An existential struggle between civilisation and Isil barbarism
The horrendous November 13 Islamic State attack on Paris is this generation's symbolic moment, a vicious offensive in what must now be seen as part of an emerging third world war. The ideological rationale at the basis of this conflict is being driven by an extreme Salafi/Wahhabi Islamic ideology, which is nurtured and funded by states such as Saudi Arabia.
Since 2001, this unrelenting religious fascism has spread its tentacles via a plethora of well-resourced jihadist groups, such as the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and most recently Isil.
These groups have established themselves across vast tracts of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. According to the Rand Corporation, as of 2014, there were around 50 such Jihadist-Salafist groups in existence globally, all advocating violent jihad as a means of implementing 'pure' Islam and Sharia law.
The most extreme of these is Islamic State, whose emergence was made possible by the utter failure of the Bush-Blair war in Iraq and a near-constant state of civil war between Sunni and Shia Islam.
The undertones and language of the recent Islamic State statement claiming responsibility for the Paris bloodbath underlines the apocalyptic and nihilistic nature of its death craving ideology. This hyper-Islamist movement cannot by be reasoned with and defies all norms of human logic.
Its elimination is the greatest challenge facing humanity since the rise of Nazism. French borders are now closed and scenes like this have not been seen in Europe since the Second World War. Thousands of Isil fighters are returning from Syria, co-ordinated from their epicentre in Raqqa and embedding themselves into major European cities, with attacks like Friday's now being the group's stated strategy.
The international community must finally react in the same committed manner that saw the defeat of Nazism 70 years ago and eliminate all traces of Islamic State and, more importantly, challenge the Islamic Salafist ideology at the core of this global war.
Claremorris, County Mayo
Remove root causes of terror
The depravity of terrorists knows no limits. We can only shed tears of sorrow for hapless victims. It is cynical that the innocents and powerless have always been mere pawns in wider proxy wars, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Haven't we been here before? Terror has no religion, race or ethnicity. It is politics that create fertile grounds for terrorism. Violence begets violence.
It is high time to address the root causes that nourish terror, namely poverty, unemployment, 'Islamophobia', anti-semitism, racism, food insecurity, religious void, social injustices, occupations and wars.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Chartley Avenue, London
Anyone who has been to Paris cannot but be impressed by its cultural significance and the feeling of ease in that great city.
The attacks that took place on Friday evening must be condemned by all right-thinking people but they must be understood.
France, the UK and the US are causing untold hardship to the people in the Middle East. It cannot go on and things must change if we want peace - that is unless we want these psychopaths to win.
Monastery Walk, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Yet again Isil has proven that in its war against free speech, free countries and freedom in general, there is no depths to which it will not stoop.
There can be no further denying the fact that the western world is at war with Isil. We cannot afford to be like Stalin, who disbelieved news of the German invasion almost until it was too late. Will these Isil barbarians have to be at the gates before we accept reality and the fact that we are under attack by an ideology every bit as horrific and murderous as Nazism?
And yet the apologists are out already, making excuses for these sol-called 'soldiers'. Sitting here watching news coverage of the attacks, I have been fed a fairly steady stream of experts saying that these are young people who feel marginalised and oppressed.
One reason being given is that they are offended by jokes about their prophet. It is true that in free states we can and do mock religious figures as part of our freedom of speech. But by Isil logic, I would be justified in showing up at the huge mosque in Mecca and killing as many people as possible because in Middle Eastern countries they not only mock Jesus but they repress and ban all non-Islamic religions.
Maybe we should take a lesson from Tywin Lannister - and really take the gloves off in this fight.
Clara, County Offaly
My heart goes out to the families of the victims of the terror attacks in Paris. As a Muslim, I strongly condemn these horrible acts of violence. The ideology of those who carried out these attacks is incompatible with Islam.
It saddens me, however, that the world pays attention mainly when western lives are lost. We should also remember those who lost their lives in places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
Strengthening security won't save more lives unless the root causes are dealt with. Supporting democracy, not dictatorship, in the Arab world would be a good start.
Wellesley Avenue, Belfast
Class slavery is strong as ever
One sentence stands out for me in Colm Ó Tórna's letter (November 14) in response to David McWilliams' article about the 1916 Rising. It exemplifies the muddled thinking that underlies all revolutionary movements.
"We are not born to work," wrote Mr Ó Tórna. The truth is that without work we have nothing.
Servitude is a state of being in which most of the fruits of our labours are transferred, against our will, to the benefit of others.
Which surely means that servitude and economics are two sides of the same coin.
The disparity between the economic circumstances of the wealthiest here in Ireland and throughout the world is as wide today as it ever was. Neither the Rising, nor the subsequent creation of the Free State, brought an end to the servitude of the majority.
As someone born in England, it is not for me to criticise those who most Irish men and women regard as heroes. But I can't help wondering how it was that anyone could have supposed that a nation waging a war against the socialism they espoused could be trusted not to impose a greater yoke upon the Irish working class.
Droimnin, Church Road,
Stradbally, Co Laois