After an interesting 24 hours, I have been reflecting on some things - things I am going to throw into here and where I can leave them. To the myriad new readers to this little Blog, welcome.
Extremism: So, we have a bunch of folk deriding the Muslim communitee. Why? Because some extremists under the banner of Islam have brought murder to the streets of this and other countries. There are some proper naughty Muslim people out there - not good. Do I support them? No, of course I don't. Do the vast majority of other Muslims support them? No, of course they don't.
Take football. We have some extremists causing some un-holy ruckus under the banner of football. Football extremists (let's call them 'hooligans') have injured and offended, and may just possibly have caused death when we look back over the news stories over the last few years from across the globe. There are some proper naughty football hooligans out there. Do I support them? No, of course I don't. Do the vast majority of other football fan support them? No, of course they don't.
So, we throw out all Muslims - do we do the same for all football fans? Although I am really very English, I have brown eyes and brown hair, and my daughters do not fully share my pigmentation as they have red hair - should we be thrown out like those who are deemed to be different from the Arian pigment-perfect dream? I am a Christian - the principal faith of our country. Should I seek to throw out all those of no faith, or those of no confirmed faith. Should I marginalise all those who have a taste for noodles and pupadoms because they have opted not to eat roast-beef with the trimmings tonight? What if I had a child born with Downs' Syndrome? I have 20/20 vision - that makes my eyesight perfect and aspirational - should I jeer at those who wear glasses? Should I shroud the fact of the slight deficiency in my hearing on one side? Dare we even talk gender ...
No, no, no, no, no, no - and no again.
Why? When we paint a picture of the perfect citizen in any way, we create a rod for our own backs. I am no more perfect than any of the visitors to Aylesbury yesterday, and am as flawed if not more so. (The American and Welsh flags at an English Defence League rally were odd to say the least, but actually, gave me some hope that at least some (teency weency) fraction of open-mindedness existed in Market Square yesterday). No, because we create a line that we are destined never to be able to cross.
So, to all extremists (of any and every brand, including Christian): when one of you can stand up and say that you are the perfectly realised model of humankind, only then will you have a platform (but no right, no-one does) to judge others for being different to you. Look at it another way; every single one of us who breathes the air of our little Rock have reasons why we are to celebrate the generosity of others. We could all be marginalised on one account or another, but others have accepted us (largely) for who we are warts and all. There is a time when that generosity needs paying back. Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, atheist, footballist, red-haired ... it doesn't matter. They are they and we are we ... and we reap what we sow.