When does tolerance trump hate speech?

Barry Soper chimes in

It’s easy to dismiss the likes of the self-appointed Bishop Brian Tamaki as the lunatic fringe for his views that gays and sinners are responsible for earthquakes.

His impoverished audience is relatively small and he generally has little influence as he lives the life of Riley at their expense.

But it’s another matter when a so called Islamic scholar, Mohammad Anwar Sahib, preaches his anti-Semitic and misogynistic diatribe that he’s now been doing for some time.

His views aren’t worth repeating because they’re offensive and are potentially dangerous, considering up until yesterday he was the secretary of the advisory board to the Federation of Islamic Associations.

We’ve seen what’s happened abroad when people like this are allowed to preach their messages of hate.

Let’s just hope the removal of his authority will see his influence diminished, although that’s doubtful considering he’s a lecturer in Islamic law at their online university, has been the president of Islamic scholars in this country and has even advised the Government on halal issues.

Soper then looks overseas and observes where racial and religious divisions have taken us

… drawing up a registry of Muslims living in that country that Donald Trump’s advisers are now looking at and using the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War as their model.

George Takei remembers just a few weeks after his fifth birthday in the spring of 1942 his parents packing up the family hurriedly while they saw two soldiers out the window, marching up the driveway with bayonets fixed to their rifles.

They were loaded on to trains and for the next three years, barbed wire, sentry towers and armed guards marked their home.

George’s parents were born in the United States, they were proud of their American heritage just as they were proud of their Japanese ancestry. But in the fear and mass hysteria of the time, that didn’t matter.

And that’s the sort of thing that can happen when hatred and intolerance overtakes the values that most of us hold dear.

I believe that these things are totally avoidable in our country.  We observe what has been happening overseas, and we prevent those conditions arising here.   One of the major components involves smart immigration.  I’ve been calling for that for years.  Of course, government hasn’t responded because it doesn’t see a problem to respond to.

The other and almost equally important step to take is to not marginalise Muslim people who have truly integrated and hold no ill will towards their non-Muslim neighbours.  We need to empower them to isolate the few rotten apples in their wider community, and make it clear they are not welcome.

But we also need to make it clear that silence against radical Muslims is not acceptable.  Muslims that want to maintain the New Zealand paradise under all religions, faiths and lifestyles must actively join to protect our country from radical Islam and Islamification.

Silence is not acceptable.  Speak out against anyone who preaches about a world where people who are not Muslim are of lesser value than those who are.

 

– Barry Soper, NZ Herald

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