European nations, including my own are descending into madness especially when it comes to the right, dearly bought by many previous generations, to mock religions. The idea of a ‘marketplace of ideas’ is a cornerstone of advanced societies and both Christianity and Judaism have both adapted well to existing in free societies. Not so Islam. This ideology is so piss-poor and weak in its ideological foundations, that it cannot survive without the protectionism of blasphemy laws. It’s why in Islamic societies there is legislation in place to punish harshly those who have the temerity to ask questions, sometimes hard questions about Islam. If Islam was confident in itself it would not need to defend itself with the sort of violence that we see it using so often against those, such as the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, who mock it. We didn’t see Roman Catholics wielding swords against the makers of ‘Father Ted’ and neither did we see Jews blowing up buildings in response to the often cruel jokes made against the Jewish faith. There is a reason for that and that is Christians and Jews are civilised and the followers of Islam are not.
The news from Denmark, a country once known for its liberal approach to free speech, that a man has been charged with blasphemy for burning a Koran should send a shiver down everyone’s spine and elicit righteous anger from anyone who cares about freedom. For the first time in 46 years the Danish state is prosecuting someone for blasphemy, not for mocking one of the traditional Christian religions of Denmark, but for mocking Islam. I say if you are not disgusted by this then you are not paying attention to what is going on in the world.
Here’s part of the Daily Mail’s coverage of this exceedingly worrying story.
A Danish man has been charged with blasphemy after he allegedly burned a copy of the Koran and posted a video of the incident on Facebook.
The 42-year-old suspect burned the Koran in his backyard in northern Denmark in December and posted the video on an anti-Muslim Facebook page.
He posted put the clip, entitled ‘Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns’ to a group called ‘YES TO FREEDOM – NO TO ISLAM’.
Prosecutor Jan Reckendorff said it was the first time since 1971 that a person was charged for ‘publicly mocking a religious community’s religious doctrines or worship,’ adding that the crime is punishable by imprisonment for up to four months or fine.
Speaking from the public prosecutor’s office in Viborg, he said: ‘It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion.
‘It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.’
Judges in Aalborg will hear the case, although no date for a trial was set.
This is an absolutely monstrous assault on the liberty of Danes it really is. According to the Mail the last attempt to prosecute for blasphemy was in 1971 and the two people who were charged were acquitted. Let’s hope that this is the same result this time as this is seems very much a test case for Denmark and if the prosecutor succeeds in convicting the defendant, then a large part of Danish freedom to speak openly and honestly about religious matters will be removed. Nobody with a religious belief feels comfortable with having their beliefs mocked or ridiculed or offended, I know I don’t, but the right to mock and ridicule beliefs and ideas is a vital one for free societies. Without the freedom to disparage cherished ideas societies cannot grow. America for example is nation where a lot of people are strongly committed Christians but this community can exist quite happily under a Constitution that expressly allows freedom of speech up to an including mocking the deeply held beliefs of everyone, including Christians.
There is really only one way to protest this abomination of a charge and that is more mockery, more satire and yes, in some cases that protest could take the form of even more assaults on the ‘big book of death’ aka ‘the Koran’.
Original Daily Mail story about the Koran burning in Denmark and the prosecution fo the Koran burner