Letters: 'Not in my name!'

Business as usual

DR NAVIDUL HAQ KHAN

LONDON N19

Sir: Never before have I been more proud to be a Londoner than in the past 48 hours. The range of emotions felt by all Londoners, from jubilation at the successful 2012 Olympic bid to the shock and despair at these terrorist atrocities has brought out the best in the usually stoic people of our capital. Londoners showed their unity by helping each other. The emergency services have been stellar.

As a young professional Muslim, I must express my anger at those who seek to sully the name of my faith by attributing their acts to it. Whilst some may not accept it, Islam as a faith encourages compassion and tolerance and does not advocate hate, terror or unlawful killings. I also wish to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for publicly acknowledging the abhorrence expressed by the Muslim Council of Britain at these vile acts of terror.

I have no doubt that London shall endure this day with its characteristic resilience and I for one intend to show my contempt for these terrorists by continuing to enjoy the vibrant multi-cultural delights London has to offer. I offer my most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and to all Londoners for the trauma they have experienced.

SULAIMAN M BILAL

LONDON NW4

Sir: The Koran, regarding those who kill indiscriminately, equates the innocent killing of one person as though "it shall be as if he killed all mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind" (Ch5. v. 33). Surely, those British emergency service men and women who saved lives in the midst of Thursday's atrocity are those whom the Koran describes as having "saved all of mankind", whilst the terrorists are condemned by the Koran as "having killed all of mankind". My thoughts and prayers are with my fellow citizens of Britain.

AHMAD SABAH UL HAQ KHAN

WOODFORD GREEN, ESSEX

Sir: I was shocked to read so many letters in today's Independent (8 July) that blamed the attacks in London on the policies of George Bush and Tony Blair. I have disagreed with many policies of this government, including the invasion of Iraq, but I would never express my disagreement with violence.

The people who bombed innocent commuters on their way to work had the same choice. They could have chosen to take advantage of the free speech we enjoy in Britain and engaged in peaceful protest. They could have chosen to channel their energy to try to bring about constructive change in society. Instead they chose to slaughter unarmed, innocent civilians. The responsibility for such atrocities is theirs alone.

If these attacks turn out to be the work of al-Qa'ida, the choice of violence as a tool should come as no surprise. These people cannot protest peacefully because they have no negotiable demands. What they want is the destruction of free-thinking society and the institution of Islam globally.

Hand-wringing and condemnation on the part of moderate Muslims is not enough. Senior Islamic clerics need to reject the passages of the Koran that legitimise violence. It is not enough to say that such passages are being misinterpreted - violence should be rejected wholeheartedly. Until such a move is made, violent men will continue to try to justify their psychopathic behaviour under the cloak of religion.

ADAM HAMDY

MARKET DRAYTON, SHROPSHIRE

Sir: People say that the bombings in London on Thursday would not have happened had we not invaded Iraq. But what about New York and Bali, to name but two? They hadn't invaded Iraq. What about the millions of Iraqi people who voted in their first real election? What about their determination and courage to seek a better way?

Iraq was a risky strategy. We still don't know if we can beat the terrorists who seek to kill innocent Iraqis. However, I have confidence in the resolve of the Iraqi people just as I have confidence in the resolve of people of London.

JAMES GOLDMAN

LONDON NW4

Sir: I was dismayed at a number of your correspondents on 8 July who twisted the nature of these recent atrocities in London to make petty calls for the the indictment of our own government. We ought to unite behind our government and country in this time of tragedy and to ensure the arrest and punishment of the terrorists responsible.

MICHAEL ACHESON

PORTSMOUTH

Sir: As our hearts go out to the dead and injured in London, one big question needs to be asked. If these bomb blasts were al-Qa'ida, then why did our Prime Minister stop fighting terrorism to pursue an illegal war in Iraq?

Far too few troops were put into Afghanistan to find the terrorist suspects and their Taliban hosts. No pressure was put on Saudi Arabia to deliver details of how the 9/11 Saudi terrorists were financed and trained. Insufficient resources have been put into intelligence, as this intelligence failure in London amply demonstrates. And Britain made millions more enemies in the Middle East and around the world.

Tony Blair should resign.

LESLIE ROWE

BROMPTON ON SWALE, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Sir: From the other side of the world, we send the people of London words of support and encouragement.

In 48 hours, we have seen you at the heights of elation and the depths of adversity. Your spirit and character have been reflected throughout. Your grandparents in the Blitz and your parents through the IRA campaigns have earned you a reputation for stoicism and resilience. You have proved yourselves worthy inheritors of this reputation.

While the tragedy of recent events cannot be minimised or ignored, your response has confirmed the irrelevance of those who have sought to attack you. Terrorism can only succeed if it causes terror; you have overwhelmingly rejected terror. Those who instigated these crimes must have felt despair as they saw you stop, absorb the blow, then get back up and carry on regardless.

From 10,000 miles away, we salute you.

PATRICK RAMSDEN

BERWICK, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

Sir: Nothing can excuse the horrific carnage and explosions in London and the appalling suffering of the victims. However the ritual condemnation of terrorism by Tony Blair, Michael Howard et al merely reinforces the belief of those who carry out these atrocities that the West is being hypocritical and self-serving.

Earlier this week we learnt that 17 villagers in Afghanistan had been killed by US bombing. Reporters still aren't able to operate from Falluja, many of whose civilian areas have been laid to waste by the intense bombardment of civilian areas, including hospitals, with the inevitable consequence of civilian deaths. There have been repeated reports from Iraq of the aerial bombardment of towns near the Syrian border.

In the infamous words of General Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraqi invasion, "We don't do body counts." Is it any wonder that, in the face of this utter contempt for the lives of third world people, some people have assumed that the only terrorism Western leaders condemn is that which in which we are the victims?

TONY GREENSTEIN

BRIGHTON

Sir: Our hearts go out to Thursday's innocent and arbitrary victims of terrorist attacks on London's public transport network. May I express my condolences to the families of the dead and my sympathy to those who were injured - they will have to bear the mental and physical pain caused by these despicable attacks long after the world has moved on.

The victims of these atrocities deserve justice, but justice is only done when those who were directly responsible for these acts are caught, tried and convicted. Justice will not be found in striking out randomly in fear or retribution against foreigners or members of British ethnic minorities.

We will not win by alienating the innocent but by demonstrating integrity and a dogged determination to isolate those who have turned to violence and by removing the causes they use as excuses to justify their twisted actions.

The Prime Minister has already said this; he has also said the terrorists will not destroy our way of life and our liberties. His determination is commendable; I want fervently to see his government act always in accordance with this determination through the darker days that are likely to come.

PHILIP C JAMES

BATH

Sir: Keith Gilmour (letter, 8 July) parrots the old assertion that "liberals" and "bleeding hearts" have hamstrung efforts to combat al-Qa'ida in the UK.

Perhaps Mr Gilmour could clarify exactly in what way this alleged hobbling of our anti-terrorist security is manifested? Would it be the "sandal-wearing" policy of locking suspects up indefinitely without charge? Possibly is it the "muesli-eating" practice of invading another sovereign nation on a false pretext, which is to blame? Could the use of information obtained by torture abroad be the personification of the liberal values to which Mr Gilmour seeks to apportion the blame for Thursday's carnage?

Surely Mr Gilmour can see that the policy of invading Iraq without any apparent post-war planning (except for the perfectly executed decision to guard the oil ministry at all costs) was always likely to breed a new generation of Jihadists (as virtually all intelligence agencies now agree)?

Let us hope that we do not fall into the trap of allowing the dead of 7 July to be exploited to whip up jingoism, religious intolerance and unhinged revenge fantasies, or there is every possibility that we will sow more seeds of division and recruit more to the fanatic call. Despite the repugnant finger-pointing of correspondents such as Mr Gilmour, the relinquishing of our freedoms to a totalitarian police state would represent a surrender to the terrorists and must be opposed by all shades of the political spectrum.

G WHITTAKER

READING

Sir: I never cease to marvel at our Prime Minister's capacity for self-deception. "Terrorists will not change our way of life or our values," he says - but they already have!

We have killed and injured tens of thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq; we are reducing the freedom to demonstrate; we detain people on suspicion; we are to have a central identity card database on which large amounts of information will be kept on each of us. Freedoms that we have had for a thousand years are being eroded.

If Blair truly wishes to give terrorists no credibility he should draw back from further construction of a police state. Unfortunately, I feel sure he will use these bombs as an excuse for more attacks on our civil liberties and the terrorist cowards will dance for joy.

SARA NEILL

TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT

Sir: Keith Gilmour makes a reasonable analogy between wasps and terrorists. However I fear he has it the wrong way around. The more you provoke a wasp, the more of them appear and the more you will be stung. Leave them in peace and they will leave you alone.

DAVID GILLMAN

INVERNESS

Sir: Tony Blair described the bomb assaults on London as "barbaric". Would that be more or less barbaric than the bombing of Iraq by coalition forces? Ken Livingstone described the attacks as "cowardly". Would that be more or less cowardly than bombing from 30,000 feet? The Prime Minister vowed to "defend our values". Which values would those be, Mr Blair?

ROSEMARY GORDON

BRISTOL

Sir: In the light of the horror perpetrated on Thursday, it is to be hoped that London Underground will drop its insane idea to enable mobile telephones to function on the Tube network; let us not forget that mobile phones were used to detonate remote explosive devices in Madrid last year. It can't be right to enable terrorists to carry out their heinous work more easily.

PHILIPPE AUCLAIR

LONDON W14

Sir: In the 24 hours following the horrific London bombings, 28,800 children died from extreme poverty. While we struggle to cope with our terrible grief in Britain, let us never forget that tragedy and death are a daily occurrence in poor countries. Today, 28,800 more children will die. And 28,800 tomorrow as well ....

SUZANNE SAVAGE

MALVERN, WORCESTERSHIRE

Sir: I do not understand all of the anti-Blair rhetoric in the letters page of your newspaper. The British people must have faith in their leader. The war on terror that he started, when he invaded Iraq, will be won; one morning we will wake up to be told by Blair that the war is over and that we will never again suffer any attacks from terrorists. We can all rejoice; there will be victory celebrations, including a flypast over Buckingham Palace by the Red Arrows - or should that be pigs?

PETER WALTON

BUCKINGHAM

Sir: Congratulations to the level-headed guard at a station in Essex who fined my girlfriend, who had lost her season ticket in the confusion at Fenchurch Street station. A relief to note that whilst others were concentrating on getting people home safely, she hadn't forgotten revenue streams.

ALEX PALMER

BRIGHTON

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