Sunday 11 December 2016

Cologne has shown us the clash of civilisations is a critical issue

It's time we started defending our women, our LGBT people and our hard-won Western freedoms and idealst

Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30

MASS ATTACKS: People protest against violence against women at the cathedral in Cologne yesterday after more than 150 women were subjected to sexual assaults in the city on New Year’s Eve, by what was described as organised groups of up to 1,000 men of North African or Arab appearance Photo:AFP/Getty
MASS ATTACKS: People protest against violence against women at the cathedral in Cologne yesterday after more than 150 women were subjected to sexual assaults in the city on New Year’s Eve, by what was described as organised groups of up to 1,000 men of North African or Arab appearance Photo:AFP/Getty

This time last year, Ana Pak, an Iranian secular feminist who works in Paris with refugees arriving from the Middle East, went to the Place de la Republique with some friends. They were there in the immediate aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders to show support for the journalists who had been killed.

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Ana reported: "Two of my friends had banners with typical feminist slogans, like 'No to the veil' and 'No extremism', but the French people that were already there asked them to remove them because they could cause offence."

The assumption being that the Muslim population of France is, unlike every other religious faith worldwide, somehow homogeneous, with not a single individual who holds a differing opinion or a sincere belief in free speech.

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