It’s all his fault for wearing that tight skirt

There’s some nasty stuff around.

From Paul Vallely in the Independent for instance.

Cherished traditions, such as freedom of speech, the alarmists complain, are being surrendered out of political correctness and appeasement…Everywhere have sprung up champions of freedom of expression and crusaders against religious darkness in the name of Western values.

Everywhere? Not really – not in the places for instance where people who sneer about ‘cherished traditions’ have sprung up, for instance. And some of us don’t defend freedom of speech or resist religious darkness ‘in the name of Western values’ at all, we do it for quite non-geographical reasons.

This is not so much a clash of civilisations as one between religious and secular fundamentalists…Take the article in Le Figaro written by the French high-school philosophy teacher Robert Redeker…The problem was that, for good rhetorical measure, he also added that the Koran was “a book of extraordinary violence”. And that the Prophet Mohamed was “a pitiless warlord”, a “murderer of Jews” and “a master of hate”…The trouble with debate carried out in this adolescent fashion is that it obscures rather than enlightens…it is simply gratuitously offensive.

Is it? How does Vallely know it’s gratuitously offensive as opposed to being Redeker’s considered opinion? That’s not obvious to me, at least.

But in many places there is a growing realisation that freedom of expression is not absolute but needs to be governed by a sense of social responsibility.

In the sense of taking note of the potential for riots, arson and murder, and being silent in consequence. Hooray.

That was a refreshing contrast to the hyperbole about art and free speech being “the elixirs of an enlightened society”. Instead of a power struggle, or a test of wills, it opens the way to a more mature approach. Instead of an emotional debate which closes down rational discourse, it is the way to build common values – ones which recognise the inalienable right to freedom of expression but which, at the same time, demand it be exercised in a measured way.

A more mature approach and a more measured way, meaning, shut up about Islam. Creepy stuff.

And there’s Tariq Ramadan, too, as quoted in the Times:

Some Muslims have accused M Redeker of courting trouble for publicity. Tariq Ramadan, a leading university teacher, said: “The philosophy teacher is free to write what he likes in Le Figaro, but he must know what he wanted — he signed a stupidly provocative text.”

A stupidly provocative text. Saying some not obviously false things about the Koran and the prophet is stupidly provocative, and an open request for death threats. Creepy stuff.

And the Guardian’s article on the subject is very nasty: full of ‘it’s all his fault’ tattletale crap, from the headline ‘French philosophy teacher in hiding after attack on Islam’ to the accusatory subhead Writer calls Muhammad ‘mass-murderer of Jews’ to the body of the story:

But the case has divided opinion in France, with some human rights groups and academics condemning the death-threats but at the same time accusing Mr Redeker of deliberately writing a “stupid” and “nauseating” provocation.

It’s all blame the victim all the time. It’s nasty creepy submissive stuff. Some more secular fundamentalism would be welcome.

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