High Wycombe, the (Conservative-controlled) council (local government) so uncomfortable about posting details of a carol service in a public library turns out to have very different standards when it comes to throwing a party to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid. That, it turns out, was just fine. Margaret Dewar, hypocrite and Councilor explains:
“It is quite a different thing having a party organized by a library to promote cultural understanding and accepting notices for religious services.”
In its malevolent dishonesty, that statement takes some beating – Dewar deserves to be voted out of the office she has obviously disgraced for far too long – but it’s also typical of the way in which Britain and other countries in Europe are failing to respond to the challenge of fundamentalist Islam. Also in the Daily Telegraph, Kevin Myers ponders some of the issues that are raised:
“Islam is much like Christianity: its spectrum is very broad, and many forms of it encourage moderation and toleration. But there are extremes which have no parallel in Christianity, nor even in communism or Nazism: the suicide bomber who believes that paradise awaits those who die in the act of the killing the infidel is a creature for whom the European mind, and European institutions have been wholly unprepared. And at a less extreme level, though the experience of communism has prepared them intellectually for the idea of national disloyalty, Europeans are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with an abiding mass loyalty to foreign entities by their fellow citizens.”
Tolerance of those of a different religion, or none, is a vital civil virtue, but tolerance should never be confused with the nonsense of mindless ecumenicism, apathetic acceptance or the self-hating fantasies of multiculturalism. French-style bans on head scarves are not the way to go, but the time both for secular sorts and the representatives of other faiths to start arguing back against the Islamic extreme is long, long overdue. And if that ‘offends’ some people, that’s just too bad.
In a democracy, debates aren’t always polite.