But this does not mean giving up on core values that the majority of us hold dear. For me freedom of speech is absolutely central to my most deeply held beliefs. I want to be able to read what I like and think that the individual's pursuit of scientific and artistic knowledge should not be artificially restricted by religious leaders telling us what we are allowed to study. We would still believe the Sun went round the earth if we'd allowed our priests to dominate.
When the Satanic Verses first came out I realised that I had enjoyed several of the novels of Salman Rushdie and would like to read this book for myself. I was roundly bored and couldn't for the life of me see what all the fuss was about. But I wanted to make up my own mind and was appalled that the book was taken off the shelves in many stores because of death threats. I would be astonished if more than one in a thousand of those who protested about the book had read even one page of it but that didn't stop them trying to intimidate the author to give up his strongly held belief that he should be able to write what interested him.
I think it is vital that people in a free society should have the right to read and create what they like unless, as is the case with child pornography, there is evidence that this leads to harm to others. I also apply this principle to the right to exercise your own choices about religion. Everyone should be free to practice their religion until that clashes with harm to others. I happen to think that the tiny minority of men - be they extreme Jews or extreme Muslims - who want to restrict what women can do with their lives fall into this category. A woman's right to be able to proudly display her face and thus have a proper opportunity to develop a personality and be a full part of a wider society trumps a man's right to interpret his religion in an aggressively anti-female way. I therefore strongly oppose the wearing of the veil and, whilst I would not legally ban it, I would be in favour of adopting the old Turkish approach of insisting that anyone wishing to use a public service cannot wear one.
We live in a world economy with huge numbers of people travelling across the globe every day. Those of us who want to live in this real world of international exchange of ideas, information and culture need to face down two serious enemies. The first is those who like Nigel Farage who want us to retreat into a little England, put up barriers around ourselves and pretend that we can return to some glorious past where everyone drank beer together and there was no fifth column. We are not two separate communities - we are one diverse community and the vast majority of Muslims want nothing to do with the terrorists who claim to act in their name.
But the second enemy is just as important to strongly oppose. When our shared values are under attack we need to stand up clearly for ideas which are fundamental to the vast majority of people in this country. I stand for free speech and the rights of women and I will not allow narrow minded UKIP bigots - to pretend that they are the only people who do. Whether they blame their medication for making them make racist statements or not.
Faced with a direct challenge to our values it is heartening to see so many people standing up and saying we are one community and we are all Charlie.