Holland- Serious about Cohesion?

 Asian News Rochdale Published on the Asian News Letters Section

By Maqsood Ahmed-  Fitna, a film directed by a Dutch Parliamentarian, Geert Wilders, and to be released shortly has openly called for the Quran to be banned and likens the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. All this is done in the name of “freedom of expression”.

Wilder- Calling for the banning of the Quran

At a time when the propaganda on Islam is on the rise, and Muslim community is being coerced to assimilate into the dominant culture, it is imperative we look deeply at the issue of community cohesion. This term “community cohesion” seeks to gel the community together on a set of “common values”.

Surely community cohesion must mean all cultures are respected for their values for greater harmony in our community. Yet, in the name of “freedom” Islam is mocked and insulted and Muslims are expected to buy into this “universal idea”.

How can any civilised society allow the freedom to insult, and tolerate the very thing that polarises communities?

As a teenager I witnessed the publishing of the Satanic Verses, which was championed as a “great work of fiction”, even though thousands of Muslims came out to demonstrate against it. More recently the printing of cartoons of Muhammad (peace be upon him) caused protests around the world. The total disregard for the Muslim feeling was evident when many other newspapers decided to print the cartoons. To add insult to injury the cartoons were re-printed a second time. Again, all in the name of freedom.

I wonder whether a drama satirising the slave trade would be acceptable to the advocates of freedom, or a play expressing the views of the holocaust deniers. How can community cohesion become a reality in the current climate?

Muslims have lived in the UK for over six decades and have always been law abiding citizens and contributed to their communities.

Cohesion is built upon respect and tolerance, neither of which we see from the government or media.

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