"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Monday, 29 November 2010

Teenage girl in Qur'an burning

A 15 year old girl has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred for burning a copy of the Qur’an. Allegedly this was done to an English language version of the book at the girl's school and a video of the event posted on Facebook.
Now if this actually happened as described it was a stupid and pointless thing to do as it could only have been done with intent to insult Muslims. However, if the girl should be charged with anything it should be starting a fire on school property or vandalism, not “inciting religious hatred”. She is doing no such thing and to suggest otherwise is a violation of her right to free speech.
Non Muslims are not obliged to respect the Qur’an anymore than they are required to respect ...oh! Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. To everyone else it is just a book. If she bought it she can burn it if she wants to.
Catherine Heseltine, chief executive officer of the Muslim public affairs committee, said
burning the Qur'an was one of the most offensive acts to Muslims she could imagine.
Which shows a paucity of imagination in my opinion as I would rate say ethnic cleansing in Bosnia as far more offensive. However as I keep saying: No one has the right not to be offended. We cannot legislate for that, particularly as many special interest groups exist that could claim offense to almost anything.
So give the girl lines or a month of lunchtime detentions by all means, but don’t criminalise someone for expressing an opinion.

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