Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tolerance at What Price

I have watched the recent outporing of muslim fustration with some bemusement. This is, in part, due to the complete factionalisation that has occured. For those of you who haven't a clue what I'm on about a quick summation.... 1) A dutch newspaper prints a collection of cartoons which portray the founder of the muslim faith in a bad light. 2) This newspaper is the Dutch version of the Daily Mail 3) Two months after these were originaly printed the muslims world errupts in anger with protests from istanbul to islington. 4) In Britain, one of the main protaginists of the protests in Britain have been Hizb-ut-Tahir. 5) The protests reach a violent phase in some parts of the world and Britain experiences a split muslim community - some protesting and some saying now we need to debate this issue. My initial reaction to it all was that this was an absurd overreaction from a community that is so used to being under attack that it needs to apreciate satire when it is tossed at them. As a practising christian I am used to being continuoulsy mocked through all mediums for all the I belive in. Do I care , nope, for my religion is a personal thing? If someone is to practise their religion that it is a very personal thing and so this can spill over from the personal to the public. when this occurs what should happen? Should we disallow anything that treads on the toes of religions (particularily) we do not know about just to avoid offence or should we treat all religions the same? That line of argument only holds so far though...for the context within which the protests and also the inital publication took part is of pivotol importance. The country of origin is run by a hard core right wing government and the type of racism that Britain wished to outlaw years ago is still permissable there. Therefore the truly satirical nature in which the cartoons may have been concieved was lost by the fascist newspaper that printed them. Therefore they take on a differing and more harsher tone. The reaction within this country has been organised, mainly, bu Hizb-ut-tahir who are an interesting and controversial group. They are seen by some muslims as fascists and by others as true defenders of the true faith. The group has come into trouble many times, particularily over the usual religious issues of homosexuality etc, and strolled towards being on the banned list proposed after the 7/7 bombings but it wasn't. Therefore a completely differing spin can then appear upon the entire event as to whom the key players are. For suddenly these cartoons may have been used to push for two completely differing aims, the first to vilify the muslim faith and second to further the creation of a fundamentalist muslim state within the context of our own country by refusing any religious satire. Therefore this discussion takes us further than the cartoons - a line of discussion persued on radio 4 this morning asked if, instead, this was time for the muslim reformation to happen. now we have all had a muslim population within this country is it time for the reformation to occur for that true balance between secular and religious to be found to encapsulate the new religious dichotomy found within these fair isles. "DR GHAYASUDDIN SIDDIQUI, MUSLIM PARLIAMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN (On Hizb-ut-Tahrir) We have to realise that these are the same people, the fascist element within our community - these are the supporters of Bin Laden, Jihadism and so on and so forth. I think in the Muslim world the debate has to begin about freedom of speech, the right of writers and comedians to discuss things because they have to realise its value." Ultimatly I am in conflict and this conflict over freedom of speech is well summated by the following poem. For are we just upholding our rights to free speech or are we allowing attacks upon a specific segment of our society to continue, because we do not identify with that group? you comments would be most apreciated.... First They Came for the Jews First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. Pastor Martin Niemöller


  1. Anonymous1:20 am

    the newspaper was Danish

  2. Hello! I just thought I would say hi because I got your blog from the LDYS forums and saw you're a Christian and that you're at uni relatively near to where I'm from. All those things are wonderful:) SO thought I would say hello.