Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Blasphemy of anti-Blasphemy laws

The cartoon at left relates to the ongoing efforts of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to criminalise any criticism of, and even comment on, Islam. UN committees have passed resolutions on an "anti-blasphemy law", though it has yet to be passed by the General Assembly.  If and when it is, UN member countries will pass laws to bring that law into effect domestically, thus criminalising blogs (such as this one) and mainstream media commentators who express their concern about, and opposition to, the march of Sharia laws in the west.  Critics of Sharia are supporters of freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and the equality of women and minorities -- concepts to which Sharia is clearly, unequivocally, explicitly and innately inimical. (Cartoon, H/T: "Thinking is Real" blog).

Today the South China Morning Post printed my letter on the subject, unusual as the mainstream press is usually too timid to print material directly critical of Sharia, and by implication of Islam.  e.g.: the New York Times aka the International Herald Tribune will never print anything critical of the "Religion of Peace".

Some other cartoons I came across:

This one's about the case of the hapless British kindergarten teacher in a North African country who asked her students what they should name their mascot, a teddy bear.  "Mohammed", they said and she agreed.  For that, she was hounded by nutters, based on the country's anti-blasphemy laws, threatened with death (for a Teddy Bear!).  After international outrage at this lunacy, she was eventually deported back to the UK as a sign of "leniency".

I looked at the content of this cartoon, thinking "what the...?",  before reading the caption: "IF ONLY...".  Exactly!  Wouldn't that be fine, if all the "moderate Muslims" we read about, the "vast bulk of the Muslim population" were ever to take to the streets in support of values we've enshrined in the UN convention on Human Rights: Free Speech being one of the most important amongst them, the very basis of allowing in free societies what anti-blasphemy laws would outlaw.

And, below, these depictions of Jesus will make some feel uncomfortable, offended even.  But they won't get you killed, or jailed, or labelled a "Christophobe":

While the one below just blasphemes everyone.  I'd never heard of the "International day of Blasphemy", initiated by my fellow Atheists apparently.  But I support it!
Any anti-blasphemy law is a blasphemy on free speech.