June).

The co-operative economy in the UK is thriving. Almost 6,000 co-operative businesses contribute £36bn annually to the UK economy. For the past five years the co-operative economy, growing by 20 per cent, has massively outperformed the “mainstream”, which is still smaller than when the credit crunch hit. And building societies have proved more durable than their privatised brethren.

Across the world, according to Co-operatives UK, members of co-ops outnumber shareholders three times over. Mondragon, the Basque mutual conglomerate, is weathering the economic crisis much better than the remainder of Spain.

McRae also seems not to be aware that community share schemes are rescuing at-risk shops and pubs across the country. Nor that support for mutual approaches, including co-operative councils, community land trusts and mutual housing organisations, now stretches across the political spectrum.

Mutualism is not a relic of the 19th century but a revitalised model rediscovered by the “mainstream” economy and society. It has a crucial role in rebuilding both in the wake of financial greed and shareholder inability to hold boards to account. 

Kevin Gulliver

Director, Human City Institute, Birmingham

 

Lynch mob

Driving home from work (not in the middle lane) I heard the news report “phone-in” clip of Nick Clegg being asked his opinion of the Saatchi/Lawson “incident”, and had some sympathy for him struggling to give an honest reply. Then the torrent of denunciation of Clegg and his response by all who followed made me question my naivety for not joining his condemnation. What a relief to read Frank Furedi’s excellent analysis of the “oral lynch mob” in Saturday’s edition.

Mike Bone

Saxtead, Suffolk

 

Futile snooping

If the United Kingdom’s GCHQ (5,300 staff) and the United States National Security Agency (40,000 staff) are doing their job of clandestine intelligence gathering, why are their governments so often clueless?

Dr John Doherty

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...