Progressive liberalism is the enemy of tolerance

As you do not buy the Observer to hear how wonderful you are, allow me to spell out the contradictions in liberalism. On the one hand, traditional liberals say they must oppose political Islam. It is oppressive in its attitude to women, freethinkers and gay people, dogmatic in its intolerance of believers in other religions and none, and contemptuous of democracy and human rights. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, it mandates theocracy. In Syria and Nigeria, it justifies slavery and the mass murders of unbelievers.

Traditional liberals say we should oppose its non-violent and violent sectarianism as vigorously as we oppose Christian, Jewish, Hindu or any other form of sectarianism. Let your enemies play the race card and call you an Islamophobe if they must. Liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims need your support and you need to show that you are not living a lie.

Courageous though these fine words sound, fear drives them. If fanatics do not threaten the peace or use the law to enforce their prejudices, no one worries about them. I do not feel a duty to defend liberal Anglicans from evangelicals because I do not fret that arguments within Anglicanism will lead to terrorism and war. Instead, I happily pass my days without thinking about Anglicanism at all.