Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

I emailed Ismaeel (see earlier posts) privately, but he posted the mail on his blog. Here it is, with his comments:

Peter Risdon has emailed me the following. The interesting thing about this email from the self-styled champion of unfettered free speech is his constant calls for civility. I have placed the appropriate sections in bold italics below. Maybe this dialogue thing is working.....
I had the courtesy to post on both blogs and found your failure to reciprocate irritating, so I deleted your comment. In hindsight I should have left it there, so I'll post an entry pointing to your site.
But I do find some of your language aggressive ("we won't take this lying down...") and patronising ("you should learn..."). Dialogue is a good thing. Constructive criticism is also a good thing - there are worse alternatives as the recent increase of physical attacks on Muslims, a woman having the veil torn from her face, four Muslims attacked last night in a mosque, show.
I would be greatly encouraged if you would accept the hand I have always extended to you, from the invitation for you to provide a speaker for the march rally in Trafalgar Square, through my request that the cartoons not be displayed, to this present response to an aggressive ad hominem attack by you on your blog with an invitation to dialogue.
Every time you have reacted out of hostility and paranoia - as over the debate in Oxford - you have been wrong. That will remain the case. My attitude is completely genuine. I am an atheist, I dislike extreme religion but not the people who practise it. Hate the sin, love the sinner, as the Catholics say.

Actually Peter the attitude of loving the sinner and hating the sin is one shared by a true Islamic perspective and was the first lesson given to me by my Shaykh. I'm glad you are appreciating the importance of civility in dialogue.
The hand is still there, open. I hope that, at some point, in the future, Ismaeel will grasp it.


Ismaeel said...

do u still not get the point i'm making? Or am i making it too subtly perhaps....

Peter Risdon said...

You were trying to be subtle?

You have apologised to me twice before now. Once after trying, completely inappropriately, to make capital out of my request that people not wave the Danish cartoons at the rally last March, and the second time after making the most extraordinary allegations in the run up to a planned debate in Oxford.

Reflect for a moment on the reasons why I felt that your post of this email required almost no comment. We have had private correspondence in the past, as well as telephone calls, and neither of us broke those confidences. This time you have.

So you might consider making it a hat trick, rather than persisting with your current approach.

As to the "point" you feel you were making, this type of schoolyard oneupmanship is no substitute for rational debate. I believe there should be no legal restrictions to free expression and that nobody should be threatened, hurt or killed because of something they have said. There is a distinction between upholding someboby's right to speech - yours, for example - and agreeing with what they say or indeed with the way they have said it.

In your case, in this instance, I agree neither with what you say, nor with the way you say it. But I'm not suggesting you should be prevented from saying it like this, and I'm not going to try to organise a demonstration in protest.

Ismaeel said...

Afraid not old man. I made my point that rudeness and disrespect prevents reasoned and constructive debate or communication of ideas as you yourself have conceded which is after all the very purpose and aim of freedom of expression. Since you have not apologised once for the huge amount of alarmist, scaremongering demonising claptrap that you spout on this blog or your constant deliberate misrepresentation of my positions (or is it you just don't understand my position) I hardly feel i owe you an apology.

Peter Risdon said...

I don't think I could add anything to the case against you that you have not already added yourself, so I'll leave it at that.