A FACEBOOK page has just been created in support of One Law for All’s rally for Free Expression which is being held in London from 2pm to 4pm at the Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Lords on February 11 – and one of the first people to comment – someone called Simon Richards – posted this lame comment:
Naturally, I support this, but I do think it regrettable that freedom of expression has been coupled with secularism here. Freedom of expression should exist both for those who support and those who oppose secularism. There are, for example, many instances of Christianity in the UK being discriminated against as a result of secularism.
I immediately responded to this bilge, saying:
Christians being discriminated against in the UK? That’s just rubbish. The majority of recent high-profile “persecuted Christian” cases have either involved homophobic bigots who flouted equality legislation, or zealots who have refused to comply with dress codes that forbid the wearing of religious symbols at work. These people have unreasonably demanded exemption from anti-discrimination laws and workplace rules, and fully deserve to be prosecuted and held up to ridicule.
And Hassan Radwan said:
Secularism is the only way to guarantee freedom of expression. If we allow religion – any religion – to dictate what we can say and do, you can kiss goodbye to freedom of expression and a good many other freedoms. Christianity today is only relatively benign because secularism and the enlightenment has pushed it into the private sphere and defanged it. But give it half a chance and it would soon be enforcing itself on us all – for the love of Jesus of course.
Please feel free to add a comment on the Facebook page.
According to Maryam Namazie, the call for action follows an increased number of attacks on free expression in the UK, including 17-year-old Rhys Morgan being forced to remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon or face expulsion from his Sixth Form College, and demands by the UCL Union that the Atheist society remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page.
It also follows threats of violence, police being called, and the cancellation of a meeting at Queen Mary College where One Law for All spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to deliver a speech on Sharia.
The Day of Action has already been endorsed by nearly 100 groups and individuals including Jessica Ahlquist, Centre for Secular Spaces, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Richard Dawkins, Equal Rights Now, Jesus and Mo Creator, Taslima Nasrin, National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, National Secular Society, Salman Rushdie, Southall Black Sisters, and Peter Tatchell. Please add your name to the declaration.
In addition to the London rally, there will be demos and acts of solidarity in other countries, including Australia, France, Gambia, Germany and Poland. To see the list or to add your own action or event, click here.
Clearly, the time has come to take a firm and uncompromising stand for free expression and against all forms of threats and censorship. The right to criticise religion is a fundamental right that is crucial to many, including Muslims. February 11 is our chance to take that stand. You need to be there. Enough is enough.