There’s toleration and there’s toleration

This prompted by:  –  Can England Tolerate Muslims? (Since reblogged here)

It seems to me that often “toleration” means little more than a “begrudging” acceptance rather than a “welcoming” acceptance.

An enormous issue is that the British Establishment struggles to understand Islam. You might expect our “established” Church of England to take a lead but, when a vicar in his diocese extended a hand of welcome from his church and was forced to make a public apology, you know that the established Church is at least institutionally Islamophobic.

My definition of “Islamophobia” is the literal meaning of the word “a fear of Islam”. Many if not most of us fear Islam because those responsible for our education – both temporal and spiritual – are themselves poorly informed. It doesn’t have to mean “hate” but hate can and does develop when educators and opinion formers appear mostly to denegrate the religion.

We will only cracking this when our Christian and Secular leaders genuinely extend hands of welcome and make an effort to understand others. Remember Western Secular values and customs are largely informed by the West’s Christian heritage. For its part Christianity and Islam are co-religions with common histories.


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