Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Come join us, Terry Jones

United Against Fascism Poster in Leicester. Photograph: Matthew Orlinski
In the past few days, there has been much controversy relating to Terry Jones, the pastor made infamous for planning to hold a 'Burn the Qur'an' day on the anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers.
He was meant to be coming to the UK to speak at a rally in Luton, organised by the English Defence League yet they have rescinded their invitation, shockingly describing him as racist.
The whole situation is bizarre. I say let him in and let him talk. In an article posted up only yesterday, Sajida Manji described a march by the EDL in Peterborough and it is horrifying to see that such views exist. It is perhaps strange, therefore, that I am defending this man who only months ago was prepared to burn the scripture which my faith prescribes to.
Here in Britain, we must not forget what we stand for. We are proud of giving people the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression; these rights should not be forgotten. I have blogged in the past that we cannot forget the rights of man as the minute we start to take one right away, we become dangerously close from losing a sense of democracy and I stand by that.
Don't get me wrong, I despise his views and believe he has a malicious intent, with no real understanding of the religion of Islam. Yet let us not cast aside the general public as a bunch of idiots who can't make up their own mind. There will be minority, of course there always are, who will celebrate his arrival and will worship his words but the rest of us will remain strong. Such is the character of Britain.
Yet he must be utterly careful once setting foot upon British soil. Last week, a 12 year old schoolchild was told by anti-terrorist police that he would be arrested if any damage or violence ensued at a picket he organised. Imagine the repercussions for Mr. Jones if his words incite hatred and violence. EDL marches are aggressive enough, I shiver to think of the potential of his words.

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