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Katie Hopkins, France and most folks so wrong on Burqa ban and gagging Islamofascists

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 24 August 2016

Life under the rule of ISIS, the Taleban or even the loathsome House of Saud is not much fun for a variety of reasons. Women are told they must cover up - the state dictates what they can or cannot wear. It gets worse: the state dictates what one can or cannot say. In the old days I was allowed to say that such a way of living is regressive and unpleasant and that a liberal society as we, sort of, enjoy in the West was superior. I rather worry that a hardline Moslem might now claim that what I have just written offends him and thus report it as a hate crime. God only knows how our uber PC rozzers would react to that.

The greatest protection I can have as a writer, or you can have as citizen if you fear what the State might do in your name or do to you, is freedom. Those on the left who howl at folks such as Katie Hopkins or John Gaunt demanding that their, admittedly sometimes offensive, words be silenced do themselves no favours. The State might today decide that Katie is beyond the pale, tomorrow the state may be run by others who decide to silence Polly Toynbee or other misguided folk on the liberal left. What protects us all is free speech. The government can be held to account and those whose views are evil can be challenged and exposed.

We can show the Muslim world that we in the West are superior to the Islamofascists by fighting for the very same freedoms the lunatics seek to deny. It is thus strange to see demands by Ms Hopkins for Britain to follow what has happened in France and elsewhere and to ban the burqa and the burqini and also to gag Islamofascist speakers.

There is no evidence that Burqa wearing has facilitated crime yet that is one of many untruths pedalled by those who wish to ban it. Others, often for the first time ever, claim to be feminists and want it banned to liberate women. I can think of a few reasons why I am not a great Burqa or Burqini fan, notably that it is not terribly liberating for women but it should not be my call of that of the State to tell folks what they can or cannot wear. That is one reason why we are superior to ISIS. It is sad that some on the right, and most Froggies, appear to want to sink to the level of ISIS as opposed to celebrating a society that is simply better.

As to free speech, we have laws that deal with an incitement to crime or supporting an organisation such as ISIS. And those dealt with folks such as Anjem Choudary but there now seems to be a concerted drive to deny freedom of expression to those Moslems who have views that are distasteful but do not threaten us directly. If someone wants to explain why he would like to see Sharia law implemented in Britain let him or her speak and we can ridicule a barabaric system of non justice. If the nutter wants to impose Sharia law via violence he breaks the law. But if he simply wants to argue his case let him do so.

Not only is that the best way to expose what nonsense he believes in but in supporting free speech for those with whom you violently disagree you go some way to safeguarding your own rights to free speech. Those who, like Ms Hopkins, with relation to Islamofascists, or those on the left who are Hopkins haters, wish the State to gag certain folk with whom they disagree may find themselves on a very slippery slope indeed.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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