Tolerating Intolerance


Last week, television coverage of the brutal killing of an off-duty British soldier by Islamist fanatics stunned viewers in Europe and America. The unprovoked attack happened in broad daylight on a busy London street. Shocking. So shocking that none of the bystanders did anything to come to the aid of the victim. They watched as the two assailants continued their assault “in front of dozens of witnesses … After the killing, one of the men, believed to be a British-born Muslim convert, spoke calmly into a witness’ video phone.” Then, everyone waited around 20 minutes for the police to show up.

What kind of mindset is this?

Would this passive response have happened in America? In your town? Were those witnesses paralyzed? Why was their only reaction to pull out phones and shoot pictures and video? How could the bystanders then wait without any attempt to take down these terrorists? Something is wrong here, folks. That is the great tragedy of the incident.

English: The Muslim population of the world ma...

English: The Muslim population of the world map by percentage of each country, according to the Pew Forum 2009 report on world Muslim populations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I emailed a particular group of friends and acquaintances (scattered across our country) about the incident, and made the point that our tolerant approach to Islam poses a very great threat to our country. Yes, I was being intolerant, even judgmental. I didn’t intend to judge Islam, or Muslims as individuals or as a religion.

I got one response to my email. Ken wrote: So what, specifically, should we be advocating?  What should we be asking our Congressmen to do?  What should the policy of the US be regarding Islam?  Islamic violence outside Islamic countries?

Sounds like we have a dilemma, if the killing of the young soldier on London’s mean streets is any indicator of what might be in store for us. After all, we’re called the Great Satan, because we support Israel, the forever enemy of Islam.

Ken’s questions force us to look at how we see ourselves. Let’s assume that the US on the one hand takes seriously the need to protect its citizens from extremists; yet on the other, it lifts tolerance and toleration of opposing viewpoints to an ultimate level. Something has to go.

Should we dispense with the political correctness of sparing Muslims’ sensibilities in order to protect our loved ones and our liberties? Is that even necessary?

What other options would you suggest?

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Feared Classes, Liberty, Our Constitution, Tackling Fears and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tolerating Intolerance

  1. Bill Bowler says:

    Thanks for good input on this and many other topics. in the event of sudden emergencies I would consider the emotion of fear, and the element of preparation plays strongly in the response of individuals. Caring for individuals beyond cultural lines is a start to responding in times of need. Together folks can accomplish much more, and a lot quicker than even acting separately. Knowing that emergencies will arise, plus other demands, requires response preparation at some level.
    I have a duty to respond within a 150-mile radius of home to medical emergencies of various sorts. While in a distant city, I addressed a life-threatening situation that came abruptly to one of our customers. I immediately set in motion our emergency response protocol, which included having our clerks get the fire department, and the person made it to the hospital instead of the morgue. We cannot avoid every bad situation or dangerous person. But if we consider potentials, prepare within reason, and deal with events as they actually happen, we’ll save lives.

  2. Regarding Islam, the difference between religion and culture seems to be ignored. In theory, Islam is an individual’s faith-based belief in God, similar to Christianity. What we see is a male dominated culture of hate, where the individual’s faith is irrelevant. The culture, usually under a dictatorship style leadership, has erased the faith. This is what happened with the catholic church years ago with the inquisition, so it isn’t unique to a single faith. it is tough to allow a closed culture to mingle with an open culture and the results are what we are getting, the pressure on the “believers” of Islam to destroy other “beliefs” in order to become the world’s single culture. The Catholics didn’t succeed; hopefully the Muslims won’t either. But it won’t be for their lack of trying.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, John. I agree with some of your points; however, I’m not sure we can say it’s a “culture of hate,” as that does disserve to the moderates. My Muslim friends would not consider themselves haters or their culture as a culture of hate. The majority of Muslims do not support the terrorism.
      Indeed, the individual’s faith is irrelevant. In fact, the individual is essentially irrelevant as Allah is all.
      I’d like to hear more from you about the efficacy of having a closed culture within an open culture, as I’ll probably have to deal with that in subsequent postings.

  3. Baxter says:

    Most of us would, I believe, have come to the aid of the soldier killed in this unspeakable attack — or, at least, we want to believe we would. However, an unarmed person faced with a bloodied attacker wielding a large knife or machete might well step back to a safe position. Courage is what we hope we have, but several studies indicate that in large groups individuals often do nothing when faced with adversity or a person in need.
    With respect to the Muslim community, I think we must strive to avoid persecution — watchfulness, yes, but singling out this mostly law-abiding people places the freedoms of all of us in jeopardy.

    • samuelehall says:

      Baxter, good points. I’ve often wondered what I’d do if I saw a wife-beater whacking on his wife in a public place.
      In this case, some of the details indicate that at least some of the onlookers saw the attack as exotic entertainment; e.g., the people who extended their cell phones to pick up the rant from the assailants. That’s practically collaborating with those animals! And your observation about the reaction of people in large groups: Yes, I’ve noticed the same–people seemingly mesmerized. Not to make myself as a hero but two instances where I came immediately upon an accident, I started shouting instructions … And people leapt to action! You, call 9-1-1! You over there, go into that store and see if they’ve got something to stop the bleeding! You two men–would you flag traffic? Go!
      And they did it.
      I’m thinking that if someone would have taken charge on that London street, things might have turned out differently.
      Re your point about the Muslim community: that’s my next post. I’d invite your contribution.
      Thanks, Baxter. These are not easy situations.

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