The Muslim Times has a ridiculous article entitled “Do atheists have the right to offend Muslims?” That may be the easiest question in the world, next to “Would you like some more pork?” And that question may offend Muslims too, but I couldn’t care any less.
Recently some atheists at the LSE Freshers day were asked by university authorities to remove T-shirts depicting the Prophets Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both) sharing a beer together. Well, to be more exact, they were asked to remove “Jesus and Mo” cartoon t-shirts, where “Jesus” is depicted as a cartoon caricature of the real Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and “Mo” is ostensibly a ‘body double’ of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Such conflicts are proliferating, and present an interesting challenge to our democratic society in the UK: do atheists have the right to offend Muslims?
On the face of it, this may seem a simple question, and most people probably will start reading this article with a fixed opinion on the issue. But it’s actually a rather complicated question!
No it isn’t. It’s a very, very simple question. And the answer is yes.
The European Convention of Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression in Article 10 of that Convention. However, like all fundamental rights, it recognises exceptions. Particularly relevant exceptions in this instance are for the purpose of preventing social disorder, of protecting morals, and protecting the reputation or the rights of others.
None of which are even remotely relevant to the question. If offending Muslims (or anyone else) leads to social disorder, that is the fault of those who respond violently to being offended. The commenters are equally clueless.
The answer is simple. No human being has the right to offend another person.
Really? Because I find what you just said incredibly offensive. There are few things that offend me more than someone who blathers this kind of totalitarian bullshit. By your own reasoning, you have just committed a crime.
One person’s freedom ends where another’s begins. Therefore offensive ‘anything’, should NOT be allowed under the guise of freedom of expression.
In fact, it is more hate mongering than so-called freedom of expression and therefore should be made illegal and a crime for it costs many lives.
There is no other freedom being impinged. You do not have any right to go through life with no one ever saying anything that offends you. And the only thing that costs lives are barbaric authoritarians who think they have a right to kill someone who offends them.
Hell yes, we have the right to offend you. And you have the right to offend me, as you do every day with your authoritarian demands.
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