Sunday, February 05, 2006

Freedom of speech...without threats.

I've been reading about the Muhammad cartoons row for a while now. It's a difficult situation really. I do think the paper should have respected the fact that depictions of Muhammad are considered disrespectful, but then setting fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria is acceptable? Waving banners threatening murder is acceptable too?

Ok, I think the paper should have published those cartoons. Denmark is not a Muslim country and (I think) it has quite a low Muslim population compared to other European countries. I'm not so keen on the republication of the cartoons in other papers and I'm glad that they have not yet been published in the UK.

But protesters waving placards saying they will set off more bombs to show that they are upset about the cartoons showing Muhammad as a terrorist? Excuse me? Surely the best way to say "Muhammad was not a terrorist" is not to say "We will bomb you for showing this".

I am disgusted that no arrests were made at that protest, and the fact that on the Saturday two people were arrested for trying to cause a breach of the peace because they had copies of the pictures, why not arrest the people with the banners threatening more death and violence to innocent people? That to me denotes a lot more of a breach of the peace - and it certainly would have been a breach of the peace if I'd been there to get at them. (Although I'd probably have been arrested for inciting religious hatred).

As for the "inciting religious hatred" thing. Surely waving banners like that counts? They are inciting hatred against people in general - white, black, brown, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Pagan or Atheist. The bombers in the summer did not discriminate about who they killed. The next lot of bombers probably won't either.

I believe in Freedom of Speech and I'm aware that this means freedom of ALL speech. But there's a difference between freedom of speech and publicly stating that innocent people should be murdered to prove that the founder of your religion was not a murderer.

(P.S. I understand that the Met police were in a very difficult situation during the protests and I'm not accusing them of being bad at their jobs or anything. I'm also aware of how much worse the protests would possibly have gotten if people had started being arrested. But I would like to see better planning in future.)

1 comment:

EmLah said...

My sister is an activist hehehehe. but i agree with you 100% sister dear.