Wakefield shows the emptiness of blasphemy allegations
The British state is too willing to accept complaints at face value
With each new blasphemy controversy in the West, from The Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo, the corrosive effect on free expression worsens. In Wakefield, we see just how low the bar for blasphemy allegations has fallen, and how readily complaints are legitimised by our own institutions. As reported, four non-Muslim pupils were suspended from school after the unintentional scuffing of an English copy of the Quran. West Yorkshire Police said they were closely “liaising” with the school and that their enquiries “confirmed minor damage” to the text. In their response, the school and local authorities seem to give credence to an understanding of blasphemy which goes beyond the one advanced even by jihadists.
After a Batley schoolteacher was forced into hiding and a film, The Lady of Heaven, was pulled from cinemas, this is at least Britain’s third major blasphemy ‘affair’ in as many years. The recent review of Prevent drew attention to the frequency and danger of blasphemy controversies, but there is nothing that any counter-extremism initiative can do to address these persistent clashes in the UK. This is not a question of countering extremism, solvable with workshops on ‘British Values’ or critical thinking, but instead concerns the sovereignty of British law and the fundamentals of British democracy.
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Prior to the aforementioned controversies, Glaswegian shopkeeper Asad Shah was brutally stabbed and stomped to death over blasphemy, and it seems almost a certainty to say that more people will be killed unless the British state and civil society can get a handle on these campaigns, and fast. This doesn’t mean workshops and interventions; rather, local councils and police forces must stop prizing “community engagement” to the exclusion of almost all other considerations, while positive community engagement or the cooling of tensions must mean more than caving to the whims of an offended minority. This approach leads to the embrace of barely concealed extremist figures in order to preserve local relations, but at the expense of the overall health of British democracy.
To reverse course requires using the measures which have been used to block Right-wingers and even a rapper from entering the country from abroad whereas, presently, preachers who lionise religious assassin Mumtaz Qadri can freely make fundraising trips from Pakistan to Britain which allow them to whip up blasphemy fervour at home. It means the public sector not rushing to adopt a definition of ‘Islamophobia’ which transparently protects belief as much as it is designed to protect individual human beings. It means mainstream political parties ejecting people who inflame these affairs — as one councillor did in his (now-deleted) description of the Wakefield page scuffing as a “desecration”. It means the police declining to have anything whatsoever to do with damage to a text, religious or otherwise.
They have failed to do this, and inadvertently lent legitimacy to the complaints of the offended, the outraged, and self-proclaimed community leaders. And a new, serious approach certainly means that counter-terrorism or social cohesion funding should not be going to those who look forward to the restoration of Taliban rule.
This is not about Prevent or counter-extremism; it is the very basics which Britain seems to be getting wrong at almost every turn. All this is nicely summed up by a particularly galling spectacle: a police officer and the fearful mother of an autistic child pleading innocence during what amounts to a modern British blasphemy tribunal.
Let’s be frank; we all know why the politicians, the police and other institutions react with such rapidity and alarm to accusations of blasphemy by Muslims. Unlike other offended religious groups, Muslims will seek violent retribution, to the point of murder against the blasphemer. In short, Muslims are privileged as a result of the very real fear of violence they have created..
This is only going to get worse. The much higher birth rate among Muslims, along with their geographical concentration in particular constituencies is going to result in them becoming an increasingly potent political force. Today the established political parties pander to them for votes. But, in time, there will inevitably be a national Islamic party that will be a natural repository for the Muslim vote.
It should be clear to all by now that the vast bulk of Muslims do not want to integrate with British values or the wider British society. This is not the singular experience of Britain. The same pattern of self-ghettoisation is repeated, without exception, across Europe.
Muslims have not come to Europe to live as Europeans, but to colonise it. They will steadily gain numbers and political power, and will use this to islamify the West. Naturally, as the changes are resisted by the indigenous populations, this will cause a unresolvable internal political and cultural conflict that will inevitably result in an a widescale outbreaks of violence and civil disorder.
There is only one way to avert an eventual ethnic civil war in Britain and Europe, and that is to actively discourage further immigration of Muslims, and forcefully require that those already here abide by our laws and cultural norms.
It is also about the unwillingness of the authorities to enforce the law in Muslim communities
I trust Porton Down is working on a ‘solution’.
Best comment all week.
And as individuals we can all resist this coercive bullying by resisting all and every attempt to muzzle our speech, by resisting every attempt to blackmail us into silence, and using every opportunity to poke fun at, deride, and mock, any “religion” “faith” or “deity” that we wish to.
For that is the “freedom of speech” that we were born with and which even our disgraceful politicians claim we still have.
Well, that freedom to say what I want to, is my bloody birthright, and not theirs to give away. No one’s taking it from me. Not now, not ever.
20 odd years ago I was thinking that at last the UK were on the cusp of stopping the Christian religion having so much establishment power over my life. Then arrives this cr ap.
Hi, Marcus, I share your concerns but your statement “It should be clear to all by now that the vast bulk of Muslims do not want to integrate with British values or the wider British society. ” does seem a little over the top. ”
The vast bulk…”?
What was that poll a few years ago? How we didn’t need to worry as ‘only’ 20% of the UK’s Moslems felt sympathy for ISIS and only 4% would actively fight for ISIS.
Does it matter what the numerical numbers are? If those that are willing to whip up a violent mob are only 5% whilst 95% watch the 5% are the ones that matter.
So which political party should we be creating or supporting? Clearly none of the ‘normal’ ones are interested in protecting the UK…..
Honestly, WTF is wrong with people? A group of students pull off a stupid prank and the full weight of the state is brought to bare on them. Where are the adults? I’m not a religious man, but I’ve got to wonder what the reaction would be if this was a bible?
To ask your last question is to answer it!
I will just take this opportunity to say that Muhammed was a nonce.
Was that meant to be QUITE?
Obviously. ; )
I take this opportunity to say I despise taking cheap shots by inflicting blasphemy on those who are believers to score cheap points.
Having lived with Muslims in their lands, and respecting Islam as one must if one actually learns of it, and respecting Muslim peoples, I think it cheap to be offensive in such a way.
I respect all three ‘Religions of the Book’. I find Muslims to hold morality wile we Westerners hold degeneracy to be acceptable.
Blasphemy is despicable disrespect and rudeness. I do not believe in it becoming a legally punishable Crime – but I think it should be explained that it is very poor behavior – very disrespectful indeed, of a major religion with millions of devout followers who do not deserve that belittling. You may not agree with their Theology – but do you believe you know them and their region enough to despise and dishonour it?
I don’t disagree with all that you say. But this isn’t about respect for religion. It’s a simple matter of behaviour.
We know all about that, as we see it daily in our streets, on our screens, and in our courts and jails. We don’t need to be theologians to understand what’s going on in front of our faces.
And what we’re seeing is the corruption and theft of our culture and values by a bunch of bearded primitive thugs, using the excuse of violent and misogynistic centuries-old texts.
I think the aim is to make any criticism of Islam illegal. We already have self censorship when it comes to discussing aspects of Islam. I firmly believe that we may find people being charged for disparaging Islam. It will come.
Great points , worrying times..
Ah, the U.K. Approving the dismissal of a Christian vicar for teaching the biblical view of homosexuality in a Christian school, but kowtowing to every alleged slight against Islam. That’s consistency for you! The blasphemy is the hypocrisy of British social norms.
“funding should not be going to those who look forward to the restoration of Taliban rule.”
Bit late for that isn’t it?
Mr Duffy, you’re 100% correct of course. But for the sensible (and bare minimum) steps you rightly advocate to be implemented, the so-called Conservative government (‘party of law and order’, British values and all that) will need to grow a pair. As will the police, the education establishment and many others. There’s zero chance of that this side of the next millennium.
Who are the people in the picture, and is the woman a Moslem, or is she just kowtowing to a religion that she is not part of ?
She is the mother of the boy who “scuffed” the Q’ran. I think she is white & from what she said in apologia she is not a Muslim.
Look, Britain quite rightly abolished its blasphemy laws in 2008. These are incompatible with liberty and free speech. English law as it has existed for centuries.
Perhaps there needs to be a “reverse law” in which those trying to punish others for this fictitious offence (wrongthink/thought crime) can be prosecuted ? Doubtless there are laws already. We just need the courage to enforce them.
A nation can only function with one army. And one legal system.
If people don’t accept our legal system, they need to either campaign democratically to change it. Or going shopping for another country that meets their requirements. Or do the right thing and accept free speech.
Good article but it’s not just Islam we are being expected to ‘respect’ over and above our own national mores. Look at the other vocal minority who have shoehorned their way into schools and refuse to recognise reality or engage in any compromise – the so called ‘trans rights’ mob who exhibit all the indicators of being a new cult religion.
We need our government to get a grip on all of this. ALL notions of ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crimes’ need to be removed from society and law. Free speech must be protected and minority groups must never be granted privileges over the majority. We have quite enough laws to deal with incitement to violence, harassment etc and we don’t need to give some groups more rights than others – that’s the opposite of equality and only breeds resentment and division.
Britain is finished. Welcome to Britanistan.
“four non-Muslim pupils were suspended from school after the unintentional scuffing of an English copy of the Quran.”
Irrelevant words to the scandal of this kowtowing to Islam: four, non-Muslim, pupils, suspended, school, unintentional, scuffing, English, copy, Quran.
This shouldn’t have happened even if it was 400 multi faith adults intentionally burning a copy of the Bible or Quran or Talmud.
The problem for our late-modern/post-modern society is the legacy of a pre-modernist sacralisation of ancient texts of the Abrahamic faiths, both Christian and Islamic. Late-modernity (say up to last 200 years) caused the rise of fundamentalist reactions attaching to both Qu’uran and increasingly the Bible too. I am an Anglican priest and regret the often psycho-spiritually damaging or socially divisive hostilities engendered. It offends my Christian humanism…. .
Why was the Koran even in the school?
If the book is so sacred to believers it shouldn’t be in a public institution.
It is too late.
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