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Sir - People who believe they are entitled to kill anyone who dares to mock their religious beliefs need to get a life, as distinct from taking lives. I feel uneasy about some of the more belligerent satirising of religion but no amount of mockery or humorous comment can justify murder.

Sir - People who believe they are entitled to kill anyone who dares to mock their religious beliefs need to get a life, as distinct from taking lives. I feel uneasy about some of the more belligerent satirising of religion but no amount of mockery or humorous comment can justify murder.

We can all be offended by attacks on our beliefs. One person's joke is another person's blasphemy. The best response is to ignore the ridicule or criticism. Personally I respect Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and all the other great religions of the world and the right of followers to worship as they see fit.

But people ought to be entitled to express their disapproval of religion too, regardless of how offended any of us might be as a result.

A life without humour would be very dull indeed, and attempts to suppress joking and satire have never quite succeeded. Somebody somewhere will always find a way to poke fun and make at least one other person laugh. We all need to lighten up about our religious beliefs or lack of them.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan,

Co Kilkenny

Blasphemy law is utterly stupid

Sir - So now we are to be threatened with prosecution by an Islamic man if some editor in Ireland publishes a cartoon which has already been shown around the world?

Do not be intimidated, Ireland this is still a free democracy. Tell people like Dr Ali Selim that he does not have the right to dictate to us about our Constitution or otherwise.

A stupid blasphemy law was brought in here without the Irish people being consulted, and cannot be taken seriously in a secular society. We are not bound by medieval constrictions which still bedevil North Africa and the Middle East.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry,

Co Cork

Find good health in the ditches

Sir - The chemists of Ireland are going to hate me, but I feel we can get the ingredients of most tablets and medicines in the good old wild ditches and hedges.

At school, yonks ago we picked and ate sorrel, vetches, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. I hasten to add that tt wasn't that we were that poor or starving - we grew spuds, cabbages, turnips and had fresh eggs and killed a pig and cured it, but we loved the wild picking.

People boiled nettles (lovely, like cabbage) with a hunk of bacon. The nettle water was used as a 'blood cleanser' and a refreshing drink.

Dandelion was also cooked and was a cure for many ills, I think the water it was boiled in cured 'quinsy' (a horrible throat infection) and mouth ulcers. I also know cobwebs were used as a styptic to stop bleeding.

Kathleen Corrigan,

Cootehill,

Cavan

Minister not as sick as patients

Sir - So, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, speaking after he returned from holidaying in the US, is "sick to death" of the problem of overcrowding in hospital emergency departments and plans to tackle it once and for all.

No doubt Minister Varadkar was speaking figuratively on whether he will survive long enough to solve the persistent problem of overcrowding in emergency departments of our hospitals.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of some of those patients who will end up, literally, "sick to death" on a hospital trolley as overworked health workers struggle to accommodate them with that most fundamental requirement for the ill, a hospital bed.

Tom Cooper,

Templeogue,

Dublin 6w

Sunday Independent