Teacher Suspended For Showing Mohammed Caricature Must Be Defended by Government
The New Culture Forum’s Peter Whittle:
“You’ll be aware that over the past couple of days there have been protests outside Batley Grammar School in Yorkshire. This is because a teacher there showed his pupils a caricature of Mohammed. As a result of this, the headmaster cravenly issued an apology and, indeed, the teacher has been suspended. Since then he’s received death threats and has left his home. Protestors have moved in from outside the area. And of course they want this teacher fired.
These sorts of issues go right to the heart of what we are as a country & our values. We are a country that should believe in free speech. We are a country that does not have blasphemy laws. We cannot have a blasphemy law by the back door — which is what, really, these protestors want.
But most importantly we want some kind of real leadership from our government on this. So far we’ve had weak protests from various ministers. They shouldn’t treat this as some small, rather irritating issue, that is happening on the sidelines. It goes to the very heartof what we are. And they should treat it as such.
They should show absolute support for this teacher. Under no circumstances should he be fired. And at the same time they should restate what our values are. And that those values relate to everybody in the population. No group should get special treatment.
We should be allowed to criticize religion, we should be allowed to criticize any set of beliefs, we should be allowed to criticize and mock any ideology. That must not change. These things happen on a regular basis now. They’re not going to stop unless someone stands up.
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