Friday 21 July 2017

The law against blasphemy must be removed

Author Salman Rushdie was the subject of a fatwa because his 1988 book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was considered blasphemous. Photo: PA
Author Salman Rushdie was the subject of a fatwa because his 1988 book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was considered blasphemous. Photo: PA

I refer to Dr Ali Selim's threatening of the Irish media with legal action if they publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoon he finds offensive and which others found so offensive that they killed 12 people ('Islamic cleric threatens Irish publications with legal action if they publish offending cartoon', January 8).

First, how nice of Dr Selim to assure us that lives will not be in danger. It is reassuring that lives will not be in danger if a humorous cartoon is published in a democratic republic which upholds those essentials of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

But, the reality is that people would have grounds to be worried if they were to publish the cartoon. We have been here before with the Danish cartoons, which were followed by hundreds of deaths and attacks on Christians, churches and European diplomatic missions.

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