On Sunday at the famed Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, Hatun Tash, a convert from Islam to Christianity who frequently engages in debates with Muslims, was stabbed above her right eye and on her hand by a Muslim who objected to her preaching, as well as, apparently, her Charlie Hebdo t-shirt. Hatun Tash was there because Speakers’ Corner has over the past century and a half gained a reputation as a place where anyone can say anything, aside from calling for criminal behavior, and freedom of speech is respected and protected. But in today’s Britain, where mass migration, largely of Muslims from North Africa, continues at a greater rate than ever with virtually nothing being done to stop it, those days appear to be drawing to a close.
Britain’s Royal Parks website still says it: “Speakers’ Corner is a traditional site for public speeches and debates since the mid 1800’s when protests and demonstrations took place in Hyde Park….Anyone can turn up unannounced to speak on any subject, as long as the police consider their speeches lawful.”
Nowadays, however, Speakers’ Corner has come to be dominated by Muslim preachers who try to convert people to Islam, which is fair enough, and physically intimidate those who challenge them, which isn’t. Longtime London resident and Jihad Watch correspondent Joshua Winston observes: “Speakers’ Corner in 2000 hosted a variety of speakers. Everything from gay rights to vegans through to New World Order people.” However, “the past couple of years has seen the variety of topics and speakers diminish. In the last year, Islam has begun to dominate Speakers’ Corner. I would estimate that the speakers and attendees there are about 80% Muslim, 10% Christian, with the remaining 10% spread across a variety of other denominations and political activists.”
The change in demographics has led to a change in the atmosphere of the place. Winston explains: “What I have witnessed in my 18 years of attending Speakers’ Corner is the rise of intimidation tactics accompany the increase in the number of Muslim speakers. The Muslims seek to intimidate other speakers, and they appear to want to claim the place or settle the piece of land as their own. They lay their prayer mats down on the grass and they leave them there all day, essentially blocking parts of the park off to other people. They have loud calls to prayer. All of it against park laws.” Winston has experienced this personally: “I myself have had loads of physical violence heaped upon me. I’ve been chased out of the park. I’ve been smacked in the face by an Algerian. I’ve witnessed people being pushed off of ladders and punched and kicked, all because their opinion differed from the teachings of Islam.”
As all this happens, London police generally turn a blind eye. They seem anxious above all not to offend members of the country’s growing and restive Muslim community and thus have been slow to act against those who commit assault and traffic in intimidation at Speakers’ Corner. This is one manifestation of a larger phenomenon: As rape gangs made up almost entirely of Muslims destroyed the lives of thousands of British non-Muslim girls, authorities in numerous cases did nothing to stop the perpetrators, for fear that acting against them would open them up to charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.”
At Speakers’ Corner, this woke timidity has now led to the stabbing of Hatun Tash. Some people, including many British authorities, would likely claim that Hatun Tash brought violence upon herself by wearing a t-shirt featuring a cartoon of Muhammad. But she was not doing so in Riyadh, or Lahore, or Karachi. She was doing so in London, where freedom of speech is supposed to be understood as the indispensable underpinning of any free society and protected by law enforcement officials. Those who assert glibly that Hatun Tash provoked her attackers have forgotten, or never knew, that one’s choices are one’s own. If you insult me and I attack you, the fault lies with me, not with you. Your insult is your responsibility, but my response to it is my own, and solely my own.
As Britain and the rest of the Western world lose respect for freedom of speech and understanding of its importance, this simple truth is being lost. If a Muslim reacts violently to a Muhammad cartoon, all too many assume that the best response is to accept Sharia blasphemy restrictions and not draw Muhammad, rather than stand up for our own society, culture, and mores, and explain the importance of freedom of speech to those who may not appreciate it.
When Hatun Tash returns to Speakers’ Corner, as this indomitable woman certainly will, will British police protect her? Or will they continue to be paralyzed by the fear of being called “Islamophobic” into allowing intimidation and thuggery to rule the day? The way Britain has been going lately, the smart money is on the second possibility. But maybe someone there will remember that they used to be a great nation and surprise us.