Episode 21 The Big Questions

Episode 21

Nicky Campbell presents the last in the current series of The Big Questions. Nicky asks just one very Big Question: Should the British stop tolerating intolerance?

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Should the British stop tolerating intolerance?


Good morning, I'm Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions.


We're at Patcham High School in Brighton to debate one very


Should the British stop tolerating intolerance?


This week's Ofsted report on the alleged Trojan Horse takeover by


Muslim fundamentalists of certain primary and secondary schools in


Birmingham caused widespread alarm that children in secular state


schools are being given a faith-based education


which does not adhere to modern values and freedoms.


More inquiries have yet to report, but it's clear the


David Cameron said we are giving a dangerous message.


Every British citizen has freedom of faith.


We all have freedom of speech as well.


And today of all days, the 799th anniversary of the signing


of the Magna Carta, we should remember it gave everyone the


freedom to go about their business subject to the laws of the land.


So, being British requires us to tolerate the ideas and actions


of others that we might personally find objectionable,


To debate this clash between our own beliefs and the duty to tolerate


other's freedoms to think and act very differently, we have assembled


a spectrum of political thinkers and commentators, a diversity of faith


leaders and a medley of believers and sceptics.


You can join in too, via Twitter or online.


Just log on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions


and follow the links to where you can continue the discussion online.


And there'll be lots of encouragement and contributions from


Should the British stop tolerating intolerance?


There is a massive political row about Michael Gove, government


agendas, political interference, Ofsted, if we can talk about the


general issue, it looks like there are issues, this has been going on a


while, it was a private school, but in 2007 a London school had talks


describing Christians as apes and pigs. One school in Luton had books


which raised individuals who loved death more than life in pursuit of


their religion. Then, this radical preacher, some controversial views,


being invited to lecture in a state school. Do these things trouble


you? Of course, we should be teaching our children universal


values, what the true faith teaches, to do with respect, acceptance of


others, to be conscientious citizens, to be good to God. We


should be teaching models across the board. It makes you who you are. As


a believer, we are hard-wired to believe in God. If somebody does not


believe that, that is OK, I respect their view. I have two kids, I do


not send them to state school at the moment, we have been home-schooling


them, because our education system is failing our kids. By putting them


all in one school, giving them one set of curriculum to be taught, it


creates the ready meal style education programme. It does not


nurture the innate goodness of children, my kids speak four


languages fluently. How and why have these ideas crept into schooling? Is


a government, they have failed miserably in providing a clear


framework for ethical teaching. If you look at how the system is


divided, between private schools, grammar schools and state schools.


Why should the state school be left to rot? Why should they not have the


same funding? Why should we not invest in good schools, good


teachers and a good environment? Let's take it away from education.


On the subject of these views, surely schools should reflect the


areas in which they are operating in the communities in which they are


serving? If you have a community which is 95% Muslim, surely that


should be the focus of the school? That sounds like a Michael Gove


idea. Put aside what his ideas are, I believe in religious neutral


politics, despite a school in 98% Christian or Muslim, is if it is a


state school in a secular country such as Britain, it must not be


endorsing any form of religion. Though I agree with his critique of


the education system, where I would disagree is that schools do not have


any business teaching God consciousness, that is for the


parents to do. It is not the school's job. What has been going


on? People have been mixing, including Muslims, two issues,


social conservativism, and it is no body's business how socially


conservative somebody is, but when you impose that on an institution,


the imposition of it is extremism, and that is what is being objected


to. Nobody cares if somebody covers their hair, grows a beard, and if


they do, they are wrong. What about this row about this extremist who


said some disgusting things about stoning people and death for


apostate? He was not saying that in the school. You are a liberal, he


was not talking about those things in a school, he was doing a lecture


on religion. You should support his right to do that. I support the


legal right for him to speak, even if I disagree with those views, just


as if he was saying racist or homophobic bigotry. That does not


mean I tolerated in civil society, it means I challenge it, just as I


would challenge racism or homophobia or anti-Semitism. I do not put that


person in prison, school to have him there? Schools


should be getting the people who speak to children much more closely.


But I take issue with the idea that this reflects on a radicalisation,


because of some overzealous governors wanting to impose social


conservative moors on a school. The problem is that this government and


the government before it have allowed schools to develop a much


more independent ethos, allowing academies and free schools to give


governors a much greater say in how schools are run, in the ethos of how


the curriculum is defined. In doing so, it is same two communities, you


can define your local ethos according to your views, but when it


does not like the way in which communities form their


curriculum... It is the principles of Michael Gove. This government is


playing doublespeak, it cannot talk about the issue of cultural


isolation and support faith schools. Faith schools develop all sorts of


forms of cultural isolation. To suggest that as a form of extremism


suggests the government is supporting extremism in faith


schools. Bizarrely, education... That is what is needed.


By whom is it needed? As it happens, there are a lot of conservative


Christians in this country who object to the way... P to make his


point. They object to the way in which Christianity has been stripped


out of the school system, despite the fact it is supposed to be in the


system following the education act. It is a legal requirement.


Secularists quietly and unlawfully have removed Christianity from our


schools. We are a spiritual desert as a country, any kind of


Conservative religious opinion is constantly sneered at by people such


as this gentleman is being extremist or otherwise unacceptable. Extremist


means nothing, it means an unfashionable opinion. Let me come


back to Kevin. It does not surprise me


back to Kevin. It does not surprise being marginalised or not given the


status that they want to have, because they should not have that


status. Forgetting about the Muslim issue, in Britain there are schools


who will open and teach their children about creationism, that


evolution is a light and conspiracy. That is nonsense. I am funding that


is a taxpayer. That get back to the issue of the alleged extremism that


has been going on. Not the Trojan horse context, we do not want to


conflate two issues. 95% of children in a particular area of the Muslim


faith, you were complaining in your article that in one primary school


music was banned, but raffles and Tom Bonas were banned, do you want


to encourage Muslim children to gamble? What is your problem? Should


reflect the nature of the school? Gambling seems wrong. We are in the


middle of a debate, the nation is going through some very substantial


change. What we have been going through some very substantial


reflect this. Until recently, going through some very substantial


said two people -- going through some very substantial


people, what are British values, you would have got a fairly clear reply


along the lines of, a Protestant Christian country, we have


institutions of the state and the monarchy and so one. As one of the


results of the monarchy and so one. As one of the


there has been a substantial change, good things have come from that, and


some negatives. One thing is this confusion about what we are. We want


to be open and tolerant, we want people to be able to practice their


faith, and live their lives. What we are finding it hard to do is to work


out where our lines are drawn, because they are not clear. It may


prove impossible, it maybe we something like France did and try to


draw clear lines. There is a problem with some schools, state secular


schools... The problems exposed in the report are pretty serious, and


there is more to come. What is so serious in the report? These


children are at risk of cultural isolation, there have been findings


of children being taught to chant anti-Christian chants. It is


unpleasant sectarian stuff. None of the pupils were spoken to during the


investigation. The teachers were not spoken to either. We have a timidity


who live in an isolated way -- we have a community. I have no problem


with that if that is what they want to do. We do not create a fuss over


their community living in that way. Why cause a fuss over a report that


was made out of a hoax letter... You acknowledge there are issues. You


are talking about faith schools, we are talking about state schools.


That is the first thing. The second thing is, what should be taught in


schools? You should be teaching about religions. That does not mean,


you have to believe, but if we do not know what other people believe,


worry! You cannot force people to believe things. You cannot shoehorn


people in a particularly shaped Britishness. Know. And very


quickly, the dimension one of the interesting things that has come out


from this Trojan horse thing, a lot of Muslim groups have been furious


about these revelations and are denying them. This has happened in


the Catholic Church over the paedophilia scandal. People do not


want dirty laundry aired in public. Publicly wrong. That is why there is


this denial. This report found some disturbing things. This is the same


report from the man who did a U-turn on what God did or did not tell him?


Do you think this has been made up? Actually, there are serious


governance issues and there have been internal administrative issues.


Whether it is issues of extremism, which is what you are battling and


the publication you work for is peddling by publishing one of the


worst covers that I have ever seen in this country, suggesting that


young children are vehicles for extremism and terrorism. You should


be ashamed to be behind that. This is a very good example of the


problem. Miriam, you are a very prominent spokesperson, a prominent


convert to Islam. I do not call myself a convert. What ever you want


to go yourself, you have a voice. Here are the problems that have been


exposed in schools that seemed to be teaching seriously unpleasant things


and being taught by extremist Muslims. Why in this debate do you


deny this is going on? And secondly, the problem is the Spectator cover


cartoon? Miriam, respond to that? You are suggesting that you are


supporting the Michael Gove agenda, which says that there are issues in


the schools. And everyone, including the school campaign in Birmingham


and others have acknowledged that certain people should stand down as


a consequence of some of these revelations. The issue, however, is


trying to rebrand this as an issue of extremism in order to expand this


idea of extremism being non-violent ideas. Nick Griffin, if he had been


asked to come along and speak in this school... You would be...


Neither of the equivalence of these two were asked. His views are worse.


Anyone who supports Al-Qaeda in public or the ideology of Al-Qaeda,


anyone who supports... Who says that? He should not be invited to


address schools. Are you defending him? One at a time. You are saying


he is not as bad as Nick Griffin? You cannot compare the people


speaking in these schools. Let me finish my point. Please let me


finish my point. Allow me to speak. Anyone who believes installing


people to death, Nick Griffin has reprehensible views but he does not


believe that an adulterer should be stoned to death. Anybody who does


should not be invited to a school. And nor should... Wait, wait. Next


on the list is Dan Hannan. Not yet, please. There are a lot of people to


talk to. If we can agree that Nick Griffin should not be invited to


speak to children? Of course he shouldn't. Can I finish? If we agree


that, by application we should also agree that anyone who believes in


ideas more reprehensible should not be invited to speak at schools. It


is a moot point. It should not even be a debate. The fact that we are


defensive about that is illustrative of the problem. Nobody is defensive


about it. Daniel Hannon is next. I want to bring it back and I think


with future respect, you have both dealt with that issue and we're


going to park it for now. Daniel Hannon, MEP, we saw recently a


certain swing in a certain way at the European elections. And a


discomfort about certain things that are happening. But this is the crux


in this debate. We do we draw the line about in -- tolerating


intolerance. You tolerate object your behaviour to the point of


incitement. You tolerate eccentricity up to the point of


madness, offensiveness up to the point of harassment. Toleration


means you tolerate it. You tolerate things that you find utterly


appalling. British values? What are they? Today is the 799th anniversary


of the signing of Magna Carta. You could do worse than the spare


inscription that appears on that memorial in Runnymede. Freedom under


all. If you wanted to distil British values into one phrase, and in that


phrase is incorporated all the things that through the years made


this country a better place to live that than the authoritarian


alternatives. It implies a regular election, uncensored newspapers,


sexual equality, free assembly. So where there is not equality between


the sexes and we have segregation, whether it is going on or not in


public places, and people's belief that they should be modesty and some


form of separation, we hear that from the authoritarian right --


right wing groups. How do we clamp down on that? You tolerate those


views. Tolerating them is down on that? You tolerate those


same as teaching them in school. Every child born in this country,


where ever his parents came from is the heir to that same birthright


that began with the great Charter 800 years ago. And we cannot allow


our own sons and daughters in this country, whatever their parents came


from, to be denied a portion of that as a free society. That should go


without saying. Of course, once people have left school, they can


have whatever eccentric opinions they want but teaching people that


they are not just a they want but teaching people that


collection of individuals born to a different random collection of


individuals, that we different random collection of


together regardless of creed and race, that we have a British


identity and are connected to another, that is something that


should go for all our children. Liberalism with a small L.


Peter Hitchens, is that something we should fight for, to democratically


achieve the reality of liberalism? It is fascinating the way his


British values merchants are so coy about the real basis of the lunacy


which we enjoy, which is the form of Protestant Crips T and at which this


country adopted, which created the self restraint and strong belief


that law should be above power, because more derives from God, that


is what makes this country but they will not talk about it because many


of them are not Christians. They do not really believe these things.


That is what made us what we are. To try to generalise this into some


kind of human rights blancmange is to make a fundamental mistake about


how it came about to make a fundamental mistake about


need to defend... That is not true. I do not


need to defend... That is not true. people who make the loudest noise


about people who make the loudest noise


want to preserve it because many of them are allied with the principle


political lobby which has undermined its


political lobby which has undermined of open borders and mass


immigration, which has made it so difficult to sustain this country.


They were with you, Peter. But they have fallen out with you. Daniel


Hannon... That is just false history. It is true that a measure


of our individualistic culture can be said to have a Protestant basis.


Why do you think that was aimed at you? I don't think it was. It was.


Look at the phrase that appears in the charter. The law of the land.


Not the Kings Law or gods law, but a law that was imminent in the people


and the territory, that was the genius of the country. And that has


been our greatest export. The idea that the law is above the


government, the biggest guy in the country does not get to tell the


other people what to do, he is bound by something bigger than him, that


is the law inherent in all of us. Not a single person present at


Runnymede 799 years ago did not believe in the Christian God. How do


you know? That is nonsense. Atlanta's been waiting. Don't worry.


This is one debate in an entire hour. Adnan Rashid. Should we not be


really careful about what we teach our children? Should we be teaching


all children the great literature of Romeo and Juliet, the Shakespearean


plays? Otherwise, they are disconnected from the rest of our


culture and they need more cultural enrichment and just a sacred text.


Do you not agree? 100%. We must teach our children how to live in


this world. This is a complex multicultural world and we live in


it as a family. This is a perfect demonstration of a family. We are


all a family but we disagree with each other. A dysfunctional family!


Sometimes severely. I find some of the views here very objectionable.


Which ones? He is attacking Muslims for believing in things that Jews


believed in. There are Jewish rabbis that believe in the same things that


the sheik who came to lecture at the school believed in. I'll want to ask


you, do you see anything wrong with Jewish rabbis? Do you see anything


wrong with them? Exactly! Let him answer. That was a big question! A


big answer. So the Jews can believe in the Taarabt? -- Taira? What


aspect of Muslim belief did he decry? Everything he picks on in the


Muslim belief is believed by the Jews. The Jews believe in the


Taarabt and the -- believe in the Torah. I'd challenge her to come out


in public to condemn the Jews for believing in the same things. I do


not want him to do that and I'd defend the rights of the Jews to


believe in things they want to believe in. In a second, Laura. But


on this particular issue, I saw you on Newsnight the other night with a


gentleman who refused to, and a lot of people who do not understand the


complicity is of the ultimate aspiration of the Islamic state and


sharia law would have been aghast at his refusal to condemn stoning. What


is that about? I think they understand what is going on. Do you


understand the question? I think I do. The old Testament mentions


storming and I'd condemned on Newsnight a chap for not condemning


stoning women. If you are an atheist or Jewish or Christian or Muslim, if


you are a horse, and you call for stoning women to death, I will


challenge you and condemn you. I do not care what your religion is,


frankly. And I'd agree. I agree with him. You asked him a question. Why


do you not ask him the key question here? We could ask about stoning,


because I'm not sure what you are taking issue with, Adnan Rashid. My


take is Islam's take. If in an Islamic state, under sharia


conditions, in principle I would condemn stoning a woman to death. Do


you, with sharia conditions present, condemn stoning women who are


idolatrous? -- adulterous? There is no yes or no. Can I ask him and a


question? Why is there no yes no no. Answer to his question. -- eye and


showed his question. Wait, wait... Are you answering yes or no? There


is no yes or no. I find what you say extremely distasteful. The tone you


have used about the Jews and Jewish rabbis, the stoning, it is


incredibly distasteful. I defend the rights of the Jews to believe what


they want to believe in. I would find it uncomfortable if you started


defending me, because I would find it untrustworthy after what you


said. Anybody who uses text to defend violence, stoning, is wrong.


If there is a faith school or a state school that is teaching it, I


object to bit, because I believe in the role of the land, and schools


are there to teach, they do need supervision, the government should


not get rid of their responsibilities by handing these


things over, and any violence from whoever, from whatever type of


faith, should be condemned. Sorry I have wasted so long before I have


come to do! You are an educational social worker. You understand this


area. It is not so much what people believe, it is the fact of imposing


those beliefs on children who have not yet had the chance to make an


informed decision. Absolutely, that is what makes it difficult. If


professional teachers can do their job properly, their job is found


equipping young people to make informed choices about what is being


said and the speaker. If we do not teach about a multiplicity of faith


is in schools, it is uncomfortable, it will involve them hearing things


that I do not agree with, but if we do not equip them to make


judgements, they will be badly let down. It is about allowing teachers


to do their jobs properly. Talking about Birmingham, in a previous role


I had, I visited a Catholic run people referral unit, which was


doing good things with pupils who were struggling in the educational


system, and the leader said, I can stand in front of them and say, as a


Catholic, I believe those things. I believe I am loved by God


unconditionally, and as a Catholic, I can say that, and in schools


today, people are afraid to say that. I heard tell of one particular


catholic school, they were telling five-year-olds about burning in


hell. You do not need to be a Catholic or a Christian, you just


need to be a sentience human being to find that unacceptable. Why we


seem to think that this is something that is happening to other people,


that it is only Muslim schools, we have to turn the light on ourselves


and say, as Christians, we have some shady parts of our own past around


extremism and views that people find unacceptable, I do not understand


why we associate -- disassociate ourselves from that. It ill behoves


any of us to make judgements about that being the sole was possibility


of the Muslim immunity -- community. The single most disturbing thing I


have heard was how, in a conversation about who is and isn't


allowed into secular schools, we got into the Jews. How did that happen?


Travelling around the world, I have got that in other countries, it is


not something I expected to hear in a conversation in this country on


television. I find that chilling. One thing that I strongly agree


with, we are not talking about a faith community, we are talking


about bad behaviour by some individuals. I have been elected for


15 years, I have Muslim constituents, a number of them have


got themselves elected, the new leader of the Conservative group in


the European Parliament is a fairly devout believing Muslim, he keeps


the fast. But being British, he hates talking about his faith, but


in a quiet way, he has done his best to live is a good Muslim. The


difference between him and Adnan Rashid, he has got himself elected


to something, and he is more representative of the British


Muslims I have in my constituency than people who have not taken the


trouble to get a mandate in the ballot box for any of their


opinions. I stood in the last parliamentary election. I believe in


the democratic process as a way to put our interests, the interests of


the community first. I heard people say, those Muslims, the Muslims.


This fashionable word, disgusting word, you can attack the Muslims,


the culture is becoming the problem. It had become fashionable to talk


against the Muslims. It is becoming worse day by day. I went to


Birmingham the other day, I spoke to some parents and some teachers and


some pupils, they all said, we are scared of being Muslims. That is a


terrible state of play. We do not want to do that any longer. We want


to create a society where we all feel respected. Islam has a


contribution to make. If it was not for the Muslims to translate the


Greek into Latin, we would not see the industrial world today. We need


to create an inclusive society and not preach this hatred that is


dominating our discourse. We had 400,000 Muslim soldiers who came and


fought in this country for our values in the First World War, more


in the Second World War, they came as volunteers, to take up arms for a


country on which they have never set eyes, because they felt our values


were better than the alternative. Our values? We both live in this


country. Michael Gove excludes everybody else. He identifies Islam


as the poisonous, pernicious religion that needs to be fought at


all costs. You have made an elision between Islam and terrorism. That is


what Michael Gove is doing. We need to talk about British values with a


bigger agenda, how we can create an inclusive society where Muslims, the


Jewish community, Hindus, Sikhs, people with no faith, have a stake.


Gentleman, let's hear from your constituents, you stud as a Liberal


Democrat. You are all for democracy. The gentleman at the back. To be


British is an idea of freedom, united our country, the


Commonwealth, the English people, and it is enshrined in John Stuart


Mill, everybody can practice their happy life, but when it takes away


the freedom from other people to practice their happy life, that is


why the British state has to be strong in mediating boundaries. I


defend everyone's right to practice their religion in any interpretation


they choose if that is an extreme interpretation, but they do not have


the right to stop a citizen criticising religions, writing


books, making films. The British state has to be really strong to


find the boundaries. That is a really good definition,


the most godless city in England. The most godless city? Apart from


Barnsley. This is important, we have one of the highest rate of young


people's suicide. Is that because it is godless? You mentioned the word


allegedly, if we are debating that, we ought to look at where our feet


are. When two people in a family are having a row, the children suffer.


When two neighbours are having a row, the streets offers. When the


street is having a row, the community suffers. We are looking at


an elephant in the room. If we keep talking about Muslims in


Birmingham, we are missing the point that children on our own doorsteps


are dying, suffering from mental illness, and poverty is the root


cause of this. The media are looking to sell more newspapers, and how


exciting is it to keep commenting on what one person has said, talking


about something that everybody is going to disagree with. I would not


have the faintest idea whether Brighton was or wasn't a godless


city. How do the people in Brighton relate to each other? Might


experience of visiting Brighton fairly regularly is it is a great


place to visit, I love the warmth of the reception, the interaction I


have with people. I do not know whether they are Muslims, Jews, in


Jews -- Hindus, atheists, it is irrelevant. There is something


fundamental here, a parallel process in the document that is going on.


The question is, should we be tolerant of intolerance? I doubt if


anybody would say, yes, we should we tolerant of intolerance. We should


not, but there are certain. We should not go beyond. We said levels


where we say, culturally, we will not go beyond that. We do not need a


priest to tell us. I believe that freedom of speech and thought are so


valuable that we should defend them at all costs. If you cannot defend


the freedom of speech of people with whom you profoundly disagree, that


is no freedom. All of this use of view at extremism in this


discussion, they are practising extremism, the suggestion that it


will lead on to the commission of terrorist acts, this seems to be


very dangerous for freedom of thought. Many ideas which I hold,


when my parents helped them, they were commonplace, but now they are


eccentric and outrageous, they are increasingly classified as


extremism. How long is it... I am clearly about to finish my point.


How long is it before the classification of such ideas as


extremism leads to restrictions on freedoms of speech? We should be


careful. I disagree with a lot of what Muslims think and say, there


are many disputes and criticisms I have, but they should be free to


express them, not least so we can know what they are. We speak at


last, you believe there is an issue. Quite a lot of people come


here because it is a tolerant country, but I note you feel


here because it is a tolerant often persecuted. They are


persecuted, in hard secular regimes, Christians are not free to practice


their beliefs, in hard Islamic regimes, Christians are not free to


practice their beliefs. We have to look at the root of why our country


has been known as the land of the free and the brave, where our


education systems and Parliamentary systems have been emulated across


the world. It goes back to the Magna Carta, but the inspiration behind


the David Carter was Jesus Christ and Kristian Etty -- Christianity.


That has given us our freedom and flourishing. As we experience social


cultural chaos and a deep sense of loss in terms of our identity, we


get this collision of ideas, suppression and oppression. The


reality of Christianity is it is welcoming and hospitable and does


not coerce, it hosts. What we are finding with a secular regime and as


director of the Christian legal Centre is that Christians are losing


their jobs for offering prayer, holding opinions in schools, they


will not decide over same-sex marriages, and this is reality. A


reality of working at the centre is this, in the last month, we have had


women who have been born and raised in London and in London schools and


at London University 's who have wanted to leave Islam, and they have


been threatened with their life if they leave Islam. They are not


coming from Saudi Arabia or northern Nigeria, they are coming from


London, Birmingham, Bradford. We cannot tolerate the threat of


women... Miriam... I think the debate on tolerance must split. I


believe that that does happen. People are told me they have been


threatened. It happens here and there come from the community. But


think the splits into two. Legal tolerance of bigotry exists in this


country for good reason because we need to hear extremist views and


vent them in a democratic process. But in civil society does not mean


that we promote, teach, or endorse racism, homophobia anti-Semitism or


any other form of bigotry, whether it is justified by God or any other


ideology. And anti-Muslim hatred. That is the distinction we have to


make. Should we ban the Torah? That is my question. Can we start by


banning the Torah? Why are you obsessed with the Jews?! I am


pointing out your inconsistencies. Rabbi Laura and Miriam,


lovely. Is it the duty of faith leaders to encourage people of faith


to see their faiths in a modern context? And what does matter mean?


With doubt. Doubt is a great inoculation against fundamentalism.


We should question and we should learn about our faith and other


faiths. It is our role as faith leaders to teach in a modern way and


that means about ourselves and other religions, with questions. No


absolute certainties? I am absolutely sure about that. Miriam,


what about that, people standing up and saying, because there is a sense


of solidarity within faith and communities, and if one is attacked,


there is a feeling that everyone is being attacked. Do you understand


where I am going with this? Is it not time to stand up and actually


condemn more when we hear outrageous things? I do not know where you are


going with that and I'm going to choose to pretend that I do not know


where you are going. Rabbi Laura kind of addressed it. Yes. I would


like to come back to this idea that for me, faith leaders should teach


what they think is right. And schools should teach critical


faculties which allow us to distinguish twin solid arguments and


unsubstantiated arguments. And that is it. Those are the divisions. And


that is extremism. Extremism is saying that this is what you must


think and this is the truth. I'm trying to say that faith leaders


should stand up and say that this is not what you should think this is


something with philosophical flat ability. Back to Michael Gove, we


should be teaching our children how to think. The greatest gift you give


a child is the skill to think, the critical functions to think. When we


tell a child that this is what you must think when Michael Gove says


you must read this book and you cannot read that book... Michael


Gove has not said you cannot read that book. This is almost as


obsessive as saying it is all about the Jews. There's a curriculum and


we encourage people to read the best literature. One of the things that


David Cameron... You say that we have to believe in something. We


cannot teach in a void. What has given us our freedom is our


Christian heritage. The believe in nothing, to believe in


existentialism... Can we not believe in freedom and democracy? Those


ideals come from a Christian backdrop. I am not sure. When I'm


teaching my children, do this and do not do that, I have to tell them


that this is wrong and this is right but the reasons for right and wrong


IDs. We give them absolutes, as I think, and they're also give them


rationale. Without absolutes, they would be confused. I believe, and


this is an experience I have had with my daughter, eight years of


teaching children has convinced me that there are more needs for


absolutes. If society did not have absolutes, we would be doing all


sorts of things without coming together, that would keep us apart.


As a faith leader, is it your duty to bring beliefs up-to-date, or... ?


Contemporary interpretation as a Muslim is a must, as far as I'm


concerned. It is wrong of me not to. Constantly renewing the verdict is a


key value of Islam. But not to an extent that you would say that equal


marriage is OK? You would stick to ancient beliefs on that? Italy says,


can we abolish prior or end fasting in the month of Ramadan, can we take


it to December when the days are short? We cannot make those changes


because they are absolutes in the grand. If you take them away, you


might as well not have Islam. I'm saying that contemporary


interpretation would imply, how do white practice my face, for example


in Norway where the sun does not set? As far as I'm concerned, Islam


does not accept equal marriage. And both sides need to stay with their


views. I believe on one view and others believe differently. That


creates a level playing field in which we can tolerate one another.


And that is the good reason why the state is secular because he has the


right to say that and the state will conduct equal marriage and marriage


between a man and a man and a woman to a woman and will not listen to


that. If he wants to do it in his home, he can follow that view but


the state is not obliged. And that is called equality before the law.


I'd think it is useful to listen to the Bishop Holloway, who said the


opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. I wanted to mention, it


comes back to something said earlier, the period we are in, of


rethinking things, that is what the Prime Minister has been writing this


morning, everyone is trying to nail down these values. In the reaction


to Andrei APPLAUSE comments, nobody seems to be keen on admitting, and I


speak as a secularist, on admitting that Christian -- the Christian


origin of some of these things. We cannot write our heritage out or


pretend it was something else. One of the things that is being done on


this, there is this attempt to accomplish the Li Na -- encompass


everyone in these great values. Freedom, tolerance, good, but there


is a risk in this. It comes back to always highlighting gay marriage,


something I am in supportive of, there is a risk that the build-up


this value system on white ground, to encompass everyone, but it might


also be ground and that is very shallow. I would suggests that some


of the things we are talking about, if we are identifying the country on


some of those lines, it prove to be, too shallow for some


people. Peter, you said in your column today that the whole thing...


I will come to you, Peter. You are very insistent. I am in a


91-year-old gay man. Following what the gentleman has said, I am living


in a relatively gay friendly the gentleman has said, I am living


Brighton. I have been in and 18 year long loving relationship with my


partner. I campaign to combat homophobia. I used to say to people,


please understand, I have been married and had three children, but


I have always been gay. People said, you cannot possibly be gay! I did


not choose to be, but I am gay. Now I've stopped as people to understand


because I do not understand myself. So I know say to people, please


accept! Accept, sexuality! -- homosexuality! Peter, you said in


your column today, finding a definition of Britishness,


your column today, finding a described it as squelchy, impossible


to define. What is Britishness to you? It is impossible to define and


I do not believe you can define it by anyway other than the way in


which it is being destroyed. What does David Cameron mean? He does not


know what he means, he is just talking about political advantage.


The nation state which our support is the largest unit in which it is


possible to be effectively on selfish. We have that, and now that


we do not necessarily share a religion or language or a belief in


certain laws and customs, we do not it is a regrettable change that has


overtaken this country but one which is irreversible. How we work out how


to live with our new neighbours in peace and harmony is going to be


very difficult. I do not think it will be British and I think we have


lost that. It will be something else and we can mourn its lost but to


pretend we can be something else and we can warn it's lost but to pretend


we can recreated with speeches... I think British values are easy to


define. It resides in the elevation of the individual about the state


and the law of the government. In constitutional principle. You might


say that those values are universal, but how did they become universal


values? Imagine that but how did they become universal


the Cold War had ended differently. There would be nothing universal


about these values. They developed overwhelmingly in the language that


we are now talking. And they were exported, if we are honest about it,


victories by English-speaking victories by English-speaking


peoples, and thank God they were. Imagine of those conflicts had ended


differently and we were living in a system that elevated the state over


the individual. There is nothing universal about that. There are two


mad ways to say British values, you can say British, you are out or


British with warmth. Let's say that British values are one thing and it


is expensive. -- are a warm thing. British values, squelchy or clear?


Do not mean that personally. -- I do not mean. Miriam. Obviously, there


is a debt to Christianity in this country and there is no reason to


pretend that there is not. It is part of our history. But there is


also a debt to other trends and ideas and acknowledging that is part


of recognising that what it meant to be British in Peter's parents


generation is not the same as what it means to be British today. It is


the redefinition of what means to be British. Britishness, what is it all


about? I am in Road Muslim and are lobbying in Britain. It is a


tolerant society and the British people are tolerant and loving. -- a


proud Muslim. What is happening right now is that some politicians


are making this country look ugly. It is a beautiful country and it


must remain so. I'd defend the freedom of every individual who


lives here according to the law. Thank you very much. The last word?


To me, Britain has given me what it should. It is more Islamic than most


Muslim countries. In itself, that says a lot to me. It is where I can


Pty am, free to express myself and have my children grow. Can be proud


of my and everything. But some of these values are universal. I want


to be a proud citizen of the world with these values are practised by


everybody. I think we are going to get one last word from Michael. It


is a feeling and we love being here and that feeling is what we need to


promote so that everyone who wants to make this country more secure


going forward. I want to ended there, on harmony. -- and if there,


on harmony, before we go for lunch together.


As ever, the debate will continue on Twitter and online.


This is the end of this series but we?ll be back next year


Until then, have a great summer and goodbye


to the cutting-edge science that's driving it,


Horizon investigates one of the biggest mysteries


Nicky Campbell presents the last in the current series of The Big Questions live from Patcham High School in Brighton.

Nicky asks just one very Big Question: Should the British stop tolerating intolerance?

Amongst those taking part in the debate are: Daniel Hannan MEP, author of Why We Invented Freedom and Why it Matters; the Mail on Sunday columnist, Peter Hitchens; Maajid Nawaz, Chairman of the Quilliam Foundation; Rabbi Laura Janner- Klausner,of the Movement for Reform Judaism; Douglas Murray, Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society; the imam and broadcaster, Ajmal Masroor; Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern; the journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah; and Kevin Friery from the Hampshire Skeptics Society.

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