Whatever happened to rational debate?

Muslim Tory peer pelted with eggs by "idiots"

Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservative frontbencher -- and "Britain's most powerful Muslim woman", as the BBC helpfully reminds us -- has been pelted with eggs during a visit to Luton.

From the BBC report:

Baroness Warsi was taking part in a walkabout in the Muslim Bury Park area of Luton when she was confronted by a group of protesters.

The male protesters accused her of not being a proper Muslim and supporting the death of Muslims in Afghanistan.

Baroness Warsi, who was hit by at least one egg, debated with the men.

I wouldn't wish a trip to Luton (!) on my worst enemy, so I can't help but feel sorry for Warsi, whom I've praised in the past.

But here's the main point: regular readers of this blog will know that I disagree with Warsi and the Tories -- as I disagree with Brown and Labour -- about Afghanistan.

Nonetheless, why is it that so many young British Muslim hotheads, born and schooled here, think irrational, yobbish and pointless acts, such as chucking eggs at a female politician, are the best way of protesting, or objecting to an ill-conceived or immoral policy? Whatever happened to rational debate and discussion?

Notice the key line in the BBC report: "Baroness Warsi . . . debated with the men." What's the point? Such people -- "idiots", as she later described them -- are not interested in debate; they're interested only in pontificating and posturing. They do a disservice to their (anti-war) cause, and to Britain's Muslim communities.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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