Intolerance to religion, political views, other people's opinions, personal beliefs or culture is often the root cause of conflicts around the world.

In recent years, Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham), a jihadi extremist militant group, has come to symbolise intolerance.

It follows an extreme interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels.

They probably believed they were taking a stand against extremism but, in reality, they were using the same tactics the militant jihadists use to intimidate those who do not share their beliefs.

It uses brutality, including beheadings, to intimidate local populations and has released a series of propaganda videos aimed at Western countries showing these horrific acts.

Advertisement

I am forever thankful that I live in a democratic country with broad freedoms where people can observe their faith and express their views without fear of retribution.

And that's why I find it alarming that Tauranga business owner Lisa Hotton felt pressured to change her company name from Isis Financial Services after a stranger told her they hoped she would get her head cut off.

She named her Tauranga debt-collection business after the Egyptian goddess Isis in 2004, one of the principal deities of the ancient Egyptian religion.

However, she came under increasing pressure to change the name once the Islamic militant group Isis became well known around the world.

"I didn't expect to get messages from people saying 'how could you?' and 'I hope you get your head chopped off'," she told the Bay of Plenty Times this week.

Bay of Plenty Times deputy editor, Dylan Thorne.
Bay of Plenty Times deputy editor, Dylan Thorne.

About two weeks ago, she decided to rename her company as Bay Debt Services Ltd, keeping the logo of Isis, the goddess.

The person who made the "I hope you get your head chopped off" comment was probably unaware of the name's links to ancient Egyptian religion.

They probably believed they were taking a stand against extremism but, in reality, they were using the same tactics the militant jihadists use to intimidate those who do not share their beliefs.

Advertisement

It was an attack on freedom of expression.