More forbidding and outraging and whying

Oh not this again.

Thousands of Islamists have set off on a protest march in Pakistan to demand Imran Khan’s new government sever diplomatic ties with the Netherlands over a “blasphemous” cartoon competition.

The march, organised by Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), a political party dedicated to the punishment of blasphemy, presents the first major test of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) administration. Last year, a similar protest by the TLP shut down the capital, Islamabad, for almost a month.

In June, Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam MP who leads the Netherlands’ second largest party and has been found guilty of inciting hatred, invited submissions of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, which Islam forbids. The $10,000 (£7,700) competition is due to open in November, with 200 entries so far.

That phrase “which Islam forbids” is meaningless. Islam isn’t the boss of us, so it can forbid until it’s blue in the face but we don’t have to obey. In reality even Muslims don’t have to obey, it’s just that some of them choose to be under its domination, and others don’t exactly choose to be but aren’t really free not to be. The Netherlands, at any rate, in no way has to pay any attention to what Islam forbids, and even if it did, it couldn’t extend that to Geert Wilders, unless it passed some very repressive laws.

People in Pakistan can march up and march down, but they can’t stop people in the Netherlands drawing cartoons, nor should they be able to.

Khadim Rizvi, the firebrand cleric who founded the TLP, said that condemnation of the contest by the Pakistani government was not enough and “only jihad” was the solution.

Before Pakistan’s general election last month, Rizvi said if he had the power he would order a nuclear strike against the Netherlands if its government allowed the competition to go ahead.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has termed the event “disrespectful” but defended the right to hold it on the grounds of freedom of expression.

On Monday, Pakistan’s senate passed a resolution condemning the competition and Khan vowed to take up the issue at the UN general assembly in September. He said Islamic countries should cooperate to create laws against blasphemy similar to those against Holocaust denial in European countries.

“If they [western countries] feel pained discussing the Holocaust, why haven’t we been able to convey to the west how much we feel pained when they do blasphemous things against Islam and our beloved Holy Prophet, peace be upon him?” said Khan.

Because it’s not the same thing, obviously. The genocide of millions of people is not the same thing, or category of thing, as a Special Feeling about a religious figure. That’s why.

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