I'd like to think of myself as generally tolerant. I'm unashamedly live and let live, on the assumption that one isn't living at the expense of others. That's my line in the sand, the point where all behavior and perspectives must be measured. What then, are we to make of those whom actively seek to impose upon us laws and values to which we do not subscribe? How to respond when faced with a cultural enemy intent on shaping a society that suits their ideology? Take for example what we've recently seen in Tower Hamlets, where Muslim's have placed stickers in prominent areas which read "Gay Free Zone." By way of a thought experiment try substituting the word "Gay" for "Christian", or "Black". At once such sentiment is bought into sharp relief. Back in 2008 one man was set upon by 8 Bengali youths outside a pub in Tower Hamlets. A wine bottle he was carrying was torn from him, broken, and returned to him by way of his stomach, part of an attack leaving him quadriplegic. His crime? You guessed it, the unimportant matter of his sexuality. Why, you may wonder, am I involving myself in this? To the best of my knowledge I am not gay, although the guy from Torchwood is quite fanciable. Nor do I live in Tower Hamlets.
Well my concern is one of cultural Creepage. Bad ideas, if left unchecked can proliferate. For example, a recent survey conducted amongst Muslim youths revealed that a high percentage considered that apostasy should be punishable by death. If you're not alarmed by this then I'm apt to wonder what exactly it would take to alarm you? How about the fact that two thousand females each year in the UK are genitally mutilated? Any problem for you? Should we just put that down to a cultural difference? If you cannot form clear opinions on either of these issues I can only marvel at your lack of interest in the plight of your fellow humans. Come on, people, some things really are wrong. Cutting up a girls clitoris and battering a homosexual would appear to be prime examples.
So what can we do? Well I'd suggest that we're vocal. Whenever we hear of such an atrocity we speak out, we create a culture in which the notion of doing abominable things to our brothers and sisters is deemed an outrage. Whilst silence may appear the safer option in the short term I'd suggest you are merely deferring the confrontation. What kind of world do you want to live in? What legacy do you want to pass on?
For me, my greatest shame would come the day that my daughters look at me and say, "Why didn't you do something?"
And the shame will be all the greater if I know that I could have done more.