Your Letters

Ed Lines – setting the record straight

Letter of the Week: Elyas Patel, Savile Town

Dear Sir,

Ed’s ‘whines’ are legendary in these parts. Before you brace yourselves and mutter here we go, let me make it plain that I’m not one of those who subscribes to the theory that our Danny is a ‘scaremonger’ when it comes to all things Islam and Muslim.

Though (and I hope this is a fair observation) his fire-and-brimstone brand of journalism is prone to the odd personal put-down, jibe or ridicule at those unlucky enough to be caught in his ‘friendly fire.’

Some of what he writes is fair comment and certain it is that his column each Friday makes for a riveting read.

Not so I’m afraid his piece last Friday. If I may respectfully say so, his usual thorough approach failed him and, due diligence in seeking to verify the facts and reality on the ground absent, he took the bait (well I’ll slap my thigh and go to the bottom of his stairs!) and jumped hook, line and sinker onto the ‘Islamophobic’ Sky News bandwagon that clumsily rolled by the Markazi Mosque in Savile Town recently.

For those who are not subject to subscription mugging by Murdoch’s Sky News outlet each month, let me fill you in with some background.

A wannabe Sky News reporter armed apparently with a pupil handbook from the mosque’s Islamic Institute ran a story headlined ‘mosque forbids muslim students from mixing with outsiders.’

I haven’t seen such a handbook and thus cannot confirm its existence or contents, but I have had the benefit of an ‘attentive ear’ from many a student and teacher who have passed through the Institute’s ‘forbidding walls’!

Anyone with a modicum of common sense will know that any document is capable of being interpreted any which way in the wrong hands, and in the pursuit of wider and darker motives can be ‘sexed up’ (the dossier on Iraq’s non-existent WMDs comes to mind) in order to back up a particularly ‘hateful’ agenda.

Danny, in his eagerness to whip up a healthy bout of hysterical frenzy against this Savile Tonian Islamic Institute, went a good deal further and loudly proclaimed in his piece: “... It seems the Markazi Mosque forbids Muslim students from mixing with the evil Kuffar (us) and showing any sign of belonging to 21st century Britain...”

That observation is so far off the mark as to miss the target completely. Let me do what is says on the tin and set the record straight.

I hope that those who read this will do so with an open mind and not allow themselves to be coloured by the subjective and half-cocked drivel that has been penned ever since this story first broke.

1) ‘Non contact with outsiders’ – The institute is set within the grounds of the Markazi Mosque. The institute has boarding pupils who are of tender years. However, the mosque is a public place of worship open to people of all ages.

Obvious safeguarding issues arise. The prohibition on contact with outsiders (perhaps not the most elegantly phrased, granted) is nothing more than an articulation of that.

A statement that pupils should safeguard themselves from the risks and dangers inherent in such exposure within the grounds of an ‘open and public’ place of worship.

So Danny, yes, I will ‘say it ain’t so, Joe’.

2) ‘Portable televisions and cameras are forbidden’ – Lazy and inept journalism to the minds of the intelligent should never require a riposte. Just in case anyone else reads The Press, let me spell it out.

Name me a secular or other faith school that permits portable televisions and cameras amongst its pupils during school hours/ term time? What utter nonsense! I’ll resist the obvious temptation here to respond in like to the jibe about mobile phones that Danny just could not resist making, but alas I have bigger fish to fry!

3) “What did people think kids were learning behind those cloistered walls?” our Danny (bless him) rhetorically asks!

Well, let me tell you. In fact no, don’t take my word for it.

Instead let’s ask the elderly and infirm residents of the Walker Street retirement home/sheltered housing complex in Thornhill Lees (the evil ‘kuffar’ as Locky would have us believe!) where a teacher and students from the same Markaz Islamic Institute joined up with another local muslim volunteer group Kumon Y’All to clean up the paths and grounds of the entire complex.

As the teacher of the Institute involved put it: “... the smiling faces on the elderly people is something I will cherish and made it all the more worthwhile.”

So in answer to Danny’s question – that is what the kids are in fact taught. Love, respect, help and public spiritedness towards one and all.

I should say Walker Street is just one example of many, where existing and former staff and students of the Institute make a positive contribution to the society that we all love, live in and share.

I could of course go on but respecting the space limitations of print media I’ll stop here and end with this humble plea.

Danny, my dear chap, the moral of this story is next time please seek to verify your facts and make sure there is a evidential foundation to support the grossly exaggerated claims you might be inclined to make.

Indeed be very, very wary in the future of jumping on to a bandwagon being driven by anyone associated with a media giant completely discredited by the phone hacking scandal!

I hope you will print this reply in full. Indeed in the finest traditions of The Press newspaper I am silently confident you will.

Mine is not to cause offence because that would be to simply respond in kind to a habitual adversary of the Muslim community in these parts.

Mine I hope is simply and politely to put a marker down. Enough is enough. I am for one no longer prepared to take this kind of play ground bullying lying down.

Oh by the way, I should say of course that I have no problem with legitimate criticism. Nor am I deluded to think that there is no problem.

But no battles will be won against extremism, radicalisation or separatism by vilifying and lambasting the very people and institutions who must fight this fight.

Finally, and for the record, I do not ‘despise’ you, nor for that matter ‘hate your guts’!

It’s just your journalism on this occasion that I had a problem with.

Nothing upstairs

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Dear Sir,

Like many other people I am angry about the needless killing of Cecil the lion, a national symbol of Zimbabwe who was stalked, skinned and beheaded by a dentist from the United States.

It reminds me of an old Beatles song, ‘The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill’, about a man who went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun.

He was nicknamed Bungalow because he had nothing upstairs, same as the dentist!


Old must be protected

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

On September 12 Rob Marris’ private members Assisted Dying (No2) Bill will be debated in the House of Commons.

As usual, there will be campaigners who support the introduction of euthanasia, telling us it is our right to choose the time of our death.

And if you, like me, have had to witness the lingering and painful death of a loved  one, you might be inclined to agree.

On the face of it, assisted dying seems to offer a kinder, easier, pain-free death, but the whole concept of mercy killing is fraught with danger.

Any number of safeguards, no matter how stringent, will soon be outmanoeuvred by some smart barrister, opening the gates for the most horrendous abuse.

Already terminally-ill patients are being denied medication to give them extra time with their families.

They will be first in line for assisted dying, voluntary of course, to start with.

The next will be patients with chronic conditions. As the cost of medication rises, so will the pressure to find an alternative.

And confused, usually elderly, people will easily be persuaded to see the advantage of a needle in the arm over taking medication for years that only slows down the progress of their condition, but does not cure it.

The old, the confused, the weak and vulnerable must be protected from the danger of voluntary euthanasia, because once the floodgates are opened, it’s just a matter of time before voluntary becomes compulsory.


Big thank you

From: Beth Prescott, Lichfield Road, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I wanted to write in to say a big well done to all those who helped organise and run the fantastic craft fair at the new Hive on Longcauseway on Saturday.

When I first heard about the new Hive I was excited. This is exactly the get-up-and-go initiative that Dewsbury needs.

Dewsbury is a town with a lot of potential. Enterprises like this, from people with a genuine passion for our home town, will help restore Dewsbury to its former glory and more.

When I arrived at the fair, I was delighted to see it was already proving popular and it remained so throughout the day.

A constant stream of people were flocking in and supporting the fantastic local businesses present. I wandered around, admiring the massive variety of products on display and speaking with a few of the stall-holders.

The whole room had a great atmosphere and was lit up with a real community feel.

It was a breath of fresh air and I would like to wish Gary and the team all the best as they continue their wonderful work.

I look forward to supporting future events at the Hive and I encourage everyone else to do so too.


Too many of us

From: P Rhodes, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

The more the merrier!

Sorry, but that’s no longer the case to a lot of logical thinkers, as far as population is concerned.

No jobs, traffic congestion, roadworks, no school places or doctor’s appointments, people stressed out – I won’t harp on!

The days when we needed big families in Victorian times are long gone.

These people who are wanting five or six kiddies are only making things worse for everyone, unless there is some sort of aim or plan.

The best legislation on the horizon is no tax credits after the second child for new families.

The only trouble is, like many other things, it should have been brought in 40 years ago.


What a night

From: Mr D Watson, Batley

Dear Sir,

May we through your paper offer a big thank you to Malcolm Haigh and the Batley History Group, for a wonderful evening of nostalgia through film and personal experiences of the Batley Variety Club, held last week.

A huge thank you, too, to the late Jimmy Corrigan, Alan Clegg and all who worked there, which opened 48 years ago, they gave us superb entertainment.

We were fortunate in that our late brother-in-law Colin Hull, of Regent Fisheries (Colin’s Fry Inn) at the bottom of Hick Lane, obtained a permanent table, B18, for Sunday nights, which we used for years seeing all the stars.

Our particular favourite was Shirley Bassey, who came for two shows of three weeks each stint. What a treat!

A lasting memory is of Colin scooping up sequins from the stage which had fallen from Shirley’s many gowns – never to be repeated or forgotten.

Many thanks once again.


Dentistry woes

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Remember that ‘behemoth’, that ‘dinosaur’ of outmoded post-war service, NHS dentistry?

Healthwatch has studied the decline of NHS dentistry in North Kirklees for two years and their work has won them an award.

Possibly as a result, anecdotal evidence suggests that NHS England, the quango responsible for commissioning NHS dentists, has told each local dental practice treating NHS patients, to take on more.

The effect of greater numbers on dentists’ lists, is that some, unsure of managing safety effectively with such big numbers, are leaving the NHS altogether and treating private patients only.

The law of unintended consequences or not? Healthwatch is still concerned that local people are being denied NHS dental treatment.

They want stories of practices advertising NHS treatment, then telling NHS applicants to have private treatment ‘immediately’.

One thing is for sure, private practice is ‘sustainable’! In these times of NHS underfunding, when the mantra in the media are the words ‘sustainable NHS’, local NHS dentistry, even though it involves a charge, is close to extinction.

It is a wake-up call for those who believe other types of NHS treatments will remain in place, and will be available for those in need in five years’ time.

All this is unfair and plain wrong. Ask your MP to support Caroline Lucas’s NHS Reinstatement Bill.


Every success

From: Mrs BM Senior, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

I have just been in the Boothroyd Centre for an endoscopy at Dewsbury. The staff in the department were excellent.

Their care and love were excellent, nothing was too much trouble.

Their kindness and love was wonderful, congratulations to all the staff under Mr Chris Macklin. Don’t tell me they don’t care, Dewsbury Hospital is the top one.

I wish them every success in all they do each day. Come on people, let’s have lots of letters in The Press to let people know we are proud of Dewsbury Hospital and all the staff.


Latest lunacy

From: H Akeroyd, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

The Fourth Reich, sorry, Kirklees Council cabinet, are to interfere once more with refuse collections, and making threats over what they will and will not do, and have overlooked again who pays them.

How do the crews stand in this latest lunacy?

If they are so keen to save money, we are top-heavy with councillors at £12,500 a pop.

Get rid of two thirds of them saving hundreds of thousands per year, not to mention all they claim in expenses.

As for the top dogs, reduce their wages too; Kirklees has more officers than all the armed forces put together.

The report recently about the operative having a pee is laughable; what was the guy supposed to do, explode?

It was his loony employers who closed or demolished the public toilets, not even considering disabled people.

I wonder if you can tell me what is happening to the Pioneer Building in Dewsbury; it’s gone very quiet, also the derelict building next door, between it and Wetherspoon’s Time Piece pub?

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