Letters: Salute to Woolwich heroines

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

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I send my sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of the brave soldier who was so barbarically slauhtered.

The lady who challenged one attacker is a very brave woman, as is the one who held the soldier’s hand while he lay dying.

When told by a cleaver-wielding maniac that he wanted to start a war in London, his challenger replied that it was just him against everyone else and he would lose. We must all unite against this atrocity and recognise this is a vile act by extremists who are pure evil.

Wendy Keelan, London SW16

 

What compels me to write this is the sheer brutality and inhumanity of the brazen attack. By bringing God’s name into it, they have actually defiled His name.

The police need to be commended for keeping their cool in such a trying situation and capturing them alive by wounding, not killing them in anger. It will now be possible to find out when and where these individuals became “Muslims”, who was their mentor and how many others are being “educated” that way.

Looking at the stills, the suspects do not appear to be mentally ill but they certainly have been brainwashed and their humanity has been turned around. It is a picture of a cult and not any religion, let alone Islam.

The government, past and present, has made mistakes but this is not the time for counting faults and failures. This is a time to come together and listen to each other. The secret services, the police and the communities need to come together and work together to root out this evil. 

One may consider some to be “swivelled-eyed loons” but let us accept the possibility that even those may come up with something sane which needs to be listened to. Keeping aloof will just increase the distance, and it is only by coming together that we can reach understanding and respect for each other.

Dr M Naseem, Chairman, Birmingham Central Mosque

 

A soldier is hacked to death on the streets of London. The violence is deplorable, but no amount of propaganda (by Boris Johnson and others) can gloss over the reality that we are at war.

We might try to sanitise it, by ensconcing our pilots safely in Lincolnshire as they control drones wreaking bloody havoc on tribal communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and by our media failing to report deaths of Afghans, but there is no escaping the truth that war is disgustingly violent. Yes, Britain’s present enemy is too poor to send planes to bomb the towns and villages of this country, but this doesn’t mean that we should be astonished, or deem it a “national emergency”, when supporters of the Taliban choose to take violent action on our streets, using what limited weapons are available to them.

Phil Harriss, Brill, Buckinghamshire

 

The killing in Woolwich is sickening and our thoughts are with the victim’s family. Such acts are incompatible with Islam.

The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the drone attacks on Pakistan and other colonial interventions were eventually going to lead to such acts but Bush and Blair decided to ignore that.

Instead of preventing terrorism, these wars caused more terrorism. It is pathetic that the racist opportunists of the EDL and the BNP will use the loss of a life to justify more hatred and violence.

Mohammed Samaana, Belfast

 

If the planned brutal daylight killing of a British soldier by terrorists was to get maximum worldwide publicity for their cause, then they got it right, but the worry now is, will there be copycat killings by other like-minded would-be terrorists? The dreadful dilemma for the press and TV is whether to cover in macabre detail the acts of terrorism, doing what is basically their job to report events accurately and honestly, or to deny the terrorist the publicity by restricting reporting.

There is no clear policy in this, becauses we see modern technology with personal mobile phones and cameras overtaking conventional reporting and news coverage, with no holds barred.

Dennis Grattan, Aberdeen

 

Given the tidal wave of media Islamophobia, I trust some space will also be found to remind people of the criminal convictions of the leaders of the misnamed English Defence League.

keith Flett, London N17

 

One might take more note of the position of some extremists about Western soldiers killing Muslims if it weren’t the case that extremists were killing so many Muslims themselves.

Howard Pilott, Lewes, Sussex

 

National statistics show that about 300 people die from knife attacks every year. Few of these cases fit the media’s priorities, which to many appear racist, jingoistic and hypocritical.

Last month, 75-year-old Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry was fatally stabbed returning from prayer, in what police believed was a racist attack.

Theresa May did not recall Cobra. BBC News24 did not fill hours of air time asking local people if they felt safe (from whites). Newspapers did not print letters telling the “white” community to get its house in order.

Dr Gavin Lewis, Manchester

 

After the appalling slaughter of the young serviceman we, as a nation, must stand together in a very visible way.

Please, please buy a “Help for Heroes” T-shirt and wear it to show your support and solidarity with our brave armed forces. The most efficient way to defy those who seek to murder our troops is to wear a “Help for Heroes” shirt with pride.

Henry Page, Newhaven, East Sussex

 

MPs face pay rise of up to £20,000

A basic salary of £65,738 plus expenses is not enough for our MPs (report, 22 May).

Their pay body believes they’ve been working so  hard at choking off economic recovery that their pay should go up by £20,000 a year, with our average wage at £26,500 and the public sector in a pay freeze.

Arrogant politicians could take a few lessons from socialist councillors, who get only the average wage of the people they represent and fight the corner of ordinary people?

Daniel Pitt, Mountain Ash, Mid Glamorgan

 

Seeing the future

During my first week at teacher training college in 1945, a lecturer said, “The 1944 Education Act is now in place. We now have a Ministry of Education. The time will come when politicians will tell teachers what to teach and how to teach it.” Now we have Michael Gove. How lucky I was to teach when I did.

Ray Steele, Barnstaple, North Devon

 

Giant step for man

John E Orton (letters, 23 May) would have problems with his idea of walking tours across Hadrian’s Wall to gain illegal entry from Scotland. The Wall lies entirely within England. At no time does it lie near the border. In fact, its eastern terminus at Wallsend is almost 70 miles south of Scotland.

Philomena Lewer, Morpeth, Northumberland

 

Was Mary right?

With the revelations about Jimmy Savile et al, was the much-derided Mary Whitehouse much nearer the truth about morality at that time than many of us would care to admit?

Patrick McCausland, Seaford, East Sussex

 

Muslim radicals shame forefathers

I am a peace-loving atheist, disgusted by what is being done in the name of religion. To all young British Muslims who desecrate the Union Jack or burn poppies, I say you are doing a grave disservice to your forefathers.

In two world wars last century, four million Indians (including those who would later become Pakistanis) volunteered to fight alongside British troops to protect our country from Nazidom. Asian combatants were involved in every theatre of the Second World War. One-third of these volunteers were Muslim.

Some 27 Indians were awarded our highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for their extraordinary valour. Rather than hail Bin Laden as a “hero”, young British Muslims should revere forebears such as Sepoy Ali Haidar, whose courage in Italy earnt him a very worthy VC.

Tens of thousands of brave Asian men died and many more were wounded fighting for Britain, so let’s not forget that.

To all those uneducated EDL thugs who talk about “Our country being overrun by Pakis”, you should learn more about our past reliance on foreigners, rather than attacking those who live among us, for being different. You are wrapping yourselves in a flag soaked with the blood of Asians who also fought the Nazis, including many Muslims whose religion you denigrate.

Our politicians must listen to what the disgruntled, radicalised Muslim youth are saying, and understand that our actions and foreign policies are the root cause of their discontent.

If Tony Blair and his colleagues had listened to millions of us on the streets protesting before he dragged us unwillingly into that bloody and disastrous campaign in Iraq alongside America, I suggest the 100 or so Muslim terror deaths on British soil since might not have happened.

The elders of the British Muslim communities need to instill in their youngsters that sense of national pride, and aspirations for our way of life that your forefathers displayed when they willingly put themselves in harm’s way for us.

In the name of Islam, you must stop tolerating the hate-mongering, Sharia-peddling extremists in your midst. Condemn them each and every day. Force them out in the open.

Will Patching , Phuket, Thailand

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