Editorial: "An End to Tolerance"

February 12, 2006

Source: The Times


On February 12, 2006 The Times ran an editorial that commented on the recent controversy over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and the violent protests. The Times editorial staff writes, "It is a hoary old clich� to say that British society is tolerant and forgiving, but by and large it happens to be true... Now, perhaps, we are paying the price of that unthinking tolerance. Amir Tahiri, the eminent Iranian writer, argues in this newspaper today that Britain has become a haven for Islamic political parties and movements that would be banned in much of the Arab world. Only in Britain, and a few other tolerant western countries, have these extremist factions been given the space to spout anti-western hatred. We should not confuse this with religious tolerance. Mr Tahiri says that Islam in Britain is 'a political movement masquerading as a religion'. Mosques are often no more than political clubs... The public is deeply disillusioned with the way the Establishment appears to appease Islamic extremism... This disenchantment has been translated into a profound gloominess about the clash of cultures and civilisations. Most expect relations between British Muslims and the rest of the population to get worse and for attacks on Muslims to increase. Nearly nine out of 10 think there will be more Islamic inspired terror attacks in the UK. Half feel less tolerant to people of other religions. It makes gloomy reading, echoing the hatreds that have emerged even in once tolerant Holland. Sadly, the pessimism is justified. As our Insight investigation reveals, the preachers of hate are still at work in the areas from which the London bombers were recruited. The politicians and police must take note. Unless they act more swiftly to convict or deport these fanatics, the country faces an alarming future."