Blasphemy – pause for reflection

Yesterday I heard a Muslim spokesperson defend the notion of justifiable offence caused by images of the prophet. His argument was that the video footage of the Paris killing of the police officer was censored to avoid offence to the family so why shouldn’t images of the prophet be censored to avoid offence to Muslims. The point he made supports what ADNE Tweeted to me ‘ Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ Perhaps I trust the liberal media intelligentsia to impose censorship but not ordinary people of a faith I happen to find hard to take seriously

Is this a fair point? – (yes I had to Google it as well) – ‘who guards the guardians?’ I suppose the conclusion for an atheist like me is that blasphemy is not a worthy enough outrage for society (whoever that is) to be allowed to impose censorship. The individual sensibilities of the police officers family should be protected. I am not sure I am happy with that conclusion and wonder what others think? I think I may be setting myself and my views above those of others like some sort of atheist missionary out to convert people. How unpleasant.

2 Responses

  1. cfarrowsmith January 13, 2015 / 5:35 am

    Tricky one, Chris. Immediately recalled your post from a few days back: http://www.fleeting.eu:8080/wordpress/index.php/troubled-thoughts-re-freedom-of-speech/

    Consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds, I can’t fault you for reconsidering (or stratifying?) what seemed like a pretty definitive, extreme position. Is there peace to be found in a non-absolutist answer to this question? Perhaps, perhaps not. And I think your Latin friend has a very reasonable point in the abstract, if not in practice.

    I guess it all comes down to editorial choice in these cases: what to print; what to show on TV. And I guess *an* answer is that it is the right/privilege/responsibility of viewers/readers to engage or not, and broader philosophical battles must be fought on the beaches, in the air, &c.

    • christianarrowsmith January 13, 2015 / 8:37 am

      I guess I’ve never really understood why it is necessary, to depict the prophet knowing that it is forbidden under Islamic law. Nothing wrong with widespread offence when needed, jokes about the orthodox Islamic suppression of women’s rights being a more obvious case where satire can illuminate a difference of opinion, but it seems the only reason for making such depictions is to make a statement about freedom of speech which seems unnecessary in this instance.

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