The Islamophobia Awards — my alternative nominations

The Islamic Human Rights Commission organises the annual Islamphobia Awards, and have revealed the nominations for this year’s awards. It seems to me though that the following people have done more to stoke up Islamophobia than many of the nominations listed there:

Surely, by conforming to the stereotype of the angry intolerant Muslim, who will threaten, if not carry out, acts of violence over any perceived insult to their religion, these people have been stoking up Islamophobia far more effectively than e.g. Jack Straw asking Muslim women to remove their veils or the Pope using an ancient quotation during a speech?

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Protestors in London call for beheading of those who depict Mohammed

Channel 4’s special report in the Danish cartoon row features a protest outside Regents Park Mosque. The protestors can be clearly heard chanting “Denmark, USA, 7/7 on its way”, the placards features slogans such as “Behead the one who insults the Prophet”, “Annihilate those who insult Islam” and “Freedom of expression can go to hell”. Click on the video link on this page to see the report.

Here are some photos of the placards. One reads “Be prepared for the real Holocaust”. Another reads “Freedom go to Hell”.

If anyone wants to know who some of the enemies of the open society are, look no further.

Is this a remotely sane or reasonable response to the publication of these cartoons?

What we have here is a group of militant religious fundamentalists trying to dictate what we can and cannot print in our newspapers, on the basis that if we violate a particular tenet of their religion, they will feel offended and insulted. They are trying to make us obey a tenet of their religion whether we subscribe to that religion or not. They are also calling for the death of those who dare to depict Mohammed, and some seem to be calling for a holocaust.

If we decide to give in on this, what will the religious zealots claim insult for next? The drinking of alcohol? The eating of non Halal food? Women who dare to dress in anything more revealing than a burqa?

I sincerely hope most Muslims have nothing to do with people like the protestors above. It is worth noting that some Muslims are bravely standing up for free speech. We should give them our support and stand up for free speech ourselves.

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