Three Muslim men in the U.K. have been jailed for handing out pamphlets calling on gays to be executed. It seems that there was little chance of violence occurring as a result of these pamphlets, so I’m a little disturbed by the decision to incarcerate the men. What they did was offensive, but it wasn’t an obvious threat to the peace.
The atheist gentlemen at Reasonable Doubts (episode 97) make a good point: if we demand the freedom to draw cartoons that are highly offensive to Muslims, then Muslims should have the right to make pamphlets that are highly offensive to us. This is not to say that the two situations are entirely equivalent, far from it. Crucially, cartoons depicting Muhammed do not call for violence of any kind.
The chaps at Reasonable doubts make a second point: the pamphlet saga indicates very clearly what sort of religion Islam is. One of the accused, Kabir Ahmed, said that “I was doing my duty as a Muslim“. This is a good reminder that for some issues, moderate Islam is moderate in spite of its holy texts, not because of them.