Monday, December 06, 2004

It Would Be Funny - Except It's True

British comedian Rowan Atkinson (of Blackadder and Mr. Bean fame) has joined with other British comedians and entertainers to fight proposed legislation designed to "outlaw inciting religious hatred." And what exactly would the "Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill," currently before parliament, do? Proposed by David Blunkett (currently facing a serious scandal that threatens to force his resignation) the bill, which reorganizes various U.K. security and police agencies, giving them new powers to combat organized crime, contains a provision that would prohibit criticism of any religion's beliefs or practices if that criticism might "incite hate" against that religion. While such a law might sound well-intentioned, it is useful to remember that people disagree on what exactly differentiates a hateful attack from proper criticism. Islamists, for example, might consider a documentary examining the plight of Muslim women as an incitement to hatred - as they did with Theo van Gogh's film Submission. Of course, they didn't wait for the Dutch parliament to pass laws to silence van Gogh - they slit his throat on an Amsterdam street. Similar Islamists considered Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses so wicked in its criticism of Islam that he had to live in hiding for years whilst Imams churned out fatwas demanding his death. This is the Muslim idea of tolerance: criticize us and we kill you.

The Telegraph notes that the current bill is a rehash of a previously failed effort.
This is David Blunkett's second attempt to prohibit religious hatred. He included it in the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2001, but it encountered strong resistance in the Lords and was dropped. The arguments adduced against it then still stand; indeed, they are overwhelming. To bring the criminal law into this field would force courts to make subjective judgments. Experience suggests, alas, that judges often prefer to restrict free speech rather than let the public make up its own mind.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, and a tidal wave of Islamist violence across Europe, many Britons (and other Europeans) are paying much closer attention to the large Muslim communities that they have permitted to be established in their countries - and they don't like what they see. European muslims have reacted by calling any criticism of their behavior "Islamophobia." It seems that the same muslims who don't want to integrate themselves into liberal European societies have at least learned enough about their adopted countries to use political correctness against those societies.

Mr. Atkinson, quoted by BBC, acknowledges the law's true motives even as he attacked the legislation:
He said he had sympathy with the law's backers, particular British Muslims, but added: "I appreciate this measure is an attempt to provide comfort and protection to them. But unfortunately it is wholly inappropriate response far more likely to promote tension between the communities than tolerance."
Showing far more intellectual ability than those who drafted this particular bit of legislation, Mr. Atkinson properly observes:
"To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is freedom. The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very particular kind of law indeed."
The Telegraph notes that Mr. Atkinson has the broad support of many diverse elements among Britons.
Mr Atkinson certainly has curious bedfellows: not only the militant atheists of the National Secular Society, but also the Barnabas Fund, which campaigns for persecuted Christians. The Government has no doubt calculated that it will win votes at the next election even if it loses this part of the Bill. In the Commons, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats may be tempted to acquiesce to an unworkable law for the sake of popularity. But peers in effect have a veto, because the Parliament Act does not apply. On this issue, the unelected House may well show more wisdom than the elected one. For once, Rowan Atkinson is not joking: this really is a bad Bill.

It is a bad bill - but it is the thinking behind the bill that truly frightens. Europe faces a serious threat from aliens from within its borders and how does it react? By trying to placate the alien culture growing within its borders. One would think that Europeans would understand the perils of appeasement. But apparently not.
But British Muslims aren't the only ones taking aim at anyone who criticizes them. In Denmark, Muslims have complained to the police about media coverage of Theo van Gogh's murder:
In an open letter to police, [Laue] Traberg Smidt [a lawyer retained by a group of 20 Muslims] said the channels' "massive coverage of the case and its repeated use" of exerpts [from van Gogh's film Submission] "seems rather an attempt to contribute to a confrontation and whip up a sentiment against Danes of Muslim faith."

The lawyer said he represented a group of Danish Muslims, who wanted to remain anonymous "because they are afraid of unpleasant (reaction) in the current atmosphere."
Well, of course. It such a shame that the media bothers to report the brutal murder of a man who criticized Islam. So much better for Islamists if the media wouldn't let the non-Muslims know the truth about those who have invaded their countries.


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