What a year 2006 has been so far! There is a breaking development every day with whales in the Thames, militant fathers plotting Leo Blair’s abduction, Ariel Sharon changing the face of Israeli politics one moment and fighting for his life the next while Hamas are elected into office inside Palestine. Just when it seemed that the New Year could not get more surreal than a series of 24, both the British National Party (BNP) and the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten create yet more havoc.
BNP Chairman Nick Griffin and his fellow cockroach Mark Collet walked free from Leeds Crown Court after the gruesome twosome were cleared on some charges of inciting racial hatred while the jury were unable to reach verdicts on the others. The insects had claimed that their remarks about Islam being a “dragon” and a “wicked faith” were part of a “legitimate political dialogue”. Hot on the heels of the BNP’s triumph came the violent, yet understandable backlash from the Islamic world over Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons depicting The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his descendants) as a terrorist.
Everyone has the right to free speech, yet that right as with all other rights comes with responsibilities. Just because you have the right to do something does not always mean you should exercise it. The right to free speech is never to be abused, yet this is ignored at every possible opportunity by elements of a gutter media irrationally hostile to Islam due to its own ignorance of the faith, those so-called ‘Muslim’ protesters in London calling for beheadings and ironically enough the removal of civil liberties, and above all the vile BNP.
As with the July 7, 2005 suicide attacks, the BNP are already making political capital out of Islamophobia by setting up a ‘trade union’ dubbed Solidarity: The Union of British Workers. Just as bad is the insensitive insistence of all-pervasive and cancerous liberals that freedom of speech without responsibility is a non-negotiable absolute. As Anas Altikriti commented in the Guardian on February 10, 2006, those “who claim to uphold freedom of speech by defending the right to reproduce insulting depictions of the prophet are in effect saying to Muslims that what they hold dear and sacred is far more worthy of protecting than what Muslims hold dear and sacred. The cartoons had more to do with incitement of hatred, racism and Islamophobia than with freedom of expression.” Rights and responsibilities are indivisible; you cannot have one without the other.