poetry, philosophy, science - sifted through me, as I am

Saturday, 5 February 2011

How low will British tolerance drop?

Egyptian social commentators were speaking on the radio of the Western fear of Muslims gaining control of Egypt. We Westerners have misunderstood, they said, how liberal their society is. Many women do not wear headscarves and the Muslims are intelligent enough to know that they are not a large enough majority to set up any Islamic laws. They described how, when the Muslims are called to pray and get out their mats, the majority non-Muslims move out of their way and let them do so.

Meanwhile in fearful Britain, as the English Defence League marches through Luton today, Cameron is exhorting the people not to be tolerant. Speaking in Germany - but broadcasting via the British media - he seems to be backing up the recent German assertion that the multi-cultural society idea has failed. He seems to be encouraging suspicion about (specifically) Muslims who do things differently in separate communities. How do we know they are not harbouring those radically opposed to our "British ideals", he asks?

Cameron should cast his eye over history and remember that Jewish communities, obvious by their Shabbat observance and annual building of booths in their gardens, freely gave the metal of their synagogue roofs to the German First World War effort.

They were a clearly defined people when a cruelly fixated group - democratically elected - took control over their lives. Much that was evil prospered - and many things were wrongly paraded as good -  while innocent people were forced to pay horribly for their apparent differences.

How low will our British tolerance drop? And how much fear will we allow to govern us?

Perfect love casts out all fear.

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