Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Voltaire still gets my support

Voltaire's oft quoted maxim that "I hate what you say but I'll defend your right to say it" is easy to support when you agree with what is being said. It is much more difficult when you find what is being said morally repugnant. Such is the case now with the banning of the extreme Muslim organisation Islam4UK. Despite their views, I remain a Voltairian and cannot support the banning order. It is clear to me that this action has given them the opportunity to claim martyrdom and to say "see how much the UK dislikes Muslims". How much will this have boosted their recruitment? The issues are difficult, complex and highly emotive but I believe the better strategy would have been to let them run their course. Most Muslims in the UK are moderate and I just don't accept that this small group on the lunatic fringe would have any wider influence than, for example, the BNP on British politics. Sadly, I think this action is yet another example of our government going for the popular vote rather than adhering to the fundamental principle of freedom of speech.

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