Public Prayer: Bigotry and Beauty

A few days ago the phenomena of hate-reading was aptly described over at Jezebel.

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 Mailย 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.

One comment on “Public Prayer: Bigotry and Beauty

  1. Wilful
    February 4, 2012

    The lack of comments is due to the Mail filtering them out, not on account of people not posting them. It has not been updated since early this afternoon. It may or may not be, but often they just don’t allow any more comments to appear on the article. Perhaps they (at the the Mail) were alarmed by the gist of the comments, and were expecting something else, since they seem to be swinging towards the pro-diversity camp.
    As for your comment about ‘choice’, it is not about that at all. If there was not enough room in the mosque, there are two nearby mosques. Perhaps ask why on that one day, there were so many – a deliberate show of strength perha?
    Secondly, you might ask where all the women are.
    Thirdly, you might note that in petty-rules Britain today, nobody other than praying Muslims would be allowed to block a street in this manner – they would be moved on by the police, therefore there is a strong perception that there is one rule for them and another for everybody else.
    Fourthly, British culture and society is based on Christian tenets, whether people realise that or not and like it or not, and it is considered vulgar and boastful to pray in the street.
    Surely the ‘bigots’ here are those who see fit to impose their culture on us, whether we want it or not. In the land where manners and politeness are everything, this sight is extremely insulting to many people, and yet laws about ‘insulting behaviour’ do not apply where there is a legally protected group such as this.
    Moreover, this kind of behaviour is likely to lead to more intolerance, not less, which is perhaps why such public prostration displays are now unlawful in France.

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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