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Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Ed Husain v Geert Wilders debate would be great for democracy

If Geert Wilders does visit Britain in the next few days, as is being reported, I hope he takes up Ed Husain’s offer of a public debate. Husain, the co-director of the pro-liberal democracy Muslim think tank, the Quilliam foundation, has said:
“The Home Office was wrong to try to ban Geert Wilders from the UK given that he has not directly incited violence. We welcome the fact that this key principle of free speech has now been defended by the British courts. However, it is also vital that Wilders’ undoubtedly bigoted views are firmly challenged and subjected to proper critical scrutiny. No religion is monolithic and Wilders has evidently been convinced by the words and actions of Islamists and jihadists that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant. We therefore challenge Geert Wilders to an open debate in which we will argue that Islam is compatible with secular democracy and that, contrary to what he apparently believes, Muslims are not a threat to Europe and its values.”

Ed Husain and his cohorts are a breath of fresh air. This is a man who values liberal democracy, who loves this country and hates Saudi-style sharia, and is serious about modernising Islam.
The irony is that Muslims like Husain who wish to live in a secular liberal democracy are less endangered by the likes of Wilders than by the multi-cultural “community cohesion” policy promoted by New Labour. It is this approach which stokes up resentment among whites, and which encourages young Muslim men to feel contempt for a democracy that won’t stand up for its belief and for a Western society that hates itself. It is self-hatred, rather than bigotry, which provokes extremism in Europe.


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