Sunday 23 October 2016

We must reject terrorists' bid to pit us against each other

Published 30/07/2016 | 02:30

Pope Francis said the world is at war, but it is not a war of religions Picture: Reuters
Pope Francis said the world is at war, but it is not a war of religions Picture: Reuters

We cannot allow the recent brutal slaughter of a French priest to trigger religious animosity between communities.

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I have just returned from Nice. I lived very close to Promenade des Anglais, the place which witnessed the mass murder of innocents. One can feel palpable tension in the city.

However, we must all remember that 30 of the victims were Muslims themselves and that, so far, terror organisations have murdered more Muslims than Christians, Westerners or any other minorities.

Pope Francis was right to reiterate the salient fact that the world is at war but it is not a war of religions. Wisdom must prevail.

There is every need to reinvigorate and put into practice the Amman message, an illuminating script instigated by King Abdullah II of Jordan which sought to clarify the true tenets of Islam to the entire world.

It offers fertile ground for constructive interactions between people of diverse religious denominations.

As we live in an uncertain and unstable world, where dark forces are threatening to tear us asunder, this message becomes imperative to remind us of the common values that bind us all: compassion, mercy, equality, fairness, justice, kindness, inclusiveness and moderation.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, United Kingdom

Religious intolerance is nothing new

The recent murder in France of a priest while saying Mass in the parish church was a truly shocking event to most people in the Western world, but it is by no means the first, nor, sadly, is it likely to be the last.

Killing priests is not the just the preserve of brainwashed fanatical jihadists in today's world.

In Tullaghobegley graveyard, which is no more than two miles from where I live in Donegal, a broken tombstone marks the grave of a priest, a Father T Craig.

Some inscriptions are still visible along with the outline of a wolfhound; the reason for this is because the Redcoats (British soldiers) used wolfhounds to track him down, which resulted in him being savaged to death in a cave-like hideout that he used for safety when word came of approaching troops.

The beautiful setting masks what took place on the side of a picturesque mountain, An Achla Mór, which lies in the shadow of mount Errigal, Ireland's second-highest mountain.

A cross and stone flag mark the actual spot where this horrific event took place.

Many priests and bishops met their deaths in similar circumstances on both these islands and in some instances their heads were placed on pillars at the entrance to large estates as a dire warning to others.

During the 17th century, Catholic priests were being hunted down killed or imprisoned on the orders of Oliver Cromwell and his like-minded henchmen.

Fr Craig was one of the priests who would say Mass at places throughout parishes called Mass rocks; unfortunately on this occasion the Redcoats received a tip-off about where and when the Mass was to be said in an area known as Min Doire.

Colonialism, fanaticism and religious intolerance are not the preserve of the much-troubled 21st century.

It seems that we learn nothing from history, as it repeats itself.

James Woods


Joint sovereignty for the North?

In international law, a "condominium" is a territory over which two or more nations agree to share sovereignty. If such an arrangement could be applied to the North, if agreed between Dublin and London, this could be an acceptable answer to the problem of the North's relationship with the EU after Brexit.

The resultant 'Ireland', with the North, could remain in the EU, if this was accepted in Brussels, while it would also remain in union with the UK.

Cyril Bowman

Address with Editor

Buck should stop with Dáil

I believe the decision of the Government to set up a "Citizens' Assembly" to examine the Eighth Amendment is mere window dressing.

A few months ago, when I cast my vote along with my fellow citizens in the General Election, I believed we were electing a "Citizens' Assembly". We call it Dáil Éireann. The buck should stop there.

Fr Iggy O'Donovan


Reliving childhood

I am reading 'The BFG' by Roald Dahl, at 65 years of age, before going to see Steven Spielberg's new movie of the same book, and loving every minute of it.

I am living the childhood I missed, and realising that one's imagination works wonders no matter what your age.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Resort will destroy woods

You would have to be living under a rock not to notice the increased emphasis on healthy eating and exercise today - we are facing an obesity epidemic, in particular for our children, with one in four now considered obese.

With this in mind, I am perplexed as to why Longford County Council has given the go-ahead for the destruction of a popular, well used, well-loved amenity that is perfect for outdoor exercise - Newcastle Woods, which will be the new Center Parcs location.

I am fully aware of the arguments in favour of this development - job creation, more money being spent in the local economy, a great holiday destination so close by, etc.

If it was located elsewhere, I would be all for it. However, an area of natural beauty is being destroyed and I will never understand that.

Newcastle Woods is a beautiful, peaceful wooded area, in the middle of the countryside. I challenge anyone to go for a walk in these woods and not feel it is a sin to locate a holiday resort there.

No matter my state of mind or mood, I never fail to feel better after a wander around this place.

My feeling is undoubtedly shared, as it is widely used by walkers, cyclists, runners, dog walkers, horse riders and even some amateur photographers, but yet it remains tranquil.

As well as their natural beauty, these woods are helping to keep people fit. There are a vast number of pathways, meaning you can tailor your walk or run to your time limits or ability. You are outside in the fresh air and sunlight, which does the mind and body good. And it's free.

I meet a lot of families in Newcastle Woods going for walks and it is lovely to see young children enjoying nature.

My brother's children suggest going there every weekend, for a walk or a cycle. It is a real adventure for them, with endless places to explore.

This is what is needed - instilling healthy habits into our children, that will be passed on from generation to generation.

R Allen

Address with Editor

Irish Independent

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