Louis Smith, above right, the UK gymnast who offended Muslims by ridiculing Islamic prayer, missed a parade of British Olympian athletes in London yesterday – because he was attending two mosques.
The Mirror, which exposed a video showing Smith mocking Muslims, reported that he visited two mosques in London “to learn more about the Islamic faith”.
After his busy day Louis posted a picture to his Facebook page and wrote:
So today I visited 2 mosques in London that I was invited to. I accepted the offer to learn more about the Muslim community and Islam. I honestly can say it was actually a really good day. I was a little nervous and anxious before visiting because of the reason events in the last week. But the people and the community where so understanding and inviting.
We discussed my actions and they showed me what they learn & the true meaning behind there (sic) religion of peace. The community work they do for various charities is actually crazy and the money raised each year would blow your mind.
Smith issued several public apologies and appeared on the TV show Loose Women to discuss his actions.
Commenting on Smith’s “show trial” on the show, Douglas Murray of The Spectator, wrote:
Here, a quartet of women interrogate and berate Smith over his drunken behaviour … It is so surreal that it really is worth watching. It begins with a shocked Janet Street-Porter, above, berating Louis Smith for his drunken behaviour and telling him how unacceptable it is. Yes, indeed, Janet Street-Porter tells someone off for coarseness and drunkenness.
Then June Sarpong, above, tries to get Smith to admit that what he and his friend did was ‘racist’. Poor Smith does not reply that of course Islam is not a race, because he is in full-on career-saving apology-tour mode. ‘At what point would you think it was ok to do that?’ demands Sarpong.
When the mixed-race Smith eventually tries to push back, insisting that it wasn’t racist Sarpong says that it was ‘xenophobic and prejudiced for sure.’
It is worth watching the whole thing. Because of course if Smith and a friend had made some joke about Christianity not only would it not have made it to The Sun, it would barely have made it to social media. But thanks to more than a quarter of a century of internalising the Rushdie fatwa, even the most liberal parts of our society have volunteered to become the Spanish Inquisition of Islam.
When we read about societies in history which destroyed people for heresy we usually gasp in amazement. Yet here is a case of someone breaking a heresy of our own society because of beliefs which aren’t in any way central to our society and the result is to try to destroy the person’s career, ensure they can’t work again, publicly humiliate them, call them all the most damaging names possible and make them grovel to get back even a semblance of their old life.
This is a sickness. And the fact that this type of show trial is on public television in the middle of the day and that the judges and jury are four ‘loose women’ make it only more emblematic of our dumb and dimwit-run times.
The 27-year-old last week told the BBC he had received death threats “every day” after a video was posted online.
I was ignorant to people’s religion. And I apologised for offending those who follow the faith.
We can all exercise our right of freedom of speech but, being in the public eye and someone of sporting influence, it’s my responsibility to exercise it in good taste, and on that part I messed up.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn