Says Nick Denton: "You want me to take moderate Muslims more seriously? Get back to me when progressive Muslims picket the Finsbury Park mosque in North London". (Disclaimer: This statement upsets and angers me, but for a variety of reasons I don't think the best way to demonstrate that is by responding to it directly.)
One night not many weeks ago there was a small protest outside a small mosque near my flat in Hammersmith, West London. A leader from Iran who'd been part of the revolution and complicit in (I understand) the deaths of thousands of students and the removal of civil rights from women was speaking there -- the protestors (some recently from Iran in the past 2 or 3 years, some long term Londoners, other local people joining in when they heard what it was about) didn't think it was right he should be here, and that the UK government should arrest him. Some groups represented:
The above links given to me by a protestor. The police were sympathetic, by the way. The organisers explained what was going on and the police left them to it. Now I've no idea how many protests like this happen -- I've no idea how many protests about anything happen. But I do know that it's just one particular form of disagreement within a society, and if you were to pick a placards-and-megaphone style protest as the only way a group of people could publicly register dissent in your eyes, that'd be a little limiting.
To be honest, it feels wrong for me to even say "group of people" there. It's like saying the French behave terribly on the underground. It's true to the degree that some of the French people I see on the underground stand on the wrong side of the escalators. But actually it's true of a proportion of all tourists in London, some of whom are French and more easily recognisable because I recognise the accent. Using "the French" as my group of people contains so many false positives and false negatives it's just not useful, and arguments based on that aren't going to have yes or no answers, just a stack of division by zero errors.