ONE is full of admiration and respect for the response of the Reverend Aftab Gohar, who has lost his mother and seven family members in an attack on a Christian church in Pakistan, an outrage which cost the lives of 122 people and injured almost 200 ("Minister forgives suicide bombers who killed eight people in his family, The Herald, October 14).

His forbearance is wondrous to behold and probably beyond the capability of most of us .

Many Christians living today in the UK, which, while not perfect, remains one of the most tolerant societies in the world, look on at events in other countries with great dismay and increasing concern. There has been what can only be regarded as a trend in recent times with regard to attacks on Christians and their places of worship in different parts of the world.

We have had, for example, the reports already referred to and:

l Christian churches in Egypt have been plundered and desecrated;

l There have been assaults on Christian properties in Jerusalem, including the vandalism of graves;

l In Nigeria bombs have been planted near Christian churches, causing fatalities.

It would certainly appear that the persecution of Christians is on the increase. Can we be satisfied that our elected representatives in Edinburgh, London, and Brussels are speaking out forcibly and making it abundantly clear to the governments in the countries where these outbreaks have been occurring, that such activity is unacceptable?

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.

I MUST be among many who find the comment of Patrick Harvie MSP quite offensive when he states that he is concerned about "people who would promote utterly unscientific notions like creationism" ("Petition to remove religious council board law", The Herald, October 14) He can argue all he likes about having religious leaders on school boards, but he should not make such a bold statement against people with whom he does not share beliefs, using such pejorative terms as "absurd ideology" and "the very opposite of education". If he can prove the unproven theories made against creationism, and prove the unproven minority belief of atheism, I for one would sit and listen with rapt attention. However, as better scientific minds have been trying for millennia to explain the unexplainable, I won't hold my breath.

James Paterson,

16,Orchill Drive, Plains, Airdrie.