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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: I am currently recruiting level 3 n...

Are you a Teacher interested in Special Needs?

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified Teacher w...

**ESOL**

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job:* The Tutor will prepar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Photo issued by Flinders University of an artist's impression of a Microbrachius dicki mating scene  

One look at us Scots is enough to show how it was our fishy ancestors who invented sex

Donald MacInnes
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp  

Oscar Pistorius sentence: Judge Masipa might have shown mercy, but she has delivered perfect justice

Chris Maume
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album