Left: Hundreds of people protested against the veil ban on Wednesday Source: BBC/AFP
Right: Mary McAleese at Dublin Pride with husband Martin (right), son Justin (second left) and his husband Fionan Source: BBC/PA
"Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that's still no reason to ban it." - Boris Johnson. The Telegraph (£)
Boris Johnson wrote his article in the Telegraph after the first woman was charged in Denmark for wearing niqab after the Denmark veil ban was introduced.
The law does not mention burkas and niqabs by name but says "anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine".
Nevertheless, the Guardian headlined the event: Boris Johnson's burqa remarks 'fan flames of Islamophobia', says MP.
In the article Boris Johnson is accused of “dog whistle” Islamophobia by a former Conservative chair, Lady Sayeeda Warsi, who said the lack of action by the party over Johnson’s comments showed it was “business as usual.”
Sayeeda Warsi had previously called on the Conservative party to launch a “full independent inquiry” into Islamophobia in the party and warned the Tories were "pursuing a politically damaging policy of denial about the problem in its own ranks".
Back in 2010 she spoke out about what she sees as the rise of Islamaphobia in Britain. By coincidence in 2010 Sayeeda Warsi was "named one of the world's '500 Most Influential Muslims' by Middle East think tank the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. She also topped the UK's Muslim women power list."
Also getting in on the controversy, "Labour demanded that the Conservative chair, Brandon Lewis, refer the former foreign secretary for mandatory equalities training, amid renewed calls for the party to open an independent investigation into Islamophobia in the party.
"In a letter to Lewis, the shadow equalities minister, Naz Shah, said Johnson’s comments were “ugly and naked Islamophobia” and said Lewis should abide by his word to give Tory members diversity training to combat Islamophobia."
While many people will agree that the Denmark veil ban is reasonable, Boris Johnson did not but he is accused of making Islamophopbic remarks.
Honest opinions are no longer acceptable unless they conform to the latest politically correct dictums so people at large are deterred from saying what they feel for fear of being condemned as Islamophobic regardless of the facts.
In 2011 I blogged under the heading Islamophobia:
"phobia /pho·bia/ (fo´be-ah) a persistent, irrational, intense fear of a specific object, activity, or situation (the phobic stimulus), fear that is recognized as being excessive or unreasonable by the individual himself. There is nothing irrational, excessive or unreasonable about the fear of Islam. In her University of Leicester speech today the Tory Party Chairman, Baroness Warsi, raises the now familiar cry of Islamophobia, warning that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice. If it is a question of either we would have to choose "extremist" because at the root of the Islamic ideology is a belief that Islam is supreme and that any means, including lying (taqiyya), are legitimate weapons to achieve world domination."
Constant claims of 'Islamophobia' regardless of the context is a device used to raise a political ideology to a level beyond criticism while religions such as Christianity are under constant threat. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this phenomenon is its contradiction with feminist ideals of 'equality'.
Feminists have used similar tactics in the Anglican Church with their constant cries of misogyny and homophobia. After attacking Western Anglicanism their attention has turned to the Roman Catholic Church which is threatened from within as well as from outside.
Irish Church must confront issues to avoid 'decline into irrelevance' shouts the Tablet headline. "The Church needs to confront its teachings on issues like celibacy, female ordination, its theology on sexuality and its hierarchical structure, otherwise it will continue to decline into irrelevance, Fr Kevin Hegarty has warned."
In an obvious nod towards secularism he said, “People began to lose confidence in an institution whose teaching on this subject was so out of sync with their lived experience.”
Mary McAleese who was the Irish President of from 1997 to 2011 has condemned the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality as "evil" and was "hopeful the Pope would change the church's position on the issue".
No doubt the former President was influenced by that fact that she was the first recipient of the Vanguard Award at the Gaze LGBT film festival in Dublin. In June she became the first former Irish president to take part in the Dublin Pride parade when she marched with her son Justin and his husband Fionan.
If the Roman Catholic Church follows the example of Western Anglicanism, what hope is there for Christianity in the West?
Free speech must be maintained. If people disagree they must defend their position. Fair comment must not be silenced by unwarranted charges of phobias.