With tensions mounting over demonstration plans regarding the right to build a mosque in Lincoln this month, I decided to take the opportunity to write about social cohesion.
It was my six-year-old daughter that asked me what I was writing about this week. I explained to her it was about social cohesion, which was essentially the process in which people from all walks of life learn to live side by side in peace, supporting each other for the betterment of everyone.
“Well that’s good, mummy. It’s sad that people forget we’re all the same really.” Words that left me with both swelling pride and a heavy heart.
What has always kept me focused on the topic of the human condition is the ability to strip away the seemingly endless layers of misinformation, misdirection and misnomers. With them gone, we come to a basic outline of the issues and opinions garnered by people.
In this case, when one takes away the reasoning that this country should remain ‘British’ and that those from ‘other’ religions should stay away from ‘us’ we are left with very little. Primarily, we are left with fear.
In a society that has a growing number falling into the poverty gap, and an unrelenting press campaign revelling in the creation of widespread xenophobia, it is all too easy to create apathy with wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Fear has nothing to do with intelligence nor upbringing. Ironically in this case it has no prejudice, it will grip and cling to the best of us as we struggle to sleep at night, not daring to open our eyes in the cold light of another hard day.
Britain is built on immigration. I speak of the invasion of Romans, not Eastern Europeans. We ruled the waves by invading America, Africa, India and all the great swathes of land our planet has to offer. We have survived to become a super power down to our ability to adapt, and adapting has no room for purity.
One argument I have heard against a place of worship in our city is the fact that it is not ‘our’ religion. If by ‘our’ religion it is Christianity that is meant, then one should be reminded that Christianity was founded in Israel, and that Islam not only believe in Jesus Christ, their doctrine in the Quran believes him to be a messenger of God.
On the website Islam Guide, it says that Muslims ‘respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him).’ The teachings of Islam also plainly forbid terrorism. In fact in some respects the Quran promotes greater kindness towards all living things than the bible (I say this as a practising Christian).
In a globalist world, we are more interconnected than ever before. There are many arguments for and against immigration, and many on either side are valid, well executed points. What I struggle to fathom is the purpose behind trying to prevent a peaceful, ancient religion from worshipping the very same God believed to be superior.
If the debate focussed around how the mosque will affect parking levels in the area, then understanding would be within grasp. Though anyone that knows the proposed site will realise it is vast and has plenty of room for a sizeable car park. As I see it, one of the only real fears for a Boultham local is the backlash that could possibly evolve if it goes ahead. Vandalism, trespassing and theft are all possibilities, but a church could suffer the same fate.
The East Anglian Patriots “is a group that has been set up by members that are willing to travel to demo’s and events all over who ever the group,” they say on Facebook [the page was deleted some time overnight on January 14]. No mention of their beliefs or stance, which leaves the reader with a feeling the group may be of the ‘rent-a-mob’ mentality.
I would welcome a discussion with leaders to discuss the reasoning behind their willingness to travel the country, seemingly protesting against anyone or thing that is not in line with their life choices.
As mentioned in my previous article on immigration, Europeans are increasingly afraid to come to the UK because of a deep rooted xenophobia. What good does this do for our trade? Our culture? Our children?
Acceptance and tolerance has never hurt anyone, but time and time again fear and loathing leads to hatred, violence and all things that bring depravity to human kind.