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Religious Bigots: The Muslim Action Forum

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Recently published at Patheos: My A Letter to the Muslim Action Forum Regarding Blasphemy in the U.K. (The Patheos article came from a previous correspondence): “The fallout from the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris has led to a debate between free speech and censorship. In the United Kingdom, the Muslim Action Forum, funding ‘Be careful with Mohammad‘ billboards (seen above), recently issued a press release asking that an upcoming May, 2015 vote include a measure to make certain types of speech a ‘culpable offense.'”

Here’s what the MAF wrote to me (my comments in bold):

March 5, 2015

Dear Mr Powell,

If you think we should carry out a campaign to prove that we are not associated with some of the ideologies and actions you have mentioned When you demand that a free country pass laws that make criticism of your faith a crime, you associate yourself with those, like ISIS, who also make it a crime, then I would suggest that it is rather you who need to question your assumptions that as adherents of the Islamic faith that we by default support such ideas and actions. Rather our scholars and leaders have routinely condemned such ideologies and acts, in fact long before they caught the focus of people in the West Wrong. Your leaders equivocate.

The march on 8th February organised by Muslim Action Forum is responding to a specific and intentional provocation from Charlie Hebdo, a magazine which chose to republish insulting depictions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, a figure that is revered by 1.6 billion people worldwide (sic) with the sole intention to offend and provoke The Koran routinely insults others, i.e. Jews (5:51), disbelievers (2:191-193, 9:5, 9:29, 18:29), and all non-Muslims (8:65 on Jiyza tax).

Our campaign for Global Civility highlights that with Freedom of Expression comes a responsibility to not cause harm and damage others (i.e. through libel, slander and hate crimes); the attack upon a sacred figure whom over a billion people love and revere is abusive and insensitive (sic) infringes upon our basic human right to mutual respect. We believe all major world religions (including Christians and Jews ) are deserving of a right to some protection over their most sacred figures Everyone is deserving of rights, we’ll talk when you include apostates, atheists, and homosexuals. Criticism and open dialogue is not only welcomed but encouraged to explore all ideologies, but ought to be done so in a respectful and civilised manner and not for the sake of offending and upsetting; British society is regulated by rules that encourage such mutual civility.

Regards

Muslim Action Forum Team

April 6, 2015

Dear MAF,

Sorry, you do not have a right to be prejudice, and that’s what your letter and manifesto demands. Human rights protect individuals from ideology, including religious and political oppression. It’s not the other way around.

Regards,

Caleb Powell

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Written by Caleb Powell

April 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Islam

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