07 August 2015

The right to rancour

.... Yet another secularist voice in defence of the preacher's right to speak colourfully has been raised by Jacob Mchangama, the Danish lawyer and free-expression advocate (he prefers not to be called libertarian) whom I quoted in my previous posting.

He sees hope in the fact that an imam has spoken out in Mr McConnell's defence: "When those who are supposed to be shielded from offence defend the free speech of the "offenders", there is hope for a virtuous cycle which realigns tolerance and free speech."

Here is another bizarre feature of the pastor's case: the Belfast-based Muslim businessman who first denounced the sermon, and is expected to appear as one of the main witnesses for the prosecution is an Iraqi from Mosul who caused a furore by praising the state of affairs in his home city after its takeover by Islamic State. Raied al-Wazzan said his birthplace "had become the most peaceful city in the world" where "you can walk from east to west without fear". He later apologised and acknowledged having used "the wrong words". [The Economist] Read more