Thursday, 12 February 2009

Should we tolerate intolerance?

Following on from Sunday's post about language by co-incidence I had to go on Tuesday morning to Victoria House. It was only when I got there that I realised that an anti-BNP demonstration was taking place there. The story goes that a teacher who it was alleged to have used a school laptop to access BNP sites during a lesson was appealing against his dismissal. Forgive me if this is not completley accurate but I think you get the gist. There had been talk of a show of support from members of the BNP and a counter demonstration had been organised by anti-fascist groups and trade unions. The police where there to play piggy-in-the-middle as usual. When I arrived it appeared that none of the far right supporters had turned up and the antis where lined up facing the police chanting "get out of Brum you nazi scum". What the police thought about this being screamed into their faces I can't imagine, all it would of taken would have been for the demonstrators to turn to their right in order to face Victoria Square and a degree of dignity and respect would have been maintained.
Later I went to get a sandwich for lunch and took the opportunity to listen to a couple of the speeches. The phase I heard most was "We will not tolerate...". It seems that a lot of people demand toleration for their own point of view and their right to express it but would deny others the same opportunity.
My point of view is that if you have faith in your argument then you need have no fear of others who take a different view. The same applies to the banning today of Geert Wilders who apparently was due to introduce a film at the House of Lords denouncing the Koran and accusing it of promoting terrorism. My belief is that Islam has scholars perfectly capable of destroying this with words and argument and showing him up for what he is. Banning him just increases his profile and makes some people think that Islam has something to hide. Have confidence in your own ideals!