That’s right. The police. That’s what they’re there for, right? To serve and protect against murder, rape, theft, assault, and… insults to a stone-dead man who isn’t even around to have his feelings hurt.
What if Ben Donnelly had said something on the same level about Jesus? Well, we know there would be no demonstrations with placards calling for “Death to those who insult our Lord and Saviour” (“saviour” with a “u,” because it’s Britain). There would be no blackmail to give into in the form of public paroxysms of outrage.
And it would be properly seen as ridiculous to try to make it a police matter. “Voting reformer gets the sack for ‘anti-Islam tweet’,” by Craig Woodhouse for the Evening Standard, February 2:
A voting reform campaigner was sacked today after posting an “outrageous Islamophobic” joke on Twitter.
Ben Donnelly was dismissed from his volunteer post as a phone bank manager for the Yes To Fairer Votes campaign after his comments provoked a political storm.
The part-time music teacher could yet face disciplinary action from his employers at Kidbrooke School in Greenwich, who are looking into the matter.
The Yes to Fairer Votes campaign, which wants a switch from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote (AV), moved quickly to axe Mr Donnelly after details of his tweet were leaked to the Standard.
Posted yesterday afternoon, it read: “Says in the Holy Qu’ran Mohammad used to get his neighbours to vote by AV which of his 4 wives he’d shag each night.”
In the interest of accuracy, Muhammad couldn’t stop at just four.
Muslim groups were outraged, with Labour MP Khalid Mahmood calling for Mr Donnelly to be referred to the police. “This is outrageous and totally Islamophobic,” Mr Mahmood said. “What has Islam got to do with AV?”
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of Muslim youth organisation the Ramadhan Foundation, described the joke as “disgusting”.
A Yes campaign spokesman said: “These comments were utterly disgraceful. Conduct like this will not be accepted by the campaign. We apologise for any offence taken and are as offended by these appalling comments as any other right-thinking person.”
Mr Donnelly issued a statement through the Yes campaign saying sorry for the tweet, which has been deleted from his account.
“I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused,” it read. “My comments were thoughtless and I bitterly regret them.”