Donald Trump retweets: 'Islam currently has an informal blasphemy law protecting it from criticism', says journalist

'Islam currently has an informal blasphemy law protecting it from criticism', says journalist

Brendan O'Neill says censorship makes people turn to groups like Britain First

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Censorship is dangerous and at the moment it's like Islam has its own informal blasphemy law so it is protected from criticism, but all issues should be involved in open debate. 

That's according to Brendan O'Neill, the editor of news website Spiked Online. Theresa May has slammed Donald Trump as "wrong" for retweeting three controversial videos allegedly about Muslims from Britain First's deputy leader Jayda Fransen yesterday (November 29).

However Trump responded by claiming May should focus on terrorism in the UK instead of his use of social media.

O’Neill told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It can be very difficult to raise criticisms of Islam unless you want to be called islamophobic racist an idiot and so on.

“It’s like it’s the one religion that has its own kind of informal blasphemy law which is protected from criticism and that’s a really dangerous thing to do.”

He thinks “we are not allowing people to express certain viewpoints about Islam or Islamist extremism or even immigration in the public sphere in the way that they want to and so people are looking for other avenues through which they might express those feelings [such as Britain First].

“We sometimes underestimate the very dangerous consequences censorship can have and I think Britain First is an example of one of those consequences.”

The journalist thinks this also makes “some of the more radical adherence of that religion think that it’s completely wrong for anyone to ever criticise them and if you do criticise them maybe you deserve to be punished.”  

He believes mocking religion is “completely fundamental and people fought and died for the right to mock religion.”

O’Neill also disagrees with Brendan Cox, who said Trump is encouraging far-right hatred and his state visit should be cancelled, instead he thinks “the solution is to have more and more opinion in the public realm more and more freedom to criticise these things and talk about them openly.

“It’s only when you have that that we can arrive at some sort of normal truthful way of problems facing our society.”

Listen to the full interview above