Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Only Religious Thugs Love Blasphemy Laws"

Nick Cohen in The Guardian:

If the circumstances were not so hideous, the successful attempt by Pakistan to persuade the UN Human Rights Council to condemn blasphemers who defame religion would have been a black comedy. Every word its diplomats used in 2009 to protest against Islamophobia turned out to be a precise description of the prejudices the Pakistani state was appeasing at home.
"Defamation of religion is a serious affront to human dignity leading to a restriction on the freedom of their adherents and incitement to religious violence," thundered the Pakistani officials to the UN in 2009.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the marvellous Norwegian singer Deepika Thathaal (Deeyah). To Norway's shame, religious thugs harassed her and her family and drove her out of the country for the crimes of being glamorous and sexy and singing about freedom.
She came to Britain, and to Britain's shame, our religious thugs called her a "whore" and threatened to kill her too. She fled to America and told me that if white racists had driven an Asian singer from two countries, her case would be a cause celebre. As it was, the bigots who persecuted her had brown rather than white skins, so Europeans looked away.

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