THE Isle of Lewis is probably the last place in Britain where the fourth Commandment – Remember the Sabbath day – is still widely observed. For devout Christians who live there this is an important element of their religious and island identity. For others who wish to live a more modern and secular life, however, it can seem frustrating and wilfully old-fashioned.

The existence of these differing viewpoints is highlighted by the case of Stornoway tweed shop owner Leona Rawlinson, who claims she is being harassed by Christians because she chooses to open on a Sunday. Mrs Rawlinson was sent a bible by a religious society, with an accompanying letter asking her to consider closing on “the Lord’s Day”. She says others have come to her shop to distribute leaflets and shout complaints about the issue, and told police she feels intimidated.

Ultimately, it is up to the people of Lewis to decide among themselves how far they wish to keep the Sabbath “special”. In recent years both ferries and flights have been allowed to operate on Sundays, though some still object. But with tourists flocking to the island in recent years, bringing a much-needed economic boost, this latest incident is a timely reminder that further compromises may need to be sought to ensure both the religious and business communities are served.

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