Written by Jasmine York
I want to highlight the absolute hypocrisy on Thursday’s show of ‘This Week’. I think the distinction between having freedom of speech and having a “one-up” on the opposition has become blurred. It is bad enough that we are squabbling over the distorted view of Islam, but to see professionals such as politicians and journalists argue and even deny an opinion only discourages people from opening their mind to the possibility that perhaps mocking religion is not appropriate.
Call it satire. Call it what you want. 100 years ago it would have caused an uproar to mock Christianity. I am surprised that even the comedian, Shazia Mirza, who appeared on the panel, argues that Judaism has come a long way because Jews are now able to laugh themselves. Does she think they laugh because they are humoured by anti-Semitic comments? Or, are they exhausted from a lack of success in their protest? Christianity may accept teasing but I feel that’s because Western society is more secularised than it used to be. Islam is thriving and they should not have to laugh or adopt the tolerant disposition that Shazia Mirza believes, rather naively, will resolve the conflict. As for Jews, it appears anti-Semitic views are more prevalent than we believe: according to a new report, 45% of British people agreed with one of four anti-Semitic statements put to them in the Anti-Semitism Barometer Report, while 26% agreed with at least two (The Independent).
Religion should approach humour with zero-tolerance. Yesterday, home secretary, Theresa May commented on the vulnerability and anxiety felt by Jewish citizens. She states it is important to ‘redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism here in the United Kingdom’. Many people’s views of Jews and Muslims are based on stereotypes. It is time for these inaccurate views to be abolished.
People are taking advantage of freedom of speech by using it as a justification for their purely offensive comments about religion. On ‘This Week’, journalist Nabila Ramdani passionately felt that repeat publishing of the Prophet on ‘Charlie Hebdo’ will provoke further violence. She was attacked by the rest of the panel who were ‘outraged’ by her comments. It is interesting that the public were angered by Fox News saying that Birmingham is a ‘Muslim-only city’. Can they justify their comments with freedom of speech?
Allowing satirical magazines to blaspheme, and continue to do so after murder, will only encourage others to mock Islam. A joke will soon enough cross the line. It is inevitable. It is also becoming evident to me that some people who make malicious comments aren’t joking anymore.
The number of Muslim women reporting hate crime rose by 10 per cent in the last 18 months. 8 Muslim-owned shops were attacked in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon. I only discovered this information by looking. Where are the news reports on these cases? Terrorism is not a one-way street.