If advocates of free speech forbid the criticism of Islam, are they truly in favor of free speech?
No Free Speech For Islam Critics
by Anne Marie Waters
The British journalist Toby Young is the front face of a new free speech campaign group just launched in the UK. Young presents as being on the conservative right, and has defended feminist writers, including Julie Bindel and Germaine Greer, both of whom were “deplatformed” for their radical view that a woman doesn’t have a penis.
The Free Speech Union claims on its website it “believes that if society doesn’t uphold the right to express controversial, eccentric, heretical, provocative or unwelcome opinions, then it doesn’t uphold free speech.”
Quite. So why then doesn’t Toby Young believe in the right to express controversial, eccentric, heretical, provocative or unwelcome opinions about religion? Because he doesn’t, as he has made clear. When questioned as to whether Tommy Robinson could join the union, Young batted the question away (it would be a matter for the board!) and then began to virtual-signal. In essence, he said the union would not tolerate criticism of a person because of their sex (agreed), or because of their skin colour (agreed), or because of their religion (no, that’s entirely different).
Religion is belief, and a person is answerable for what they believe. What they believe constitutes a large part of who they are, and as adults they are accountable for it. I maintain that free speech means criticism of the ideas people propagate, and, by extension, criticism of that person for propagating such ideas. This applies whether the beliefs are political or religious.
The Union goes on to state: “We take no position on the validity of others’ opinions, political or otherwise, whether expressed in speech, writing, performance, or in another form. However, we condemn all incitements to violence.”
But they have taken a position: they will not criticise religion. Or, doubtless more accurately, they will not criticise Islam. Islam remains untouchable, even by an organisation founded to fight for free speech. The fear of Islam in the UK is once again on show for all to see.
It isn’t only fear of Islam itself that causes this; it is fear of the law and fear of the Left. The law will punish those who are critical of Islam in the UK. This sharia-isation of the law means that while gang-rape and child marriage and FGM continue unimpeded, insulting Islam is more likely to bring the police to your door.
The most imminent threat, however, is from the Left. Toby Young must know that if he were to practice actual free speech (i.e. the freedom to criticise Islam), he would be accused of “hate” and his mainstream platform would disappear.
Furthermore, Young has no restriction on his speech. He enjoys regular mainstream media slots. If he allowed criticism of Islam, those slots would evaporate.
While Young has unfettered access to social media, I have had my Twitter account closed for criticising South Yorkshire Police (the account was heavily shadow-banned in any case, and my number of follower would drop on a daily basis). My view numbers on YouTube dropped by 60% overnight; I am now censored there as well.
Worse still, I am routinely described as a neo-Nazi or fascist by the mainstream press and am never given a mainstream right of reply. Wikipedia portrays me as both a monster and an idiot. I am unable to respond on that platform. Toby Young is backing off from criticising Islam because he doesn’t want this to happen to him.