Coffee House

Taking offence and freedom of speech

26 January 2014

4:37 PM

26 January 2014

4:37 PM

The row about Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz continues, with some confusion over whether or not one of his critics has a meeting with the party leadership to discuss the matter. While that unravels a little more, it’s worth thinking very briefly about the implications of this row.

The protagonists want Nawaz removed as a candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn because he has done something that offends other members of his religion. In doing so, they are arguing that freedom of speech comes with responsibility. Yet oddly, those who make these arguments for curbs on freedom of speech so that no-one gets upset never do so when it comes to their own beliefs. All religious groups benefit from freedom of speech, because their beliefs have the power to offend others. As our leading article this week sets out, that includes the rather mild and doddery-seeming Church of England, which teaches that personal sin is a serious matter requiring repentance. That’s the sort of thing that can offend people, too, but the Church and other groups benefit from the freedom to say it. Religious groups who argue for curbs on freedom of speech must realise that in the end, this would damage their own freedom too, not just that of others they don’t like.

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Taking offence and trying to silence someone is also the paltry version of telling someone that you think they’re wrong and having a proper discussion about it (I’m not sure Twitter counts, either, as most debates I’ve seen on Twitter about big things that people fundamentally disagree on seem to end with one of the participants either getting bored or nagged offline by a bored spouse, or losing their rag and declaring ‘anyway, I’m too busy for this. Goodbye.’ when they’ve already spent eight hours tweeting angrily at someone).

But perhaps those who did take offence at Nawaz’s posting of the ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon need to remember that they benefit from free speech too. If they were successful in curbing it, they’d ultimately suffer too when someone else found their views offensive.


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Show comments
  • Eddie

    Clegg has just released a statement. Under pressure from a petition he has cracked::

    “You will be pleased to learn that following the public uproar about the campaign against Maajid Nawaz, Nick Clegg has offered his public support, as suggested by our petition. In a letter to the campaigners against Nawaz, released on Sunday, Clegg said:

    “I very much recognise and respect that the visual depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is regarded as deeply offensive and distressing to you and many other Muslims in the UK and beyond. But I recognise too that there are also Muslims, including devout ones, who take a different view.

    However, the Liberal Democrats are a party of respect, tolerance and individual liberty. We fundamentally believe in freedom of expression in an open, liberal and free society and therefore strongly defend Maajid’s right to express his views. Maajid was commenting on a recent BBC programme which covered this issue and wanted to make the point that as a Muslim he did not regard depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as being offensive.

    It is my understanding that Maajid has made it clear that he therefore tweeted in order to contribute to a live debate rather than out of any intention to deliberately offend, and that his tweet reflects his genuinely and sincerely held religious views. I hope that those who take a different view would respect his right and sincerity in doing so. I’m sure it goes without saying that the death threats and threats of violence Maajid has received are totally unacceptable, and I’m sure you will join me in whole-heartedly condemning them.”

    This is a proud moment for all of us who asked Nick Clegg to give his full and and unequivocal backing to Maajid. 6.500 signatories of our petition have made it clear that the bullying and harassment of liberal and secular Muslims by reactionaries and their apologists has no place in a liberal party, let alone in a democratic society.

    However, there are still reactionaries like Meral Hussein Ece, Lester Holloway, and Irfan Ahmed within the LibDems, who hide behind the label of liberalism in order to peddle their illiberal and undemocratic views. Please see this article by commentator Amjad Khan for details of their campaign against Maajid: http://tinyurl.com/mo8meku

    We should therefore celebrate our victory, while remembering that those who have started and fuelled this vicious campaign are still spreading their poisonous narrative that portrays Muslims as monolithic bloc incapable of tolerating the same levels of discordant views as any other human being. This kind of othering of Muslims is inherently racist and has no place in our society, whereas the human right to free expression within the law should be cherished by all, no matter from what political or religious background.

    Thank you again for your support, we will continue to put pressure on Nick Clegg to take disciplinary measures against Mohammed Shafiq as the main instigator responsible for the hate campaign that has resulted in threats to Maajid Nawaz’s life.

  • Eddie

    The police arrest anyone these days for saying rude words on Twitter, Facebook, emails (easy arrests innit, and evidence on the laptop they take) – and seem to be engaged in a witch hunt against men, in a massive trawling exercise costing millions, with the ambition of imprisoning any and every man who put a hand on a woman’s knee in 1973. Again, what a boost to the arrest stats! (Far too tricky to go out and catch muggers and thieves – real criminals).
    That is why they refuse to take action against those who threaten torture and murder to those who dare challenge Islam or who show a pictorial representation of a 7th century warlord (with a track record in murder and mayhem, plus some child marriage thrown in).
    No wonder people have no faith in the police any more.

  • allymax bruce

    Isabel, this is an important issue you write about; I like your points in your article, and we really could do with a longer, more indepth analysis of the issue of Free Speech, Freedom of Expression, and Religion. Thanks for beginning what should be a ‘modernising’ effect on Freedom ‘for’ Expression; twitter is horrendously totalitarian; how did we let it garner so much subjective power? We need to stand up to twitter, and ‘re-align’ its power so that, like any other e-communique, it facilitates a ‘modern’ Democratic service.

  • Trapnel

    The
    Conservatives can do nothing that displeases Progressive Liberals, the
    Progressive Liberals can do nothing that displeases Muslims, and even if
    Muslims do not always get all they want, nothing can be decided that they
    do not like

  • Perseus Slade

    I find all religion offensive, stupid, perverse, absurd. So do many.
    But that does not count, it seems.
    What we have is a whinger`s charter where nation policy is a football kicked around by pressure groups that the government is anxious to appease.
    Really, democracy is breaking down here.

  • Julian Farmer

    telemachus And people like you are the problem mate! What next the gulag? Do you not read history of where this type of attitude leads? People like you deeply offend many in the UK. Do we persecute and demand prosecution of you?

  • global city

    Our beautiful Isabel writes as though she thinks that multiculturalism is objective, and the ones calling for their new enemy to be banned may one day fall into the trap themselves. They won’t, as long as they do not say anything that an be construed as a sleight upon the ROP or a select group from the pyramid.

    It is all organised to ratchet up one way.

  • SimonNorwich

    This is exactly the point that needs to be made to Islamists who insist on trying to censor other people’s opinions. Yet I have never heard a journalist ask them this most obvious question:

    “If anyone is offended by the words written in YOUR holy book, will you censor it? Or is it just one-way censorship that you are demanding?”

    Why do journalists never ask the obvious questions? They could bring an end to this nonsense immediately. Perhaps, that’s the reason: the story would be over and they’d be putting themselves out of a job.

    • Trofim

      But of course you wouldn’t ask that question. That would be to presuppose that Islamists understand the concept of a level playing field. They don’t – they’re right, and we’re wrong. Therefore they have a right to censor us, but not vice versa. The concept of fair play is completely alien to them, which is why they find it so difficult to live with secularism.

      • Raw England

        Thank you for knowing exactly what’s happening, TroFim.

  • Agrippina

    The fanatical ideologists need to be defeated, either they accept this free democracy or go and live elsewhere. They have nothing to offer us and we do not want anything from them. Spectator journos should pop out to Tower Hamlets or further north, and see the level of islamification of this green and pleasant land.

    They do not understand progressive ideas and want to return to the barbaric ways of the 12th Century. There you can lop off limbs and stone people for minor infractions, and keep the females uneducated at home. We are not going to take back our country by voting for the same 3 troughers, vote for someone else and take it back.

    Duplicitous dave said this morning on the Today prog immigration is about right and he has it under control. That must be why 3 coaches a week arrive from Romania to Leeds and don’t even bother to look at the numbers arriving in London Victoria.

  • manonthebus

    Why did the writer bring the Church of England into this? This matter is about Islam and politics, isn’t it?

  • Fasdunkle

    Demanding tolerance, offering none

    • Raw England

      Situation is very, very bad now. ‘Liberalism’ has been beaten completely by Islam, in full view of all.

      Time to give us nationalists a go.

  • sardindukurup

    Arthur Koestler estimated the deaths due to killing in the name of the phoneme for god has caused 30 million deaths and more to come. To suppress cricism because some rabid fanatic is prone to violence is cowardice.

  • Raw England

    Isabel, with respect, do you have any idea how tame and submissive this article is?

    You still talk as if a huge and rapidly increasing Islamist population is something we absolutely have to accept, and you write upon that basic foundation. Does it ever occur to you that its time to REMOVE Islam and everything connected with it from our country? Because I promise you, that’s the only hope we have now.

    I don’t think you realise just how bad things are.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, it’s as if Isabel has no knowledge of the recent speech of Tom Winsor (Chief Inspector of Constabulary) making clear that large parts of our big cities are ruled by a parallel justice system – Sharia of course. Or that she has no idea millions of Muslim children attend the parallel school system anything up to 20 hours a week – and that school system is completely uninspected. Or that tens of thousands of our fellow citizens have been subjected to horrific FGM.

      The idea that our freedoms apply equally to all religions is a nice, pious notion. But it has nothing to do with the reality – which is that there is one ideology being followed by millions in this country which is out to destroy our constitution and freedoms and replace them with the system of law known as Sharia.

  • Eddie

    Freedom of speech includes the right to offend.
    End of.
    The reason we do not all accept that is the mass immigration into The West of those who demand to be ‘respected’ and for their religions and their religious celebrity heroes for be immune from criticism.
    Our tolerant pluralistic culture then assume that because they are in a minority ethnic group and follow a minority religion we have to pander to them and obey their demands.
    This has led to others being persecuted for daring to criticise these cultures and religions, or for daring to defend rights we in the West assumed be had fought for decades ago. Well, that’s progress, folks!
    So we have the spectacle of the ‘politically correct’ defending those who threaten the liberal-minded and tolerant with beheading, with the police seeing those doing the threatening as the victims and the threatened as the perpetrator.
    Indeed, a world turned upside down.

    • global city

      because the only target is the destruction of the west, so any body who shares that aim is counted as an partner.

      The New Left really are nihilist eyjits.The ‘New dawn would not be for them, and they would never see what they had brought out our heads. If Islamism ever won the day here, they would be the first (gays possibly beating them actually) on the gibbet!

  • saffrin

    A bit like gays and cyclists then. Quick to take offence when it is pointed out to them they are not quite normal.

  • swatnan

    The sad truth is that some people just cannot take a joke.

  • James Strong

    This article misses the point.
    The dispute within the LibDems, and some of their allies, is not about free speech.
    It is about the desire to give mohammedanism a privileged position.
    I do not know why this is a popular position among ‘liberals’ and lefties.
    Mohammedanism is an oppressive belief system that advocates and imposes violence.
    It certainly should not be pandred to in even the slightest way.

    • Andy

      Yes but all forms of Lefty thought are ‘oppressive belief system that advocates and imposes violence’. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot the list is endless and bloody.

      • saffrin

        As in, No Hands Hamza being allowed to inspire murder, racial and religious hatred on the streets of London for years by the last Labour Government until the USA’s extradition request forced them into action.
        Doing so, not for the sake of justice but in the hope by the time NO Hands was released from prison, the USA’s interest would have dwindled.
        Hold a thought for No hands in his USA prison cell and smile, smile, smile.

        • Andy

          I prefer to give that odious piece of scum no thought whatsoever. He arrived on our shores by means of fraud and should have been deported back whence he came years ago.

  • Curnonsky

    Hoping that fascist Islam will come to see the error of its ways and embrace freedom of speech is rather like ancient Romans hoping the Visigoths would come to embrace wearing togas and dining on larks’ tongues.

    It would be charmingly quaint if it wasn’t suicidaly delusional.

  • cornelius

    the coalition between various parts of the the left will not last, as the contradictions become ever more obvious.

    • Rainsboro

      Spot on. Time for it to split. I’m (slightly) left of centre but the fact is that the democratic right has been far, far more scrupulous about distancing itself from fascists than the left has from its totalitarian wing.

      • global city

        The progressive Left have always been the fascists you ‘slightly leftish’ have always flapped your gums about. That is the reality. The ‘Progressives’ are evil, basically a death cult.

  • Andy

    Islam is a belief and thus open to challenge. What is depressing is that the usual Fascist want to censor any comment about Islam. Christians have got use to their faith being ridiculed and despised all the time – watch the BBC – and I don’t see why Islam should be treated with kid gloves. Islam is a wicked belief and Muslims are heretics.

    And Specie – grow a pair and publish a cartoon. Stop being such wimps.

    • telemachus

      Please read the rest of the thread
      *
      What must be censored is offensive comment against a major religion in the certain knowledge that a fair chunk of the population will be upset in a core way by that offense
      At this late stage it is not inappropriate to proscribe Scorsese’s evil film
      *
      I would not be upset if someone tarred and feathered Scorsese (and Nawaz)

      • McClane

        There I was, thinking, this time tm has nailed his comment to the wrong reply. But no, there he is, yet again, another irrelevance and never an original comment.

        • telemachus

          Please read both replies carefully
          Andy is pursuing his usual islamophobia compounding the hate crime

          • McClane

            There is no need to read any reply you make. They’re all irrelevant rubbish. Other adjectives and nouns spring to mind.

            • telemachus

              McClane
              I give that my Socialist views are not to taste but defence of freedom while proscribing actions of those who threaten it is a valuable social service

              • McClane

                You’re posting here because you want to be a big fish in a small pond. If you posted on CiF your voice would be one of thousands with the same viewpoint, your opinion would be drowned out, you would be ignored. You can’t post comments on the BBC, your other natural home. So you come here, post no original replies and invariably attach your replies to the most-liked comment on here so you appear high on the list.

                • telemachus

                  On the contrary I post on the Beeb siit but not as telemachus

                • McClane

                  ‘On the contrary I post on the Beeb siit but not as telemachus’

                  All of the BBC is pretty much siit.

                • Dicky14

                  It’s not funny anymore. You wander over here on a Sunday evening looking to shoot the breeze and other people’s views – maybe a bit of erudite disagreement but Tele, well, it more often than not just ruins the whole thing. It’d be fine if he knew what he was gibbering about but he’s just a fool.

                • McClane

                  You’re right, of course. tm’s just a fool.

                  I didn’t ‘wander over here on a Sunday evening looking to shoot the breeze and other people’s views – maybe a bit of erudite disagreement’. I check, several times a day, the DT, here, guido fawkes, and http://hat4uk.wordpress.com. Usually I ignore tm and his wittering on, I just click up, and, when I can be bothered to sign in to disqus, click down. Today, well, it must be the red wine I had at lunch.

                • Dicky14

                  Not sure if it does links here but Nick Cohen, of this parish, has pretty much nailed it in his Observer column – guessing by his language, may have taken him maybe 10 minutes to dial this one in.

                  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/25/liberal-democrats-t-shirt-jesus-muhammad-religion

                • Rainsboro

                  Largely agree but it’s a mistake to think that Tm’s views are just the result of the medication and can be ignored. Look further down the thread and he quotes a Yale lecturer, the infection has spread very widely on the left. A future Labour or Labour/Lib Dem government will place more and more restrictions on free speech and I’d be willing to place a small bet that, within five years, Islamophobia will be made a criminal offence – they’ve already floated a proposal to do just that in Belgium.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The Cameroons are just as anti-free speech as the Left, if you notice. They pushed through the Leveson crimes, remember .

                • Rainsboro

                  Yes, I I didn’t want a Tory prime minister last time round and distrusted Cameron but, naïvely, I did hope that something would be done to reverse new Labour’s authoritarianism. Got that one wrong

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Many of us believed Cameron when he promised to “sweep it all away”. Some broom, some sweeping. He turns out to be another Arch-Nanny but nannyism seems to be the trend of politics with the majority of politicians apparently wedded to an ever growing, ever intrusive state and higher taxes to pay for it all.

                • ItinerantView

                  “Islamophobia will be made a criminal offence”
                  Possibly sooner than that,a cross-party group is discussing them as we speak.
                  Simon Hughes commissioned this report,on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia.
                  It gives an insight into the post-democratic NGO’s driving this agenda,the Islamist groups jockeying for influence and the politically correct MP’s and academics riding the bow-wave;
                  http://wallscometumblingdown.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/allen-appg-islamophobia-report-july-2011.pdf
                  The Belgians are creating laws based on the Islamophobia report published by the London-based Runnymede Trust, which the APPG in the UK,seems to be using also.
                  The definition of Islamophobia is absurd and contradictory and is too easily used to stifle valid criticism of Islam.
                  It is profoundly chilling for free speech.

                  http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3692/belgium-erasing-christianity

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I agree. The fact that he is mainstream Labour shows just how extremist that party really is and how its advocates really think and work. Frightening to think they might be in power over us again.

                • wycombewanderer

                  You are Brandon and I claim my five pounds.

              • McClane

                The only social service you perform is, if you’re working, paying your taxes.

                • telemachus

                  Do that too
                  I wish they would use some of them in the prosecution of hate crimes

                • Colonel Mustard

                  One day, God willing, people like you will be prosecuted for your crimes against humanity.

              • kyalami

                It is, indeed. Sadly you are doing quite the opposite, denying freedom of expression to those whose views you dislike and supporting the actions of those who would deny this freedom.

                • telemachus

                  This is not to do with what one man likes or does not
                  It is about what to do with politicians who behave unreasonably

                • Rainsboro

                  Get them to confess their crimes against the party and beg to be shot while their minds are still pure

                • kyalami

                  With “unreasonably” defined by you. The very definition of democracy.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Since Maajid Nawaz entered politics here on the basis of challenging Islamic extremism it is hardly unreasonable behaviour for him to demonstrate his own tolerance as a muslim.

                  Your comments put you in alliance with the worst kind of extremists. No surprise there. You are a thoroughly repulsive character.

              • Alexsandr

                but you clearly support a culture where freedom is proscribed on pain of death. You cant have it both ways.

                • telemachus

                  Reasonable toleration is not support

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I look forward to your “reasonable toleration” of political viewpoints that do not conform to your specious ideology.

              • Rainsboro

                Have you any idea how stupid that sounds?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Nothing threatens freedom more than the peculiarly British strain of socialism you represent.

              • Colonel Mustard

                “I give that my Socialist views are not to taste but defence of freedom while proscribing actions of those who threaten it is a valuable social service”

                Says a person whose glib defence of one of the genocidal monsters of the 20th Century appears to know no bounds of decency.

          • Andy

            Liar. I am a Christian and as such Islam is a heretical belief. To believe in Islam is to damn your soul – I am about saving Muslims souls.

      • Ricky Strong

        “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist”.
        Salman Rushdie

        • telemachus

          None of us are free to denigrate our fellow citizens to the point where violence might supervene
          In truth Nawaz should be prosecuted for a hate crime

          • Ricky Strong

            If a citizen of a democratic nation choses to use violence as a means to express their ‘offence’ they need to be told no. That is not how one behaves in such a society; you either counter the point you find offensive with mature debate or you keep quite and wallow in your misery

          • McClane

            You, however, feel free to denigrate whoever you want here. Is it not true you have been temporarily banned for abuse?

          • Andy

            You denigrate Conservatives in such a manner.

            • telemachus

              Political interaction
              Not like hate incitement

              • Colonel Mustard

                You incite hatred repeatedly. Mainly against yourself as it happens.

          • Alexsandr

            if people cant take criticism of their religion then they are imbeciles. I find islam to be deeply offensive, in its attitude to women, female genital mutilation,, makng them wear hijab and burkas and forced marriage of very young girls, for their silly jihads against people who dont agree with them etc etc
            the problem is with people who cant take criticism, and jokes againt their beliefs, not the people criticising and making jokes.man born in Mecca in 570

            come on pythons, make a sequel to life of Brian about a man born in Mecca in 570

            • telemachus

              Alexandr
              The prophet preached peace
              Man added the offensive behavior
              How many were killed in Northern Ireland in the Catholic Protestant troubles?

              • Alexsandr

                I am not going to defend any people who talk to imaginery friends.
                but I think you need to read your Koran for Mohammed certainly did not preach peace.

              • Andy

                Mohammed did not ‘preach peace’. He was very violent and if you go to Topkapi you will see his sword in a case. Please tell us all where we can see Christ’s sword ??

                • Alexsandr

                  I think you will find he sais ‘Turn the other cheek’ not a lot of slaying of unbelievers in the new testament.

                • telemachus

                  Who said
                  Whoever is not with me is against me

                • Alexsandr

                  didnt say ‘slay them’ tho.

              • Colonel Mustard

                I’m surprised that someone who spouts about Christianity as much as you do is so ignorant of what happened in Palestine before the Crusading era.

                • telemachus

                  Ah Palestine
                  An example now of the need to apply Christian Principles to the actions of the occupying power

                • Andy

                  Yes Islam is an occupying power.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which might prove difficult considering Israel is a jewish state.

                  But clearly you don’t have a clue about what I was referring to and instead just spew out another tediously predictable Guardianista slogan of manipulated language.

              • vieuxceps2

                “The prophet was a very successful warlord.Read more before writing again.

              • Fergus Pickering

                I don’t know. How many have been killed in Syria in the sunni shia troubles?

            • Jilly

              Not forgetting the barbarity of halal killing and the fact that almost ALL lamb now eaten in this country has been offered as a blood sacrifice to the muslim god

              • Alexsandr

                quite.
                we should fight for meat labeling to state if the meat had been ritually slaughtered or properly stunned in the humane way.

              • The PrangWizard of England

                I’m told all New Zealand lamb is killed to the cruel muslim way, without stunning, so I would urge a boycott. Only buy lamb from English Farm shops and ask them how it is killed. Boycott supermarkets. I’ve tried to raise halal killing with Waitrose. You can tell immediately they are terrified to discuss it. They fall over themselves to fob you off.

                • Jilly

                  It gets worse… Supermarkets say the animals are stunned and a ‘blessing’ is said as they die. The truth is that they are lightly stunned in order to make them controllable amid the screams of other animals and the noise of machinery. They have to be conscious when throats are cut: the stunning does not anaesthetise them. The ‘blessing’ is a dedication of the death of the animal to the muslim god as the animals bleeds out and then fits. The force of the fits can tear the flesh from the bones. See Halal Food Authority website for lists of all the meat suppliers. Most are not muslim but are using halal slaughter so that cheaper cuts can be used by muslim restaurants I.e. more £££. Eg Dunbia is certified by Halal F A. This company has a new Chairman. Check him out – It will surprise you….

                • IanM

                  I think you will find that this dates from the time when the UK joined the socialist paradise of the Common Market and NZ had to find other markets for its produce. Given that background, good luck with trying to influence NZ.
                  There were halal butchers employed in the killing pens at the meat works where I worked in the summer holidays in the 1970s in NZ, but they only worked on consignments headed for the Middle East, not on meat headed for other destinations.

                • Jilly

                  It’s true. NZ lamb in this country is halal. The volume of exports of lamb to M.E is such that it does not make economic sense to have halal and non-halal facilities. Animals destined for sacrifice to the muslim god have to be kept separate from others. So abattoirs dispense with humane methods and the whole lot are bled to death with minimal or no stunning.

                • IanM

                  Jilly, I can’t speak for current practices, but 40 years ago the animals were properly stunned before being killed. Government inspectors ensured that. The only differences with other batches of sheep were the personnel involved in the halal killing process and the incantations uttered. Individual groups of animals were kept separate in the marshalling yards depending on who had bought the animals and paid for processing. This so that buyers got what they paid for. The rest of the process was carried out by infidels like me, using the same equipment and same procedures. As a proud infidel, my attitude to the prayers would be to that they would have the same effect as a witch doctor rattling beads over them. That is, none at all.

                • Jilly

                  Ian, I understand things have changed in NZ. I too remember agriculture and animal husbandry from years ago and regret many of the changes in attitudes in the face of Agribiz. In the abattoirs there are inspectors present but they are under a lot of pressure not to object (I’ve listened to one saying how dreadful things are) As far as the incantations go, of course at one level it’s just as you say.
                  I see it as creeping islamification of UK.
                  An historical fact is that when the Mughals overan India in 1700s, after subduing the population militarily, they further subjugated the people by forcing them to eat halal meat which was anathema to Hindus, Jains etc. It is seen as a step towards ‘converting the dhimmi’.
                  My objection to halal slaughter, especially on the wholesale scale it is practised in this country is primarily on the grounds of unnecessary animal suffering but there is the cultural aspect as well which I find vaguely sinister. I would like to choose not to eat halal but in restaurants and supermarkets the choice

                • Jilly

                  (Continued) is denied me as the meat in most of these places is halal. Why should I be limited in choice because a minority of people in this country have ensured that the majority eat animals involved in a horrible death as part of a ritual religious sacrifice? I dislike Kosher killing as well but don’t see kosher killed animals being pushed to unknowing customers. I bet if there was a clearly labelled and freely available choice of meat, most people would choose not to eat halal. Which is why the choice is not there…..

          • kyalami

            Do you actually read what you write?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Hypocrite! You denigrate your fellow citizens for disagreeing with you about politics, you label them in scorn and advocate sending them to the gulag or prosecuting them with ‘trumped up charges’.

            • telemachus

              And you political point in relation to Nawaz?

              • Colonel Mustard

                You are the one making political points. I am merely commenting on another demonstration of your hypocrisy. You are the very exemplar of the word hypocrite.

          • Hugh

            “where violence might supervene”. That is really both utterly dishonest and stupid.

          • vieuxceps2

            “None of us are free to denigrate our fellow-citizens….” Well,you seem to make a habit of it.

          • sarah_13

            Not sure what you mean “where violence might supervene”, but in the US they have a principle called the “hecklers veto” – the idea that no one has the right to threaten violence to stop free speech – the government’s job is to provide safe spaces in which people can speak freely, exchange ideas and air all their views however offensive they may be to a section of the community – No one has the right to blackmail society into silence whoever they are . Deliberate, specific and real incitement TO VIOLENCE is one thing, but the broad speech restricting “incitement to hate” legislation is misguided and should be rescinded.

          • Shatterface

            I don’t think there’s a degree of fucking off that you can do that I would consider sufficient.

          • curious

            Moron.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You mean by that we are not free to denigrate our fellow citizens in case (being followers of Islam) they kill us.

      • Andy

        That is because you are a Fascist and an imbecile. Islam is a belief system and as such is open to question, comment and examination. If a Muslim is offended by that, then so be it.

        Islam is heretical – Mohammed was an anti-Christ – and so Muslims are heretics. Islam is not a religion, nor was Mohammed a Prophet. This is a catholic country and we tolerate Islam and allow Mohammedans to practise their faith, but we expect and demand obedience to our Law and loyalty to our Sovereign. Problem is far too many Muslims give the impression that they are not only heretics, but also traitors.

        • telemachus

          This is not a Catholic country and where I was brought up it was considered heretical to laud the Pope
          We were however civilised enough to

          • Andy

            I did not say it was a Roman Catholic country. The Church of England is a Catholic church and enjoys apostolic succession from St. Peter. It is not a Roman Catholic church.

            To any Christian Islam is an heretical belief. Why do you consider it offensive that someone points out a correct theological position and demands that Mohammedans obey the Law and are loyal subjects of Her Majesty ????

            • telemachus

              No I do not
              And I also applaud attempts to convert but I still decry hate crimes

              • Alexsandr

                but you do not decry FGM, do you. you called me a racist oin Labour List for bringing the subject up.

                • telemachus

                  Because you tar all adherents to Islam with the same brush

                • Alexsandr

                  no. i have looked up the Koran and what it says.

          • Alexsandr

            not watched dave allen then?

            • telemachus

              The spirit in which it is done has a bearing on hate crimes

          • kyalami

            The tone of your posts is consistently offensive. Despite this we will manage, and Speccie will probably thrive on the contention you create.

          • Rainsboro

            Ban, censor, outlaw, repress, silence, persecute – the idiot Left really is intellectually bankrupt

            • telemachus

              No but if folk cannot behave reasonably society has a duty to act

              • Colonel Mustard

                With your kind it is not society but the ‘state’ you seek to take over and then the gulag which you have advocated many times.

                I just finished watching ‘The Way Back’. You disgust me.

                • telemachus

                  I read the original book by Rawicz (The Long Walk) and indeed have it on my shelves
                  In the film Jim Sturgess played a Pole- no doubt a survivor of the German bullets in the Smolensk forest a decade previously-so clearly an enemy of the people(spy). No wonder you enjoyed it

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I didn’t enjoy it. It was a profoundly sad film about the human condition where people like you exert devastating power over others in the name of political ideology.

                  And the poles were murdered by Stalin’s regime, as well you know, you scheming liar.

              • Rainsboro

                Are you sure you didn’t mean to write ‘Volk’?

              • James Lovelace

                Islam tells its followers that the only way they can be assured of entering paradise is to kill non-muslims. Ergo, the international community has a duty to ban islam.

            • Andy

              You forgot to mention murder – that’s where their persecution leads.
              They are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

      • HenryWood

        What do you mean by, “a fair chunk of the population will be upset in a core way […]” ?

        According to government figures *and* our neutral national broadcaster, the Muslim population of the UK is less than 5%.

        Are you saying these figures are wrong? Or can you please tell me where you are getting your fair chunks from?

        I must say the figure of 5% does seem too small to me and I look forward to your very independent figures which shall no doubt correct these statistics.

        As soon as you can confirm my suspicions I shall immediately contact the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the scoundrel Clegg, and the indubitable scoundrels Blair, Brown, Balls et al, just to rub their noses in it.

      • kyalami

        No. Censorship is more evil than what it seeks to censor. I remember people wanting to censor Jesus Christ Superstar and Life of Brian. If God wants something censored, I am sure He is perfectly capable of doing so.

        • Alexsandr

          where is life of colin about a kid born in Mecca in 570?

          • kyalami

            Indeed.

        • telemachus

          God works through man
          As I have said Scorsese should be censored

          • kyalami

            God told you this, did He? How did He work before man came along? Or did Cro-Magnon man, with flints and other tools, create the universe under God’s guidance?

          • Rainsboro

            Your God – does he have a black moustache? First name Joseph?

          • Colonel Mustard

            God isn’t working through you if you can advocate the gulag.

          • global city

            the great intellect is actually just a bloody contrarian.

            Remember that the next time you are tempted to be angered by the BS this poster spews?

      • James Lovelace

        Islam is an offense against christianity.

        Islam denies that Jesus was the son of god.

        Islam should be censored because it is offensive to christians, buddhists, hindus, atheists, etc. Muslims who deny that Jesus was the son of god should then be prosecuted for hate crime.

        • Alexsandr

          yes. why cant infidel and kaffir be banned as ‘hate words’ I find them extremely offensive. As I am sure many others do.

        • telemachus

          In Saudi it would be said that Jesus was a simple prophet
          Different belief systems hold sway in different countries
          I do not think you would find Saudi’s being gratuitously offensive to Christians in Saudi

          • Alexsandr

            no they go to syria and butcher christians there, or pay for it.
            in between stoning women to death at home.

          • Rainsboro

            So executing people for becoming Christians is not gratuitously offensive?

          • James Lovelace

            “I do not think you would find Saudi’s being gratuitously offensive to Christians in Saudi”

            You people are unbelievable. The Saudis impound any bibles or religious symbols they find when people arrive in that country.

            The Saudis execute people of other religions who are seen or heard praying — even in their own homes. http://www.revleft.com/vb/sri-lankan-boy-t173979/index.html

            And you think they are not “gratuitously offensive”.

            You are so deranged you think a “Jesus and Mo” t-shirt is more offensive than being beheaded for praying inside your own home.

            • Andy

              Saudi Arabia confiscates Bibles and Prayer Books which are desecrated and destroyed. No Churches are allowed in Saudi, even though when Mohammed was born there was a Christian population. But this persecution of Christians is common throughout the Muslim world.

              In Egypt many Christians have been murdered by Muslim Brotherhood thugs. Churches have been destroyed. Even under the old regime you could not build or even repair a church without a permit from the President.

              In supposedly secular Turkey the Orthodox Church is persecuted. I have advised Fraser to go and interview the Patriarch and get his take on the ‘religion of peace’.

              I wonder how Muslims would feel and react if we treated them how they treat our brothers.

            • Colonel Mustard

              He is addle-headed in everything. He thinks if he writes it here it is true and nothing more needs to be said. Be afraid, be very afraid that in telemachus beats the heart of the Labour party.

              • James Lovelace

                A few years back I realised that there was no reasoning with these leftwing fascists. The only thing one can do is provide links to evidence that refutes them, so that anyone who is undecided gets to see that these narcissistic shouty types have got nothing but bluster.

            • Agrippina

              Saudis force the filipinos working in their country to convert to islam, most of them were catholics when they went there to work. No such thing as freedom to practice any other faith.

      • Rainsboro

        You must have wept buckets when the Soviet Union collapsed. Born eighty years too late and in the wrong country.

        • telemachus

          No I wept when the revisionists took over in 1953

          • Rainsboro

            I’d reckon that a statement indicating support for one of the C20th’s worst mass murderers is deeply offensive (even if it’s a joke) to anyone who lost relatives in the Gulags or post war Eastern Europe. The difference is that I believe you have the right to say it – do you know the definition of hypocrisy?

            • telemachus

              If you mean a man whose iron will and purpose delivered his people from subjugation by the Germans and who today is revered by them you should study the benefits and not listen to tittle tattle

          • vieuxceps2

            So you wept when Stalin died, did you?

      • McClane

        You’ve done well, tm. You have now monopolised the entire comment thread with your inanities. Most replies are now off-topic and respond to your drivel and address neither the original blog post nor readers’ concerns. Is your isp filtering sites which may be more useful to you?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Ridiculous isn’t it? But it demonstrates his need to dominate and coerce conformity to his extreme left wing views. No wonder he admires Stalin. Almost every opinion he disagrees with now gets tagged with his ‘rebuttals’. It borders on the psychotic – or at least obsessive-compulsive. He just can’t bear the idea of free thought beyond the confines of Labour party thought control.

          A salutary lesson for all of us as to just what types are attracted to that miserable party and what their aspirations are. It’s not as if history hasn’t taught the lessons about the telemachus’ of this world. The ones who inflict so much evil in the name of progress.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            People really should stop feeding the TM troll especially on the Islamist ideology.

      • ADW

        I refuse to believe you actually mean this. I am disgusted by all religion – contemptible fairy tales the lot. Can they all be sent to jail for spreading hate?

      • Fergus Pickering

        They would do better to tar and feather you I think

  • starfish

    “But perhaps those who did take offence at Nawaz’s posting of the ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon need to remember that they benefit from free speech too. If they were successful in curbing it, they’d ultimately suffer too when someone else found their views offensive.”

    Hopelessly naive. This is a one-way street. Islamists can stop others free speech but are not bound by the same rules…apparently

    • telemachus

      Remember this Yale debate in relation to the Danish cartoon publication:

      *

      To be sure, Yale’s censorship—the right word because Yale suppressed content on moral and political grounds—raised difficult questions. Can’t rights, including freedom of speech and press, be limited to accommodate other rights and goods? What if reprinting the cartoons and other depictions gave thugs and extremists a new opportunity to inflame passions and unleash violence? Can’t the consequences of the cartoons’ original publication be understood without reproducing them? Weren’t the cartoons really akin, as Yale Senior Lecturer Charles Hill pointed out in a letter to the Yale Alumni magazine, to the depictions of Jews as grotesque monsters that successive American administrations have sought to persuade Arab newspapers to cease publishing? And isn’t it true, as Mr. Hill also observed, that Yale’s obligation to defend free speech does not oblige it to subsidize gratuitously offensive or intellectually worthless speech?
      *
      It is not possible in a civilised society to acquiesce to offensive free speech

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      Taking offence… soon to become a new Human Right!

  • Mynydd

    Muslim logic is not the same as Christian and non-Muslim logic.

  • Shazza

    We have, unfortunately, got past the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ stage regarding the sensitivities of the permanently offended members of the RoP. Time after time, we have bowed down, through fear and cowardice and silenced all who dared to timidly try to bring into civilised discourse, a debate about the loss of freedom both in terms of physical movement around this country and hard won freedom of speech to accomodate the openly hate filled rhetoric that endlessly spews forth against the native dwellers’ culture, history and beliefs both secular and religious. The wedge is now firmly in place – it is game over.

  • telemachus

    As I previously posted Nawaz was guilty of an offence as bad as Scorsese in the Temptation of Chtist
    Isabel is wrong to say those who wish to curtail his right to grossly offend do not extend it to their own beliefs
    I am no Muslim and indeed elsewhere today I have argued for Christian conversion
    But I feel that not only Nawaz but Scorsese should be punished

    • WatTylersGhost

      Tele,
      You offend me daily. Thank you.

      • In2minds

        Try not to be offended by incoherence?

        • telemachus

          Read Wat Tyler’s history

      • telemachus

        But not with hate crimes
        *
        Are you not due an encore with the Mayor
        *
        Please

    • Fergus Pickering

      Punished? Which part of the body is to be cut off?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Which parts of the body should be cut off?

      • telemachus

        I decry violence
        Tarring and feathering will suffice

        • Andy

          You are inciting violence.

        • Colonel Mustard

          If you had any degree of knowledge beyond your fat-headed bigotry on behalf of the Labour party you would know that tarring and feathering IS violent.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarring_and_feathering

          Once again you demonstrate both your insufferable hypocrisy and your odiousness.

    • crosscop

      Should witches have called for Roald Dahl to be punished?

      • telemachus

        Are you able to identify any witches that were offended

        • crosscop

          Mrs Crosscop.

    • kyalami

      We live in this strange society in which no-one is guilty until his or her case has been heard in a court of law and a verdict of guilty returned. Are you suggesting we implement kangaroo courts?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Well, that’s the theory. Increasingly it seems as if we do live in a society where people are presumed guilty (and the accusers ‘victims’) before the case has been heard in court. And even then if the verdict is not consistent with a particular political agenda there are howls of protest.

        We also live in a society where arrest – the deprivation of an individual’s liberty by the state (which should be an act of last resort) – has become the default police response to any allegation and almost a bureaucratic formality, before even a reasonable level of enquiry into the prima facie evidence has been conducted. This represents a major shift in the police/public relationship in the UK but seems to have occurred without proper political scrutiny or debate.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    Jesus and Mo?

    Good cartoon. It’s on my bookmarks.

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/

    • telemachus

      You are guilty of the same offence as Nawaz

      • Dodgy Geezer

        I’m guilty of a lot more than that! See my avatar….

        (But try PROVING it…)

      • Dicky14

        And what offence is that, pray tell, oh ignorant one? Standing up for liberty, not bowing down to fake iconoclasm, offending your rump postal frauded votes, criticizing imaginery and fake stipulations dreamt up in right wing madrassas, holding out debate as challenging and difficult? Who’s offended? Who pays them? Attacking Quilliam for chequebook reasons, eh? You’re making the same mistake as Blears, Clarke, Blair et al – pay them and they’ll be pliant. Might work with the provos but this game ain’t principled, need wiser heads than any drivellous flummery you’ve been roted into.

      • kyalami

        The offence is … ?

        • Rainsboro

          Thinking

      • ItinerantView

        Having a sense of humour,something you could desperately use.

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