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Dear Editor:

I was deeply disappointed in your publication of this article, without any critical analysis of it, or any consideration of the reason why a European nation such as the UK would have such legislation. As a British citizen I lived in the UK for 38 years before moving to the USA and in all that time never felt the weight of these supposed draconian laws, not felt that my civil liberties were in any way threatened or diminished. But then like the vast majority of British citizens I am a) law abiding and b) not seeking to endanger the lives of innocent people through acts of terrorism. It may interest your readers to know that the British people cherish their liberties fiercely, to the extent that picture ID drivers licenses, for example, were only introduced two years ago, and may carry only the barest of information unless the citizen agrees otherwise.

Those of us who have lived daily with the danger of terrorism on our doorsteps - not only in the UK but throughout Europe - for our whole lifetimes have a much stronger understanding of the vulnerabilities that we as citizens must accept if we are to value true freedom, and the necessary security precautions that sometimes must be taken to prevent terrorism succeeding. I love the USA and cherish its freedoms too - the saddest thing of all that has happened in the last week is that the USA has, through an appalling act of terrorism, had to discover that same vulnerability despite being the most powerful nation on earth. In losing our sense of immediate security here in the USA we should be careful not to accuse others of denying civil liberties, especially those who have without hesitation always stood alongside the American people.

Your publication of the article had little to do with immigration issues per se and was a piece of rhetoric that was unworthy of your normally excellent service. I can only hope that it is not repeated.

Sincerely

Fr. R Penhallurick

Editor's Note: for a response please see the Editor's Comments


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