Blasphermy, Religious and Secular
Date Written: 28/10/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23167
An essay on a European Court of Human Rights ruling and on changing forms of blasphemy law.
The ECHR ruling appears to confuse the protection of rights and of feelings. Believers should be free to worship, assemble and express their beliefs. But they possess no rights to have their beliefs protected from abuse, nor their feelings from being hurt. Calling Marx a monster or Gandhi a bigot may offend Marxists or Indians. They have to put up with it. So should religious believers.
Once hurt feelings become a matter for the law, religious rights themselves become precarious. In 2006, after publication of the Danish cartoons, Iqbal Sacranie, of the Muslim Council of Britain, made derogatory comments about homosexuality on Radio 4's Today programme. Some gays were offended. The police investigated.
In response, 22 Muslim leaders wrote to the Times demanding the right to 'freely express their views in an atmosphere free of intimidation or bullying'. Those same leaders would have denied that right to newspapers publishing cartoons mocking Muhammad. They are, no doubt, applauding the ECHR ruling.