"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Feb 13, 2009

India arrests editor for outraging muslims

In another attack on the right to criticize religion the Editor and Publisher of a respected Indian newspaper have been arrested for "hurting the feelings" of Muslims. Their "offence" was that they reprinted an article published in the UK newspaper The Independent which was written by one of their columnists Johann Hari.

The original article Why should I respect these oppressive religions? argued that the right to criticize religion is slowly being eaten away all around the world in the face of fundamentalist religionists who insist in their right not to have their feelings hurt.

The article points out that;

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind – and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth. Today, the Chinese dictatorship calls it "Western", Robert Mugabe calls it "colonialist", and Dick Cheney calls it "outdated". The countries of the world have chronically failed to meet it – but the document has been held up by the United Nations as the ultimate standard against which to check ourselves. Until now.

Starting in 1999, a coalition of Islamist tyrants, led by Saudi Arabia, demanded the rules be rewritten. The demand for everyone to be able to think and speak freely failed to "respect" the "unique sensitivities" of the religious, they decided – so they issued an alternative Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. It insisted that you can only speak within "the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community".

Arrests in India can be seen as simply proving the point that the article sought to make. It is becomming increasingly risky to be seen to criticize religion, and in particular Islam. Religionists can claim to take offence at almost anything remotely critical. Our political leaders have become in thrall to religious zealots in their eagerness to be seen to be protecting multiculturalism and tolerance.

The article notes that;

Anything which can be deemed "religious" is no longer allowed to be a subject of discussion at the UN – and almost everything is deemed religious. Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage. The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" – and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.

Pointing out such developments is valid political debate - it is not about hurting the feelings of Muslims simply for the sake of causing offence. If discussion and free speech is being closed down around the world then we are indeed entering dark times. There is no protection for anyone in such a climate and the only winners will be those religious zealots who shout the loudest and threaten the most violence.

Full story here.


Delirious said...

I think you need to make a distinction here. You said, "In another attack on the right to criticize religion...". Actually, right now it's only politically correct to attack Christians. Muslims, however, shouldn't be criticized at all.

Bunc said...

There is some truth in what you say D. I trust that you are not arguing that Christianity should be protected in the way that Islam is though? The freedom to criticize ideas and beliefs is fundamental to our free societies - even if on occasion this causes some offense.

Three are plenty of comments on the web about atheists and atheism which we could choose to take offense at but I would not dream of arguing that this should be banned.

There are many Islamists who are offended by the very existence of Christianity or Judaism and Jews. The problem with giving this right to "not be offended" free reign is that it is a very slippery slope.

Bob said...

I believe so strongly in free speech that I would not want to get anti Christian comments banned even though I am a Christian. Free speech is precious and providing you are not inciting violence or telling lies you should not be prosecuted for stating your beliefs. (Nor should you be deleted from the "Freethinker" blog!!!)

Delirious said...

I think free speech should be protected, no matter the religion. but I also think that means that those who disagree with that religion should also have free speech. The only time I think free speech should be censured is when it comes to public television. We don't need to expose children to bad language or images on public channels.

Delirious said...

By the way, did I read your post correctly? Did you say it is the "Right" that complains of hurting the feelings of the Muslims? Because where I live, (San Francisco area) that would be the actions of the Left.

Bunc said...

Hi delirious,
I think you may have misread what I wrote, I didn't refer to either the political left or the political right.

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