From Homophobia to Islamophobia in Nothing Flat

Peter Prengaman

Wokeism always eats itself, and this time, it was almost too pathetic to witness. An unidentified British teacher is up to his eyeballs in hot water for being intolerant, and the irony is that he was treading water trying to be as tolerant as possible.

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Khakan Qureshi is a gay Muslim campaigner who came to speak at Wood Green Academy in Britain’s West Midlands. The topic? Being Muslim and gay. The Daily Mail reports that this was not Mr. Qureshi’s first visit to the school. He had spoken on the subject in 2020 and enjoyed a warm reception. He was warned in advance that many Muslim students had enrolled from another school since then, and things might not be as tranquil this time around. The area is a diverse one, and approximately half of the students at the school are Muslim.

During a question-and-answer session, the conversation apparently turned hostile and Qureshi was peppered with tough questions. One sixth-grader asked him “Do you agree that being gay and Muslim is wrong?” Qureshi said that some students were so “hardcore” that they would not even let him finish his talk. He added that they kept telling him that he could not be gay and Muslim since such a situation would contradict the teachings of the Koran. He has also received death threats.

Back to our unidentified teacher. After Qureshi’s visit, the teacher gave his students a stern talking-to on the virtues of tolerance. That in and of itself probably would have been fine, but the teacher crossed the line by telling the students:

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We live in a diverse and tolerant country. We are tolerant of different religions. Twenty-one years ago a group of Muslims smashed aeroplanes into buildings to kill thousands of people. At that stage people stood up and said, “No, we must not condemn Muslims for what a few have done.” Because we are a tolerant society, and that means we may not like some things that you say but you do have the right to say them.

Whoops.

Of course, his comments were filmed on a phone. And then the backlash started. According to the Daily Mail report, hundreds of students and their parents sent a complaint to the school about the teacher. The complaint asked why the teacher used the word “Muslims” and not “terrorists.” The complaint accused the teacher of linking Islam to terrorism and called the teacher’s behavior into question.

Given the circumstances, the teacher probably thought he was providing a relevant object lesson in pointing out that it would have been wrong to paint all Muslims with the same brush, despite the nature and intent of the 9/11 terrorists. And Qureshi himself stated that the only time he did not identify himself as a Muslim was following the 9/11 attacks when he said, “Muslims were being discriminated and vilified.” The teacher has declined to comment, and police are investigating the death threats.

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The teacher gets the bronze medal for tolerance. But the truth is that it is impossible to meet the demands for tolerance from the world. There is nothing that the teacher could have said and nothing he could have done. His only option would have been to remain silent and possibly apologize to Qureshi in private. But in trying to quash homophobia, he suddenly found himself being accused of being bigoted against Muslims.

There is no right answer. There cannot be a right answer because the answer and the definition of tolerance change from one person, one situation, and one place to another. The only guaranteed right is the right to be offended. Apologies will follow, the mandatory public kowtowing will be performed, and I’ll bet that there is a chance that this teacher will be looking for work this time next week. But that’s the prize for trying to play the tolerance game.

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