Saturday, 16 August 2008

Hats off to Johann Hari

Johann Hari has done us all a service in his latest polemic. If you believe in living in a free society his argument is simple and irrefutable - no religion is above criticism. Its strange how, in the 21st century, that many people still don't seem to get this. Either they are religionists and can't cope with critical comment about their religion, or they are unable to discriminate between say, criticism of Islam and 'islamophobia'. Islamophobia literally means 'fear of Islam' and I can sympathise totally with people who fear the Islamist fanatics who claim to speak for all Muslims, and seek to impose their reactionary, misogynistic, totalitarian theocracy on all of us. But in the context that is is popularly used it means a prejudice against Islam, and Muslims in general. I've no doubt that there are many people including those who support the BNP who are Islamophobes. However, criticism of Islam and Islamophobia are not one and the same thing.

We need to understand that Muslims are trying to stifle dissent and criticism of Islam on a global scale, through the UN. They demand 'respect' which means that they cannot tolerate unfavorable views on Islam, and seek all such views to be censored . After the Danish cartoons debacle, which was deliberately blown out of all proportion by Islamic extremists, death threats were issued not just against the publishers, but anyone else who dared to print the cartoons. Guess what  - not many people did. The 'free' press caved in.

When Osama Bin Laden threatened to kill westerners for political reasons George W Bush and Tony Blair both spoke out in condemnation, and vowed to bring him to justice. But when Islamic extremists threatened to kill westerners over the cartoons i.e. for religious reasons, Bush and Blair were silent. Why?, is it OK to kill for religious reasons? Of course not, but Bush and Blair are religious themselves, hence the silence. These double standards have given Muslim extremists the confidence to think they can silence dissent  with their bullying  threats. That is why it is so important that  all those who believe in free speech should support what Johann Hari has done.


VinP said...

I am not opposed to many of the comments you make, but your main belief appears (to me) to be that you are right and everyone who doesn't share your views is wrong. Some people find it hard to comment on Islam owing to their lack of understanding about the religion, and they are scared of causing offence. This - evidently -doesn't apply in the case of George Bush!

When you invite comments to your blog, do you post anything that anyone sends (i.e. you follow the principle of free speech) or do you filter out the ones you don't think fit in with your views (i.e. you use censorship)? I notice that some comments you posted recently appeared and then you took them down....... intruiging.

Howard Thorp said...

Nice to know you are a regular visitor. It would be odd to publish a blog if you didn't have an opinion, or if you thought that what you said was wrong! I'm happy to publish any comments from people who want to engage in constructive debate, critical or otherwise.

What I have found is that anonymous people seem to like to visit occasionally and make carping smartarse comments about me - not about what I have written or done. Which is odd because they don't know me at all. So no - I don't publish those comments. It's easier to destroy than it is to create something useful, and unfortunately some people seem to have nothing better to do. Call it censorship if you like but I didn't start a blog to give a platform to knobheads whose hobby it is to surf the net and find people to have a pop at.

So if you want to comment on what I written fine - otherwise expect to be deleted.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but if this is the behaviour of the man who was the council candidate I voted for, I won't be voting for the Green Party again.
You have shown yourself up as a supercilious boorish man, who doesn't deserve a public platfom on which to "represent" the Party. Your Party must be very proud to have you on board......
Jo P

Howard Thorp said...

Well, I am certainly intrigued by your comment and I'd like to know how you can tell how I behave from reading this blog - by the way how much of it have you read?

When I stood as a candidate I had a platform - policies which I expected people would consider in deciding how to vote. You seem to be more interested in my personality - which is a pity because there is too much of that going on - politics in the UK has now become a 'beauty' contest. That is how a man like Tony Blair managed to remain in power for 10 years.

If you are interested in what the Green Party stands for, why don't you get involved - who knows you might even be able to ameliorate my 'boorish' (sic) behaviour!

Anonymous said...

A good point well made, Howard - we should vote for the people who will represent us the best. It's hard to assess that - good comment about Bliar, of course - from a campaign though, as prospectives always show their "good side".... we only find out the truth once the result is known.