More Wisdom

There’s also Anas Altikriti, a former president of the Muslim Association of Britain.

France, which stood against war in Iraq, scuppered its good relations with the Muslim world when its secular fanatics insisted on banning the hijab in state schools. These cartoons come at the end of a long line of events in which there has been a striking absence of representation of the Muslim perspective and of our rights and freedoms.

Secular fanatics is it. And ‘the Muslim perspective’ on the hijab – but a lot of Muslims, especially women, were in favour of the ban. What about their perspective?

Religion no more restricts freedom of speech than secularism promotes it. Is it so difficult to digest that Islam considers insulting the prophets of God a profound violation of what is sacred, just as Europe rightly regards denial of the Nazi Holocaust?

No, not ‘just as’ – quite differently. Denial of the Holocaust has nothing to do with violation of the sacred – that’s complete bullshit (in the most technical sense).

Those who claim to uphold freedom of speech by defending the right to reproduce insulting depictions of the prophet are in effect saying to Muslims that what they hold dear and sacred is far more worthy of protecting than what Muslims hold dear and sacred.

No. That’s wrong. Sacred is the wrong word. It’s the wrong word in the same way and for the same kind of reason that blasphemy is the wrong word.

Tomorrow, Britain’s Muslim groups will be joined by non-Muslims in Trafalgar Square to show unity against Islamophobia and incitement of all kinds.

All of Britain’s ‘Muslim groups’? And if all of Britain’s ‘Muslim groups’ are in fact there, does that mean all Muslims are there, or are represented by the ‘groups’ that are there?

The protest will send a message that Britain is leading the way in the west to creating a modern, multicultural, multiethnic and multifaith society that lives in peace and prosperity.

And, of course, that forbids, legally or by social pressure, ‘blasphemy’ and criticism of (what some people take to be) the ‘sacred’.

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