Tuesday, December 14, 2004

British Muslims Want Theocracy-Lite

People think I'm exaggerating about Britian and Theocracy-Lite ('same great taste, slightly less oppression'). Well, my infidel friends, I'm not. Here's a piece in the Telegraph from Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, supporting the proposal. Choice quotes:

'Witness the Persian couplet: Ba khuda deewana basho, Ba Muhammad hoshyar (Take liberty with God if you wish, but be careful with Mohammed).' Meaning unbelievers can't dis the Big Mo.

'Is freedom of expression without bounds? Muslims are not alone in saying "No" and calling for safeguards against vilification of dearly cherished beliefs. Earlier this year, the BBC accepted complaints from Catholics and withdrew its cartoon series Popetown. Why does society not show the same courtesy and sensitivity towards Muslims?'

Isn't that a cute rhetorical slight of hand? It's a gem really. He compares complaints about the BBC broadcasting a publically funded offensive cartoon to a law forbiding any private citizen from criticising religion in such a way that it could be interpreted as intending to "incite hatred." The BBC was not legally barred from airing the cartoon nor are Muslims forbidden from complaining about percieved insults (as you can tell). Sacranie wants the Brits to extend a "courtesy" to Muslims by prosecuting people who dare to insult Muhammed or Allah or Islam. So works by Dante* (Inferno 28, 22-33), Tasso, Verdi (just to name a few Italians), and countless other giants of Western civilization would be considered hate speech. Welcome to dhimmitude, infidel.

'Stirring up hatred against people simply because of their religious beliefs or lack of them ought to be regarded as a social evil.' Wow, it's sad that I have to put this so bluntly - People have the right to hate. 'However, we can make a critical distinction between the substance and form of free speech.' What the hell is he talking about? Maybe as an American I don't appreciate the subtleties of British law but here, across the pond, free speech is just that, free. Except for credible threats at specific individuals you can say whatever the hell you want. There is no "form" vs "substance" distinction. Sacranie advocates 'criminalising offences directed specifically at' Muslims. I think he means that anything that is offensive to Muslims should be a crime.

Part of me hope that they do pass this law. Then I want to see Sacranie's face when a dozen clerics are brought up on charges every time their sermons claim that "infidels burn in hell-fire", or "Non-Muslims arew vile and unclean", or "do not mingle with the filth pork-eating Christians". If this isn't hate speech, I don't know what is.

* Dante put both Muhammed and Ali in the Eighth Circle of Hell. See here for the details.

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