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Muslim MP would support fresh UK blasphemy laws

Muslim MP would support fresh UK blasphemy laws

Labour MP Keith Vaz, above, who, in 1989, led a march of several thousand Muslims demanding that Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses be banned, says he would have ‘no problem’ with the recriminalisation of ‘blasphemy’ in the UK.

Following a Muslim Council of Britain conference last week entitled “Exploring the issues of extremism and examine credible responses to the issues of terrorism”, Vaz, who addressed the conference, was quoted by Al Arabiya News as saying that he would have:

No problem with blasphemy laws being reintroduced, under certain conditions. They should apply to all religions. If we have laws, they should apply to everybody. Religions are very special to people. And therefore I have no objection to them … but it must apply equally to everybody.

Britain’s ancient laws of blasphemy were abolished in 2008. They had largely fallen into disuse by then, given that the last successful prosecution was in 1977. But talk of their reintroduction surfaced in the wake of the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, and the magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, which many Muslims deem offensive.

Talk of reintroducing blasphemy legislation arises over dissatisfaction over the the lack of power the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has to punish “grossly irresponsible” coverage of Muslim issues by some media.

The press watchdog does not currently have the power to pursue complaints of discrimination against groups of people, such as those of Muslim faith, if no individual is specified in an offending article.

But the Muslim Council of Britain and the UK’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, have both called for that to change, amid what some claim is “slanted” press coverage of Islamic issues.

Anderson said some mainstream media have been “grossly irresponsible” in their coverage of such issues. And while IPSO can pursue complaints of discrimination against an individual, it cannot act when an entire religious group is attacked, he told the conference delegates.

It’s more difficult if there is a derogatory comment about Islam. And it seems to me that this is one thing that the press standards authority ought to think about.

Speaking to Al Arabiya News, Anderson said some media headlines about Muslims were “inflammatory”.

It is profoundly damaging to cohesion when journalists misreport stories by attaching the label ‘Muslim’. And I can’t see why Muslims should not be able to complain about that in the name of their faith.

The MCB has previously criticised media coverage of scandals such as the so-called ‘Muslim grooming gangs’, in which groups of men in areas such as Rotherham, Derby, Bristol and Oxfordshire were accused of raping thousands of children.

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Representatives of the MCB have said that linking the story to the Muslim faith was not fair. Miqdaad Versi, above, Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, also lamented the fact that there is currently “no recourse” under the press standards code when a particular group is attacked by the media.

There’s been many examples in the media, where we’ve tried to go to the code but we’ve not been able to. If there is a way that a representative group can launch a complaint on that issue, that would be valuable.

Versi said it was difficult to determine where the “red line” should be when it comes to free speech.

Muslim communities need to be able to respond to accusations against Muslims, or against the “Prophet” Mohammed, in a more effective way, he said.

Whether there should be legislation is something that really is a more complicated question.

One of the most high-profile cases in which IPSO rejected a claim of discrimination came last spring, and involved a column in the Sun newspaper about the migration crisis. Controversial columnist Katie Hopkins suggested that Europe should use gunboats to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean, and compared those fleeing their home countries to “cockroaches.”

IPSO rejected complaints over her column, because it did not refer to specific individuals.

21 responses to “Muslim MP would support fresh UK blasphemy laws”

  1. Broga says:

    Vaz’s attitude shouldn’t surprise anyone. He is a pompous bore who loves pontificating and seems to have appointed himself as the representative of all the Muslims in the UK, and possibly the world.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Quite apart from the utter stupidity of suggesting that we should have blasphemy laws which apply equally to all religions when their fundamental tenets are considered blasphemous by one another, Keith Vaz is a fucking joke, who has been censured by the House of Commons over his shady dealings more times than most of us have had hot dinners, and led demonstrations in Leicester, of all places, calling for The Satanic Verses to be banned. Read about him here, and let me know why anyone should take this oleaginous creep seriously, and please explain to me how he can possibly be considered a fit person to act as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. No wonder politicians are held in the high regard that they are nowadays!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaz#Political_life

    Vaz said, in that phone conversation, that what had happened (the fatwa) was ‘appalling, absolutely appalling,’ and promised his ‘full support’. A few weeks later he was one of the main speakers at a demonstration against The Satanic Verses attended by over three thousand Muslims, and described that event as ‘one of the great days in the history of Islam and Great Britain.

    What an utter prick!

  3. gedediah says:

    Groups don’t have rights, individuals within them do. Columnists should have the right to express their opinions freely and the rest of us should be free to call them out if their opinions are as vile as Hopkins’ are.

  4. barriejohn says:

    PS Please note that Vaz is a Labour politician, of course.

  5. Angela_K says:

    Vaz claims his support of a blasphemy law is for all religions but we all know it is shut down the slightest criticism of Islam. Worryingly, we are part way to an Islam-only blasphemy law with Muslim savages murdering cartoonists and others to silence criticism. We must be free to criticise ideas, especially the very bad idea that is religion or the human race will never progress.

  6. Broga says:

    If Vaz is so keen on blasphemy laws he could bugger off to some country where they enforce them. Instead he creeps around parliament where he sees himself as super important. If Labour gets power the creep might end up in government.

  7. Vanity Unfair says:

    There is no need for a blasphemy law. If God/Allah/JHWH/Krishna/Mazda/Zeus… is offended by somebody’s conduct then he/she/it/they is/are quite capable of dealing with the matter personally, efficiently and in such a way that there is no doubt who did it and why. No human assistance is required. Why does this not happen? Well, there is one very good reason.

  8. Dave says:

    That’s OK, Mr Vaz. You have no problem with re-introducing blasphemy laws, I would have no problem breaking them.

  9. Cali Ron says:

    “Versi said it was difficult to determine where the “red line” should be when it comes to free speech.” Free speech means there is no red line. So they want to sensor anything critical of their religion but still allow Muslim clerics to radicalize western youths and recruit them with their speech for ISIS. The usual religious hypocrisy.

    Free speech means Muslims are free to not blaspheme their god, just as I am free to say whatever I want about their god. Basic tenet of modern democracy and a free society. If they don’t like that they should move to an Islamic country where they are not free and enjoy their slavery to their violent religion of peace.

    From the Atheism Wiki: You can’t really commit blasphemy because god doesn’t exist, therefore God can’t be humiliated.

  10. Zombiehunter says:

    I never knew vaz was involoved in the protest against satanic verses but it doesn’t surprise me, he also jumped on the bandwagon about violent video games too, the man is a tit.

  11. Bob says:

    Hey Barry

    I know we’ve had our differences but I ask you to let this comment through as I actually agree with you on this one. Free speech is precious – just as I wish to have the freedom to express biblical views on contentious issues so I strongly defend the right of free speech for atheists to express disagreement with the Bible.

    Regards

    Bob

  12. Broga says:

    @Bob:

    I agree with you on that.

    There is another dimension to this. Once a religion gets enough power that religion will censor. And what it will censor will not be confined to atheists. Let Islam have control and it will censor Christianity. There are lots of examples of this at present in the Middle East.

  13. Rob Andrews says:

    Me thinks Mr. Vaz is mainly concerned with protecting Muslims belief systems. But Islam has both Shi’a and Sunni, and they don’t agree. Also Sunni has many sub groups which are fighting each othe throughout history. So will one side or another clog the courts with law suits or restraining orders against each other?

    “Man was made at the end of a weeks hard work, when god was tired”-Mark Twain

  14. L.Long says:

    Muslin MP??? Its just a matter of time before the church of Englqnd is a mosque!!! But he already has what he wants the present blasphemy laws do apply to all religions……you can criticize any of them equally!!!

  15. Cooper S says:

    I claim my democratic right to criticise whatever I think needs criticism. Islamists don’t want me to have that right and deny it me by threats asserted by Kalashnikov and Semtex. I negotiate they assassinate. Vaz in my view is more dangerous than the Islamic hit squads. He wants to introduce a law that can be used to criminalise my democratic right to say what needs saying. He wants to introduce a law that allows any muslim with hair trigger sensitivity to accuse me of blasphemy and expose me to the threats of hysterical lynch mobs, murderous machete wielding gangs and thugs wielding assault rifles. That’s what it will lead to just as it has in such delightful places as pakistan, saudi arabia and all the other countries where islam is dominant.

  16. Collingwood says:

    Hmmm- I don’t support a blasphemy law in principle . But another problem is that it could get complicated ! Broadly speaking a Jew might argue that it’s blasphemous to call Jesus Christ the messiah. To many Christians it’s blasphemy to say that he wasn’t. And a Muslim might argue that to call Jesus the son of God is blasphemy…..and that those Christians who believe in the Trinity ( i.e. most of them ) are really multi-theists ,but to a Christian to deny the Trinity is blasphemy…..
    Okay, I am labouring the point but ultimately coming up with a definition of blasphemy would be such a drain on the legal system as well as being unacceptable on many levels.

  17. Cooper S says:

    Forget complexity … Blasphemy law always ends up being used by the devious to accuse and eliminate innocents. It’s merely a tool to legalise prejudices.

  18. Cooper S says:

    Look what Islam is doing …. Wherever society is tainted with Islam the contagion spreads to pandemic proportions. Islamists (all Muslims) have only one agenda which is global domination. Their weapons are shrieking and wailing, hair trigger sensitivity, outrageous demands, dishonesty, stealth, subversion, force of numbers by outbreeding the opposition, legal protection from criticism, subjugation of women, ghettoisation, latent threats of violence,parasitic burdening and retardation of the host nation and yes ultimately knives, machete, Kalashnikov and suicide bombing.
    Instead of criminalising critical expression we should seriously start establishing laws enforcing laws that criminalise those in society intent upon destroying democratic secular countries from within. Let’s start with hate speech emanating from imams, Trojan horse tactics for the islamification of schools, illegal unregistered schools, halal meat, practitioners of fgm, incestuous marriage, honour killing, prejudicial employment and so on. Mr Vaz … Be careful what you wish for.

  19. Newspaniard says:

    I have noticed that since the abolition of blasphemy laws, far more draconian laws have been introduced and used as replacements. Anyone caught criticizing islam by the police in the UK will find themselves in court under these new laws. Take the pastor in Northern Ireland whose trial comes up in December for the public criticism of islam.

  20. Philip Smeeton says:

    How long are we to allow these lunatics to decide over our lives. Was a time when we decided what was right and wrong.