Last week, I was at Somerset House, where the finals of Woolmark's menswear design competition took place as part of Men's Fashion Week. I had a bloodied "lamb" in tow to show people what's wrong with wearing wool. Everything about the production of wool is objectionable, especially the shearing process which often leaves sheep battered and bloodied...
These men of murder are the symptom of a creed that lies as far away from God as is possible to conceive and do not represent Islam anymore than George Bush, Tony Blair and Halliburton represented Christianity, or ordinary, secular Europeans and Americans when they profited from the bombing of innocent Iraqis.
Islam is a set of ideas. It is an ideology. It inherently deserves no more or less respect than any other ideology. That is to say, it inherently deserves no respect whatsoever. Just like any other idea or ideology, Islam also deserves no special protection from criticism or critique. Affording it any such privilege just because it has a supernatural origin story is not compatible with reason. Muslims, on the other hand, are people who have adopted Islam as dogma. It should really go without saying that just like any other person, Muslims inherently deserve to be respected as people, treated with dignity, and have their rights protected.
"I haven't seen my daughter since IS took her. I cried and shouted at them - what could they want with a three year old? She's just a child." The desperate mother told me her story as we sat on a cold, damp floor in Iraq in November. At Open Doors we estimate that there are over 100million Christians persecuted for their faith. And each one has a story. Our 2015 World Watch List report, released today, reveals a devastating picture of what is happening to Christians around the globe.
How do we shut down Keystone? How do we stop fracking? How do we stop deep-water drilling in the Arctic, the Caribbean and everywhere else? How do we end the ecological disaster of the Canadian Tar Sands? How do we stop the power of Big Oil? The answer is that we can't. We don't have the money, the political power or the military might.
For every one doctor and three nurses working at an Ebola treatment unit there are approximately 26 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) staff... The next time you read an interview with an international doctor or nurse newly returned from their deployment and recounting desperately sad, and now too familiar, stories about the struggle and the suffering please give some thought to the many WASH staff who remain.
For those over the years who say they support freedom of expression but with opt outs, or who have argued that freedom of expression doesn't extend to articles, photographs or cartoons which offend them, it should be made clear that freedom of expression gives everyone the chance to debate opinions, and that right is vital.
In the aftermath of an atrocity as horrifying as the Paris murders on Wednesday, it is more important than ever to be crystal clear about the freedoms that we hold most dearly. Freedom of expression, which must always include the freedom to offend and to ridicule. Satire is an essential part of a democracy. Incitement to hatred and to violence are crimes; incitement to mockery is not... Freedom from fear, including the fear of being different, or of speaking out, or of questioning majority beliefs. Above all, the freedom from the fear of being murdered.
Even for a hardened news man in a hardened newsroom the mass shooting at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is a ferociously shocking moment. We know at least 12 are dead, five are critically wounded and others beside. And those numbers will doubtless change during the day. It happens at a very tender moment for European politics, at a tender moment for the Islamic world. Wracked with violence from northern Nigeria all the way to Pakistan by radical action and bloodletting.
The Al Jazeera case is of course just the most visible part of the iceberg. Since the 2013 coup and the merciless crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egypt government's suppression of all opposition - and indeed suppression also of "outsider" lifestyles like people perceived to be gay - appears to be boundless.
I wonder if something slightly odd has happened in the past six months or so, whereby the attention devoted to the group in the media and political spheres has dwelt unceasingly on their "barbarity" but failed to actually convey the scale of the human rights crimes involved. Has the effect been to almost trivialise the reality?
Liberals and leftists in the West are right to condemn the bigotry of the majority community, but the fundamentalism of the minority community cannot be spared from criticism. If those identifying as left and liberal fail to criticise the dangerous trends of Islamism, the right will step up for the task. That is a future no one wants and political correctness can do little to fight it.