Free speech must never be given up to appease enemies

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The barbaric terrorist attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in which 12 people were killed reminds us how dangerous the world now is.

It is disturbing to hear the chilling warning from Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, that it is inevitable that another Al Qaeda act of atrocity of this kind will succeed here in Britain sooner or later.

We perhaps do not give sufficient credit to our security forces as they have undoubtedly stopped many such attacks so far but as Andrew Parker said: “We know we cannot hope to stop everything”.

What astonishes me is that these murdering fanatics can be so dim-witted as to think that their barbaric acts will change our way of life or the values we hold so dear in the Western world.

If they bothered to study the history books they would see that no matter how many lives are lost we will never relinquish our democracy or right of free speech.

It is reassuring to hear Muslim leaders have condemned these murders, which they must continue to do with increased vigour, and very moving to see the demonstrations in Paris and around the world in which people were holding their pens aloft to show their solidarity with journalists and the press.

Free speech, for which generations have fought and died, must never be abandoned to appease our enemies as the pen will always prove to be mightier than the sword and there can be no excuse whatsoever for cold-blooded murder just because evil extremists consider some cartoon or article is offensive to their religion.

In the awful circumstances that have taken place in Paris nothing could be more appropriate than the words of the famous Voltaire misquote ‘I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it’.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield S10