Macdonald-Laurier Institute releases Commentary “Islam vs. Islamism: Confronting the terrorist threat while preserving the free society”
Ottawa, ON June 6, 2013 – The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) has released a timely Commentary entitled “Islam vs. Islamism: Confronting the terrorist threat while preserving the free society” warning that while we must remain vigilant to legitimate threats to our security, we cannot allow the enemies of our rights and freedoms to use them as weapons against us. By the same token, we cannot allow the abusive use of Islam by a radical Islamist minority as a pretext for undermining our commitment to religious freedom and tolerance.
The Commentary follows recent news of the ongoing struggle that western nations face in the fight against terrorism, most recently seen in deplorable events such as the butchering of a soldier in the streets of London, the bombings in Boston and in the arrest in Canada of suspects in an alleged plot to attack Via trains in Canada.
In the Commentary the author, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley, argues that “In thinking about the challenge posed by Islam and Islamism we must think of the balancing of competing and complementary values. Because if we allow our legitimate fear of Islamism to outweigh our commitment to religious freedom we become intolerant authoritarians and destroy the free society.”
“If, on the other hand, we kid ourselves that radical or militant Islamism is not a serious threat to public order and public safety, we risk a serious decline in public trust, as fearful citizens lose confidence in the safety of their society and bullies have their way with us. Either way, freedom is deeply endangered.”
The Commentary highlights that robust free societies know how to protect themselves without losing their essence, and do so by maintaining the essential balance between freedom and order. Free societies have done this by allowing freedom of conscience for individuals but with the important corollary that we are not entitled to act on beliefs or ideas that impinge on the protected sphere of rights and personal security that we promise to all other members of society. Policing the line between private thoughts and criminal actions is the price we pay for freedom and tolerance.
Illegal acts cannot be ignored or downplayed because they are carried out in the name of religion so we must be prepared as a society to be tough-minded enough to take actions that may at times make us uncomfortable – we must ensure that our houses of worship, our schools, our prisons, and other institutions are not being used to proselytizse for illegal activities, no matter what thin veneer of religious respectability their proponents may fashion for them.
Crowley added, “if we are serious about the free society, if we do not want our list of freedoms to become our suicide note, we must police the frontier between thought and act without fear and without apology.”
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