MD Forman & Son Lance Forman feels we are experiencing a clash of civilisations


- Credit: Archant

I was listening to the radio last week about the events in Paris when after much discourse about the problems of religious fundamentalism, the presenter commented that freedom of speech is a fundamental right. I wondered did this make him a fundamentalist?

We are experiencing a clash of civilisations. Some in the Muslim world, disillusioned with the lack of spirituality the West offers; disillusioned with hypocritical western support over the years for despotic leaders in Arab lands, or simply believing that Islamic hegemony is the only future for our planet are turning to extreme forms of their religion as the answer to their troubles and principles.

The West is also in crisis. It suffers guilt from its colonial past yet comforts itself by having brought democracy and freedom. Its secular approach has resulted in it losing its moral compass with the meaning of right and wrong changing with the demands of each generation. It now believes fundamentally in free expression, but its growing adherence to the unfree tenets of political correctness repress such freedom and allow extremism to fester.

So what we end up with is fear and confusion. The media are afraid to publish for fear of offence. Political leaders tread on eggshells. The public are afraid to say what they truly believe. Many in the Muslim community are also afraid to speak out. They rightly fear being accused over what is an interpretation of their religion which they cannot contain. It seems the only British culture we all now share is a culture of fear. Despite being an optimist, I see no improvement in this disturbing situation until we have some honesty and openness and express and expose our fears to one another. Many people came together in solidarity in Paris with their Je Suis Charlie banners, but it would have been far more honest if the banners simply declared J’ai Peur. More from Lance Forman