No that’s not what the government should do

Inspire posted on Facebook:

Yesterday after the conviction of Tanveer Ahmed who murdered Asad Shah, Bradford Council of Mosques told BBC Newsnight that the Government should reintroduce blasphemy law in the UK as “faith communities have the right not to be offended.”

We at Inspire firmly disagree and would oppose any attempt to bring back any kind of blasphemy law. There is no right not to be offended. There is is however the right to free expression and freedom of religion.

I do wish someone could disabuse religious “communities” of that fatuous idea. They don’t have any “right not to be offended” in the sense they’re using there – the sense that would justify a blasphemy law. There are other senses of “right” and “offended” such that that claim could be reasonable. They could say, for instance, that Muslims have a right not to be attacked or bullied for their religion: we all have a moral right not to be attacked or bullied, other things being equal, and religion doesn’t change that.

But that’s not what the Bradford Council of Mosques is saying. It’s saying religions should have immunity from any kind of criticism and dissent. That, of course, is an outrageous claim, just as Inspire says.

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