Perpetrators of this evil do not represent Islam

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On behalf of The Council of British Pakistanis (Scotland), which has promoted racial equality and integration over the past 25 years and served 44 different nationalities in as many areas, I would like to unreservedly condemn the carnage caused in Paris. Our condolences go to the victims and their relatives.

At times like this we have to rise above despair and helplessness and firstly and foremost express clearly that perpetrators of this heinous crime, despite their claims, do not in any way represent Islam. ISIS is an evil organisation whose warped and extremely dangerous ideology is not shared by British Muslims.

A number of actions are necessary. Firstly, as Lord Carlile said in a recent TV interview, ISIS needs to be crushed. France clearly sees this as an act of war. The international community jointly needs to fight this war, not only in the air but also on the ground till the job is done. Western governments, led by the UK, need to closely examine their foreign policies. Certain parts of the world are better governed by “dictators”. Evil as they might have been, if Saddam Hussain and Colonel Gaddafi were still in power ISIS would not have prospered. If the dictator Assad in Syria was not weakened, but supported instead, there would be no ISIS rule in parts of Syria.

The Muslim community must play a greater role. Every opportunity needs to be taken to unreservedly condemn such atrocities and play a greater part in assuring other communities that “we are all in this together”. This council is very active in working with the Mosques and Madrassas to ensure that community members within do not harm Scotland or the UK.

We are in the process of formulating project PETER (Preventing Extremism and Terrorism through Education and Rehabilitation) aimed at youths under 30. Research shows that loss of cultural identity, low self esteem and coercion from extremists are major forces which turn disenchanted youth to radicalisation, extremism and terrorism. We, with support from the Scottish Government, would play our full role to do whatever it takes to ensure all British citizens are safe at home and abroad.

Mohammed Akram MBE, President, Council of British Pakistanis (Scotland), Broughton Street, Edinburgh

Many organisations help the homeless

I feel that I must comment on Ewan Aitken’s Platform article from Thursday, November 12.

Mr Aitken seems to imply that his organisation is working in isolation, when in fact there are many organisations funded by the city council (including his) which offer a housing support service.

Most of those who get assistance are referred to the appropriate agency by social workers, housing support officers (CEC) and other professionals. Some housing support organisations, including the council’s Neighbourhood Support Service, accept self referrals and provide drop-in services at their offices and outreach services in libraries and medical practices.

The Cyrenians is just one of many organisations here to help.

William Greig Whyte, Piersfield Grove, Edinburgh

Many better uses for £162.2m than trams

So the new extension to the tram line is “only” going to cost £162.2 million. A bargain NOT.

My husband used the airport bus on Friday to go from the airport to Corstorphine and the bus was packed because it goes to the places people want to go to. It would seem Councillor Burns is able to see into the future as he says spending this money would have no impact on the short medium or long term revenue budget of the council. How can he possibly know this?

Edinburgh council does not listen to the people it serves and will railroad this plan through regardless. Why should the buses subsidise the tram? I have never used the trams and I believe they are a tourist thing. Spend the money on making Junction Street an attractive shopping street and give us more of the services we do need, ie. street cleaning, better lighting etc.

We could all come up with better uses for this money so please start listening to the people.

Mrs S Smart, address supplied

Socialism cannot work while corruption is rife

Reports on the alleged scandal at Cameron House have yet again exposed the deep-seated corruption within our city council. This makes me very sad. At a time when Scottish politics is taking a socialist turn and it cannot be denied that a lot of people who voted Yes in last year’s referendum were dreaming of a fairer, socialist society in this country.

But socialism only works if everyone takes their fair share and people in power don’t try to cream from the top. If this sort of selfish behaviour is rife in Edinburgh’s council it makes me despair of there ever being a decent, fairly governed country.

Brian Armstrong, Cramond, Edinburgh

January is best time to pay heating allowance

Instead of cutting out the heating allowance, why doesn’t it get paid out in January so that no-one would stupidly use it on Christmas presents? It is for our heating and January is ideal.

Mrs Margaret Gallagher, Temple Park Crescent, Edinburgh

Good to hear Ebola nurse is on the mend

It is very good news Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey has been released from isolation after she was treated for Meningitis caused by the deadly virus (News, November 12).

She has now been transferred to Glasgow and I hope that her health will improve daily. Best wishes to Pauline and her family.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian