This is depressing – a statement by a group called Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats, doing the same irritating “we deplore violence, we approve of free speech, but” shuffle that we’ve already seen.
Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) deplores the reported death threats against Maajid Nawaz, a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. Death threats can never be justified and we wholeheartedly condemn them.
Impressive? They condemn death threats. Now that that’s out of the way – on to their real passion – demanding respect for all the cultures and faiths, no matter what.
EMLD also deplores the portrayal of Muslim communities – in the mainstream media and party blogs – as not valuing free speech. Many British Muslims value the Liberal ideals of free speech as much as any other citizen.
It deplores the portrayal? Not the reality? Yes, many British Muslims value the Liberal ideals of free speech as much as any other citizen – depending on how you define “many” – but many also do not, and are very keen to let everyone know they do not. You know who portrays them that way? They do. They do it themselves. They sign that stupid petition that demanded the LibDems deselect Maajid.
The negative portrayal of Muslim communities feeds well-documented anti-Muslim discrimination and attacks on them and we believe that all Liberals should make better use of our freedom to debate the alarming rise of Islamophobia across Britain and mainland Europe.
But so does the reality. It’s not just the media picture of anti-freedom of expression Muslims that feeds discrimination, it’s the activity and rhetoric of anti-freedom of expression Muslims themselves. I’ve been marveling for days at the way some Outraged Ones feed into the very stereotypes that contribute to all this “Islamophobia” and hostility to Muslims.
Liberalism is more than the right to offend. That is a narrow, shallow, interpretation. With free speech and Liberalism comes the responsibility to respect, to understand, and to be tolerant of faiths, difference and all cultures.
No. No. No. No.
There is no responsibility to respect all faiths and all cultures. That is a demand too far. I have no responsibility for instance to respect honor cultures that persecute and murder women and girls in the name of that honor.
This includes respect for those who speak out when they are offended. PPCs should be especially aware of this and should know better than to offend large sections of the population, whatever point they seek to make.
No. If those large sections of the population are “offended” for bad reasons, then no, PPCs should not know better than to offend them. Some people are “offended” to be told that they are not superior to other races. Some people are “offended” to be told that women should have equal rights with men. Some people are “offended” to be told that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. It is not the case that PPCs should know better than to make those points, which could easily offend large sections of the population.
Apparently the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats don’t understand what Liberal Democracy is.