IT is sickening to hear of the attacks on our fellow Scots or Scottish residents of various ethnic or religious backgrounds in the wake of the Paris atrocities (Scottish Muslims fearing ‘fierce backlash’ after Paris attacks, The National, November 21)

The easy targets are those in public life and those who serve our communities in small shops or eating places. Humza Yousaf, minister for Europe and international development has been attacked over social media with vicious stuff you say is “too offensive to print”. Your report carried the horrific story of a man who has run a takeaway here in Fife for 25 years being brutally assaulted and losing an eye.

Unless we stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens who are under attack, their fears will justifiably continue to make them feel isolated. Jewish and Christian leaders have condemned these attacks, but at a local level we need to constantly assure neighbours of our support, and our resolute opposition of treatment that has every mark of Nazi racist brutality.

Eighty years ago Kristallnacht took place in the centre of Europe and few dared to question it, preceded as it was by demonisation and scapegoating of minorities.

Iain Whyte
North Queensferry

THE senseless attacks on Muslims (and those perceived to be Muslims) in Scotland following the terrorist attacks in Paris must be condemned in the strongest terms, and those responsible must be educated as well as punished.

They must be of very limited intelligence if they do not realise they are playing into the hands of those who seek to divide our peaceful society.

It is encouraging to hear that Police Scotland are taking a firm stance against hate crime, but reports crimes are likely the tip of iceberg. We all have a role to play here – if you witness abuse, challenge it or report it to the police, or both.

Joan Brown

THE media’s continued reporting of events linking Islam with “terrorists” is odd. They never labelled the IRA as white Christian terrorists. Let’s face it, these are simply deluded psychopaths using the cover of a religion to carry out atrocities (talking about Daesh here).

Then there are the morons who consume the media “as is” and don’t have the intellect to see the truth, then act on the lies – letting it colour their judgement.

Bert Logan via

FM must not be swayed over Syria

LIKE other readers, I worried about Nicola Sturgeon saying she would listen to David Cameron’s arguments for air strikes on Syria (Sturgeon: PM must prove Syria air strikes case, The National, November 20). Cameron isn’t part of the solution, he is part of the problem. Nevertheless, he is no pushover and fights his corner resolutely. Sturgeon should have been stronger and remembered that lots of other countries will not be bombing Syria.

Strangely enough, the SNP got themselves in a similar position before the invasion of Iraq. Claiming to be anti-war unless they got UN approval, they abandoned their position once Britain started to attack Baghdad. When Cameron is showing strength the SNP continues to look indecisive. Opposing unelected Lords while supporting unelected monarchy, opposing Trident while supporting Nato and now supporting bombing another country if there’s a go ahead from the UN are weak positions, because why should we trust the big powers sitting on the UN Security Council when they each have their own particular axes to grind?

At the same time, I think the SNP have a responsibility to explain their position to those who have been led to their position by a jingoistic Tory Party and their chums in our mainstream media. I understand their feelings and criticise no one, but am still of the the same opinion that Scotland would be better off away from a Westminster that has followed bad policies in the Middle East.

Jack Fraser

YOUR correspondent Terry Keegans (Letters, November 21) was insightful about the potential damage to the credibility of the SNP in general, and their foreign policy in particular, by their failure to consistently express their firm opposition to RAF air strikes on Syria.

On BBC Question Time last Thursday, Conservative panellist Anna Soubry, an enthusiastic advocate of aerial bombardment, maintained that Alex Salmond was “beginning to talk the right language”, while Iain Macwhirter in The Guardian claimed that active support for air strikes by the First Minister would cause a huge division in the wider independence movement, and could possibly lead to loss of SNP support in the forthcoming May election.

Informed commentators on Middle Eastern affairs such as Patrick Cockburn have deprecated the UK’s involvement in a bombing campaign without any clear strategy, and have warned of the inevitability of Daesh retaliation against British civilians should such bombing raids take place. There is simply no case for bombing, which can only worsen the situation. Rather, it is incumbent on us all to enter negotiations to seek a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, and the Scottish Government should assuredly take the lead in doing so.

Alan Johnson

NOW that the UN has mandated action in Syria, the pressure is on to make the SNP MPs support British bombing there. I urge them not to succumb to this pressure.

My reading of Nicola Sturgeon’s change of stance is that some threat has been made to Scotland. I would like the First Minister to show her trust in the people of Scotland by sharing with us the details of these threats, what they are and where they are coming from eg Syria, the UK Government, the US – all intended to force the SNP MP’s compliance with military action.

Let them use their power instead to get answers to questions of how the terrorists are funded, how they get their weapons (the UK makes massive profits from arms sales) and who is buying the oil from the wells they control.

War is a lucrative business for some people. It is SNP policy not to support military action in Syria and the recent polls in Scotland and the UK show that people are against it. The SNP MP’s are elected to represent their constituencies, not to be pressed and manipulated by those who could not care less about Scotland or Syria.

Aileen May

MHAIRI Black’s article (Looking after ‘our own’... what does that mean? The National, November 21), raises fundamental issues regarding whether charity begins at home. To turn the hackneyed cliché on its head, charity does begin at home! It starts with us all in our homes when we hear of needs which are to be met or where there are humanitarian crises furth of Scotland. Where else could it begin? We reach out from where we are to help others irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity or religion.

John Edgar

JIM Fairlie (Letters, November 20) has caused quite a reaction, but unfortunately gives ammunition to Unionist politicians such as Jack McConnell and George Galloway, who delight in using the cliche that “the politics of identity” is a dangerous thing, “the ideology of a past century”. To such people, nationalism is the opposite of internationalism, and it is important to clarify this.

As a patriot, I want to see my country on equal terms with all the other countries of the world, but isolating ourselves from Europe and the world is not the way forward for the future of the human race. A federal Europe could be a step towards a federal world where all the nations, Scotland among them, are equal members of a true international federation, which the UK of course is not.

Jeff Fallow

I AM astounded to hear the lie constantly repeated by representatives of the UK Government that Scotland will have “the most powerful devolved government in the world”. What does this mean? To what is Scotland being compared when this claim is made? It cannot be any of the 50-odd states of the United States, all of whom have economic and fiscal powers far in excess of anything being proposed for Scotland. Or for that matter any of the Australian states or indeed the provinces of Canada.

So what does the phrase mean? Or is it simply a baseless statement designed to gain spurious acceptance merely by constant repetition. If so, that sounds dangerously reminiscent of the kind of propaganda used by Goebels in the 1930s.

Peter Craigie

NAN Spowart’s article in Friday’s National raises questions as to whether al Megrahi’s release from prison was justified (Cancer adviser ‘surprised’ by decision to release Megrahi, The National, November 20). The overriding shame and scandal of the Lockerbie case is not the fact Megrahi was released, but that he was ever found guilty in the first place. It is necessary to remind ourselves of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission response to Megrahi’s appeal against his conviction. The Commission found six reasons why his case may have resulted in a miscarriage of justice. One was that the guilty verdict was, “at least arguably, one which no reasonable court, properly directed, could have returned”.

In their meticulously researched books, John Ashton and Dr Morag Kerr have dismantled the case against Megrahi piece by piece. At Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, Megrahi was tried for the bombing along with his co-accused, Lamin Fhimah. The pair were accused of acting in concert to plant the Lockerbie bomb.

It seemed to follow from this that either both men were guilty or both were not guilty. Incredibly, the judges’ verdict was guilty for Megrahi and not guilty for Fhimah. UN observer Professor Hans Kochler, present for the duration of the trial, noted: “This is totally incomprehensible for any rational observer when one considers that the indictment in its very essence was based on the joint action of the two accused in Malta.”

It is incomprehensible to me how anyone who has studied the Lockerbie bombing case in any depth could agree with the verdict pronounced by the court.

Alan Woodcock