Free speech and religious (in)tolerance (again)

News from Blighty today that a group of Muslim men are on trial for hate crime after handing out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be hanged.

Left to right, Ihjaz Ali, Mehboob Hussain, Umar Javed, Razwan Javed and Kabir Ahmed.

I’m sure I know how most Americans would feel about this, whether they agree with the homophobic message or not – But speaking for myself, I’m torn.

On the one hand, this is certainly a form of censorship. On the other hand, it’s censoring a group of extreme bigots who are trying to promote hatred to the point of actual murder.

At the moment I’m leaning towards this prosecution being a good thing – This is not a thought-crime, it’s attempted incitement. They actively promoted murdering innocent people. That’s the point where I think they lost their right to free expression. That said, I’m still open to persuasion.

Unfortunately, extremists like this will also raise questions about why Britain is so accepting of Muslim migrants (albeit these men seem to be second-generation, born British) who have no intention of adapting to Western values. I’ve argued many times that there is no such thing as an indigenous Brit, and that we are a country made up of migrants and the descendants of migrants. I’ve also said many times that there’s real strength in diversity. But here I’m forced to wonder if there is not such a thing as a British culture and British values, and if this kind of diversity really brings strength, or if it only brings division. Of course, it is to be hoped that these men are a minority within a minority, and that their time will soon pass. We shall see.

For now, I’ll throw this open to the floor: Where do you fall in this discussion, and what’s your reasoning?

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