Hirsi Ali’s critics show intolerance

Peter Kurti

07 April 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

pk Ayaan hirsi Ali 1Self-identifying promotors of ‘tolerance’ have shown, once again, they’re only willing to tolerate that which they deem worthy of being tolerated. If you’re not on their list, you don’t get a say.

Prominent critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wasn’t on the list. She was forced to cancel her speaking tour of Australia due to concerns about her security and the security of the venues hosting her.

“Islam is not a religion of peace,” Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, has said. In her book, Heretic, she calls for Islam to have a reformation to counter what she names as the religion’s endemic violence.

Opposition to Hirsi Ali’s Australian visit was led by the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia and a Change.org petition denouncing her for inciting division and fuelling hatred of Muslims.

She acknowledges her frank views have earned her condemnation from many orthodox Muslims, as well as from the so-called “regressive” Left — those on the Left who appear to excuse intolerable Islamic practices, such as child marriage, in the name of multiculturalism.

None of these reactions to Hirsi Ali’s proposed visit are a surprise. Activist campaigns to silence and censor dissenting views — always conducted in the name of ‘tolerance’ — are now a mainstay of daily politics.

But this is not the live-and-let-live form of tolerance and multiculturalism that used to describe how people from different backgrounds took their place in Australian society at their own pace and in their own way.

‘Multiculturalism’ is now used in a new, prescriptive way that emphasises the importance of allowing communities to preserve all their cultural and ethnic practices in the name of inclusion — even if some of those practices are considered abhorrent in our Australian society.

Activists censoring Hirsi Ali claim to be fighting Islamophobia. But their own intolerant attitudes — and their refusal to judge Islam as they judge the rest of us — might do more harm to the standing of Islam in Australia than any visiting speaker ever could.

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