Recently, there have been a number of high profile attacks on free expression by Islamists often supported by educational institutions and others.
What I find most absurd about it all is how the fundamental debate on Islam and free expression has become framed within a context of offence, racism and discrimination.
What has happened here in the west is that the Islamic movement’s inhuman, barbaric and medieval sensibilities and values are portrayed and excused as the offended sensibilities and values of all ‘Muslims’.
Islamist threats, violence and terrorism are tactics and pillars of the political Islamic movement, and have nothing to do with ‘Muslim sensibilities’. Whilst we are all offended at least some of the time (and very often by Islam itself), most of us – religious or not – Muslim or not – never resort to death threats and violence. If they were really people’s own sensibilities and beliefs, Islamic states and movements wouldn’t need to resort to such indiscriminate violence and to Sharia law.
Labelling it as people’s sensibilities is part of the effort to impose it from above in order to restrict rights and freedoms.
Moreover, saying certain types of expression is off-limits – however well-meaning – aids in its restriction.
In practice what this all means is not just that a UK student can no longer post a Jesus and Mo image on his Facebook page but that the victims and survivors of Islamism will find it all the more difficult to do the only thing they have at their disposal in order to resist.
So the next time you defend free expression and something as ‘trivial’ as a Jesus and Mo image remember that you are not only doing it for yourself but for the many languishing and resisting Islamism all over the globe.
Which makes your stand all the more important.
See you on 11 February.