Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: He has validated the haters who think it is OK to threaten me

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Nothing I said on the Nicky Campbell show was so outrageous that it should provoke such a response from a man who should know better. If I, as a citizen of this country, cannot even express an opinion about human rights and the moral authority of our politicians, what does that say about how equal we are?

Gareth Compton is not an idiot, he knew what he was saying. If I had said, "It would be a blessing if this man was stoned to death," what would happen to me as a Muslim woman in this country?

We are in a post-Jeremy Clarkson universe where men think they can only be men if they insult people; there is a masculinity associated with this rough and anti-politically correct talk. What is so manly about going on Twitter and putting this out about a journalist who is trying to do her job and giving an honest opinion?

This is not just an insult, this is incitement in my eyes. He knows I'm a Muslim – he didn't say "shot," he said "stoned to death". My daughter was distressed but she would not tell me why. "Why do you have to be a journalist?" she asked. "Every time you go to the door, mum, I think someone is going to shoot you."

Of course I do not think I'm going to be stoned when I go outside, but he validates those people who threaten columnists like me, and I cannot accept that. There are a lot of very violent people out there and they think they have the right to threaten me. This guy has made it OK.

I am glad we live in a society where I am freer to speak than in any Muslim country I would be living in. I am grateful.

I question the hypocrites though; there are people who say they believe in freedom of speech, but not for black people or Asian people or Muslim people, who turn into the Taliban when someone upsets their own views.

In which universe does a Tory councillor think it is a joke that the Taliban go around stoning people for expressing themselves? I don't think that is acceptable, and I'm very pleased the Tories have suspended him.

Comments