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It’s true, of course, that “British values” as defined are essentially Western and enlightened values, but Western civilisation is itself based on Christianity, which enshrines individualism and freedom. And these values are surely unique to Britain in at least one respect: we have shown ourselves to be far more tolerant of cultural, race and religious difference than many other Western countries who would also lay claim to them.

In her statement trying to reassure Muslims of government protection following the van attack, Mrs May again spoke about values — but this time conspicuously left off the “British” tag.

The alternative to defining our values as especially British is a diffuse mush with nothing particularly special to defend at all, as former prison governor Ian Acheson found last year in his review for the Justice Department of Islamist extremism within the prison service. Like the rest of the public sector, prisons are now under a legal obligation to promote British values. Acheson says that when he raised this with senior prison management, “Some of them looked at me with disdain. ‘Perhaps we’d call them European values,’ said one.”

This kind of institutional timidity also explains why in 2006 a report found that only a third of teachers felt confident teaching in a multi-cultural school. “Am I offending anybody because of my own ignorance?” was the prevailing sentiment of the staff. We have become almost crippled by our lack of confidence in giving a positive account ourselves which is why under David Cameron, the government urged us to start fighting “the battle of ideas”. We have yet to find the courage or the confidence to wage it.

We could start by ending double standards. There was outrage at the government’s decision to seek a pact with the Democratic Unionist Party because of its opposition to gay rights and abortion. A petition against the pact attracted almost half a million signatures in 24 hours. Yet the DUP’s social conservatism is mild compared to that advocated by preachers promoted by many Islamist groups in Britain. Politicians have sometimes shared platforms with Islamist homophobes — like the Conservative peer Baroness Warsi, who appeared with two rampant Islamist homophobes at a 2015 fundraising dinner for an Islamist activist organisation. One speaker had previously referred to homosexuality as a “perversion”; the other had said, “Kill the homosexual . . . if you ridicule, you curse Allah and his Messenger, the punishment for that is death.”

Enough, too, of double standards over calling terrorism for what it is. When jihadists mow down British civilians on London Bridge, and then go on a wild stabbing spree, the BBC reports it as a “terror attack” plain and simple; when a Palestinian mows down Israeli civilians in Jerusalem, it’s described as “what police call a terror attack”.

What about the inflammatory half-truths perpetuated by these Salafi-Islamist organisations about the victimhood of Muslims at the hands of non-Muslims? They also help to radicalise Muslims because they help keep them angry.

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Harry H
September 25th, 2017
4:09 PM
No Muslims in the West, no Muslim terrorism. Pretty simple, even a liberal can understand, right?

amcdonald
July 30th, 2017
4:07 PM
Islam is a bent version of the Bible. The Koran promotes a bent version of Christ. And yet no Christians challenge and correct the bent Islamic picture of Christ. Tories and Labourites can`t `speak truth to power` on this. Richard Dawkins is right but not so precise. It couldn`t be easier for all muslims,christians and atheists to watch artist Akiane Kramarik`s short filn ` Painting the Impossible ` (YouTube). It`s a work of art in itself not only about one. You want an alternative narrative and interfaith dialogue ? Well let`s see this film in churches ,mosques, synagogues,temples and Tate Mpderns. The BBC is just too thick to show and discuss it. Nor would it show artist Stella Vine`s `Evangeline` pictures. The cultural provincialism of our religious,political and cultural leaders is not shared by the people. Which is one reason 17 million voted for Brexit.Freedom Day.

amcdonald
July 15th, 2017
5:07 PM
British Values ? £10 per hour minimum wage? Grants not loans for students? All those others listed in the Labour Manifesto ? Tory values are symbolised by the atrocity exhibition that is now Grenfell Towers.

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