It made me smile, for I have long been a perpetrator of this, but lacked a definitive name and explanation for it.
My hate-reading of choice has long been The Daily Mail; if I ever must explain a sentiment in which the third party is narrow-minded, parochial and invariably hostile to new, incoming influences, I use the paper as a catch-all title.
For the non-rightwingers, the Mail is a source of cock-eyebrowed snorts and on a more serious note, a check-in on the less savoury sentiments pervading British society as multi-culturalism rises and tolerance drops.
Today’s article on yesterday’s Jummah prayer, during which several hundred Muslims prayed in a side street in London’s financial district (the mosque was over capacitated), left me cold, however.
More to the point, the comments – and even more, the likes and dislikes – are plain chilling.
Of the 15 comments, almost 14 gathered nigh 1,000 likes for each expressing negative bigotry (such as ‘is this England?’, ‘words fail me’ and ‘London the New Middle East! I’m off to Australia!’), while the one positive (‘Beautiful :)) has so far gathered almost 1,000 dislikes and no likes.
The low number of comments and high number of dislikes suggests a prevelance of negativity that perhaps individuals are less than willing to express directly.
It is easier to click an up or down arrow than it is to formulate words and a pseudonym, while entering your e-mail address to log in.
For me, this is an image of awe and beauty: it captures one of the defining positive features of Britain – choice.
In many countries the faithful would be harassed into leaving; that they could conduct their prayer unhindered is something wonderful and to be preserved.
I hope the bigots never win. Because these images and expressions of faith are nuggets of inspiration in a time of despondency.