Your comments keep arriving
I found today's discussion riveting and as I'm sitting here in the studio after the show your comments continue to arrive. So the bus home can wait a while as I want to make sure the points we couldn't get on air end up on the blog.
Two stories dominated the programme. First, was the case of the Muslim police officer who was has been excused from guarding the Israeli embassy because of security concerns. The other was the comments by a Malawian minister that Madonna is considering adopting a Malawian child.
We ended up discussing not just the case of this Muslim policeman but also when your beliefs and background should affect the job you're asked to do.
So here are some of your comments...
Jean de Dieu, Washington D.C., USA
The officer did the right thing to stand on what he believes, he should go ahead and resign from the police force as well.
I find it hilarious that people are tying to change this from the cop to Israel. The cop simply didn't want to do his duty. His duty is to protect the lives inside of the embassy. Hezbollah attacked Israel. Israel responded. This turned into a blame Israel fest.
For years, Irish soldiers were not sent to Northern Ireland. Can we please have some honesty in this debate.
Eustace, Minneapolis, USA
Are local governments required to staff police of different religions to make sure to peace is kept? If I call the police station because I have an emergency, do I want the person on the other line to ask me what my religion is to make sure I am not offended? If you are in charge of keeping the peace, you accept all of the job or find a different one. You can't serve peace on your terms, especially if you are paid by the people you don't want to serve. Not to mention what it would cost taxpayers for the added expenditure of hiring more police to serve different religions.
Catherine, Washington D.C., USA
Why should this man guard the embassy of the government who was, at the time, bombing his wife's country into oblivion?!? It seems to me that the real issue is British anti-Muslim sentiments. If this man wasn't a Muslim, this wouldn't be an issue.
Tamara, San Francisco, USA
I fail to understand who this police officer thought was threatening his safety. The Israeli diplomats he was supposed to be protecting? His Lebanese in-laws who may feel betrayed? This "safety" explanation doesn't make any sense. I believe the original explanation: the police officer refused to do his job because he just doesn't like Israel. As a police officer, such a position is unethical because he is sworn to protect all British citizens and their guests when needed. As a human being, such a position is morally corrupt, because he has clearly decided that civilians don't have the right to protection if their government is doing something wrong. I have no respect for the man nor for his superiors who allowed him to get out of doing his duty for indefensible and immoral reasons.
The decision to excuse the officer was between the officer and his superiors at Scotland Yard. None of us seem to know exactly what transpired between these police professionals. He was granted his request for a reason,probably a good one.
I say give them the benefit of the doubt.
Kelly Los Angeles, CA
I support the officer's request to not guard the Israeli embassy. An embassy is foreign territory, and probably viewed as enemy territory to this muslim. I would condemn him if he neglected to help someone based on the colour of their skin or religious beliefs but he should be able to request a different post.
AnnaSara, Arlington, Virginia, USA
I think most of us are misunderstanding this situation. It sounds like the police officer was seriously concerned about his safety, rather than being morally opposed to guarding Jews. If that is the case, then he had a real reason not to guard the embassy. He sounds like a scared man, not a intolerant Muslim.
Javad, London, UK
People keep giving example of Jewish officer in front of the Iranian embassy, animal rights activist guarding the animal rights march, catholic police officer in an anti pope march etc. Non of these examples are valid in this argument. Let's not forget what Israel did to Lebanon. That makes a huge difference.
These comments I have heard are disturbing and dangerous. Did we not persecute German officials near fifty years ago that discarded their moral beliefs and "simply did their duty"? Blind obedience without questioning leads to the loss of freedom.
Robert, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
In the U.S., a number of pharmacists have refused to dispense Plan B and even birth control pills, citing their religious beliefs. They should look for other employment if they can't do their jobs. The same situation applies with your Muslim police officer. Who is he afraid of? Could it be other followers of that "peaceful" religion we keep hearing about?
Tarro in the U.S.
The officer requested, not demanded, a transfer to another assignment for personal reasons -- that it was related to current religious tensions is incidental. Blame should only be apportioned if an officer refuses to do his/her duty after such a request was denied.
This just goes to show that Muslims are Muslims first and British second!!
I couldn't disagree more with your studio guest supporting this police officer. Moral objection cannot be used as an excuse for a state worker to be excused from his duties. If we do allow this, then it is difficult to see how the police, army or health service can function properly. Can a nurse morally object to treating a rapist? The 'safety' issue is extremely vague and seems like a smokescreen to cover up a very poor decision by the officer's superiors.
Stefan in Prague
Would the police send black officers to guard a march of the extreme right british national party? I think this officer had the concern of fellow human beings at heart. There are plenty of other police to post to the Israeli embassy.
They are accommodating bigotry these days? A sad day for the UK. There's no way in hell they would allow a Jewish officer refuse that duty in front of a Muslim nation such as Iran that finances the murder of jews and Israelis.
Teresa, London, UK
Yes, he should be able to refuse any job where there might well be a conflict of interest. The work should hold the TOTAL attention of anyone doing it. Not allowing good reasons for the absence of it is stupid.
How will that Police officer act if faced by a Muslim and a Jew and they accuse each other of a crime will he take the side of the Muslim?
Duty, responsibility, and professional stature transcends personal belief or religion. The separation of religious belief with duty.
Political correctness wins but integration of Muslims into the western society loses.
Eric in Iraq
The policeman is wrong because his duty is maintain peace so if he don't want take his duty then he has to be sacked
Ted in Singapore
This only goes to show that Muslim fundamentalism is still scaring ordinary muslims, which can be shown by the dear for the safety of his family, unlike other examples like the animal rights where you won't be killed for compromising work and belief.
Shafi in Singapore
I feel it's excusable for the officer to make that request rather than gone AWOL. That would be irresponsible & unprofessional.
Bill Norley in Botswana
Surely there is a question of disclosure of confidential information by one of the policeman's colleagues. What a trustworthy group.
No spare work places from trivial religious beliefs. Security comes first, law enforcers should be neutral.
His family comes first and his conscious guided his ability to protect the citizens. Why make fuss.
He was wrong and whoever granted his request made the an error.
R. OMABUWA Lagos
The police officer is wrong. He did swear on oath to carry out lawful orders.
I think muslims have gone to far they seem to want special treatment. Duty is duty. I'm sure he knew that society is diverse.
Sounds like the policeman did not want to do his duty....as many others have done before......he should be given less responsibility as he's not up to it!
What's de fuss about de police officer asking to be excused ? Did some members of de security council not abstain from voting on very important resolutions esp against an ally or even veto it?
Mustapha Adakawa, Gombe Nigeria
I am disappointed with the former Police officer, just because you signed the dotted line doesn't mean we are not humans, pls consider.
Gilbert uganda .
your mental state determines how you perform duties period .I don't think in he's conscience would let him stay put on his job while israel unleashed terror were he has roots and relatives.
Hello i am a muslim born british citizen living in malawi i feel the officer just wanted freedom of speech to do want he doesn't want to people should.
If the officer is doing that for the sake of Allah, surely I support him 101%, but if its out of personal hatred & detest of Israelites he is useless.
Randy, from Liberia.
The colonialist came to africa and enlisted men in their armies under oaths, made them kill their own families or capture his own brothers as slaves, and regret later! All under blind obedience to the oaths.
If lawyers & judges could be excused from cases for personal reasons, why not police personnel.
Langa in South Africa.
Its reasonable that the moslem had to be excused. Its like being a dr and expected to conduct a postmoterm on a corps of your sibling.
AND HERE ARE SOME OF YOUR COMMENTS ON CELEBRITY ADOPTIONS:
Madonna loves publicity stunts and should not be taken seriously at all.
Mwanza in Zambia
A poodle, a black child, another toy! There are on african orphans do not take the child from his family. Help the family sustainably help itself. Tokenism, Tokenism Tokenism.
Neil Detroit, USA
It is tough to separate the needs of a child with the Country's need for its youth. If Madonna, or other people with similar level of resources, want to adopt a child out poverty from another country, they should at least offer the same amount of money that they will spend on raising that child towards supporting the family, other children and the people of the country that child leaves behind.
Steve Petersen, Utah, USA
I am unsure if celebrities adopting third world children helps the kids. While these kids may enjoy a posh life with their material needs taken care of, what about the quality of their lives? It is no secret that many celebrities and their family members are terminally unhappy.
Sorry to nag but the question should not first be of the welfare of the country, but of the emotions, the welfare and well-being of the child. If all the people in a country are so considered, the country will be fine.