Campaign to Repeal the Blasphemy Law

Today the Irish President signed into law the Defamation Act that includes the newly-defined crime of blasphemy. This law will become operable when the Minister for Justice signs an order making it so.

Atheist Ireland will now campaign for the repeal of this anachronistic and dangerous blasphemy law, and for a referendum to remove the blasphemy reference from the Irish Constitution, as part of our wider campaign for an ethical and secular Ireland.

We call on the Minister for Justice to delay signing the order that would make the blasphemy sections of the Defamation Act operable, until such time as a referendum can be held to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Constitution.

Ministerial Order

The Minister has the power to sign different provisions of the Act into law at different times.

He has already said that he does not want blasphemy to be illegal. He repeatedly told the Oireachtas that he only included the blasphemy sections into the Defamation Act because he was advised that he was constitutionally obliged to do so, and that to not do so would result in him having to withdraw the entire Defamation Bill.

The Minister has now satisfied the obligation that he stated himself to be under, and he has also succeeded in his more important stated aim of passing the Defamation Act. He should now delay making operable the sections of the Act that he says he does not want to be illegal, and give the Irish people the opportunity to address the issue by referendum.

Constitutional Issues

A citizen charged with blasphemy can still challenge the constitutionality of this law.

  • It is inconsistent with the guarantees in our Constitution of freedom of equality, freedom of conscience and religion and freedom from religious discrimination.
  • It reverses the burden of proof to the defendant in a criminal trial, and it does not meet the standard of prevention of public disorder that made the old English blasphemy law compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.
  • The definitions in the law are too vague to allow citizens to regulate their conduct, and it could make it unlawful for a religious citizen to inform his co-religionists about a statement he believes to be blasphemous.

Original Concerns

As well as the constitutional issues, our original concerns with this law still remain.

  • It does not protect religious belief; it incentivizes outrage and it criminalises free speech. Instead of incentivizing outrage, we should be educating people to respond in a more healthy manner than outrage when somebody expresses a belief that they find insulting.
  • It treats religious beliefs as more valuable than secular beliefs and scientific thinking. There is no equivalent of a blasphemy law for scientific ideas. We should respect people as individuals, but beliefs as abstract ideas should always be open to scrutiny and challenge.
  • We should be removing 1930s religious references from the Irish Constitution, not legislating to enforce them. For example, conscientious Irish atheists are precluded from becoming President or judges because of the religious oath in the constitution.

Today we begin our campaign for the repeal of this law, as part of our wider campaign for an ethical and secular Ireland.

53 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Sean July 23, 2009

    The outrage part is definitely worrying. I’ve been following discussions over at MPAC, and I’m not surprised to see the resident posters there being rather happy about this bill. The latest post compares Atheist Ireland to Al Capone, in that he didn’t accept the prohibition laws of his time. Bloody stupid comparison, but they’re also missing the point that a sufficient number of outraged Christians would seem to justify Islam as being blasphemous.

    I was visited by the Invisible Pink Unicorn who stated that the abrahamic god is totally fake and that his prophets were alcoholic crackpots, lying to cover-up their secret lives as gambling whoremongers. Both the Bible and the Qur’an are rambling books, of some historic value, but these days highly prized as a useful alternative if the toilet roll should run out.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 23, 2009

    Now this is simply embarrassing, look you gave it a fair run, the media backed you all the way while effectively silencing all dissenting voices (so much for free speech), but despite all that you have lost again and again. Now you should collect what little dignity you have left and desist. It’s time to understand that your whims in the scale of things do not trump what is best for society.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Andrew July 23, 2009

    This law is such a draconian and out/of/date legislation. It just shows how stupid our politicians are.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Sean July 24, 2009

    “Now this is simply embarrassing, look you gave it a fair run, the media backed you all the way while effectively silencing all dissenting voices (so much for free speech), but despite all that you have lost again and again.”

    All dissenting voices were silenced? Can you list all of the voices that were silenced and explain how that happened? If not, shall we just accept that this is hyperbole.

    “Now you should collect what little dignity you have left and desist. It’s time to understand that your whims in the scale of things do not trump what is best for society.”

    These are slightly more than whims – as anyone with an understanding of European history would understand. This law is the best for a very small subset of society, specifically those who feel that their rather ephemeral beliefs should have more rights than people. Do you think that the majority of Irish people want to risk criminal charges for criticism of religion? Society is very much against this law. Here’s a test. The reason you’re not seeing many dissenting views is not because of a conspiracy to silence people – it’s because most of us, religious and secular alike, understand the value of free and open discussion. It is the unthinking and the fanatics that support this law.

    You no doubt consider Jesus to be a prophet, not the son of God, and Christians consider Muhammed to be an irrelevant heretic. There’s all the blasphemy that’s needed, and that’s not even considering the secular perspectives.

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  5. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 24, 2009

    Sean: You appear to equate ‘silence’ with a lack of dissent when you know that’s not the case. There isn’t silence and there is considerable dissent, and there’ll probably be more once Al Jazeera airs :). However there appears to be an orchestrated blackout when it comes to people who actually support the Defamation bill. I myself have written letters to all the major newspapers, as have others but they have not been published, why?

    I don’t think in a pluralist society any one group should have more rights, which is why I’m all for the Defamation bill. I don’t believe secularists or atheists should have the right to gratuitously offend religion, because that is not a right a religious adherent can avail of without causing an undue burden, and that’s simply one reason of many.

    Let’s put the differences between different religions to one side, they are simply straw men as even with the existence of blasphemous laws there hasn’t been a case where a Christian took a Muslim to court over the position of Jesus.

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  6. Avatar
    Gav July 24, 2009

    Are we going to amuse each other all day or start email and phone campaigns?

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul July 24, 2009

    Quote
    You no doubt consider Jesus to be a prophet, not the son of God, and Christians consider Muhammed to be an irrelevant heretic. There’s all the blasphemy that’s needed, and that’s not even considering the secular perspectives.Quote

    Recently In the UK

    RELIGIOUS tensions were raised in the centre of Wood Green at the weekend as Islamic activists set about trying to convince shoppers that “Jesus was a Muslim

    http://www.hornseyjournal.co.uk/content/haringey/hornseyjournal/news/story.aspx?brand=HCEJOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newshcej&itemid=WeED22%20Jul%202009%2015%3A54%3A55%3A107

    I Myself am an Athiest

    But Id dare those Islamic activists to come over to Dublin and try that Under the Blasphemy law and see what happens
    id dare them to come and do that as a challenge

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 25, 2009

    It’s done every Sunday in Dublin Talia aka Riddler aka Trampas. Muslim simply means one who submits himself or herself completely to Allah or God if you will. Jesus declared himself one who had given over his will to Allah, therefore Jesus is a Muslim.

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  9. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul July 25, 2009

    Quote
    Jesus is a Muslim.Quote

    Its very Ironic the very person who believes in the concept of Blasphemy has just said something Christians could consider as blasphemous
    Towards them.

    Oh By the way Mujaahid AKA Alterego

    Do you still believe

    Quote
    Obedience to Allah is what brings people closer to Him, and if that means stoning the adulterer then so be it.
    Quote

    http://www.politics.ie/1864941-post465.html

    AKA Alterego

    You also said

    Quote:
    There is no such thing as an honour killing in Islam
    Quote

    http://www.politics.ie/1865001-post470.html

    if so if that is the case

    Why then did this guy stab his former wife to death “in the name of the Koran for?

    Quote
    Munich – Munich police are questioning a 27-year-old Afghan man suspected of stabbing his former wife to death “in the name of the Koran,” Quote

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/278366,afghan-man-held-over-murder-in-the-name-of-the-koran.html

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 25, 2009

    Well at least there was no denying your pseudonyms, eh Talia. But you’re quite welcome to check with David Cochrane to see if I’m the character Alterego, then you can apologise.

    I don’t think any Christian could disagree that Jesus was one who submitted himself to God in obedience which in Arabic means Muslim.

    There is no such thing as an honour killing in Islam, and what the heck does ‘in the name of the Quran’ mean? If a Muslim said that then it is the height of ignorance, but given the western media’s predilection for distortion I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that no such thing was said.

    Anyway Talia/Trampas/Riddler you must try post different things on here and politics.ie otherwise it’s just to easy – I’m beginning to think that the Atheist.ie campaign is simply you and a host of pseudonyms, not the smartest individual are you 🙂

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul July 25, 2009

    you’re also quite welcome to check with David Cochrane to see if the character Trampas

    If you re not Alterego my Mistake

    But Since Alterego has posted under the Mpac Name I take it this Alterego Character is your Rep on politics.ie

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Sean July 25, 2009

    “Sean: You appear to equate ’silence’ with a lack of dissent when you know that’s not the case. There isn’t silence and there is considerable dissent, and there’ll probably be more once Al Jazeera airs :). However there appears to be an orchestrated blackout when it comes to people who actually support the Defamation bill. I myself have written letters to all the major newspapers, as have others but they have not been published, why?”

    You made a simple statement and I asked you to back it up. You said “while effectively silencing all dissenting voices”. Your letters not being published is hardly “all dissenting voices”. Who is being silenced (aside from yourself and “others”), and who is behind this? Zionists, atheists? Why not post the letters on MPAC? Is it at all possible that the media is merely reflecting the views of the majority of Irish? I’m not saying that the majority are always right, but wouldn’t the media generally reflect the views of its audience? How often would a Saudi newspaper present a sympathetic view of Jews?

    “I don’t think in a pluralist society any one group should have more rights, which is why I’m all for the Defamation bill. I don’t believe secularists or atheists should have the right to gratuitously offend religion, because that is not a right a religious adherent can avail of without causing an undue burden, and that’s simply one reason of many.”

    But the blasphemy legislation does give one group more rights than others. The religious now have protection for their ideas and their worldviews. If I’m a marxist, should that not be equally protected from criticism? Should Jane Austen fans also have belief that she’s a great author protected? The burden of the believer is self-inflicted.

    “Let’s put the differences between different religions to one side, they are simply straw men as even with the existence of blasphemous laws there hasn’t been a case where a Christian took a Muslim to court over the position of Jesus.”

    Erm, there are actually quite a few cases in countries with Islamic law in which Christians have been arrested. Go to Pakistan and publicly assert the position that Jesus is the son of God and that Muhammed was a false prophet.

    We can argue semantics, but your comment about Jesus is blasphemous. By modern standards Muhammed would be considered a pedophile, so would you think it not blasphemous to apply that term to him? He belonged to a different time and culture, so I we should judge him by those standards, yet he is a pedophile by our modern culture and understanding of the word. God as described in the Old Testament is a monstrous slayer of men, women and children, and a homophobic misogynist.

    I predict that religions will suffer the most under this law, assuming convictions are even possible. Religions that crave governmental approval and protection will find this law does not work as they intended, since blasphemy laws can only ever protect one true religion.

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    Sean July 25, 2009

    Apologies for double-posting, but is anyone considering filing complaints against various religions? I’ve no particular desire to harm any specific religion, but perhaps complaining about religions that offend our views could be worthwhile?

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 25, 2009

    Jews aren’t a part of Saudi society so your comparison is flawed. Even if we were to accept your belief that the silence of opposition reflects the views of the majority, would you not agree that dissenting voices also have a right to be heard? And in the absence of that right, would you not also agree that a certain manipulation is underway. I don’t honestly think that the vast majority of Irish people would agree with AI’s plans to gratuitously offend all believers, I believe they would see it as crass sensationalism, a response wholly unbefitting. And that’s only the internal concerns, what happens when AI’s actions draw the ire of those outside Ireland?
    The Blasphemy bill does not negate criticism, but it does protect them from the AI idea that the deeply held beliefs of the religious adherent are open season for abuse and scorn. We have already witnessed the effects of ideas that white people are somehow better than black, men are better than women, what next the irreligious are better than religious? I know that the phrase ‘The burden of the believer is self-inflicted’ sounds very astute, but it is based on a false premise, that the believer can simply give up their belief to alleviate the burden. Can you think of other minority groups arguments like that have been used against? I can.

    There are Christians in Pakistan who believe Jesus was a son of God, but we’re not talking about there, are we? Ever hear of special pleading?

    A paedophile is defined as someone who has sexual relationships with pre-pubescents, so no, even in a modern sense the term would not apply. Muhammad had 13 wives, the majority of whom were widows, two of whom were older than him. None were virgin except Aisha – that is not the profile of a paedophile. So when you make such crass statements, you only insult yourself.

    Only an extremely one-dimensional view of God in the OT could produce the simplistic, infantile accusation you have levelled. It’s tantamount to me using your puerile attempts to insult as a benchmark for who you are as a person, I’m sure you are not so shallow and mediocre.

    Talia: we have no representative on P.ie

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    H.ai.C. July 25, 2009

    1. I think it would be nice if a lot of companies (ask PZ for help?) would write to the Irish embassy in their country for a bit of explanation. Those defamation laws are so 17th century that most business people visiting Ireland need to have a clear grasp of its consequences before they land in jail.
    2. what with international private law in Ireland? Can an Irish citizen effectively have a claim against somebody else in the EU, have him convicted and (due to EU legislation) force to pay?

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    Sean July 26, 2009

    H.ai.C. Belgian law allows for the prosecution of people for crimes committed outside of their territory, but I don’t think Ireland has this. The European Arrest Warrant would allow extradition between countries with equivalent laws.

    Jews aren’t a part of Saudi society so your comparison is flawed. Even if we were to accept your belief that the silence of opposition reflects the views of the majority, would you not agree that dissenting voices also have a right to be heard? And in the absence of that right, would you not also agree that a certain manipulation is underway.

    We do have the right to express our opinions, but not the right to have those opinions printed in the private owned media. Perhaps you could contact RTE, since their being state funded would presumably include a need to represent views. However, Muslims make up less than 1% of the population, and opposition to the blasphemy provisions of the law are on the fringe of public opinion. This isn’t manipulation. As an example, MPAC overwhelmingly publishes negative news of Israel. A recent example is a story linking Israel to the death of Michael Jackson. The headline is ” Israeli Company Linked To Michael Jackson’s Death”. I choose to believe that this isn’t a case of manipulation – it’s just MPAC reflecting the views of its main audience.

    MPAC is quite fair when it comes to printing readers’ comments, but the comments in that story certainly indicate a need to find the zionist conspiracy present in anything relating to Israel.

    This law isn’t about protecting people, so the comparisons to racism aren’t valid. The defamation act protects beliefs. There’s not even any attempt to prevent people from holding beliefs, but those beliefs cannot be placed on a pedestal and accorded the rights best reserved for people. The comment regarding sex discrimination is interesting, since we both know that sharia imposes interesting distinctions between the genders. Sharia is not monolithic and uniform, but would you personally believe that the testimony of women should have the same weight as that of men?

    If Muslims chose to identify themselves so closely with their religion then that’s their decision. I could choose to take offense when people insult communism, but that’s my problem.

    A paedophile is defined as someone who has sexual relationships with pre-pubescents, so no, even in a modern sense the term would not apply. Muhammad had 13 wives, the majority of whom were widows, two of whom were older than him. None were virgin except Aisha – that is not the profile of a paedophile. So when you make such crass statements, you only insult yourself.

    I understand that Islamic law seems to take puberty to be the point at which sex is permitted, but that is neither the legal nor commonly held understanding of the term in Ireland. Perhaps the term statutory rape more accurately describes how we’d describe Muhammed’s actions if he and Aisha were to live in contemporary Dublin.

    It’s unfair to judge his actions by modern standards, but freedom of expression should allow me to be wrong. If I’m wrong, I’m sure people can rather ably point that out without the need for judicial support. If you want to determine the most commonly understood use of the term pedophile, head out to the street and ask people what label they would apply to a man who had sex with a nine year old girl?

    Incidentally, having sex with older women doesn’t cancel out sex with a minor. It’s not as if one can add up the ages and average them out.

    Only an extremely one-dimensional view of God in the OT could produce the simplistic, infantile accusation you have levelled. It’s tantamount to me using your puerile attempts to insult as a benchmark for who you are as a person, I’m sure you are not so shallow and mediocre.

    It’s simplistic, but accurate. Scripture supports all of what I said. He’s morally repugnant. The only reason we’re not busy killing each other is because we either ignore or heavily reinterpret that litany of genocide, rape and anachronistic laws. Do you believe I should have the right to voice such opinions of God, even if they are scripturally naive?

    Immigration is a positive thing, and that we can learn a lot from each other. However, this law simply builds a wall between us, and that is unfortunate. I disagree with much of what you say, but I appreciate your willingness to talk. Reasoned and respectful discussion benefits all, but sacred cows stunt that discourse. Your earlier assertion that Jesus was a Muslim is certainly interesting. However, such a conversation could not take place if a sufficiently large number of Christians were to take offence. It’s a highly subjective law based on allowing the moral outrage of the mob to determine guilt. That should worry adherents of a religion that makes up less than 1% of the population.

    Reply
  17. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 26, 2009

    This law isn’t about protecting people, so the comparisons to racism aren’t valid. The defamation act protects beliefs. There’s not even any attempt to prevent people from holding beliefs, but those beliefs cannot be placed on a pedestal and accorded the rights best reserved for people. The comment regarding sex discrimination is interesting, since we both know that sharia imposes interesting distinctions between the genders. Sharia is not monolithic and uniform, but would you personally believe that the testimony of women should have the same weight as that of men?

    You’re missing the bigger picture Sean. Most would agree that as a minority Muslims are oppressed (demonstrated in many ways – structural inequalities in opportunities, power asymmetries, institutional norms, etc all which work to negatively affect the capabilities and agency of the Muslim minority), many would equally agree that the continued denigration of that minority contributes or helps sustain that oppression. Therefore, the publication of blasphemous statement we believe would sustain oppression as it would publicly circulate a negative message about Muslims. The link to racism is valid as it has been demonstrated that race and religion are more often than not used interchangeably to denote the same thing (Paki and Muslim are notable examples here).

    If Muslims chose to identify themselves so closely with their religion then that’s their decision. I could choose to take offense when people insult communism, but that’s my problem.

    Your answer then seems to be that those associated with the group identity rescind that identity so they are not offended.There was a time when black people were made to believe that the only way they could progress was to act and look more like the white man. It was wrong to expect so much of them and it is wrong for you to expect the same of Muslims.

    It’s unfair to judge his actions by modern standards, but freedom of expression should allow me to be wrong. If I’m wrong, I’m sure people can rather ably point that out without the need for judicial support. If you want to determine the most commonly understood use of the term pedophile, head out to the street and ask people what label they would apply to a man who had sex with a nine year old girl?

    This simply proves my earlier point, there is no benefit in such a discussion EXCEPT as a means of castigating the Muslim community, thereby drawing stereotypes and consequently promoting the oppression. We cannot judge the past based on the present, no more than you accept the present based on the past (where would that leave homosexuals?). So let me make this clear, the ONLY reason someone would bring up the issue of Muhammad’s early marriage to Aisha would be to use that incident as a means of denigrating Muslims, if you can find ANY reference that disproves my point I’d be very surprised.

    Incidentally, having sex with older women doesn’t cancel out sex with a minor. It’s not as if one can add up the ages and average them out.

    Perhaps you should review some literature on the issue and consider the profiles – you’ll find remarkable agreement with my statement.

    It’s simplistic, but accurate. Scripture supports all of what I said. He’s morally repugnant. The only reason we’re not busy killing each other is because we either ignore or heavily reinterpret that litany of genocide, rape and anachronistic laws. Do you believe I should have the right to voice such opinions of God, even if they are scripturally naive?

    It’s not accurate at all, Allah is both Merciful and Just, both Compassionate and Vengeful – you simply cannot paint a one-dimensional image of the Creator and call it accurate. It is sin that is repugnant, and just like a cancer its removal can at times seem barbaric to our lowly minds but the good that ensues far outweighs the evil that could have reigned.

    Reply
  18. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 26, 2009

    Sorry, I missed this part, “would you personally believe that the testimony of women should have the same weight as that of men”. There is only ONE circumstance in which this issue arose and it was in relation to financial matters. In the past, where women were seen as chattel they had no rights whatsoever, no inheritance rights, no property rights, etc. So when Islam emancipated women it gave them these rights (Europe would follow this lead some 1200 yrs later)but the woman’s lack of expertise in the areas of finance left them open to exploitation by the unscrupulous, so in matters of finance a woman would be required to have one than one advocate. Even today it would be extremely rare for an individual to be a sole advocate in a court case, wouldn’t you agree?

    Reply
  19. Avatar
    Michael Nugent July 26, 2009

    Mujaahid, I have tidied up the quote formatting in your post no. 19 above.

    In this software, the commands for quoting are < blockquote > and < /blockquote >, but with no spaces after the < symbol or before the > symbol.

    Reply
  20. Avatar
    Sean July 27, 2009

    You’re missing the bigger picture Sean. Most would agree that as a minority Muslims are oppressed (demonstrated in many ways – structural inequalities in opportunities, power asymmetries, institutional norms, etc all which work to negatively affect the capabilities and agency of the Muslim minority), many would equally agree that the continued denigration of that minority contributes or helps sustain that oppression. Therefore, the publication of blasphemous statement we believe would sustain oppression as it would publicly circulate a negative message about Muslims. The link to racism is valid as it has been demonstrated that race and religion are more often than not used interchangeably to denote the same thing (Paki and Muslim are notable examples here).

    There are inequalities, but we need to examine them with clear heads. Are there systemic/legal inequalities that we need to address? Also, how many of these inequalities are self-imposed, or cases in which the religious are making unreasonable demands in the name of their religion.

    I am excluded from becoming a judge due to the religious pledge that’s required. That is legal discrimination. My religion tells me that I must wear a 2-metre-tall stovepipe hat, and that makes it very difficult for me to use public amenities or work. The hat is self-imposed, and I should not expect society to reorganize itself around me and my hat.

    Some US Christians claim that they’re persecuted, yet they’re the majority, and their claims of persecution often involve things like not being allowed to include religious instruction in schools. Catholics in the UK have complained about losing the right to discriminate against homosexuals.

    The thing that encourages discrimination, and gives fuel to the right-wing lunatics, is overreaction. I’m fairly open-minded, but when I read MPAC what I see is a siege mentality, and odd stuff. MPAC is linking Israel to the death of Michael Jackson? The recent events in Iran are a British conspiracy? Talk of boycotts of Ireland, and other consequences from abroad?

    Consider the recent example of an orthodox Jewish couple who objected to automated lighting in their apartment block since they couldn’t leave their flat on the sabbath without causing the lights to activate. Are they being oppressed, or have they chosen a lifestyle that places unreasonable demands on those around them? If I decide that country music is sacred, should all around me refrain from making cruel jokes about Willie Nelson? Would not criticism of Mr Nelson be oppressive of those of us who love country music?

    Your answer then seems to be that those associated with the group identity rescind that identity so they are not offended.There was a time when black people were made to believe that the only way they could progress was to act and look more like the white man. It was wrong to expect so much of them and it is wrong for you to expect the same of Muslims.

    If part of the Muslim identity is to become offended by ridicule of Islam, then yes, there is change needed. Racism doesn’t apply here. It would be discriminatory if Muslims were specifically excluded or treated differently because of their beliefs, but that’s not what’s happening in this context. What’s happening is that Muslim beliefs, just like any other, should be open to criticism and ridicule. I don’t expect that a blasphemous statement issued by Nugent will target Islam in isolation, since Islam is tiny in Ireland.

    This simply proves my earlier point, there is no benefit in such a discussion EXCEPT as a means of castigating the Muslim community, thereby drawing stereotypes and consequently promoting the oppression.

    Please let me know if I’ve said something factually inaccurate.

    We cannot judge the past based on the present, no more than you accept the present based on the past (where would that leave homosexuals?). So let me make this clear, the ONLY reason someone would bring up the issue of Muhammad’s early marriage to Aisha would be to use that incident as a means of denigrating Muslims, if you can find ANY reference that disproves my point I’d be very surprised.

    I fail to see how referring to an event that Muslims believe in would only be done to denigrate Muslims. I didn’t raise it as an issue, since it really only becomes an issue if a modern Muslim were to use it as justification for having sex with a child.

    Perhaps you should review some literature on the issue and consider the profiles – you’ll find remarkable agreement with my statement.

    Does this literature deny the basic claim though? It doesn’t really matter if it can be justified or not, since I think we both accept that people in the past had different laws, needs and moral standards. We could switch to another example. Joseph Smith was either deluded or a fraud, and his story of the golden plates and the lost tribe of Israel is idiotic and totally unsupported by evidence. A question for you: Was Joseph Smith a prophet visited by Gabriel? Consider your answer, since yes and no both equal blasphemy.

    It’s not accurate at all, Allah is both Merciful and Just, both Compassionate and Vengeful – you simply cannot paint a one-dimensional image of the Creator and call it accurate. It is sin that is repugnant, and just like a cancer its removal can at times seem barbaric to our lowly minds but the good that ensues far outweighs the evil that could have reigned.

    He’s a complicated man and nobody understands him but his devotees, Yahweh. However, I consider him in the same way I would any character. He is the sum of his actions, some of which are too repulsive for me to consider him to be merciful.

    In the real world, most of us would not consider someone merciful if their act of mercy was along the lines of removing their boot from your head every minute to allow you to surface for air. Good acts do not remove bad ones, and some of us just find it hard to love a keen exponent of slavery, genocide and rape.

    The key point here is that we’re free to disagree on such matters, and we can walk away with new ideas or with our original convictions strengthened.

    Reply
  21. Avatar
    Sean July 27, 2009

    This is a sinister plot to have atheists so busy fixing posts that they can’t do anything to challenge the defamation bill. Or I forgot to close the blockquote. Bugger.

    Reply
  22. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 27, 2009

    There are inequalities, but we need to examine them with clear heads. Are there systemic/legal inequalities that we need to address? Also, how many of these inequalities are self-imposed, or cases in which the religious are making unreasonable demands in the name of their religion.

    Yes, there are inequalities. Is the right to participate in society without compromising one’s religion unreasonable? We accommodate all manner of differences in society, why should it be any different for the religious?

    I am excluded from becoming a judge due to the religious pledge that’s required. That is legal discrimination.

    If it is something preventing you from taking up office then yes it is discriminatory. I notice how you haven’t hinted that it’s a choice on your part.

    Some US Christians claim that they’re persecuted, yet they’re the majority, and their claims of persecution often involve things like not being allowed to include religious instruction in schools. Catholics in the UK have complained about losing the right to discriminate against homosexuals.

    In a pluralist society I’m not sure how religious instruction would work within a school system, after all in the eyes of respective adherents not all religions are equal but a school could not take a position. I think in this instance there would have to be an objective presentation of religious tenets, simply give the facts, with no comment. That cultural pluralism would necessitate respect for difference not the proscriptions that were proffered here.

    The thing that encourages discrimination, and gives fuel to the right-wing lunatics, is overreaction. I’m fairly open-minded, but when I read MPAC what I see is a siege mentality, and odd stuff. MPAC is linking Israel to the death of Michael Jackson? The recent events in Iran are a British conspiracy? Talk of boycotts of Ireland, and other consequences from abroad?

    Please be accurate, the UK site makes such references not the IE. No one has called for a boycott of Irish goods at all, you really should be careful what you say.

    Consider the recent example of an orthodox Jewish couple who objected to automated lighting in their apartment block since they couldn’t leave their flat on the sabbath without causing the lights to activate. Are they being oppressed, or have they chosen a lifestyle that places unreasonable demands on those around them? If I decide that country music is sacred, should all around me refrain from making cruel jokes about Willie Nelson? Would not criticism of Mr Nelson be oppressive of those of us who love country music?

    Would you criticise a wheelchair bound individual for rejecting a spinal operation with risks and then insisting that the council provide suitable access for them? Have they brought the oppression upon themselves and created an unnecessary burden for society? Or do we respect their right to reject something that could bring them great harm and try our best to accommodate? British law recognises that, “‘It is not true that a distinction between race and religion will depend on characteristics which cannot be changed as a matter of choice: it is of course true that people cannot alter their racial origin, but there are communities in the UK where it is inconceivable that anyone could change their professed religion and continue to live within the community concerned.’

    If part of the Muslim identity is to become offended by ridicule of Islam, then yes, there is change needed.

    Muslims don’t choose to be offended any more than a woman who dresses immodestly chooses to be raped.

    Racism doesn’t apply here. It would be discriminatory if Muslims were specifically excluded or treated differently because of their beliefs, but that’s not what’s happening in this context. What’s happening is that Muslim beliefs, just like any other, should be open to criticism and ridicule. I don’t expect that a blasphemous statement issued by Nugent will target Islam in isolation, since Islam is tiny in Ireland.

    Why doesn’t racism apply? And I do hope you are not going to resort to the race argument. Criticism is one thing, ridicule is quite another. Was it OK to portray little black kids as monkeys? Jews as tight-fisted scrooges, the Irish as pugnacious drunks, or women as dumb and subservient? Images and utterances that constantly denigrate a minority have a nasty habit of becoming defining characteristics of those communities, which in turn serve to victimise those communities. I’m sure Nugent wouldn’t like to be remembered as an instigator for injustice, inequalities and discrimination.

    I fail to see how referring to an event that Muslims believe in would only be done to denigrate Muslims. I didn’t raise it as an issue, since it really only becomes an issue if a modern Muslim were to use it as justification for having sex with a child.

    No modern or past Muslim would engage in any relations with a child.

    A question for you: Was Joseph Smith a prophet visited by Gabriel? Consider your answer, since yes and no both equal blasphemy.

    No they don’t Sean, and I think you’ve got to move beyond intellectual dishonesty and accept that your slippery slope arguments are of no benefit in this conversation. From an Islamic perspective, we believe that Muhammad was the last and final prophet; there is no one after him. We believed that in 1961 when the demotion bill was first enacted, and we believe it now. And in all that time no Mormon has ever taken any Muslim or Christian to task for that belief, and consequently any effort to do so now would be thrown out for the silliness that it is.

    He’s a complicated man and nobody understands him but his devotees, Yahweh. However, I consider him in the same way I would any character. He is the sum of his actions, some of which are too repulsive for me to consider him to be merciful.
    In the real world, most of us would not consider someone merciful if their act of mercy was along the lines of removing their boot from your head every minute to allow you to surface for air. Good acts do not remove bad ones, and some of us just find it hard to love a keen exponent of slavery, genocide and rape.
    The key point here is that we’re free to disagree on such matters, and we can walk away with new ideas or with our original convictions strengthened.

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) Trying to understand Allah or judge Him according to your morals inevitably leads to confusion. And that’s where submission kicks in.

    Reply
  23. Avatar
    blogfs July 28, 2009

    i’m a practitioner of crowleys satanism and find all organised religions offensive. anyone who does not take responsability for their own actions offends me and my beliefs. can i sue every church in the country?

    Reply
  24. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 28, 2009

    Al Jazeera showed their piece today.

    Reply
  25. Avatar
    CW July 28, 2009

    I deny the Holy Spirit. That is blasphemy and I am allowed to say it in the UK, where I am.

    If there is a God (which there blatantly is not) then the consequences should be between me and him/her/it.

    Can I now be arrested under this law if I set foot in Ireland?

    Reply
  26. Avatar
    Jimmi Kristensen July 28, 2009

    Well here in Denmark, we laugh that someone can pass such a law, it reminds me of the former theocratic polish government, where they wanted to ban Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nietzche and others from libraries.
    But i would just say as the small kids in the schoolyard, that my God is stronger than your Gods, if i believed in such imaginary friends.
    Met some people that had invisible friends, that you were not allowed to harm, but they are now in the looney bin….

    Reply
  27. Avatar
    Irish Atheist July 28, 2009

    I’ve just found out that MPAC.ie are going on Al Jazeera about Atheist Ireland and the Blasphemy Law and your campaign for its repeal.

    So, there you go – rather than engage in debate within Ireland, mpac.ie goes running off like little spoilt children to their Arab paymasters, just because somebody in Ireland has the temerity to tell them to go fuck themselves.

    Seems to me as if MPAC.IE are engaging in activities that are subversive to our democratic republic.

    We have laws to deal with such activities.

    Reply
  28. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul July 28, 2009

    to Irish Atheist they were on Al Jazeera tonight

    I checked both the english Al Jazeera and the arabic Al Jazeera

    they were shown on the Arabic Al Jazeera

    the news piece only showed Michael Nugent for a few seconds

    the rest was all muslim concerns

    I wait to see will the news piece be on the Al Jazeera english youtube channel

    Reply
  29. Avatar
    David McNerney July 28, 2009

    I’m sorry to hark back to much older comments, but Mujaahid’s comments 3 and 6 really talk to the core of the problem with this law.

    Ireland is a democracy – and a fundamental safeguard in the functioning of any democracy is the right to free expression of ideas. Free expression includes freedoms of the press, freedoms of speech and freedoms of religion.

    Having the blasphemy law is a restriction of my rights to free expression. I understand the point that not having this law handicaps the religious viewpoint – however, this handicap is self-imposed and does not come under the state’s duty of care to the citizens of this country. I also have rights that I might choose not to invoke for moral reasons, blasphemy used to be one of them – but like every other citizen, I should still have those rights.

    I assume from Mujaahid’s other comments that (s)he is a person of faith. If freedom of speech is to be considered a whim, then other rights of expression, such as the freedom of religion, are also legitimate targets – and as much as I dislike religion, I also believe that you should be free to practise your beliefs.

    Given the sacrifices that others have made to give us these freedoms, a little embarrassment is a small price to pay to protect these rights for everyone.

    Reply
  30. Avatar
    Mujaahid July 29, 2009

    May I just point out that there was no ‘running’ to any so-called paymasters as ‘Irish Atheist’ suggests. It’s a matter of public interest and just as AI have spread their message far and wide, we too have the same liberty. On the issue of debate and discussion, MPACIE issued an open letter to AI at the onset of the debacle and have made every effort to engage in open debate and dialogue through the media. Unfortunately the media concerns here, for reasons best known to them have chosen to simply present one side of the issue – so much for free speech. As my comments suggest, we are open to dialogue and discussion in so much as it is presented on a level playing field.

    Reply
  31. Avatar
    Sigmund July 29, 2009

    I think Mujaahid is purposefully missing the point. Nobody is denying him the right of free speech about his beliefs.
    Speak to whoever you want, whenever you want and about whatever you want.
    What most are objecting to is that you seek to deny the same rights to the rest of us.
    The problem I see is that his basic point (that freedom of religious people from potential offense carries a higher priority than basic freedom of speech) is one that is shared by most Irish people.
    In my opinion the only practical solution to the current law is to bring a test case of purposeful offense against a known religion (I’m sorry but we all know Dermotology will never be taken seriously by the public prosecutors). If a test case shows that purposefully offending a religious belief has artistic or educational merit then the whole law will be neutered since the same defense can be utilized as a legal precedent in future prosecutions.
    Indeed I am hard pressed to think of any public blasphemy action, or call for action in recent years that could not fit under this definition and not be argued as being educational or artistic (Salman Rushdie case, Jerry Springer Opera, Danish cartoons of Muhammed etc).

    Reply
  32. Avatar
    Half of Pinky and the Brain August 03, 2009

    Let god take a blasphemy offence to the court unless of course these holy, holy people claim to know the mind of god than in all fairness let them bring it to court. Well do you know the mind of god? Do you?

    Reply
  33. Avatar
    Sean August 04, 2009

    Yes, there are inequalities. Is the right to participate in society without compromising one’s religion unreasonable? We accommodate all manner of differences in society, why should it be any different for the religious?

    Yes, it is unreasonable. We readily outlaw discrimination on grounds of sex and sexual orientation, and that requires that religious views be compromised. Religions that demand the death penalty for trivial crimes are surely compromised.

    If it is something preventing you from taking up office then yes it is discriminatory. I notice how you haven’t hinted that it’s a choice on your part.

    I have to choose to be dishonest. It’s probably not good to begin my judicial career by making a false oath. I choose to be honest in admitting that the oath means nothing to me, since God is likely a fictional character. They may as well be asking me to swear an oath before Odin.

    Please be accurate, the UK site makes such references not the IE. No one has called for a boycott of Irish goods at all, you really should be careful what you say.

    You should be more careful when reading my posts, and the contents of the MPACIE website. However, you’re correct that it’s the MPAC site that posted the curious Michael Jackson article. MPACIE created the article that is most certainly not calling for a boycott, probably:

    http://www.mpac.ie/content/view/361/1/

    Just one thing confuses me. Can you explain the image that accompanied that article? It contains the following text:

    Boycott
    Made in ireland
    Help make Ireland blasphemy free

    This is really odd, since it appears to be calling for a boycott. You say that no-one called for a boycott, so must assume that this image was created by MPACIE in order to illustrate the hypothetical boycott. Kind of like running an article explaining that blacks might be lynched for going with white girls, and including a great big banner at the top proclaiming “Help keep the white race pure”. Of course that banner may be valid if the article is written sbout a group that are espousing such a repugnant view.

    Here’s some text from the post:

    “As such, and in peaceful opposition to this denigration and insult, we wouldn’t be surprised if conscientious Muslims everywhere protested this affront by boycotting Irish goods abroad – peaceful, yet very effective. Atheist Ireland may soon realise – among other sobering lessons – that the immigrant “little brother” on the inside apparently has powerful kith-and-kin on the outside.”

    While not explicitly calling for a boycott, the writer does seem to consider a boycott to be the right thing for “conscientious Muslims everywhere” to do. These are ‘weasel words’. No direct call for a boycott, but there is undeniable enthusiasm for such a thing. If no-one has called for a boycott, then how do you know that “the immigrant “little brother” on the inside apparently has powerful kith-and-kin on the outside?”

    Muslims don’t choose to be offended any more than a woman who dresses immodestly chooses to be raped.

    I’ll accept that few people choose to be offended. Religion itself may not actually be a choice, since it’s odd that most religious people will adopt the religion of their immediate culture. However, it’s important to understand that most people here do not hold religion in high regard. Choice doesn’t really matter in this context, since it’s how we deal with this perceived offense.

    Why doesn’t racism apply? And I do hope you are not going to resort to the race argument. Criticism is one thing, ridicule is quite another. Was it OK to portray little black kids as monkeys? Jews as tight-fisted scrooges, the Irish as pugnacious drunks, or women as dumb and subservient? Images and utterances that constantly denigrate a minority have a nasty habit of becoming defining characteristics of those communities, which in turn serve to victimise those communities. I’m sure Nugent wouldn’t like to be remembered as an instigator for injustice, inequalities and discrimination.

    Racism is about race, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of defining people by race. Biologically it makes little sense, since the genetic differences between the ‘races’ are so tiny as to be insignificant. We won’t agree that Muslims are not their religion, but failing to separate them creates truly odd situations. What about country music? Should country music fans have the same protection, since an insult leveled against Willie Nelson is surely an insult against all country music fans? Should all ideas be protected from ridicule if enough claim them as being religious?

    No modern or past Muslim would engage in any relations with a child.

    I assume Mohammed was a Muslim, and I doubt if you can speak for every muslim this side of the 7th century. I’m not saying that Muslims habitually commit statutory rape, but Mohammed is recorded as having sex with with a child. Right or wrong is a different matter. Let’s just leave this to the side, since quite frankly I don’t care if he was having sexual relations with donkeys. What matters is how people behave today.

    No they don’t Sean, and I think you’ve got to move beyond intellectual dishonesty and accept that your slippery slope arguments are of no benefit in this conversation. From an Islamic perspective, we believe that Muhammad was the last and final prophet; there is no one after him. We believed that in 1961 when the demotion bill was first enacted, and we believe it now. And in all that time no Mormon has ever taken any Muslim or Christian to task for that belief, and consequently any effort to do so now would be thrown out for the silliness that it is.

    It’s not a slippery slope argument. The defamation act is too poorly defined, and I see no reason why people should not see their religious views persecuted through the application of this law. It’s all just down to opinion anyway. The Islamic perspective may be that Smith was a false prophet, and another religion may claim that God is a flatulent donkey, and her prophets a bunch of asses. The latter shouldn’t be excused simply because some people consider it to be a religious belief. I reserve the right to ridicule both Islam and the cult of the foul smelling donkey.

    With regards the so called “one-sided” aspect of the media coverage. I remind you that Muslims make-up less than 1% of the population. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a voice, but it will be a fairly quiet one. It’s a minority in favour of the defamation act, since most people are indifferent, or against it.

    Reply
  34. Avatar
    Mujaahid August 06, 2009

    Yes, it is unreasonable. We readily outlaw discrimination on grounds of sex and sexual orientation, and that requires that religious views be compromised. Religions that demand the death penalty for trivial crimes are surely compromised.

    I don’t know of any religion that requires the death penalty for a ‘trivial’ crime, do you? And there’s no compromise in beliefs in terms of discrimination at all. While we do not accept homosexuality, neither do we advocate hate or disrespect for the individual.

    I have to choose to be dishonest. It’s probably not good to begin my judicial career by making a false oath. I choose to be honest in admitting that the oath means nothing to me, since God is likely a fictional character. They may as well be asking me to swear an oath before Odin.

    Honesty, justice, honour – my goodness you’re in danger of exhibiting religiousness.

    This is really odd, since it appears to be calling for a boycott. You say that no-one called for a boycott, so must assume that this image was created by MPACIE in order to illustrate the hypothetical boycott.

    Don’t you believe it’s a legitimate right to refuse to buy something in opposition to a perceived wrong? One might refuse to buy branded trainers in opposition to sweat shop slavery and no one would bat an eyelid. Your problem is you want to rob Muslims of the right to protest peacefully, yet powerfully. I sincerely hope AI don’t hold the Irish people to ransom in their endeavour to insult and defame – because that is what they’ll be doing.

    While not explicitly calling for a boycott, the writer does seem to consider a boycott to be the right thing for “conscientious Muslims everywhere” to do. These are ‘weasel words’. No direct call for a boycott, but there is undeniable enthusiasm for such a thing. If no-one has called for a boycott, then how do you know that “the immigrant “little brother” on the inside apparently has powerful kith-and-kin on the outside?”

    One only need look at the boycott effects on Denmark to see the evidence of the latter statement.

    I’ll accept that few people choose to be offended. Religion itself may not actually be a choice, since it’s odd that most religious people will adopt the religion of their immediate culture. However, it’s important to understand that most people here do not hold religion in high regard. Choice doesn’t really matter in this context, since it’s how we deal with this perceived offense.

    Indeed, there’s a growing body of research that indicates religion is in the genes or as Dawkins would state – we’re hotwired for religion.
    As for your insistence that religion isn’t held in high regard, well – there’s plenty of evidence to counter that.

    Racism is about race, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of defining people by race. Biologically it makes little sense, since the genetic differences between the ‘races’ are so tiny as to be insignificant. We won’t agree that Muslims are not their religion, but failing to separate them creates truly odd situations.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people like yourself talk about modernity and advancement yet cling tenaciously to the old concepts and interpretations of race. Sociologists of all hues now accept that racism goes well beyond the colour spectrum.

    I assume Mohammed was a Muslim, and I doubt if you can speak for every muslim this side of the 7th century. I’m not saying that Muslims habitually commit statutory rape, but Mohammed is recorded as having sex with with a child.

    No, Muhammad had relations with a post-pubescent female, a young woman by all past accounts. Remember Sean, it was only a century ago that the age of consent in Ireland was 10yrs of age, regardless of puberty. Now that was both morally and socially acceptable in Ireland then, it is not now.

    It’s a minority in favour of the defamation act, since most people are indifferent, or against it.

    I wager that indifference makes up the vast majority, though that majority can be influenced. AI is fighting a losing battle in that regard and any public defamation or gross insult toward a religious community would surely backfire.

    Reply
  35. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 06, 2009

    Quote
    I wager that indifference makes up the vast majority, though that majority can be influenced. AI is fighting a losing battle in that regard and any public defamation or gross insult toward a religious community would surely backfire,Quote

    First the word Defamation means something which isnt true.
    I havent seen anything to date in any reports that AI Intend to say something or make a statement which isnt true

    Quote
    One only need look at the boycott effects on Denmark to see the evidence of the latter statement.Quote

    And one only need to look at Holland,The release of Fitna, and the recent EU elections last June
    No Boycott there

    Quote
    I don’t know of any religion that requires the death penalty for a ‘trivial’ crime,Quote

    So the following just having to happen In Islamic Countries for no reason then?

    Girl Is Stoned to Death in Somalia After Reporting Rape

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/01/AR2008110102052.html

    Her crime: she had been raped. Her sentence: death by stoning

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/17/world/in-pakistan-rape-victims-are-the-criminals.html?pagewanted=all

    the United Nations condemned the stoning to death of Aisha Duhulowa, a 13-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and then sentenced to death by a Sharia court

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=33098

    19-Year Old Saudi Rape Victim Ordered to Undergo 200 Lashes

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,311848,00.html
    .

    Reply
  36. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 06, 2009

    Quote
    I wager that indifference makes up the vast majority, though that majority can be influenced.Quote

    Last time i checked the majority religion here are catholics/Christians

    Given these recent events In Pakistan

    Eight Christians Burned Alive in Punjab, Pakistan

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=34185

    Blasphemy’ claims three more victims

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=200985\story_5-8-2009_pg1_10

    Do you seriously think the majority of Catholics/Christians will Support a blasphemy law here now?

    Reply
  37. Avatar
    Sean August 07, 2009

    I don’t know of any religion that requires the death penalty for a ‘trivial’ crime, do you? And there’s no compromise in beliefs in terms of discrimination at all. While we do not accept homosexuality, neither do we advocate hate or disrespect for the individual.

    Talia highlighted a few. Also, it’s not uncommon for Islamic-influenced law to require death for apostasy. Quite a few Islamic countries maintain the death penalty for homosexual acts. What exactly do you mean by not accepting homosexuality? Would you treat a homosexual differently? If so, can we classify that as some kind of racism? I may not accept Islam, so is it fine for me to treat Muslims in the same way that you’d treat people known to commit homosexual acts?

    Please tell me how you accept homosexuals so I can apply the same level of compassion to Muslims. After all, you mentioned later that religion could be genetic, and it could well be that homosexuality is also influenced by genetics.

    Honesty, justice, honour – my goodness you’re in danger of exhibiting religiousness.

    And you are sometimes in danger of providing a straight answer. Why is there a need to reduce a discussion to some kind of childish point-scoring exercise? I invite you to review the earlier conversation in the hope that you’ll offer a meaningful response.

    Don’t you believe it’s a legitimate right to refuse to buy something in opposition to a perceived wrong?

    I’ve at no pointed question the rights and wrongs of organizing a boycott. I’ve simply pointed out that the published material on MPACIE seems to contradict your claim that no-one has called for a boycott. Why have you changed the subject? Are you struggling to reconcile your posts here with the article that appeared on MPACIE? Please explain that image and the wording of the text quoted in my previous post.

    Your problem is you want to rob Muslims of the right to protest peacefully, yet powerfully. I sincerely hope AI don’t hold the Irish people to ransom in their endeavour to insult and defame – because that is what they’ll be doing.

    Please quote the text in which I express my desire to rob Muslims of the right to protest. I try to avoid putting words in to your mouth, and I’d politely ask that you pay me the same courtesy. On the subject of ransom, bring it on. Freedom of speech should not be stifled by thinly veiled threats.

    One only need look at the boycott effects on Denmark to see the evidence of the latter statement.

    Indeed. Almost 200 Muslims died. Hardly a desirable result for anyone who cares about human life, and certainly not something that anyone who cares about human life would be gloating over. I know that most of us in the west were truly impressed by a god that needs to be protected from rogue cartoonists. All in all a great public relations coup for Islam in the west.

    Indeed, there’s a growing body of research that indicates religion is in the genes or as Dawkins would state – we’re hotwired for religion.

    So? That’s actually an argument against all religions, since those genes would appear to be focussed on no particular god. Had you been born elsewhere you could well be building bamboo airports in the hope of summoning John Frum.

    As for your insistence that religion isn’t held in high regard, well – there’s plenty of evidence to counter that.

    I was a little vague there. I’ll rephrase and say that most people do not hold religion in the same high regard that you do.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people like yourself talk about modernity and advancement yet cling tenaciously to the old concepts and interpretations of race. Sociologists of all hues now accept that racism goes well beyond the colour spectrum.

    Erm, is this leading to a Sokal hoax? The hint is in the word – race-ism. My dictionaries are quite clear on the matter. Besides, this is bullshit. We’re not talking about discrimination against people, we’re talking about the freedom to ridicule silly ideas.

    No, Muhammad had relations with a post-pubescent female, a young woman by all past accounts. Remember Sean, it was only a century ago that the age of consent in Ireland was 10yrs of age, regardless of puberty. Now that was both morally and socially acceptable in Ireland then, it is not now.

    She was not a young woman. She was by most accounts a girl of nine or ten years-old. Granted it may have been the norm back then, but I’m troubled that you’re trying to justify it. I never said that it was wrong, and I clearly accepted that Muhammed was a man of his time.

    I wager that indifference makes up the vast majority, though that majority can be influenced. AI is fighting a losing battle in that regard and any public defamation or gross insult toward a religious community would surely backfire.

    If it’s a losing battle then the religious fundies have little to worry about. Yep, we know that blasphemy has always been taken serious in Ireland. I remember the flag burnings and riots we had when Father Ted was launched. Lordy, the da Vinci Code almost brought an end to society as we know it. When canvassing opinion, might I suggest that you look beyond the reach-around club that is MPACIE?

    Reply
  38. Avatar
    Mujaahid August 08, 2009

    Talia highlighted a few. Also, it’s not uncommon for Islamic-influenced law to require death for apostasy. Quite a few Islamic countries maintain the death penalty for homosexual acts. What exactly do you mean by not accepting homosexuality? Would you treat a homosexual differently? If so, can we classify that as some kind of racism? I may not accept Islam, so is it fine for me to treat Muslims in the same way that you’d treat people known to commit homosexual acts?

    No, Talia aka Riddler highlighted media misrepresentations as evidence of his so-called triviality. Even you must ask why people must resort to deceit. Ireland is not a Shariah state, nor a Muslim land at the present time so what I or any Muslim feels about aberrant practices like homosexuality, paedophilia, adultery, incest, etc is of little consequence – at this time. You might like to look at the Christian and Jewish religions for their take on such practices.
    As for apostasy – this is only a capital offence if it is linked with fomenting dissent against the state – in the west this is called high treason and is a punishable offence (the US and other states still have the death penalty for it). This is the opinion of people like Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim and Ad Daahabee.

    Please tell me how you accept homosexuals so I can apply the same level of compassion to Muslims. After all, you mentioned later that religion could be genetic, and it could well be that homosexuality is also influenced by genetics.

    In this state, I treat all non-Muslims the same – whether they be homosexual or heterosexual.
    You know well that the claims for the ‘homosexual’ gene were dubious at best. There is an interesting piece of research that indicates an imbalance in X/Y chromosomes being the culprit. If that be the case, then it is a condition that could be rectified.

    I’ve at no pointed question the rights and wrongs of organizing a boycott. I’ve simply pointed out that the published material on MPACIE seems to contradict your claim that no-one has called for a boycott. Why have you changed the subject? Are you struggling to reconcile your posts here with the article that appeared on MPACIE? Please explain that image and the wording of the text quoted in my previous post.

    On the subject of ransom, bring it on. Freedom of speech should not be stifled by thinly veiled threats.

    Please do not equate ‘Freedom of Speech’ with freedom to ridicule, scorn and hate – they are two very separate issues as evidenced by the law.

    Indeed. Almost 200 Muslims died. Hardly a desirable result for anyone who cares about human life, and certainly not something that anyone who cares about human life would be gloating over. I know that most of us in the west were truly impressed by a god that needs to be protected from rogue cartoonists. All in all a great public relations coup for Islam in the west.

    It is a concern that even one Muslim died, and had you read the post you would see that my points were relevant to an economic boycott and nothing else. You might like to apply some of your own advice (I try to avoid putting words in to your mouth, and I’d politely ask that you pay me the same courtesy).

    So? That’s actually an argument against all religions, since those genes would appear to be focussed on no particular god. Had you been born elsewhere you could well be building bamboo airports in the hope of summoning John Frum.

    Actually no, because there is a religion that says the same thing as scientists today are asserting, do you know what that religion is? Islam 1432yrs ago declared that ALL children are born Muslim, i.e. in a natural state of submission to Allah, that they are born upon the fitrah – a natural understanding of right and wrong, but that it is their parents that change them to Christian or otherwise. You ought to read the research, you’ll discover that atheism is a deviancy from the norm.

    Erm, is this leading to a Sokal hoax? The hint is in the word – race-ism. My dictionaries are quite clear on the matter. Besides, this is bullshit. We’re not talking about discrimination against people, we’re talking about the freedom to ridicule silly ideas.

    There is no unrestricted freedom to ridicule anything or anybody and your continued insistence of separating ideas from the individual is disingenuous at best. At what point does ridicule become victimisation? At what point does victimisation manifest itself in discrimination and at what point does this lead to full-blown persecution. You readily accept the inherent dangers when it comes to gender and colour, all the law asks is that you take it one step further in the interests of societal cohesion. Can’t atheism stand on its own merits without recourse to gross insult and offence? What has happened to the precept of civil dialogue?

    She was not a young woman. She was by most accounts a girl of nine or ten years-old. Granted it may have been the norm back then, but I’m troubled that you’re trying to justify it. I never said that it was wrong, and I clearly accepted that Muhammed was a man of his time.

    At that place and in that time she was considered a young woman, there was nothing odd or strange about the practice of early marriages, it was the norm. In modern western society today it is frowned upon, but you protect paedophiles, consider them ill (just as you did homosexuality – now there’s a slippery slope: how long before some pedo discovers the pedo gene!!!), you celebrate homosexuality, turn a blind eye to adultery, incest and fornication, promote the conditions for rape and then give culprits a slap on the wrist and tell them they’re bad boys for indulging. In the west young girls readily engage in sexual behaviour with boys, teen pregnancies are rife (abortions too) and the media and even schools seem to encourage early sexual behaviour – you most certainly do not hold the high moral ground, but then morality is such a amorphous idea for the west, isn’t it? Prevailing morality seems to revert to societal norms, homosexuality today, and paedophilia tomorrow – what next?

    If it’s a losing battle then the religious fundies have little to worry about. Yep, we know that blasphemy has always been taken serious in Ireland. I remember the flag burnings and riots we had when Father Ted was launched. Lordy, the da Vinci Code almost brought an end to society as we know it. When canvassing opinion, might I suggest that you look beyond the reach-around club that is MPACIE?

    There were protests here regarding the Life of Brian, and other films. A priest recently called an Easter show in a nightclub ‘blasphemy’ and wasn’t there a case of blasphemy being brought to the courts in the late nineties??? As for Father Ted, I think any Irish person should be ashamed of the association – it’s about as unfunny as the American version of The Office – but then that’s Irish ‘humour’ – Frank Carson would turn in his grave.

    Reply
  39. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 08, 2009

    Quote,No, Talia aka Riddler highlighted media misrepresentations,Quote,

    The Onus is on you to prove those are media misrepresentations.

    Quote. dissent against the state – in the west this is called high treason and is a punishable offence (the US and other states still have the death penalty for it)Quote

    You Equate Dissent with treason

    Dissent isnt classed as treason in the United States

    A case like this is what is called treason

    Quote
    WASHINGTON—A former Boeing engineer was arrested on Monday on charges of stealing trade secrets for China about several aerospace programs, including the Space Shuttle, the U.S. Justice Department said,Quote

    http://back2003.en.epochtimes.com/news/8-2-12/65833.html

    A treason case like that is hardly the same as Dissent now is it?

    Quote
    Please do not equate ‘Freedom of Speech’ with freedom to ridicule, scorn,Quote

    Wells that your take on free epeech not mine or not of the majority

    Quote
    freedom to ridicule,Quote

    yes free epeech means that.You prob never seen any cartoons in the papers taking the piss out of brian cowen
    thats freedom to ridicule

    Or the paddy power add of Jesus playing poker at the last supper
    thats freedom to ridicule

    Reply
  40. Avatar
    Mujaahid August 08, 2009

    The Onus is on you to prove those are media misrepresentations.

    Argumentation isn’t my forte Riddler, but I’m sure there’s a principle along the lines of ‘he who asserts must prove’ – you’ve asserted, please prove.

    You Equate Dissent with treason.

    paradoxically yes, it has been said, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Treason is the highest form of dissent” and while it may have been uttered in a tongue-in-cheek manner, there’s truth in it, for no treason could be deemed so in the absence of dissent.

    yes free epeech means that.You prob never seen any cartoons in the papers taking the piss out of brian cowen, thats freedom to ridicule.

    Of course there’s anything but freedom in that regard, you do remember the RTE apology over the Cowen paintings, don’t you? Could a preacher deliver a sermon about women in loose clothing, ridicule them as slabs of meat on display without incurring the wrath of the media along with calls for expulsion? It seems to me your so-called right to ridicule is a very one-sided concern.

    Reply
  41. Avatar
    Mujaahid August 09, 2009

    I don’t think you know anything about Shaikh Sudais, but as the vitriol is coming from the same vermin that castigated Robinsons’ award by Obama, it means very little to us. Tony Baldry, an MP had this to say about Sudais, “If I had written a text of what a moderate Muslim would say, his would have been a word-perfect example. He spoke of Muslim respect for the Abrahamic faiths and their leading figures such as Moses and Jesus, that Muslims who resort to violence and do not advocate tolerance and mercy are not true Muslims.”

    On the occasion of the opening of the London Muslim Centre (see here and here), he told thousands of worshippers:

    “Muslims should exemplify the true image of Islam in their interaction with other communities and dispel any misconceptions portrayed in some parts of the media…. Muslims should remember that throughout this long history Islam has carried the message of building communities, not isolating themselves…. The history of Islam is the best testament to how different communities can live together in peace and harmony.” Scary stuff that…meanwhile Nethanyahu, the despot, promises annihilation for the Palestinians and the ‘Jewish’ board of deputies are silent.

    Reply
  42. Avatar
    Jack Butler August 10, 2009

    Muj,
    Back to post 16;- “Jews aren’t a part of Saudi society so your comparison is flawed.”
    Mmmmmmmm. yeah!
    Care to explain why Jews aren’t a part of Saudi society? or Christians……or Shia…….or Bahais…….or Janes …..or atheists or……Oh heck you may not get the message, but thinking people will.

    Reply
  43. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 13, 2009

    Are still there Mujaahid?

    If so I came across youtube item about muslim groups
    having a debate on Islam at trinity College

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cunvQXJ7zSE&feature=related

    Now i cant find the whole debate to watch online

    But would you care to tell us which Islam is the real Islam being promoted at that debate

    The Islam Vision of Omar Brooks?
    Or the Islam vision of Irish Muslims debating him?

    Reply
  44. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 13, 2009

    Quote ,The Islamic vision correct was not represented that evening by either party, for both were extremes. On the one side you had the extremism of Al Muhajiroon and on the other the liberal extremism of Saterdien and others. The true path is the middle one.Quote

    I dont want to be putting words in your mouth here

    Correct me if im wrong by all means

    Are you saying Islam is open to interpretation by different groups?

    Furthermore If dermot ahearn is to sign the blasphemy bill into law

    Do you think such public meetings between various Islamic groups could take place?

    On your own website

    from this article

    Quote ,In 2007, Enda Kenny was invited to the Islamic Foundation of Ireland to discuss ‘issues’ with ‘so-called’ Muslim leaders,Quote

    http://www.mpac.ie/content/view/331/1/

    Do you think your group would be able to publicily debate those muslim leaders under a blasphemy law?

    Reply
  45. Avatar
    Talia Al Ghul August 14, 2009

    I have read the bill alright

    I have read the part

    The blasphemy provisions of the Defamation Bill make it an offence to cause outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of a religion

    Lets stick to that outrage part

    lets say for arguments sake the blasphemy bill was law when Omar Brooks came to Trinity College to debate the Irish muslims

    and the way on the video Omar Brooks said we can face the enemy anywhere, thats Islam,thats jihad

    lets stop there at that point after brooks said that at the debate

    If the irish muslim group he was there debating, All claimed outrage for brooks making those remarks

    Would that debate of being left continue?

    Even so if it did continue

    After the debate was over if enough as some say adherents of Islam
    were outraged at brooks remarks

    and lets say because of that outrage brooks was brought up on a
    blasphemy charge because of that outrage

    Would you support a blasphemy law then if someone faced being prosecuted
    on a blasphemy charge over remarks brooks made?

    Reply
  46. Avatar
    Mujaahid August 14, 2009

    What Omar Brooks said was correct, I don’t have an issue with that. Muslims have every right to defend themselves according to the Divine Shariah and Human Rights. Peace for those who desire peace – that’s conditioned upon relevant intention and action.

    You can’t break the Defamation bill into chunks and then hypothesize as if it were fact, that unfortunately has been the sum of AI’s contorted attempts to oppose this bill – which most likely accounts for their monumental failure.

    Reply
  47. Avatar
    Jack Butler August 15, 2009

    The Islamic state is an Ideological one? So what!
    Ideology without evidential back-up is only so much bull. At best Ideology is an honest attempt to make sense of that which we don’t understand, at worst it is an attempt to explain things in a manner that supports a pre-conceived position. All religious ideology is the latter.
    Some of your people would consider YOU Muj to be a leader. This is made possible because you are lucky to live in a democracy where the majority, by and large, cherish intellectual opposition. Ever heard of an Irishman (woman) that didn’t enjoy an argument? The chances of an atheist becoming a leader in a society where the government is controlled by Islam are slim indeed. You Muj in supporting this blasphemy law are supporting those who would silence you.
    Yes, I tolerate the bilge you support and even support your right to spout it. I believe that no obstacles other than knowledge and fact be placed in your way when you proclaim this ignorance. Not for your sake but for mine and the sake of learning and free speech.
    So drive on if you wish and feel free to rail against in the knowledge that people like me will support that right. Islam will support you only while you keep to the flavour of the day

    Reply
  48. Avatar
    Jack Butler August 15, 2009

    Oh! and sorry for the double post, but Muj, you still haven’t answered the question,;-Care to explain why Jews aren’t a part of Saudi society? or Christians……or Shia…….or Bahais…….or Janes …..or atheists or……

    Reply
  49. Avatar
    04325613 August 31, 2009

    oh dont say anything that wil upset god! u will be fined!

    Reply
  50. Avatar
    Padraig January 02, 2010

    Many governments have already brought in laws to prevent religions being insulted -which is how believers see ‘blasphemy’. Of course we all know that this is mainly aimed at protecting Islam, because it is the only one of the world’s three inflexible and dogmatic religions which continues to cling on to a medieval insistence on respecting its ‘rules and regulations’. The other two, Christianity and Judaism, have (for the most part)learned to let go and move on. Western governments are tyring to avoid another Dutch cartoons fiasco but they are thinking only in the short-term. Defending our western principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion (which includes the right not to believe) are of far greater consequence in the long-term unfurling of mankind’s destiny.

    Reply

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