...asked Stephen Fry, in a debate about free speech. “So f****ng what?” he went on to say.
He doesn’t usually swear, but did on this occasion, in order to make a point. Perhaps some were offended by the f-word. People are offended by all kinds of things.
Jason Pappas pointed out that The Telegraph’s Speakers’ Corner is running a debate:
Who or what do you think is the greatest threat to freedom in Europe? Is the continent most at risk from Islamic extremism, climate change, a resurgent Russia, uncontrolled migration. "moralising politicians" or some other danger?
Many commenters say Islam. Far more say the EU. But we know which comments would give the most offence to those criticised, which comments may – and if this were the BBC’s website, almost certainly would – get deleted. Islam, though a religion, receives more protection than Christianity. Though a political ideology, it receives more protection than the EU, the Tories or any other political entity.
It shouldn’t, argues David Thompson, in his latest piece, It’s okay to dislike Islam:
One of the creeping, unanalysed myths of our time is that it is somehow wrong to dislike Islam, or any part thereof, and wrong to take a dim view of its tenets and demands, and wrong to take a still dimmer view of the figure who founded it. I can practically hear the distant tutting and grunts of disapproval. Poor Islam. Poor Muslims. Their beliefs are being mocked. How hurtful. How 'racist.' How terribly unfair.
No. It's not unfair at all. What's unfair is a demand for unearned deference and a unilateral exemption from the testing of ideas. What's unfair, indeed despicable, are efforts by Islamic groups to cow dissent and stifle criticism with a well-rehearsed pantomime of victimhood and the projection of false motives. Pretending to be hurt in order to assert one's will over others, even violently, or to gain unreciprocated favours, or to exert control over what others may say and think, is cowardly and malign. Let me say that once again. It's cowardly and malign.
This piece ties in with Thompson’s earlier article, The passive-aggressive jihad. Jihad is not just about physical violence. If it were, it would be easier to deal with. All methods of jihad are permissible, including the verbal equivalent of bursting into tears and stamping the foot. Just as we should ignore spoilt children who behave like that, so too we should deny Islamic cry-babies, far more dangerous than spoilt children, the oxygen of attention.