07 February 2006

Islamic Cartoon Crisis - A Simple Solution

1. Stop invading foreign countries
No matter how much we might dislike other people's governments, the history of the last fifty years suggests that military aggression does not solve the problem, and usually results in the loss of innocent lives. It is not surprising that people get angry if you go half way round the world to bomb their capital cities then send in armies of occupation.

2. Dis-Establish the Church of England
Make a clear break between the church and the state. Religious belief is an individual, private matter. All religions to be treated equally and un-subsidised.

3. Establish a written UK consitution
This should create a bill of rights which incorporates freedom of speech and religious expression. I can make fun of your beliefs, your household pets, and your choice of wallpaper - and you are free to make fun of mine.


Mark said...

I'm a big fan of your blog and newsletter. I have forwarded the links to each to several of my friends. But I don't follow you on this post. How do any of the three points you mention above stop Islamofascists from acting violently against "infidels"?

mantex said...

Well Mark, I suppose it is a little cryptic and tongue-in-cheek-ish, but the points I was trying to make were as follows.

1. The invasion of Iraq was illegal and unjustified. We knew there were no weapons of mass destruction - but Bush and Blair went ahead anyway. Their imperialism and their arrogance is bound to have angered Muslims.

2. I believe in freedom of the press and personal expression - and one way to uphold it is to remove inequalities and injustices in the law. People should have the freedom to criticise and satirise anybody they wish.

3. Dis-establishment of the Church of England and the creation of a written constitution would help remove the special protection Christianity gets in the UK. It would or at least might help to secularise society. And it definitely should enshrine freedom of speech for everybody as an inalienable right - along with curbs on stirring up religious or racial hatred.

The Islamic extremists would be prosecuted for fomenting hatred - and reminded that they are living in a modern democracy, not a medieval theocracy.

Thanks for your kind remarks by the way.

skipper said...

Very much in favour of this blog and generally its programme of action on cartoons but:

1. Not sure a rule of non-intervention is unequivocally the thing required. Intervening when Saddam locked those Kurds in the north east corner of Iraq during winter or when the Serbians were massacaring the Kosovars, seems to me to have been wholly justified. And if another Hitler emerged would we not wish to retain the option of intervention?

2. Not sure the domestic things suggested would do all that much good as the main trouble caused by the cartoons is not at home but abroad. The deaths have come in assaults on embassies and demos in foriegn cities. Reforming our constitution and dis-establishing the church might do us some good but a foreign furore over another Rushdie or cartoon affair is still going to remain.

3The basic problem is that the militant muslims do not recognise the principle of free speech on religious matters. For them there is always a higher authority which can not be over-ruled by earthbound secular principles forged in 18th century Europe. Changing our laws is not going to change that inescapable reality.