Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let Us Listen to the Voices of Reason and Not Follow Mirror Images of Hate

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let Us Listen to the Voices of Reason and Not Follow Mirror Images of Hate

Article excerpt

Byline: DENISE ROBERTSON

UNLESS you have a heart of stone, you must have been moved as the family of that young soldier, butchered on a London street, told of their grief and pride.

But they are not the only people who will suffer as a result of that unspeakably evil and counter-productive act. Last week's coverage took me back to the day after the London bombings.

I was doing a live phone-in on television - distracted relatives, fearful parents, angry citizens and then a timid voice. It belonged to a young mother, a Muslim, who had taken her children to school that morning and seen other mums, once her friends, turn away.

"Why wouldn't they speak to me?" she asked. "I wouldn't hurt anyone."

As the voices of unreason gather on street corners to preach a mirror-image of the hate that killed Lee Rigby, it's important that we listen to the voices of reason, many coming from Muslim organisations. Islam did not kill that young father.

As I told that frightened mother in 2005, the fifth chapter of the Koran says: "Whosoever killeth a human being...

it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind."

We didn't blame Christianity when a self-professed 'Christian' massacred 77 young Norwegians in 2011. We recognised his derangement.

It wasn't Catholic versus Protestant in Northern Ireland, it was thug against thug. Let's target preachers of hate, from whence-so-ever they come, let's eject them from this country if we can, but let's not ostracise young Muslim mothers because two rejects perpetrated an atrocity while fooling themselves they did it in Allah's name.

No easy answers over child sex hearings LAST week we heard of the court ordeal of teenagers abused by a sex grooming gang.

One of them had to endure 12 days of excruciatingly aggressive questions about her sex life.

She broke down after being repeatedly accused of lying by lawyers acting for each of the seven accused.

The judge was left close to despair and one defence barrister walked out in disgust.

Charities and politicians are calling for better treatment of vulnerable witnesses in child sex cases and critics say the trial shamed British justice, but addressing the problem won't be easy.

Those young people spoke the truth, but false accusation does occur and defence counsel must target accusers if justice is to be done.

The Stafford trial collapsed in 2011 and the men were later convicted in a series of smaller retrials.

Perhaps separate trials are the answer, with only one defence lawyer at a time able to attack a witness's credibility.

Officials must pay price for benefit fraud THE mother-of-eight jailed for one of the biggest ever benefit frauds should not have stood alone, at least not in the dock of public opinion. …

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