A response to Laurie Cardoza-Moore (letter 20th June 2017)

YOUR letter at first appears to be a rallying cry against terrorism, but reading between the lines it is clearly Islamophobia.

When you speak of “spiritual animosities” opposed to Christians and Jews (two groups you wrongly conflate) in the context that it sits, you are obviously meaning to say “Islam.”

Modern-day “Islamic” terrorism is not a war on Christians and Jews specifically, as you suggest, instead the violent extremists who twist and distort the peaceful Koran to suit their evil deeds are warring against everyone that is not them; Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, other Muslims, et al...

This framing of terrorism into a religious us/them narrative is itself extremism and depends upon a very narrow reading of scripture that caricatures Islam as essentially the so-called “Anti-Christ” (which has absolutely no basis in Jewish scripture).

Islam is, in fact, far closer to Judaism than Christianity will ever be.

Groups such as ISIS DO NOT represent Islam and are far more akin to gun-slinging Bible-Belt American Christians.

Furthermore, the end-times language of groups such as PJTN is atypical of the extreme Zionism to which I am fervently opposed.

Though a religious Jewish zionist (with a small ‘z’) myself, I do NOT support the vision for Israel which is a “Greater Israel,” by which I mean opposition to the two-state solution and the eternal subjugation of Palestine and her people.

Palestinians have an equal right to national consciousness as the Jewish people do and both should be bilaterally realised to their full potential.

The real “spiritual animosity” is with those people who wish to divide the world and destroy what they reject.

The PJTN may be reading from the same book as us Jews, but they are creating their own fairytale. As-salamu alaykum/Shalom aleichem!

Stuart Coleman, Dumbarton

I WISH to write in response to the letter submitted by Stuart Coleman regarding Tim Farron and the greater issue of the LGBT community.

First of all, blaming political correctness for the Farron’s own decision is laughable and lacks any concrete evidence to actually pin anything like this to be the case.

Secondly, you conflate that marriage is “a legal union... offspring” and that it is a “millennia-old institution.” That is an oversimplification.

Marriage may have become this around the Middle Ages but certainly was not wholly this nor is that a universal trait.

For the lower classes, marriage was a very informal affair and still is in large sections of the world.

Certainly in traditional pagan beliefs, handfastening ceremonies have been for any gender and I would suggest that pagan beliefs far outweigh any “tradition” leverage the Christian church has.

Marriage is certainly not a precursor for children – many marriages throughout time were purely for social climbing - and supposing so is an insult to anyone who cannot have children or those who do and do not fit into your world view.

Finally, do not try and say you hold nothing against us.

We are not stupid and there is nothing in anything you have said that indicates you champion anything we stand for.

Instead, you complained over the meaning of a word and quoted the Bible.

Perhaps you should read Deuteronomy 22:28-29 in which it describes how much a rape victim can be sold to her rapist. Will you also champion? Shouldn’t you also be changing your definition between one man and one woman since the Bible is simply littered with concubines and multiple wives?

Or is it only the parts you find personally convenient to your world view that you will throw at us?

Stephanie Millar, Dumbarton.

THE recent passing by Holyrood of legislation establishing a new tax to replace air passenger duty in Scotland is to be welcomed.

The Bill to create air departure tax (ADT), which will now come into force from April 2018, paves the way for the Scottish Government to fulfil its commitment to cut the levy in half by the end of this Parliament, ahead of abolishing the charge altogether "when resources allow."

UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) is the most expensive tax of its kind in Europe and profoundly impacts on Scotland, acting as a barrier to our ability to secure new direct international services and to maintain existing ones. Attracting investment is now more crucial than ever as we embark on Brexit negotiations.

The reduction and ultimate abolition of APD in Scotland will have two key impacts – first, some international routes which are currently marginal and therefore not flown are likely to become viable.

Secondly, there is likely to be a price reduction for the consumer on domestic flying and the real possibility of additional frequencies.

Research indicates that halving APD will create nearly 4,000 jobs and add £200 million a year to the Scottish economy by 2020.

Without action, Scotland could lose out on nearly one million passengers every year, costing the Scottish economy up to £68 million in lost tourism revenue every year.

APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with the rest of Europe, and our economy is footing the bill in lost jobs and lost opportunities.

Addressing this will provide key advantages for both passengers and the Scottish economy.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

I'M writing to let your readers know that right now in Scotland there are 396 people currently waiting for a kidney transplant, and every single day in the UK one person will die whilst waiting for their kidney. This has to change.

Most people don’t want to think about their kidneys, but the reality is that one in eight people will develop Chronic Kidney Disease which can affect their general health and may ultimately mean they might need dialysis or a transplant in order to stay alive.

The average time waiting for a kidney on the transplant list is three years and there are almost 30,000 people on dialysis in the UK, a treatment that leaves patients hooked up to machines for hours at a time for several days every week, which has a knock-on impact on their ability to study, work, socialise and ultimately live their lives to the full.

Kidney patients constantly tell us that greater awareness of kidney disease and the impact it can have on their lives would be life-changing for them, which is why we’re calling on your readers to become kidney aware by visiting www.kidneycareuk.org.

We are here to ensure that no-one in Scotland has to face kidney disease alone.

Ewen Maclean, Patient Support and Advocacy Officer, Scotland, Kidney Care UK

LIVING with Type 1 diabetes is difficult at any age.

For young people who are also faced with the challenges of becoming an adult and making important life choices, managing a long-term condition can become that bit more burdensome.

At Diabetes Scotland we are embarking on an ambitious new project to empower young people aged 16-25, who are living with Type 1 diabetes, to influence and effect change in care, services and support.

Thanks to funding from Young Start at the Big Lottery Fund we are currently recruiting volunteers from all over Scotland to join our Young Leaders programme.

Those involved will be given the opportunity to plan and deliver a range of activities to raise awareness and tackle the issues that are important to them.

To any readers aged 16-25 years old and living with Type 1 diabetes, I’d urge you to go to our website www.diabetes.org.uk/scotland to find out more and apply.

If you have any questions you can also contact me on email Catriona.Stewart@diabetes.org.uk or phone 0141 245 6380.

Catriona Stewart, Youth Development Officer, Diabetes Scotland.