Keep up Sudan campaign until Meriam Ibrahim is released
The global opprobrium resulting from the sentence of death by hanging handed down to Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in Sudan for refusing to repudiate her Christian faith seemingly has had an impact.
The Sudanese Government is giving indications the sentence will be set aside and she will be released. However, there is no indication as to when this will happen and the worry is that 'leniency' could be forgotten once her appalling plight slips from the glare of the media spotlight.
I would urge the people of Northern Ireland to keep the pressure on the Sudanese by writing to their embassy at 3, Cleveland Row, St James's, London, SW1A 1DD, or emailing info@ Sudanembassy.org.uk to express their concerns about this grievous violation of human rights.
Alternatively, they may use the letter posted on the Christian Solidarity Worldwide website (www.csw.org.uk/savemeriam).
REV PATRICK G BURKE
Honorary secretary, Church of Ireland
Council for Mission
Pastor should look at actions of Pope Francis
I have been struck this week by the difference between Pope Francis and Pastor James McConnell.
Pastor McConnell's comments were, in my view, ill-informed and ill-judged. Islam was blazing a trail in mathematics and astronomy while Britain was in the Dark Ages, so it can hardly be said that Islam is heathen.
In contrast, Pope Francis has been touring the Holy Land with two friends – one Jewish, one Muslim – and is calling on the Israelis and Palestinians to try again for peace.
Jesus says: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The apostle Paul says: "As far as is possible, be at peace with all men." I hope and pray Pastor McConnell and First Minister Peter Robinson will take these thoughts on board.
Newtownabbey, Co Antrim
Mother's plight lost in media row
Well, there you go. Now we are all friends again. Well done, Mr Robinson. By the way, her name is Meriam. Who? Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who was recently forced to give birth in a filthy prison in Sudan, all the while chained up like an animal.
Whether you agree with Pastor McConnell or not, it was his aim to highlight Meriam's plight. Then along came the media, who managed to pour petrol on an already inflamed situation, twisting words into an unrecognisable state. I must confess to being really disappointed by the deafening silence on the part of the various human rights organisations and women's groups. If you cannot find it in your hearts to speak up on behalf of this woman, then shame on you.
As for our politicians, they are far too busy lamenting, 'Woe is me' and making cheap political points.
I listened to the Islamic leaders and I am glad they have been reassured by our First Minister. But my question to them is: which is worse? Being hurt by words? Or having your marriage dissolved by the State, having your children taken from you, being subjected to daily indoctrination by religious leaders and constantly being tortured by the threat of the whip and the rope?
Newtownabbey, Co Antrim
SDLP can't even get support of its own MLAs
The SDLP says it is pro-life; a claim contradicted by recent voting records of its Stormont MLAs.
In an attempt to prevent the opening of a private abortion clinic in Belfast, Alban Maginness co-sponsored an amendment to a Justice Bill. Half his MLA party colleagues failed to register a supporting vote. So, when it comes to pro-life and pro-family issues, the SDLP is half-hearted. Conversely, it expressed whole-hearted support for 'same-sex marriage'.
Card a black day for rules of GAA
The GAA is making the referees' job impossible. I would not ref a match now for love nor money.
The rules need to be simplified, not multiplied. The black card is the last nail in the coffin. Worse still, every new regulation inexorably demands another and so on, ad infinitum.
Why not just make holding a foul, as in the old days, and let the referee be the judge?
#BareYourBump to support BHF
I'm writing to ask your readers to join me and support British Heart Foundation (BHF) NI's Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign.
Recently, I was joined by fellow pregnant ladies on Primrose Hill, London. We bared our bumps to highlight the 50:50 chance someone with an inherited heart condition has of passing it onto their child. #BareYourBump and share a picture on social media. Text FIGHT to 85080 and give £3.
Star of The Only Way Is Essex and BHF