First Herald letter of 2015 (No £wall)

Your article on the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy and Scottish Asians (specifically Muslims) makes extraordinary reading (Murphy will galvanise support from Asians … for independence, News, December 28).

For those who come from Pakistan (or their families), to wish an arbitrary partition on any country shows a certain lack of historical perspective.

In the UK, it was through the Labour Party that people from an Asian background first found a political voice, through the likes of Bashir Maan and later Mohammad Sarwar, as well as protection from racial discrimination and ­harassment through equality legislation.

And while opinions differ on the outcome of the Iraq war, no-one can doubt that its intention was to free a mainly Muslim people from a brutal tyrant and to lift the threat of weapons of mass destruction and further catastrophic wars against his mainly Muslim neighbours and his own mainly Muslim citizens.

When a Labour government was saving Muslims in Kosovo from genocide, Alex Salmond condemned doing so as “unpardonable folly”.

Like everyone else in Scotland, Muslims should ask if, after seven years of SNP Government, our education system is adequate, our NHS is what we want it to be, our skills training and our economic development are creating ­employment, and whether ­Scotland is any fairer or more equal. We must all ask why the SNP has not undertaken a single major policy designed to redistribute prosperity.

If those questions are asked and answered – rather than whether an MP with many Jewish constituents should be a member of Labour Friends of Israel – we might avoid the irrational use of religious belief to reinforce political dogma, and with it, the absurdity of a new sectarian divide in Scottish politics.

Peter A Russell


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