Double standards on freedom of speech?

I represented SJJP at a public meeting last night organised by Amina, the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre in Glasgow. Under the title ‘The War on Islam and the Double Standards of Freedom of Speech’, the panel consisted of Aamer Anwar — Scotland’s leading Human rights lawyer, Amal Azzudin — one of the ‘Glasgow Girls’ who is a community activist and campaigner, and Shaykh Abdal-Aziz Ahmed — an Islamic Scholar and teacher. Around sixty people attended and participated in a lively discussion about the impact of the Charlie Hebdo killings and related attacks on Jewish people in Paris and Copenhagen. The panel focused on the implications for minority communities in the wake of the attacks and the consequences for greater levels of Islamophobia within a context of growing racism in Europe. The audience raised questions ranging from how to tackle racism to the challenges of achieving community integration with panel members responding about the need for unity and avoiding wedges being driven between Muslim and Jewish communities as a consequence of the attacks.

Panel members stressed the importance of the #M21 “Stand up to Racism and Fascism” all-Scotland march and rally” in Glasgow on 21st, March and urged as many people as possible to get to the demo — more information here. It would be good to see as many Jewish people on the demo as possible—SJJP members should be raising this within their communities and it would be good to see SCoJeC and other representative bodies supporting the demonstration, encouraging participation and building unity in practice. If there is any lesson from the horrific events in Paris, Copenhagen and Brussels, it is that we cannot let racism of whatever hue divide us. Netanyahu’s appalling conclusion that Europe is not safe for Jews is something we should utterly reject and the best response is a massive demonstration under the slogan of ‘No to Antisemitism, no to Islamophobia, no to scapegoating of immigrants—Yes to diversity!’

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