Vile thugs have attacked the home of a UKIP Kent county councillor, smearing obscene political hate slogans all over the walls of his garage last weekend. The attack occured in the Thanet South parliamentary constituency where Nigel Farage is standing, and may be part of a cowardly attempt to intimidate political campaigners in advance of the May elections.
We would rather believe Jihadi John was always evil. He always wanted to behead people. Bomb others. Burn innocents. To argue otherwise is to be an apologist for terrorism, it makes you "part of the problem". And thus the parameters of discussion are severely constrained; a large chunk of freedom of expression is eroded by baseless stigma.
The reaction from the Charity Commission on these cases was in my eyes exemplary. Not only did it act swiftly to remove a charity that should have never been on their register in the first place but it also was quick to reassure the public on social media and elsewhere that the programme did 'not reflect the vast majority of charities that are properly run by honest trustees'.
In the same way it is necessary to have limits on freedom of speech, we must too have limits on tolerance of intolerance. Too many independent faith schools break this threshold, perpetuate division and prevent meaningful cross-faith contact. In the interests of better long-term integration, we should gradually ban them.
As the representative of one of the oldest European minority faiths on this continent, I want to reach out to the diverse Christian communities, the diverse Muslim communities, secular groups, governments and politicians, to help us stop this growing trend of antagonism and conflict. I believe that we have the responsibility to recreate an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect between the secular modern state and religious movements, in order to make sure that the experiment, which we call Europe, is not going to fail.
In light of the recent attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the debate on freedom of expression has once again come to the fore. It is claimed that Muslims are being overly sensitive and overreacting when it comes to the reprinting of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)...