When I hear the word 'cartoon' and 'Muhammad' in the same sentence, I cringe and prepare myself for a plethora of conflict and disharmony between Muslims and the rest of the world. To the West we Muslims may come across as over-zealous, overexcited and too defensive-but this is not without reason...
No-platform policies are not a form of Orewellian censorship - they are a reasonable concept encouraging self-regulation. Rather than 'banning' individuals outright, we as students must place significant pressure on the relevant authorities to withhold the right of certain individuals to speak at certain times on campus.
Things have been a little hyperreal of late. It all started three weeks ago with the Damscene conversion of Tommy Robinson and his decision to quit the English Defence League (EDL).
Robinson thinks that by partnering with the Quilliam Foundation, who also label practically everyone in the Muslim community who do not share their particular views as 'extremists', he has developed a new ingenious strategy to mainstream his cause. If the somewhat fawning response of the media is to go by, he may well be on to something. It was striking how he was allowed to continuously make references to the dangers of Islamic extremism in broad brush stokes, without challenge or definition, smearing an entire community, conjuring up an image of a sinister 'enemy within'.
We must always leave the door open for groups or people to reform. If we don't accept that people can change, what is the point of arguing, of debating, of reasoning - the bedrock of liberal, democratic politics? Yesterday's extremist is sometimes today's elected representative. That's why we should give Tommy Robinson a chance.
Look at the numbers. A Cardiff University study of 974 newspaper articles published about British Muslims between 2000 and 2008 found more than a quarter of them portrayed Islam as "dangerous, backward or irrational"; references to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by 17 to one.