Rushdie, who is of course the poster child for the totalitarian intransigence and brutality of Sharia law, here predictably identifies “religion” as the problem, and engages in simplistic moral equivalence. However, he is honest enough to state clearly what Britain’s new hate speech laws are designed to do, and whose favor they are intended to curry. “In bad faith,” from The Guardian, with thanks to Doc Washburn:
The exception to European secularism can be found in Britain, or at least in the government of the devoutly Christian and increasingly authoritarian Tony Blair, which is presently trying to steamroller parliament into passing a law against “incitement to religious hatred”, in a cynical vote-getting attempt to placate British Muslim spokesmen, in whose eyes just about any critique of Islam is offensive.
Journalists, lawyers and a long list of public figures have warned that this law will dramatically hinder free speech and fail to meet its objective – that religious disturbances will increase rather than diminish. Blair’s government seems to view the whole subject of civil liberties with disdain – what do freedoms matter, hard-won and long-cherished though they may be, when set against the requirements of a government facing re-election?
And yet the Blairite policy of appeasement must be defeated. Perhaps the House of Lords will do what the Commons failed to do, and send this bad law to the scrapheap.