Riazat Butt, the Guardian's religion correspondent has written (2 February 2010) in response to Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinke's outburst against Britain as a cesspool and a breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims:
"England is a cesspit and allows religions to preach openly but this is illogical in the case of Islam because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. We have laws against that sort of thing. Sometimes the use of them backfires and makes people worry about freedom of speech and increasing the popularity of a group or individual. Counter-terrorism and counter-extremism measures don't have a great track record in terms of civil liberties but sometimes they work out for the best. I could mention the former Anglican archbishop of Nigeria saying that Muslims do not have the monopoly on violence but I won't.
We take pride in our openness. Yes we do. That's what people love and hate about this country – that you can do pretty much what you like within the confines of the law. Our levels of tolerance and acceptance of difference is sometimes divisive – see the mixed opinions around the burqa debate – but generally there is a live and let live approach, or indifference."
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