19 October 2016

Islam, Intolerance and The Indulgence of Extremism

The Louis Smith case demonstrates that conservative Muslims are far more keen on policing the speech of British athletes than tackling extremism in their own communities.

Allah hu Akbar has become the rousing war cry of terrorists from London to Lahore. Yet, it is important to remember, Allah hu Akbar is also part of an exercise of spiritual deference for millions of believing Muslims worldwide, a call for believers to bask in the glory of God. Any criticism of that reflexive and meaningful enterprise is a blow that the 1.8 billion followers of Muhammed will not put up with - or at least their ‘community leaders’ won’t, that truly ghoulish collective of mavens who are humourless, unshaven, and of course, exclusively male.

Louis Smith fell victim to that particular cohort when he made the grievous error of shouting “Allah hu Akbar!” in jest whilst on a night-out. Poor Louis may have been under the impression jokes can and will be handled with at least some modicum of maturity and good humour.

Nay, it seems underneath every cute joke, even immature and poor jokes like Louis’s, is the need for an ‘earnest' conversation about the limits of satire or some allied spiel we seem to have got over with the Life of Brian half a century ago - people’s feelings, surprisingly enough, do not count as a valid reason to halt a well-earned mocking. [Conatus News] Read more