Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that “the so-called Islamic State has imposed a reign of sectarian and inhuman terror in Iraq, Syria and Libya.” He has also emphasized how “ISIL grew out of the invasion of Iraq”.

Regular Leicester Mercury letter writer, Karen Shepherd, is therefore seriously at odds with reality when she frets about Corbyn being a “sympathiser of Islamic State” (January 20).

She seems blissfully unaware that just a few months ago the majority of the current Government’s own expert advisors explained that the bombing of Syria would only serve to fuel the rise of ISIS. This of course did not stop the Tories and 66 rebel Labour MPs from voting for bombing.

And while Karen supports the bombing, she has previously expressed her contempt for Leicester protesters “whose campaign message was Stop The War” (December 14). She deemed such democratic attempts to influence our government as misplaced; instead she “wondered if these people (along with Mr Jeremy Corbyn) would consider taking their protest to Syria and Iraq as well as this country.”

Yet Karen’s intolerance extends to the “stupid” Tories as well. So when David Cameron held a debate in Parliament (in 2013) on whether to allow same sex-marriages, she felt compelled to write: “Well, Mr Cameron, as far as I am concerned you and the rest of your loonies really have lost the plot on how to run this country.”

Not content to merely criticise from the sidelines, Karen has her own suggestions for Government action, like banning hoods and making it illegal to cover one’s face up in public (2011). She has also called for the “banning of the burka in public” to minimise the threat posed by terrorists (2013) – terrorists, who she unhelpfully explains, are “probably masquerading as immigrants” (2015).

But when it comes to other matters that are close to her own heart, Karen is insistent that banning things just doesn’t work: it “is simply Big Brother yet again interfering in people’s lives”. In this instance she was referring to “plans to stop people smoking in public places”.

Bans are acceptable to Karen as long as they target people she doesn’t like. Thus as a self-described “devout Christian” Karen unfortunately views Muslim’s as being synonymous with terrorists. “How can Christians be expected to tolerate Muslim religion” she wrote after taking offence at one banner on a stall in Leicester “stating that Jesus is a Muslim.”

Evidently tolerance is not something that Karen sanctifies in her own personal and distorted version of Christian morality. As in another letter she suggests that instead of testing chemicals on animals, a “better solution” would  be to use prisoners.

“This country’s prisons are overcrowded, so why not use some of the prisoners,” Karen points out, in an eerie, unwitting echo of a well-known Nazi policy.

Little wonder that in 2012, Karen’s delicate, albeit ahistorical, sensibilities were deeply offended by chants of “Nazi scum off our streets” that were directed against the English Defence League when they marched through Leicester. As she wrote at the time, such counter-protesters “were worse than the EDL for making comments like that.”

This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on January 24.


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