Here’s one of the weirdest things about 21st-century Britain: we have a real problem with radical Islam and yet politicians want to make it harder for us to talk openly about Islam.
Islamist extremism is on the rise. A minority of Muslim Brits have embraced a super-intolerant version of their religion. It is not uncommon to see groups of shouty young men and veiled young women marching in the streets and claiming Islam will one day conquer the UK. And how does the political class respond? By clamping down on critical discussion about Islam. By essentially ringfencing Islam from the rough and tumble of everyday debate, dissent and plain old mick-taking.
It’s crazy. Imagine if in the 1970s and 1980s, when bombs were going off in London, Birmingham and Guildford, the government forbade critical discussion of Irish republicanism. The equivalent of that is happening now. The very religion that many extremists claim to be inspired by – however cynical those claims might be – is being shielded from free, frank debate.
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