The Left, so Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips has it, “is doing the dirty work of the enemies of the West for them”. This is “part of a terrifying trend across Scandinavia and Europe”. And, as Mel is winding up for yet another rantfest of Olympian proportions, readers need no prompting as to who those enemies are. Yes, it’s all about Muslims. Again.
Not even a little fair and balanced
And the problem with Mel’s angry and frightened outburst is that we’ve heard it all before – plus, not for the first time, when the subject is delved into a little deeper, it can be seen that she is being at the very least selective with her facts, and certainly not objective. What she calls freedom of speech is the kind of behaviour that could lead to incitement to religious hatred.
Mel is championing the case of Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society, who stands accused of hate speech. The charge is characterised as a “witch-hunt” and Hedegaard’s remarks merely something “two years previously concerning sexual abuse within Muslim communities”. Mel does not dwell on the remarks, or go into detail. But I will.
What Hedegaard said was that Muslims “rape their own children. It is heard of all the time. Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers”. And to put the lid on the whole thing, he went on “Whenever it is prudent for a Muslim to hide his true intentions by lying or making a false oath on his own or in Islam’s service, then it is OK to do it”.
And Sappho, the Society’s magazine, has hosted debates featuring such luminaries as Geert Wilders, another with a slightly loaded take on Islam. Moreover, it gives a yearly award, which in 2008 was given to the cartoonist who drew The Prophet in ways that suggested he was a terrorist (what many do not appear to understand is that any image of The Prophet is proscribed in Islam).
But just think what would have happened if Hedegaard had directed his remarks at any other religion, especially, say, Judaism. The outcry would have been immediate – and as justifiably so as making them against Islam. The idea that hate speech laws only work in favour of Muslims and against all other religions is plain daft, and Hedegaard’s supporters should get real.
That includes all those recipients of the annual Sappho award, an honour that in 2009 was bestowed on their chosen beacon of free speech promotion, one, er, Melanie Phillips! So all that this is, is Mad Mel dutifully giving suitably selective and slanted payback by using the Mail to put the boot in, using the false equivalence of “banning hate speech means banning free speech”.
Yes, Mel is living up to that nickname again. No change there, then.