Framing a Law Against #Islamaphobia @NatSecSoc @LawSecSoc @SarahAB_UK @queen_redqueen @REnlightenment

Law against Islamaphobia? OK here goes:

  • Phobia? – Literally “fear of”, but generally understood as “hatred of” or “prejudice against”.
  • Religious Freedom? – We have UN Dec Art 18 (Freedom of thought, belief, expression and conscience – inc religious and non-religious belief and practice.)
  • Prejudice & Hate? – We also have legal protection against hatred & prejudice, speech and acts, against race, colour, gender, sexuality, etc.

[These are protections of freedoms for humans to be who they are, but clearly none of these license or grant rights to these same humans to act in ways that are either illegal or infringe other rights and freedoms of others (illegal religious practices like “burning witches” or establishment of theocracies). Irrelevant to this particular decision.]

Now, we need to be careful not to conflate religion with these topics, nor these topics with each other, BUT they share a key feature which is being protected. Something which humans are, claim or hold, which is not an individual choice in the present, but biologically or culturally inherited difference (*). Something self-identifying and self-expressed, physically or verbally.

My view is that prejudice and hate laws should simply cover creed, as well as race, colour, gender, etc … Creed here is simply belief, and external expression of that belief.

End of.


(*) And before anyone throws the “multi-culturalism” pebble into the pond, here we’re just talking about non-prejudicial recognition of difference – different culture, different religious culture – this says nothing about national cultural norms and values, which evolve naturally from the actual present and its actual history – conserved but open to inputs. How to “manage” this with policy is another story, a recent minefield. The current issue above is simply freedom from prejudice in the meantime.


Post Notes:

Realised a flaw in my argument – grey scales from biology (genes, etc) to culture (memes, etc) to religion (more memes) – but there is a key point of distinction – hard to clarify, but bound up in choice in the present moment. We are our memes.

Real distinction is between reasonable criticism and prejudiced hatred or phobia – but reasonableness of criticism depends on ability to change. At one end – can I reasonably criticise an individual’s genes? At the other how personally directed can my criticisms be of mere “views” someone holds. Important point linked by Love (what’s so funny ’bout .. ) and Ad-Hominem (no no). It’s the difference between valid criticism and gratuitous, prejudiced bigotry or hatred.

Collecting other contributions:

James Lawrence via Adrian Dewey

Sarah Brown

Alex Wood / Richard Dawkins

Ali Sina

And right on cue the next “bunch of fucking idiots”
Just because the content is art & cartoons and the headline is free expression doesn’t make it do. Bigotry is bigotry.

Here, fig leaf of free-speech in Glasgow Herald.

And here Michael Gove before his new appointment as minister for justice.

And to be clear this example – @AMDWaters – is not Islamaphobic.

[Key point is non-explicit legal (negative) constraint on free-expression, but (positive) incentive of explicit values. See Ayaan Hirsi Ali.]

[Latest from Kenan Malik on banning of hate speech.]

2 thoughts on “Framing a Law Against #Islamaphobia @NatSecSoc @LawSecSoc @SarahAB_UK @queen_redqueen @REnlightenment”

  1. I am not sure about treating religion just like race etc. However I do see that, if you have been brought up (say) a Catholic, it may seem as unthinkable to change your beliefs as it would do to change your sexual orientation. Similarly, I’ve never been anything other than an atheist and find it hard to imagine changing in that respect. I can also see why Muslims, as a large minority facing some bigotry, would like to have attacks against them monitored and treated more exactly as those against Jews and Sikhs are. But religions are still sets of ideas, and I think articulating a strong dislike of religion, or of a particular religion, is completely different from making similar comments about race.

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