THE disgraceful treatment of the Catholic Pakistani mother of five, Asia Bibi, by western powers is symptomatic of our inability to live up to our ideals ("Fake pictures inflame Pakistan’s blasphemy row", The Herald, November 13).

She has already served eight years on death row in Pakistan for the crime of blasphemy – a crime that requires little, if any, burden of proof and at times has been used to settle personal scores. Yet no western country has seen fit to offer her asylum, seemingly for fear of terrorist reprisals. Even Pakistan's own Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has abnegated any personal stake in the case, claiming only the primacy of the Supreme Court whilst vacillating over exactly how to appease the mob of radicals calling for the death penalty to be carried out.

The case is reminiscent of the West's kowtowing during the Danish cartoons fiasco and of the shocking treatment author Salman Rushdie received post publication of The Satanic Verses – in this latter, the author's work of fiction resulted in the leader of Iran, Ayhatollah Khomeni, declaring a state-sponsored assassination or fatwah as legitimate policy.

It is easy to take the line of apologist, but the principles on which our societies in the West are founded should not be compromised, and sometimes there is a price to pay for this.

During these troubled times, it is important that we maintain our resolve and I for one urge our Government to offer Mrs Bibi, her family and those brave souls associated with her defence in Pakistan the full protection of our country. It is after all who we are – or at least should be.

Brian Taylor,

Barony Wynd, Baillieston, Glasgow.