11 October 2016

We must have the freedom to mock Islam

How did mocking Islam become the great speechcrime of our times? Louis Smith, the gymnast, is the latest to fall foul of the weird new rule against ridiculing Islam. A leaked video shows Smith laughing as his fellow gymnast, Luke Carson, pretends to pray and chants ‘Allahu Akbar’.

Smith says something derogatory about the belief in ‘60 virgins’ (he means 72 virgins). Following a firestorm online, and the launch of an investigation by British Gymnastics, Smith has engaged in some pretty tragic contrition. He says he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the ‘deep offence’ he caused. He’s now basically on his knees for real, praying for pity, begging for forgiveness from the guardians of what may be thought and said.

The response to Smith’s silly video has been so mad you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d been caught snorting coke or hanging with prostitutes. But all he did was have an innocent laugh at the expense of a global religion. He made light fun of a faith system. That’s not allowed anymore?

.... We often wonder why radical Islamists are so tetchy, so determined to smack down, sometimes literally, those who take aim at their faith. Well, wonder no more — they’ve grown up in societies that do precisely the same, which demonise and criminalise criticism of Islam, and which in the process give a green light to Islamist intolerance of the ‘enemies’ of Islam. [The Spectator] Read more