City has previous form for religious intolerance

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The people who have withdrawn their children from an educational visit to the Edinburgh mosque because they fear “the hate being preached” there (News, June 5) seem to have forgotten our own recent examples of religious toleration.

It’s not much more than 20 years ago that I came across Pastor Jack Glass with his soap box outside St Mary’s Cathedral in the East End spouting the foulest tirade of language I have ever heard against the Pope in particular and Roman Catholics in general.

And a Saturday in a bar near Ibrox or Celtic Park will fill up your capacity for religious intolerance for a lifetime . . . and, if it is their children’s safety at the mosque they are concerned for, recent history seems to teach that our children and grandchildren are a damned sight safer in a mosque, than in a Roman catholic church preyed upon by institutional paedophiles. Islam is not a problem. Nor is Christianity, come to that.

It is religion in the broader sense, and the people that practise them, which are – and the sooner religious observance and instruction has been banned in all publicly-funded establishments the better.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Cheaper means of voting are available

Opponents of giving voters in Edinburgh the opportunity to decide whether prayers/religious observance should be discontinued in publicly funded ‘non-denominational’ schools have raised misleading claims of the cost such a ballot (News, June 4).

The city council’s and the Scottish Parliament’s petitioning system and the current ballot over the naming of the new Forth bridge demonstrates how modern technology provides cheap and efficient means of involving the public in decision-making.

It is also good practice for many organisations today to conduct ballots by a combination of postal and electronic voting – all of which greatly reduce costs.

Another possibility for reducing costs is to combine the ballot over religious observance along with other required elections.

If voters can be polled on the naming of the new Forth bridge surely a poll is called for on this important issue regarding the education of children and young people in city schools.

The exaggerated claims of the cost of polling the electors of the city on this issue suggests that the entrenched religious interests which seek to mould the minds of the young in their religious doctrines in our city schools have a profoundly undemocratic motive in seeking to preserve their current access to children and young people in our educational system

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

‘Junk’ food obesity claim has no basis

Leaving aside the meaningless phrases “fast food” and “junk food”, Lyndsey McLellan of Edinburgh Community Food (Letters, May 30) presents an unfortunate argument devoid of evidence in making a direct connection between such food and obesity.

Her claimed 63 per cent Scottish obesity rate is irrelevant: the percentage appropriate to her case would be that definitively caused by these foods. No such statistics exist, and without them as evidence her claim has no basis. As it stands, she appears to suggest that; only people who eat “fast” or “junk” food become obese; all who do eat it will become obese; those who are obese eat nothing else and; these outlets serve only “unhealthy” foods.

The main causes of obesity are over-eating and under-exercising, and I venture to suggest that random observation of the clientele of fast food outlets would identify nowhere near 63 per cent of obese customers: that has certainly been my experience.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

A key role played by helpful Capital cabbie

A BIG thank you to City Cabs taxi driver “Victor 85” who handed my husband’s keys into our house yesterday after he dropped them in his cab when he took us to the vet in Portobello.

I had a television engineer in the house when he came and I didn’t thank him properly or reimburse him for his trouble.

We really appreciate it, thanks.

Ann Gray, Gilmerton, Edinburgh

Takeaway workers should all get a slice

How wonderful that Monika Cupar, the manager at the Meadowbank branch of KFC, won a BMW car after her restaurant scored top marks for customer service (Evening News, June 5).

However, it would have been much fairer if all the staff had shared in this accolade.

They should each have received a prize – say £1,000 – with the manager getting maybe double this amount.

After all, it is not only the manager which makes a restaurant successful but all the staff play their part, from the cleaners to the dishwashers to those who serve the public. They all deserve to be rewarded too.

S F Wilson, Maxwell Street, Edinburgh

Lack of facilities put a cloud over beach trip

WE had friends over from Germany and as the weather was lovely, we visited Silverknowes beach. What a huge disappointment to find there were no toilets open.

We spoke to visitors who told us they are never open.

Come on Edinburgh City Council, get your act together – visitors bring a huge amount of revenue.

M Anderson, Steps Street, Stenhousemuir, Larbert