Who sparked what?

There’s a French schoolgirl who had the audacity to film “an anti-religious diatribe on social media,” to use the Guardian’s terminology.

The Guardian also buried what inspired her to do so halfway down the page.

Mila, 16, from near Lyon, became a cause célèbre in January after she made a live broadcast on her Instagram account in which she spoke about her homosexuality. A Muslim commentator responded she was a “dirty lesbian” and a “dirty whore”. She responded by posting a video diatribe against Islam.

Her outburst sparked death threats and social media users posted her personal information online, including where she was attending school. The public prosecutor has opened an investigation for “death threats, threats to commit a crime and harassment” against her attackers and a separate inquiry into whether she had “provoked religious hatred”, which is punishable by the law.

Abdallah Zekri, general delegate of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), told French radio: “This girl knows exactly what she has done … they who sow, reap.” Zekri added that the teenager’s comments were not covered by freedom of expression but were insulting and provocative. Afterwards, Mohammed Moussaoui, the new head of the CFCM, said criticism of Islam had to be accepted and no remarks justified death threats. “We have to accept all the debates and refuse all violence,” Moussaoui wrote.

“Insulting and provocative” does not mean “deserving of death threats.” Note, also, that the Guardian did what it so often does: said “Her outburst sparked death threats” rather than, say, “some people responded to her video with death threats.” Notice it didn’t say the guy who called her a dirty whore “sparked” her video.

The case has brought echos of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015, which the perpetrators claimed was in retribution for the satirical newspaper publishing cartoons several years previously of the prophet Mohammed that were considered offensive by many Muslims. In a 2007 legal case against the paper, judges declared: “In France it is possible to insult a religion, its figures and its symbols … however, insulting those who follow a religion is outlawed.”

But many believers take the view that insulting the religion is insulting those who follow it.

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