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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

7/13/2004

Grabbing the wrong end of the stick

In response, the Home Secretary announced plans last week to make vilification of Islam a crime. He insisted that his law to "ban incitement to religious hatred" was meant to defend every faith. However, only Muslims have asked for immunity. The legislation would "close a loophole", David Blunkett observed, because inciting hatred of people on racial grounds is illegal in the UK, but inciting hatred of them on the grounds of belief is not.
the telegraph
The ability to criticize, mock and generally make light of religion is one of the essential victories of the Enlightenment. In the case of some brands of Islam this ability is also politically important. Honour killing, the murder of individuals who want to leave Islam, wife beating and the judicial execution of homosexuals are not merely relgious issues. Saying that a religion which countances all or some of these behaviors is to be beyond legal criticism neuters free speech. Will Cummins demolishes the utter lack of logic behind the British government's proposal to place Islam beyond criticism.