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Cambridge Student "at the Centre of a Race-Hate Probe After Printing Anti-Islamic Material":

From the Cambridge Evening News (U.K.):

The 19-year-old second year student at Clare College was in hiding today (Friday, 09 February) after printing the racist cartoon and other vile material.

The article is said to be so inflammatory the undergraduate has been taken to a secret location for his own safety.

Today (Friday, 09 February), senior college officials were locked in urgent talks about how the material came to be published and what action to take against the student at the centre of the scandal....

The student magazine, Clareification, printed a cropped copy of the cartoon of the prophet Mohammed next to a photo of the president of the Union of Clare Students.

The cartoon was captioned with the president's name and vice versa.

There was also comment suggesting one was a "violent paedophile" and the other was "a prophet of God, great leader and an example to us all."

The cartoon was the same one which caused riots across the world when it was printed in a Danish newspaper....

The paper had been renamed Crucification for a special edition on religious satire.

The front page included headlines stating: "Ayatollah rethinks stance on misunderstood Rushdie".

On page six, pictures were shown of Muslims holding placards reading: "Behead those who insult Islam" and "Freedom go to Hell."

Enraged students have bombarded the Union of Clare Students with complaints and vice-president of the university's Islamic society described it as "hugely offensive" and "crude unabashed prejudice." ...

Read the whole story for the full picture.

Here's my question: I understand the British have a different free speech tradition than ours; they're not bound by our First Amendment jurisprudence; there are indeed some speech restrictions that we forbid but that other democracies can tolerate and still preserve a vibrant marketplace of ideas, and means for democratic self-government.

But can anyone tell me just what European (including English) students, and citizens more broadly, are free to say about Islam without fear of expulsion from college, or even potentially criminal punishment (as has been discussed in other cases of harsh criticism of Islam)? Islam is an ideology, an ideology which may have a great impact on life and government in Europe. For European self-government and public debate to work, Islam needs to be discussed forthrightly and unreservedly much like libertarianism or Socialism or Communism or atheism or Christianity need to be discussed. Doubtless much critical discussion of it is still possible today without the risk of punishment (I even set aside for purposes of this post the risk of violent retaliation by private individuals).

But how is a European to know just what he is free to say, and what may be condemned as "race-hate" or "anti-Islamic material" or whatever else? Is a publication, for instance, free to republish the Mohammed cartoons in order to discuss whether they are indeed "racist," and for that matter what they mean? Is a publication free to publish any images of Mohammed, or is it barred from doing so on the grounds that some Muslims might find even non-hostile images insulting? What exactly can be said without the reasonable fear of punishment?

Bored Lawyer:
What exactly can be said without the reasonable fear of punishment?

1. Allahu Akbar.

2. Jews and Christians are pigs and monkeys.

Variations of 1) and 2) might be allowed, if we feel tolerant that day.
2.13.2007 3:27pm
DrGrishka (mail):
This is related to your previous posts on "insulting religion" and consequences.

I understand that Europe has a very different understanding of free speech than we do (e.g., prohibiting denial of the Holocaust, banning various neo-Nazi or Communist parties, etc.). However, it does look like there is significantly less tolerance towards individuals who offend Islam than there is towards those who offend Christianity of Judaism. The question then is, are the Islamic fanatics who rioted last year over the cartoons and their ilk succeeding in actually silencing the voices of European citizens? Does that mean that in Europe, if one wants to be really effective against political opponents, all one needs to do is cause general mayhem? If so, that puts European traditions in a very precarious situation.
2.13.2007 3:29pm
ed o:
of course they are silencing them, both there and here, with the threat of violence. Observe the mewling of the media over the cartoons (showing the evil side of a religion that, unfortunately, has a public face of evil in the world today). if one side of the argument is required to be silent, guess which side will prevail in the end-one doesn't have to be a genius to figure that out. I would hate to be a young girl growing up in the Europe of today-she will have a very rough life starting in the very near future.
2.13.2007 3:35pm
Blue:
Formal suppression of anti-Islamic speech in Europe won't stop it, just push it underground. The facts of the case--that Islam as currently practiced is invariably associated with barbarism, repression, and violence--are so clear that the Big Lie of "Islam means Peace" cannot be sustained indefinately.
2.13.2007 3:53pm
guest1234:
I thought the Brits had a sense of humor. Would Monty Python members be put in jail (or decapitated?) today if they approached Islam with the same irreverence they showed towards Catholicism?
2.13.2007 4:00pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
Reading the extract from the article, it almost seems like the college authorities are trying to act preemptively--as if they want to say to the Islamic community in Britain, "See? See? We've taken care of the problem, please don't riot and burn down our building."
2.13.2007 4:01pm
The Emperor (www):
I think the answer to Prof. Volokh's question is that no one really knows at this point. The boundaries are still being defined.
2.13.2007 4:02pm
ralph:
If it is not permissible to "insult religion" in Europe, they will have to shutdown all of the Protestant churches, because they were formed out of the original sin of insulting the Mother Church, Roman Catholism.

Or maybe, we have to shut down all of Christianity, because it insults both its Jewish roots, and the Roman Gods it supplemented.

Or maybe we should just go back to animism, and worship the rocks and trees, which is where it all started...

Oh, my bad. We have already reached that state, with the religion of environmentalism.
2.13.2007 4:03pm
cvt:
Good questions, but I don't understand your assertion that Islam is an ideology. Are you implying that Islam is something other than a religion? If not, would you say that Christianity and Judaism are also ideologies? I don't think they are, even though some Christians or Jew use religious beliefs to support political or ideological positions. The way that religious people use their religious beliefs is too varied to justify calling the entire religion an ideology. It's the same for Islam.
2.13.2007 4:17pm
Simon Elliott:
Is quarrying rocks or pruning the bushes an insult to animism?
2.13.2007 4:17pm
Waldensian (mail):

I understand the British have a different free speech tradition than ours; they're not bound by our First Amendment jurisprudence; there are indeed some speech restrictions that we forbid but that other democracies can tolerate and still preserve a vibrant marketplace of ideas, and means for democratic self-government.

Thanks for mentioning this. So often on Volokh people shake their heads about speech restrictions in Europe as if they're new, necessarily improper under the other country's laws, or somehow particularly worrisome.

Quite often, as in this case, they are none of the above. The fact is that Europeans have been restraining free speech for eons, and have suffered -- and continue to suffer -- the consequences of these idiotic policies. This will continue. My apathy knows no bounds.
2.13.2007 4:19pm
Deoxy (mail):
"I even set aside for purposes of this post the risk of violent retaliation by private individuals"

But you can't. See, that's the point. The policy is set by what "causes" this violence. That is, the state has already declared complete surrender to Islam. NOTHING is acceptable.

"I don't understand your assertion that Islam is an ideology"

Christianity is also an ideology, as is Judaism, hiduism, and communism. These ideologies, should they b embraced at the state level, have huge political consequences.
2.13.2007 4:52pm
RBG (mail):
A couple of interesting points from the article itself. First, it appears that the offending material appeared in an issue of the college paper devoted to "religious satire," and the paper was renamed from "Clareification" to "Crucification" for the special issue. The point and title of the issue, along with the description of the pages where the satirical material on Islam appears (leaving the impression that only a portion of the issue targeted Islam rather than . . . certain other faiths), leads me to believe that much of the satire was directed against Christianity. Yet not a word in the piece is devoted to describing the nature of that satire, making it utterly impossible to determine whether Islam was treated relatively more or less harshly. One also wonders how many other religions were pilloried, something about which I am very curious.

Second, the newspaper itself uses the phrase "racist cartoon and other vile material" to describe the offending content. Concerns about blatant editorializing aside, this is truly remarkable: In an issue devoted to religious satire, only the satire directed against Islam is deemed racist. Again, it would be useful to have descriptions of the other offending material for comparison, but one wonders why, given the context, Islam occupies a different category. Even if one accepts that Christianity is a universal religion in a unique sense, wouldn't any rationale for treating satire of Islam as racist necessarily require condemning satire of all non-Christian religions as such? I mean, the adherents of Hinduism, for example, are probably less racially diverse than the adherents of Islam. I really do not get this.
2.13.2007 5:01pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
cvt: Religions, I think, are ideologies (though not all ideologies are religious). They are, in the words of the dictionary.com definition (based on the Random House definition), "bod[ies] of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guide[] an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group."
2.13.2007 5:22pm
Choy Mu (mail):
Another excellent job of reporting by the MSM. I know that this was a special edition of the newspaper retitled "Crucification" dedicated to religious satire, that the front page had a headline about an Ayatollah, that page 6 had a picture of Muslim protesters, and that somewhere there was the cropped Mohamed and another guy.

Apparently, the whole thing was nothing but a slur on Islam because there is not a single mention of any other religion being satired. You would think it would be newsworthy to include how much of the edition satired each religion and point out that it's only the Muslims that are bitching about anything.

But, of course, that would also be an insult to Islam. Claiming they have no sense of humor.
2.13.2007 5:39pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Someone mentioned Monty Python earlier. Just think about "The Life of Brian", or "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Have these movies with their over-the top ridiculing of Christian and Jewish religious shibboleths been banned? Are their producers and distributors being harried? I don't think so.

Clearly there is a one way street in Europe and England now as regards free speech: parodying, lampooning, and critiquing some religions, philosophies, politics, and theories, is acceptable. Doing the same to others is not. That's not free speech.

The other side of the Atlantic is sinking into a new form of pre-medieval barbarism. Perhaps Wahabi and Ayatollah Islams are the perfect new religions for these pathetic people who are working so hard to destroy the polity and culture they inherited from their more worthy ancestors.
2.13.2007 5:42pm
Elliot Reed:
Prof. Volokh: I think it would be a pretty serious mistake to identify a religion with its doctrines, myths, beliefs, etc. A religion will generally include those things, but you're missing a lot of texture and nuance if you identify the religion with those things. Religion is ideology, but it's also culture, tradition, and ritual (which different religions emphasize in different degrees). You won't learn much about Reform Judaism by studying Reform theology and ignoring the history and culture it's embedded in.
2.13.2007 5:54pm
Waldensian (mail):

The other side of the Atlantic is sinking into a new form of pre-medieval barbarism.

The Swiss led that charge to the bottom long ago. See, e.g., their lovely policies regarding train travel,, bank deposits, and works of art.
2.13.2007 6:04pm
Crunchy Frog:
DrGrishka,

Causing general mayhem is a cherished European tradition.
2.13.2007 6:12pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
It is a good thing that he didn't do something like that with Jesus. The intolerant right-wing Christians would have complained about it and might have even go so far as to threaten a boycott of the magazine's advertisers.
2.13.2007 6:19pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Islam is more than a religion and an ideology. Today Islam is a political movement as it seeks to gain political power any way it can, including through force and violence. For various reasons the Europeans, and to a lesser extent the US don't want to come to grips with this problem. With minor exceptions even vociferous critics of Islam stop short of advocating a halt to immigration from Islamic countries. Continued immigration will only make the situation worse, and when Islamic communities reason a certain critical mass in Europe you will see demands that their governments make radical changes.
2.13.2007 6:31pm
ajftoo:

Today Islam is a political movement as it seeks to gain political power any way it can, including through force and violence.


Fixed that for you Zarkov...
2.13.2007 6:38pm
whit:
I gotta disagree with this premise:

(european countries with their speech restrictions) "still preserve a vibrant marketplace of ideas, and means for democratic self-government."

i think not. this is exactly why we have a 1st amendment, to protect offensive speech - speech that challenges, offends, invokes thought, etc.

european countries simply do not have that anymore. when you can be prosecuted for "hate speech" or "vilification of religion" for saying that Allah eats kittens, there is no "vibrant marketplace of ideas"

(note: I am not aware that Allah eats kittens. It was to make a point)
2.13.2007 6:51pm
Spitzer:
Honestly, is Clare College's response simply one step down the historical road on which San Francisco University has started (re disciplinary threats against the College Republicans for stepping on flags of Islamic militants that just happened to contain the word Allah)? Before we get our knickers in a twist every time a European public entity does something stupid, maybe we should recognize the early stages of analogous trends here in the US? After all, at least the Danish media had the courage to print the cartoons at issue last year; the "brave" New York Times couldn't do that.

Which begs another question: if we self-censor our speech out of fear of violent reprisals, at what point do we begin to censor our other activities in order to accomodate an increasingly militant and confident group?
2.13.2007 6:56pm
Nicolai (mail):
(I live in Cambridge, and have for a decade. I'm also Danish)
The Cambridge Evening News is a small-town paper which makes the most sensational story out of whatever news it has to hand, as well as being fairly populist and right-wing. So, its qualitative opinions ("vile material", etc) should be taken with a pinch of salt.
But now, we are all Danish. A determined subset, at least, of one religion will use maximum noise, threat, and force to try to impose their dogma on those of us who don't belong to the religion.
England has no blasphemy law any longer, and while there are recent moves towards laws against inciting religious hatred, and long-standing laws against inciting racial hatred, merely being offensive about a religion is not a crime.
I can only continue to quote Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands Posten as interviewed in the Washington Post:
But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy. European Human Rights law also enshrines this idea.
Past precedent is that being rude, or even merely not entirely respectful, of Islam in the UK is not a crime, for example Salman Rushdie was never considered to have done anything wrong, and nor is producing plays critical of the Church of England a crime.
Inciting racial hatred, on which the idea of inciting religious hatred is being based, is to threaten harm to people on the basis of their race; being rude about them is not inciting racial hatred, nor is writing The Bell Curve to justify they are inferior.
The student has, at worst, broken College rules about "causing trouble" or "being rude", but they are not the law of the land.
2.13.2007 7:17pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
afjtoo:

Thank you. That fixed was needed and much appreciated.
2.13.2007 7:23pm
Nicolai (mail):
Several people have mentioned Monty Python's "Life of Brian".
This was considered controversial in its day (late 1970s). It was banned in some countries, cinemas which showed it were picketed by Christian and Jewish religious people, etc, the producers and distributors were harried by the religious people mocked in the film.
2.13.2007 7:27pm
ROA:
Spitzer: Another question: at what point do other groups see the benefits of violence and start emulating Muslim radicals?
2.13.2007 7:43pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
2.13.2007 7:54pm
whit:
it is hard to criticize anything, without arguably "inciting racial (or any kind) of hatred".

these speech restrictions in the UK, Canada, etc. are absurd. they don;'t have a free marketplace of ideas. they have a free marketplace as long as you don't offend the wrong people.

it is ironic that you mention the bell curve. a similar theory (about racial differences) was mentioned by a professor in a canadian college about his R-K hypotheses, that basically had to do with the idea that asians were more evolved than whites, and whites were more evolved than blacks.

he was prosecuted in canada under their racial hate crime laws - unsuccessfully.

the Life of Brian is a good example. Can u imagine any UK filmmaker making a "Life of Mohammed" that was similarly themed?

of course not. that would incite "racial hatred".
2.13.2007 8:05pm
Martin George (www):
I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that it is a crime, or indeed has any real legal connotation. What it is about is good judgment, the same good judgment that meant not one British newspaper printed the cartoons during the original furore.

I've blogged about this here.
2.13.2007 8:14pm
wooga:
Isn't the assertion that mocking Islam is a "racial" attack, in itself a racist assertion? You wouldn't say an attack against Christianity was "racist," would you?

After all, there are many different races that practice Islam. The implied assumption by this college is that "Islam = Arab," which would be a tremendous insult to Khomeini.

I charge the college with a racial slur against Persians by claiming they are no different from Arabs, and for ignoring that wonderful patchwork quilt of peace that is Islam.... /sarc
2.13.2007 9:19pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Such simmering conflict and resentment has led to slaughter in the streets many times in the past. It's a mistake to think we are that different from our ancestors. Consider the Twentieth Century.

One thing that does differentiate us from our ancestors is our realization that free speech and an open airing of differences can avoid the potential conflict and slaughter. We even have experience that demonstrates this. I suggest stiffling such speech will only increase the probabilty of the slaughter.

Some on the Islamic side have said the time for talking is over. Now some on the Western side are also saying there is no room for talk. So, what does history tell us is left?
2.13.2007 9:28pm
whatup:
Yes, christianity includes (deluded) people of color, but because it is a historically hegemonic religion in the West, it does not deserve protection within the Western tradition.

Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, et al. have been minority religions subject to vicious treatment under evil hegemonic straight white male christians. Therefore, such religions deserve protection in the West by means of anti-racist laws that encourage tolerance and respect for diversity.
2.13.2007 9:51pm
The River Temoc (mail):
I think those who are arguing that there is no criticism of Islam in Western Europe are being deliberately obtuse. Criticism of Islam is routine by many European politicians -- look at Le Pen in France, Pim Fortyn in the Netherlands, and Joerg Haider in Austria. Some of this discourse is even seeping into the mainstream. Indeed, I would say (speaking from a national security perspective) that the danger of a neo-fascist government coming to power in Europe, with Muslims as its scapegoat, is higher than that of some kind of reign of politically correct terror.

Also, those who are ballooning the Clare College incident into something more than it's not are forgetting that it took place at a university, where the politically correct crowd is much more influential than in other contexts. (As someone else pointed out, look at the San Francisco State.)

Lastly, there's also difference between a bunch of people getting offended at someone's speech and the state restricting that speech. The article tells us that the former has happened in Cambridge, not the latter. We know that "enraged students" complained to the student union, and that an officer of the Islamic society condemned the article -- as well he should -- and that the student has gone into hiding. The article says nothing about Cambridge sanctioning him. Methinks that some of the contributors to this thread would argue not merely that Nazis have the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, but that the good citizens of that town have a constitutional duty to welcome them with rose petals. As we know, in the real world, things don't work that way.
2.13.2007 10:00pm
The River Temoc (mail):
City To Open Arabic Public School In Brooklyn

...and would you tell us precisely what is wrong with opening an Arabic language school, please? And do you have similar objections to French schools, Mandarin schools, etc.?
2.13.2007 10:03pm
wooga:
Criticism of Islam is routine by many European politicians -- look at Le Pen in France, Pim Fortyn in the Netherlands, and Joerg Haider in Austria.
Temoc, Pim has stopped all criticism of Islam.

christianity includes (deluded) people of color
Whatup,
I assume you are being sarcastic, but I have seen many posts just like yours on less educated sites than this... but as an interesting historical note, Ethiopia was the second Christian nation. The rest of your post is obviously in jest.
2.13.2007 10:08pm
John_R (mail):
The River Temoc said:

The article says nothing about Cambridge sanctioning him.


Really? How do you interpret this bit?


Today (Friday, 09 February), senior college officials were locked in urgent talks about how the material came to be published and what action to take against the student at the centre of the scandal.


The part in bold certainly seems to imply they are going to sanction him.
2.13.2007 10:24pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"and would you tell us precisely what is wrong with opening an Arabic language school, please? And do you have similar objections to French schools, Mandarin schools, etc.?"

You tell me, where do you see an objection?
2.13.2007 10:57pm
harmon:
Prof. Volohk asked:

But can anyone tell me just what European (including English) students, and citizens more broadly, are free to say about Islam without fear of expulsion from college, or even potentially criminal punishment (as has been discussed in other cases of harsh criticism of Islam)?

It appears to me that no European is actually free to say anything about Islam, because there is no way to anticipate what will antagonize the adherents of Islam. What Europeans say about Islam is at the sufferance of Islam.

Notice that this student has gone into hiding. European law, even English law, apparently cannot be relied upon to protect its own citizens from Islamic anger. This first became evident when Great Britain failed to protect Salman Rushdie. But now, the law does not merely fail to protect - it actively assists Islam.

So what we have is a situation where the government permits - indeed, essentially conspires with - religious zealots to persecute non-violent citizens who mock or criticize Islam. How long will it be before Europeans start converting to Islam in order to be safe from Islam?
2.13.2007 11:08pm
Just a Nut (mail):
I am still scratching my head. I do not see the insult to Islam or any racist stuff in the published stuff.

Maybe we are hinting by commentary that this is supposed to be "insulting." So Muslims on your marks! Go! get the swords etc.

I bet Muslims do not even read the paper. And those that do read it do not care.

Reminds me of the Rushdie case. Khomeini did not know of the 'Satanic Verses' for months because it really was not his type of literature. Then some idiot told him that papers in India and Pakistan had discovered an 'insult' to Islam and that the helpful Indian government had already banned the work in question. Next thing you know, there was a Fatwa and Rushdie was kissing the Scotland Yard ass. And, Khomeini-- he never read the book.

Lesson: ignore this stuff and enjoy the fun writing. Explaining or hinting about the 'insult' is what gets the beast riled up. Next time, professor Volokh should link to it as, for instance, a 'wonderfully interesting piece on the joy of being a Muslim.' They will never know and may even recommend it to others as a guide. And, this is what Europeans including the blockhead officials who are busy overreacting at the College, are free to say.
2.13.2007 11:35pm
harmon:

Indeed, I would say (speaking from a national security perspective) that the danger of a neo-fascist government coming to power in Europe, with Muslims as its scapegoat, is higher than that of some kind of reign of politically correct terror.


That would seem quite possible. On the other hand, it seems to me that it is also possible that the neo-fascist government could be Islamic. It wouldn't be the first time a political minority managed to terrorize its way into contol of a European government. What's needed for either scenario is a charismatic leader.
2.13.2007 11:54pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Well, if it is true that he is in hiding, he isn't hiding from the English authorities.

That raises the question: if he is in hiding, does he have good grounds to do so?

Answer: Rushdie

While the professor's post raises a curious question for an exam, it it otherwise irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is that critics of Islam in England stand a very good chance of being killed by Muslims and a very bad chance of receiving protection from the government.
2.14.2007 12:09am
Ken Arromdee:
Criticism of Islam is routine by many European politicians -- look at Le Pen in France, Pim Fortyn in the Netherlands, and Joerg Haider in Austria. Some of this discourse is even seeping into the mainstream.

That sounds a lot like "we treat our black people well. Some of them are even free men."

If fear and PC keep criticism of Islam out of the mainstream, the fact that some of it manages to seep in nevertheless, so that fear and PC are not 100% effective, really isn't any sort of defense.
2.14.2007 12:21am
anonymous333:

Several people have mentioned Monty Python's "Life of Brian".
This was considered controversial in its day (late 1970s). It was banned in some countries, cinemas which showed it were picketed by Christian and Jewish religious people, etc, the producers and distributors were harried by the religious people mocked in the film.


That's exactly the point. In contrast to being "picketed" and "harried" (horrors!) if someone tried to make a movie that insulted Mohammed the Islamofascist-American community would slaughter her. That's why the "brave" New York Times will print national security secrets, mock anyone religious, but will not dare put up those cartoons. For all the bluff, the liberals know that while right-wing boogeymen may "picket" or make Bill Keller "harried" - the Islamofascists who live in the United States would park carbombs at 98th and West End.

The only solution is the deIslamification of the West. I think the Gaza evacuations serve as a good precedent. For the sake of peace, the Islamofascists must leave. Peacefully, or otherwise.
2.14.2007 12:37am
pmorem (mail):
Theo van Gogh is also notably no longer criticizing Islam.
2.14.2007 4:01am
Michael Mouse (mail):
But can anyone tell me just what European (including English) students, and citizens more broadly, are free to say about Islam without fear of expulsion from college, or even potentially criminal punishment [...]?

The short answer is, I believe, no.

At least in England and Wales, which is the jurisdiction I know best. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 made it a specific criminal offence to use threatening words or behaviour, or to display any written material which is threatening, if you intend thereby to stir up religious hatred.

This was modified during the Bill's passage in to law by the House of Lords - against the Blair Government's wishes - to remove a chunk about "abusive or insulting" material, and to add the requirement for an intent to stir up religious hatred. The original Bill merely required the possibility of such hatred being stirred up.

Obviously, the law is very new and there's no case law yet (to my knowledge), so precisely what is and is not covered by this Act is yet to be determined. The intention of many of those behind the Lords amendment was to avoid criminalising just such satire as discussed here, but whether that's what the law will do in practice remains to be seen.

On the other hand, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights - which is now part of UK domestic law as well as EU law - provides for the right to freedom of expression, subject to "restrictions necessary in a democratic society". It's theoretically possible that a challenge might be brought against the Act under this provision, but my money wouldn't be on it.

That's just legal sanctions, of course. The effect of extra-legal threats of violence have been discussed widely in this thread already. And bodies such as Universities and Colleges have wide powers to impose disciplinary action for actions that are entirely legal.
2.14.2007 4:37am
luispedro (mail) (www):
"Islam is an ideology, an ideology which may have a great impact on life and government in Europe."

Islam is a religion. Islamism is an ideology.
2.14.2007 9:03am
Just Dropping By (mail):
"The only thing that is relevant is that critics of Islam in England stand a very good chance of being killed by Muslims"

Really, a "very good chance"? Please recite each instance in, say, the last 50 years, of a critic of Islam in the United Kingdom who has been killed by a Muslim.
2.14.2007 10:43am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Rushdie.
2.14.2007 11:15am
anonymous333:

Really, a "very good chance"? Please recite each instance in, say, the last 50 years, of a critic of Islam in the United Kingdom who has been killed by a Muslim.


Every critic of Islamofascism lives in fear in the U.S., U.K., and the West. The Islamofascists have through violence, thuggery and threats begun their colonization. Unless we meet CAIR and their thugs with the same level of venom and violence that Ibrahim Hooper (yemach shemum), and the other Islamofascists profess, we will be living under the wicked Sharia before the century's out.
2.14.2007 11:23am
whit:
i would respect the NYT if they admitted "we're afraid" but instead they claimed their reason not to print the things was due to "sensitivity".

since when has the NYT taken that stance? they didn't with Serrano's Piss Christ, they didn't with the virgin mary covered in dung, and they depicted the NYC mayor as some sort of fascist for claiming that maybe such art that is clearly offensive to religious people should not be publically funded.

the double standard is amazing with them
2.14.2007 12:05pm
Colin (mail):
Rushdie.

Am I nuts, or is Rushdie still alive?

Every critic of Islamofascism lives in fear in the U.S., U.K., and the West.

Do you actually live in fear? Is that why you suggest that "we meet CAIR and their thugs with the same level of venom and violence that Ibrahim Hooper (yemach shemum), and the other Islamofascists profess"? What sort of violence are you actually proposing "we" apply to CAIR?
2.14.2007 12:07pm
whit:
colin, most of us aren't in fear BECAUSE we don't openly vilify islam like (for example). it doesn't mean the fear is not legitimate, and that it does not have a massive chilling effect.

try taking a picture of the prophet muhammed, smearing it in dung and urine and stamping on it with dirty feet, in plain view of the public.

if you can honestly say that you would do this WITHOUT fear in the US, the UK etc. then i would agree with you.
2.14.2007 12:12pm
Colin (mail):
You may already agree with me; my post just asked questions, and didn't give you much to go on in terms of my own beliefs. I agree that the threat of violence is a reprehensible response to public speech, and that it is appropriate and laudable to criticize those threats. But dishonest and inaccurate criticism is counterproductive and inappropriate. It is not accurate, for instance, to say that "critics of Islam in England stand a very good chance of being killed by Muslims." Nor is it true that "[e]very critic of Islamofascism lives in fear in the U.S., U.K., and the West." That's relatively harmless hyperbole, but it supports more reprehensible proposals, such as anonymous333's call to retaliatory violence.
2.14.2007 12:35pm
markm (mail):

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 made it a specific criminal offence to use threatening words or behaviour, or to display any written material which is threatening, if you intend thereby to stir up religious hatred.

And when is a Muslim going to be arrested for threatening Christians?
2.14.2007 12:38pm
wooga:

Rushdie.

Am I nuts, or is Rushdie still alive?

Rushdie is alive and teaching at Emory U. in Atlanta.
2.14.2007 1:00pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
"try taking a picture of the prophet muhammed, smearing it in dung and urine and stamping on it with dirty feet, in plain view of the public. if you can honestly say that you would do this WITHOUT fear in the US, the UK etc. then i would agree with you."

I suspect most people (including myself) wouldn't do that to a picture of Jesus "without fear" either, so I'm unclear on your point.
2.14.2007 2:22pm
Spoons (mail):
"I suspect most people (including myself) wouldn't do that to a picture of Jesus "without fear" either, so I'm unclear on your point."

Actually, if I were to do that to a picture of Jesus, my only fear would be the possibility of being trampled to death by government agencies wanting to give me grants.
2.14.2007 2:41pm
Alex650 (mail):
It is somewhat ironic, however, that the "Freedom Go to Hell" reference is from a recent trial where the English convicted a Muslim extremist for both hate speech AND solicitation to murder (for saying "Bomb Denmark" in the context of a bunch of other nasty stuff; see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6235279.stm ) That strikes me as also being violative of the idea of freedom of speech (he wasn't advocating any specific violence; is it solicitation to murder to say "Bomb North Korea"? But the Brits convicted him, so at least they're consistent.
2.14.2007 2:49pm
anonymous333:

What sort of violence are you actually proposing "we" apply to CAIR?


Well, when people draw cartoons, Islamofascists marched with signs that read "Behead those who insult islam" and according to Wikipedia: "Altogether, at least 139 people were killed in protests,[47] mainly in Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan." htp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon_riots

I think that us Dhimmis should learn from our Islamofascist overlords and respond the same way when those that worship Mohammed as a god insult us.
2.14.2007 2:50pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
Anonymous333, you are aware that the people killed during those protests were overwhelmingly protesters themselves (who mostly died from being shot/beaten by riot police or being trampled), right? Not something a rational person would emulate, IMHO.
2.14.2007 3:08pm
Serenity Now (mail) (www):
The River Temoc: Criticism of Islam is routine by many European politicians -- look at ... Pim Fortyn in the Netherlands ...

Yes, please do look at what at became of him because he criticized Muslims.
2.14.2007 3:27pm
whit:
bravo spoons!!!!!!

Just Dropping By: people already HAVE done this sort of things with christ images, apparently without fear. they get editorials praising their daring in the NYT

there was the piss christ exhibit by serrano (crucifix dunked in urine), the virgin mary painting that was covered in dung ( i forget the "artist's" name on this one) etc.

i think it's a GOOD thing that people do not act violently towards those who criticize their religion. and the only religion i am aware of, where one needs fear for their safety when doing such 'art' is ISLAM

when Sinead OConnor cslled the pope "the enemy" and ripped up a picture of him, she was CRITICIZED

i am not aware that anybody tried to kill her

i double dog dare you to do the same thing with a picture of Mohammed
2.14.2007 3:30pm
hey (mail):
Ayan Hirsi Ali was evicted from her apartment because of the danger she faced for her stance on Islam. She had police protection and ended up moving to a new place every night given the extreme danger of criticising Islam in Holland.

The Left has demonstrated that they only respect those who will actively engage in extreme violence. Thus their love for Baader-Meinhoff, Fidel, and Islamism, while they denigrate Christians and Jews. They have encouraged Sikh extremists to use violence to end a play that they opposed.

This is a very bad idea, as it grants a heckler's veto and encourages violence and terrorism rather than a civil society where everyone can politely think that others are heathens who are going to hell or confused people with imaginary friends. This will end very badly for the Left, but they never learned from their past mistakes, so why should they do better this time?
2.14.2007 4:39pm
neurodoc:
Just Dropping By, on 7/7/05 there were 52 instances in London of innocents murdered by Muslims. True, those particular individuals were not known to us or their murders as "critics of Islam," but those who died that day (and those who were maimed by the bombers) can be regarded as surrogates for others in the UK who have been "critics of Islam" of somehow given offense to the Islamists.

Do you think that the 4 Islamist murderers who died that day along with their victims were all the murderous Islamists in the UK, or that Salman Rushdie is alive today because there were none who presented with the opportunity to kill him would not have done so?

Or did you only mean to quibble about "probabilities," that is "very good chance"? Because the likelihood that any one of us in the USA or UK will die as a result of terrorism is small, do you think fears in this regard are overblown?

["The only thing that is relevant is that critics of Islam in England stand a very good chance of being killed by Muslims"

Really, a "very good chance"? Please recite each instance in, say, the last 50 years, of a critic of Islam in the United Kingdom who has been killed by a Muslim.]
2.14.2007 6:04pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Colin, OK, you're nuts. Are you seriously contending that, when he was in Britain, Rushdie did not face a good chance of being murdered by a Muslim?

England is not exactly overrun with outspoken critics of Islam. The British government's offer of protection to Rushdie was tepid. Considerably less enthusiastic than its offers of heartbalm to 'outraged' Muslims.
2.14.2007 7:47pm
anonymous333:

you are aware that the people killed during those protests were overwhelmingly protesters themselves (who mostly died from being shot/beaten by riot police or being trampled), right? Not something a rational person would emulate, IMHO.


Why do you think that the victims of the violent riots by the Islamofascism were "overwhelmingly protestors themselves".
2.14.2007 11:42pm
Colin (mail):
Colin, OK, you're nuts. Are you seriously contending that, when he was in Britain, Rushdie did not face a good chance of being murdered by a Muslim?

I don't know. All I know is that Just Dropping By asked for "each instance in, say, the last 50 years, of a critic of Islam in the United Kingdom who has been killed by a Muslim." You gave one name, of a man who, whatever he may have feared, and however reasonably, is not only alive and well but living and working in a disclosed, known location. Remember, my concern is not that criticism of Islamic extremism is inappropriate, but that it should be honest and serious. Pithy but inaccurate one-liners are neither. Feel free to try to answer JDB's question again.

The British government's offer of protection to Rushdie was tepid. Considerably less enthusiastic than its offers of heartbalm to 'outraged' Muslims.

Didn't Britain cut off diplomatic ties with Iran over the Rushdie fatwa? I have a hard time reconciling that serious step with your simplistic characterization of the facts. Again, I'm not defending those who irrationally and reprehensibly threatened the man's life, but you're not offering any useful criticism of those people by throwing out his name like a shibboleth.

We know that Rushdie was threatened. But when you say, "The only thing that is relevant is that critics of Islam in England stand a very good chance of being killed by Muslims and a very bad chance of receiving protection from the government," we also know that's not true. You dilute the useful and necessary message by burying it in heated rhetoric.
2.15.2007 10:12am
A.C.:
When a westerner criticizes Islam, is the more likely result:

1) stirring up hatred of Islam among westerners, or
2) stirring up hatred of westerners among Muslims?

Does this make any difference in the application of the UK law against stirring up racial hatred? It seems to me that European governments are trying to rein in their skinheads and other minority-bashers, but end up providing cover for minorities that riot in the streets whenever they are subject to the same sort of criticism that everyone in the west has to put up with.
2.15.2007 12:42pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Cut off diplomatic ties? Be still, my heart!

I bet they sent a stiff note, too.
2.15.2007 2:41pm