So the current talk is that Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi should neither be allowed into Britain (altho’ he has been here many times before-funnily enough one of the main things being spoken about is how America has already banned him since 1998) nor should he be allowed to speak. It is said that as he ‘incites terrorism’ and ‘supports and advocates suicide bombers’ that he represents a danger to the British public. Once again our ability to adapt to the fact that there are people that do not agree with our governmental line is admirable. So were this man to be stopped how exactly would that change things? Would it make him preach a different message? Would it make others less inclined to find out what he is saying? Of course not.

So what’s the deal with him anyway? To my mind he seems to be pro his own kind and preaching a direct action approach to the people he sees as the oppressors. I have heard rhetoric similar to this before, Malcolm X said much the same at the Oxford Union back in the 60s about how the black man needed to assert himself more and take whatever means necessary to throw off the yoke of oppression and the white man would support him more and more doing so. Dr Al-Qaradawi is to my mind a bit of a religious fanatic he believes very much in the nature of his religion and I always view this with skepticism because I have an innate distrust of organized religion. The crucial point to me is that I see absolutely no difference in the inference of Dr Al-Qaradawi and George Bush, each are convinced of their own munificence and the absolute truth of their faith and each seem to have this crusading belief that they must convert the infidel.

It seems that the US and Britain are prepared to condem an arab man for his beliefs, because they see them as inflammatory and leading to potential recruitment of fundamentalists and terrorists. This is strange because many of us see the foreign policies of the US and Britain as leading directly to precisely that same recruitment.

I have always thought that if someone’s views are dangerous, the way to address it is to engage in debate and marginalise their arguement, to deflect the issue and not to enter into that debate always makes it appear to me that you have something to fear or something to hide. I felt the same when they attempted to gag the Irish republicans, of course they never went into the historical precedent of Irish Republicanism, when the Orangemen and Apprentice Boys were marching and unrest was starting in Derry and Belfast not once did I here the British media discuss why Republicans were so utterly opposed to it. However if you were to put a similar example in the mix you might see the insensitivity. How would the French feel if the Germans decided to have a goosestep down the Champs-Elysses to commemorate 1940. What about the French coming to the South Coast and playing Norman and Breton songs to mark 1066, with an effigy of a geezer with an arrow in his mush! The point is that sensitivity is a much underrated quality and there appears little time for it in modern society.

Song Of The Day – The The ~ Jealous of Youth

Original Comments:

MrDan made this comment,
There are already laws against inciting hatred. If Dr Al-Qaradawi enters the UK he has to abide by those laws or face the consequences. Any further action to prevent him from speaking seems excessive and immoral to me.

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comment added :: 8th July 2004, 03:34 GMT+01
protagonist made this comment,
i’ll kick it off, baron dear, by saying that not all speakers within the public sphere carry the same credibility.
Ku (2000) writes, “In the public sphere, while citizens are equally eligible for participation in terms of ground rules, what different people publicly do and say does not necessarily carry cultural and political weight to the same extent. It depends on the moral and symbolic power they lay claim to and the sociopolitical positions they are in.”

the issue is that the government quite often seeks to control the public sphere making it more a forum for organized and controled activity than an actual sphere in which meaningful discussion of civic culture takes place. this is, i believe, what you are claiming. “the public” is an arbitrary concept just like “public opinion” or “public credibility” is a subjective designation. people interact and speak within the public sphere, but that alone does not grant them either credibility or legitimacy as determinants of public opinion. such a designation can only be granted by a mass of people. so allowing someone to speak does not inherently influence public opinion. by the same token, preventing such speech does not prevent the influence of public opinion because the public sphere exists on many levels.

it is not the ability or lack of ability to speak that influences the masses. it is whether the message resonates in some kind of meaningful way. i know very little of the specific situation you are talking about, but i suspect that a message of violence isn’t going to garner much social credibility. governments participate i8n public sphere discourse like the rest of us though, and i suspect supression of free speech would erode social credibility.

comment added :: 8th July 2004, 03:46 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
i agree with mr.dan as far as saying that if he enters britain, he has to follow their laws. as far as debate, i think everything should be settled or at least expressed during debate. but what you said on my blog has to do with it too. between free speech and slander, how do you know when you’re crossing the line…
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comment added :: 8th July 2004, 18:54 GMT+01