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This Christmas, I was watching television with my family – you can picture the scene; 5 people weighed down by food and boredom, surrounded by ripped up wrapping paper and empty wine bottles – when a celebrity I have always disliked came on the screen. “Urghh, I hate that woman” I muttered, exhaling sharply, to which my darling 8yr old niece immediately turned around to state: “David! Hate is a naughty word.”

I took her criticism on board and dutifully lowered my head, to which she smiled sadistically (she wants to be a teacher when she grows up). I also began to think seriously about what she said. I think it’s great that her teachers (or perhaps my sister) have taught her that ‘hate’ is too heavy a word to throw lightly around, because that’s certainly true.

It’s not something one likes to feel either. Hatred degrades the soul of the person who feels it, just like a grudge or a fit of jealousy. But are there occasions (however rare) when hatred is the right thing to feel? I think so.

I get rather tired of hearing the following mantra: “I hate Islam. I don’t hate Muslims”. Even though it’s a good-natured thought and in some cases might align with a kind of accuracy (not all Muslims are evil) it seems to me a disguised form of evasion. I absolutely do hate Muslims. Not all of them, I concede, but a hefty portion.

I hate those Muslims who wish me harm, or who would impose a way of life on me that I do not desire. I hate those who would excuse acts of terrorism against civilised people. I hate those who believe women should be told what to do by men. I hate those who indoctrinate, imprison and propagandise. Taken together, I think this means I hate a majority of Muslims.

Does it make me bad? I’m not sure. It depends on who is holding the scales of right and wrong. Should I have them in my possession, I would argue that my feelings are natural and inevitable, even if they sound extreme and irrational. I’d also challenge my interrogators to propose a different emotion when confronted with the vision of a stoned rape victim.