Lessons For Us All

I recommend you read all of this Martin In The Margins post: Taliban tactics in Tower Hamlets:

I’m not sure why I’ve been so affected by the story of Gary Smith, the east London RE teacher who was assaulted by four Islamic extremists because they disapproved of him teaching religion to Muslim girls. Perhaps it was the sheer ferocity of the attack, in which a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement were used, and which left Smith with a fractured skull and a permanently scarred face.

Then again, perhaps this event stood out because of its striking similarity with another story that I read this week—about the murder by the Taliban of an Afghan headmaster, simply because he had the effrontery to teach girls in his school. The two accounts had much in common: there was the same warped sense of religious self-righteousness, the same absolute denial of equal rights to women and girls, the same murderous violence in the name of religion. Suddenly those Daily Mail scare stories about the “London Taliban” didn’t seem so off the wall.

Finally, I suppose I was left perplexed about what would—and should—be the response of liberals to this kind of incident. I imagine if there’d been an attack of similar ferocity by four EDL or BNP thugs, against a local imam or mosque instructor, say, then we would have seen (quite rightly) liberals and anti-racists mobilising and marching through the area in solidarity. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I don’t think we’ve seen anything of the kind in support of Gary Smith. Where is the outcry from the teaching unions against this assault on one of their number, simply for doing his job? Has anyone planned a march through Tower Hamlets in support of freedom of expression or the educational rights of young women?

[I have removed Martin’s links to the Daily Mail and the Guardian from the quoted text because I have a policy of not sending traffic to the Websites of either of those rags, in part because of their mutually complementary racisms.]

One Comment

  1. Posted 26Aug11 at 07:18 | Permalink

    Damian, I’ve only just (extremely belatedly) seen this link to my post. Many thanks for re-posting it – much appreciated.
    Martin

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