I regard myself as a tolerant person, on many levels. Most of life’s little niggles I simply allow to wash over me. I’m an atheist, so religion has no meaning for me. I’m not a conservative voter and never have been, due primarily to my upbringing as a member of the working class in Australia, and belief in democratic socialism. Culturally, I genuinely don’t pay any attention to or have opinions about how other individuals live their lives. Sexual predilections are the purview of the individual. To each their own, I say. If people choose a mode of dress which suits them, be it gothic, post-modern, formal or casual, adherence to religious and/or cultural requirements, then that’s their choice.
As long as the choices of others make no negative impact on me as an individual, the way I live my life or the choices I make, then I regard myself as tolerant. I do object to other human beings attempting to influence my choices, how I live my life or what I should or should not believe about any given issue. In my own vernacular, I simply cannot tolerate fools. ‘Fools’ being those who think they ought to, should or have some bestowed right to tell me how I should live my life.
Why am I outlining my personal belief system on life, the universe & everything? Because I feel something of my indifference to others, the beliefs of others in particular, is changing. This is why. For a long time now I’ve advocated a greater understanding on the part of those opposed to these radical Islamics in attempting to find a middle ground between the vehement far-right wing anarchist view of what has been labelled as ‘Islamofascism’, and the views of those radical Islamists. I find myself asking, how does being an atheist – which is effectively what Bashir determines non-believers in Islam to be – qualify me for eradication? I choose not to believe a given form of religious belief. Indeed, ANY religious belief. Why does that make me a threat to those who embrace Islam, in the eyes of those radical, fundamentalist Muslims? I’m afraid I don’t understand. I’m afraid I’ve reached the point where I no longer believe tolerance of such beliefs is warranted. When advocating such tolerance directly or has the potential to impact on me, the way I live my life and the choices I make across the board as an individual, my tolerance ends.
That is not to say that I am suddenly becoming one of ‘them’. ‘Them’ being that right-wing antithesis of the Islamofascist. The western world’s political and ideological versions of Mary Whitehouse. Proselytisers of hatred for hatred’s sake against a religion and culture they do not understand, and make no efforts to understand. I’m far more selective. I’m of the opinion that Abu Bakar Bashir, his acolytes and apostles are beyond understanding and therefore beyond the granting of tolerance. I believe, like a bruised part of an otherwise perfectly good apple, they need to be removed as unpalatable. However that happens, I’m not especially determined about, but for the safety, peace of mind and freedoms of the rest of the world’s more tolerant inhabitants, these people need to be removed from the mix.