Letters: We must talk to Muslim radicals

These letters are published in the Monday 27th April edition of the Independent

Share

Amid the horror of the Woolwich killings, politicians from all shades of the political spectrum appear to be agreed on one thing: whatever the grievances of the suspects, their actions cannot be justified by British foreign policy.

But the political establishment is in denial. There is a world of difference between justifying an action and explaining it. To seek to immediately shut down a debate on why our soldiers are killing people in different parts of the Muslim world in our name, is to play into the hands of people who commit atrocities on our soil. Indeed, to refuse to discuss these issues looks as if we have something to hide.

We should try to understand why a small section of the British Muslim community identifies more with citizens of other countries to the extent they advocate murder on our shores, and challenge this dangerous ideology.

To do this, we must confront and counteract their ideas about our foreign policy, and not refuse to enter into such a debate for fear of looking as if we are accepting justifications or excuses. By doing so, we stand a much better chance of exposing their ideas, and marginalising them, both inside and outside the British Muslim community.

Eventually, we will have to talk to such people, just as we have talked to other “terrorists”, such as the IRA.

Dr Shazad Amin

Sale, Greater Manchester

The Woolwich suspects were clear about their objective, “to start a war in London”, creating enmity between British citizens. Now, the Muslim community needs to help solve the problem within its ranks, as they suffer the backlash.

That is the purpose of a small minority of Muslims, and if their “victories” are to be denied, it is essential that the majority take a stand and “out” such individuals to the authorities.

If the Muslim community fails to do this then it becomes a collaborator. If the community cannot determine whether it is prepared to give up those intent on causing violent dissent, then the mosques that fail to report those people to the authorities should be closed.

Alan Stedall

Birmingham

Woolwich may have altered the course of British politics. It was also an attack on Queen, country and above all, freedom, to which David Cameron issued a robust retort. The allegations that the reaction betrayed a “racist” agenda are nonsense (letters, 25 May).

The Prime Minister’s statesmanlike response has surely silenced the backbench murmurings against his leadership, albeit temporarily. This leaves potential challengers and Ed Miliband sitting on the sidelines.

The Prime Minister’s decorum in the wake of the tragedy also made a telling contrast with the Mayor of London’s attempt to promote his own political agenda.

With the challenge of the Syrian crisis looming and his NHS reforms faltering, Mr Cameron has less than a year to prove he is more than a one-term Prime Minister.

Anthony Rodriguez

Staines Upon Thames,  Middlesex

 

The GPs of  today, and of yesterday

I think Dr Clare Gerada (Voices, 23 May) overstates her case by saying, “We routinely see up to 60 patients on a daily basis”. Giving an average of 10 minutes per patient, that represents 10 hours of surgery time a day. Few in this part of the world will believe this.

Some years ago, when a previous government wanted to create super-surgeries, the Family Doctor panel of the BMA put out a leaflet stating their belief in the importance of the relationship between family doctor and patient.

Alas, this does not extend to night time and weekends, when patients never know who they might have to deal with. Given that uncertainty, is there any wonder that they go straight to A&E for attention?

Robert Hopkinson

Wolsingham, Co Durham

I entirely agree with the Secretary of State for Health that the problem with A&E is related to the opting out of “on-call” care by GPs. But the problem goes further back than the last extraordinary pay rise for GPs.

I worked as a GP for 27 years and retired in 1998. I was happy to do my fair share of out-of-hours cover. I was a believer in continuity of care, and GPs covering their own practice out of hours was an important part of that.

But the authorities did not share this view and we were paid what we considered a pittance for the night and weekend work we did. It was little wonder that younger GPs were likely to take any opportunity to relieve them of this duty. Before I retired, my partners took this route and joined a co-operative. I didn’t follow them on a point of principle.

I kept a record of all the out-of-hours visits that I had done between 1991 and 1998: a total of 1,117. I tried to analyse them to determine how many patients I had saved from making an unnecessary visit to A&E or an unnecessary 999 call.

I presented this to the partners at a clinical meeting mainly to illustrate why we should be paid more for the visits. Only 120 of those 1,117 (10 per cent) were referred to hospital, meaning the rest I could advise and/or treat myself.

Knowing many of the patients and families was a considerable advantage, as was having access to the notes of those of my partners. Apart from visiting, I can think of numerous occasions when a word of advice to a family over the phone had been enough, (plus giving them the option to phone again if needed, and they knew they would speak to the same doctor), and often no follow-up visit or even treatment was needed. I concluded that the GP is the perfect person to do the initial “triage”.

Dr Grahame Randall

Liphook, Hampshire

 

We should use a stand-by airport

Simon Calder (25 May) is wrong to link the extensive flight delays on Friday to the constant calls for more infrastructure (ie runways). All that is required is the equivalent of a motorway hard shoulder, a nearby civilian or military airport prepared for emergency landings.

This would have the extra benefit of not requiring the stricken plane to fly back across central London, which surely only adds to the risk of disaster?

Andy Spring

London SE5

Your coverage of an ailing British Airways flight returning to London Heathrow included a map of its route. If accurate, it raises two significant questions: first, why did the aircraft not divert to Stansted, which was almost underneath the revised flightpath?

Second, why was a malfunctioning aircraft with a full load of fuel, allowed to circle back and fly over central London, the most densely populated area of the country?

Ian McBain

Loughton, Essex

 

Pros and cons of the EU

The pro-EU campaigners seem to forget a simple fact when howling about the “loss” of business if UK were to leave the EU. We would still remain members of the EEA just like Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Switzerland is slightly different but has a close arrangement with the EU. Being outside the EU did not have much impact on Iceland’s banking sector a few years ago.

As a member of the EEA, we would enjoy many of our present EU membership advantages plus regaining control of our EEZ. We would still have to adopt many EU directives into national law, but would have more choice over which ones. We would lose voting rights, but as many EU decisions are by QMV, we probably would not lose much.

Colin Stone

Oxford

The business elite who wish to stay in the EU fail to answer how Britain can protect its borders as a member of the EU. As a member, we cannot prevent Britain being used as the dumping ground for Europe and the world`s surplus populations.

We have a welfare budget which has risen since 2010 from £194bn to £220bn. The UK Government fails to publish how much of this rise is attributable to the ever-rising number of immigrants claiming benefits.

T C Bell

Penrith, Cumbria

 

Blindness or a cunning plot?

I wonder if George Osborne’s reputation as an astute politician might be justified. He and his fellow neo-liberals are possessed with an extreme-right-wing hatred of what they refer to the State and we might think of as the public realm.

That ideological disgust extends to include welfare, or, particularly, the NHS. The only explanation for Osborne’s persistence in economic policies which have been proven not to work and never will is that they create the circumstances under which the extreme right can argue for curtailing expenditure in the public realm (except for Trident) and which will allow for the destruction of the NHS in particular.

Michael Rosenthal

Banbury, Oxfordshire

 

A class act

The apparent scepticism of Ukip and the Tory right over climate change suggests that the British education system has lamentably failed. Otherwise, why do so many fail to understand scientific research? The Government could easily introduce scientific research classes within weeks. Sadly, I doubt it will, being scared of upsetting Ukip’s voters.

David Eagar

Manningtree, Essex

 

The rump UK

Your correspondents need not worry about a name for the remainder of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland if or when Scotland secedes. The constitutionally correct name would be the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland. As ever, Wales doesn’t get a look in, having been annexed to the then-Kingdom of England by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542.

Tom Flynn

Edinburgh

 

An idea blossoms

On my rail commute from New Southgate to Finsbury Park I pass miles of green embankments. The plant life seems to consist of grass, nettles and weeds. Why don’t councils plant wild flowers in such areas and stimulate insect populations? It would make the journey a bit more pleasant.

Josh Cluderay

London N11

 

That’s for sure

A C Grayling (Voices, 24 May) rightly praises the “careful estimations of a scientific world” in which “nothing is certain”. Yet he appears to have no problem claiming with certainty that there is no God.

T Hewlett

Widnes, Cheshire

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Recruitment Genius: Fence Installer - Commercial

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This privately owned Fencing Co...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £22,000

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you answer yes, this company...

Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
From left: Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham at a televised Labour leadership debate  

Jeremy Corbyn wouldn't be so far ahead in the Labour leadership race if his rivals weren't so awful

Ash Burt
 

Giving children 'iRights' to delete what they put online sends the wrong moral message

Joe Rivers
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'