Jon Gaunt throws his considerable intellectual weight behind the Pope in today’s Sun:
“We are constantly being told to be tolerant and understanding of the Muslim faith. Well, do you think it would be possible just for a minute for Muslims to be tolerant of our humour, culture and literature? Why, as the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said, can’t the Muslim community take criticism? … There’s no sound of laughter around this religion and if there were it would be drowned out by the sound of feet treading on eggshells. Why?
“It started with the West’s capitulation to the religious nutters and fanatics of Iran who declared a fatwa on Salman Rushdie over his novel The Satanic Verses nearly 20 years ago…. The row over the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad was an absolute joke, and again the West gave in to the mad mullahs and extremists of the Muslim world who stirred up trouble, protests and intimidation by circulating the pictures around the globe.
“Not content with intimidating artists, politicians and newspaper editors, these people are now even trying to deny the Pope free speech. The Pope wasn’t preaching hatred. He was basically saying there is no place for violence in any religion. Who can take offence at that?
“The truth is, of course, that the Pope was showing he had more moral backbone than most leading politicians. He has previously demanded that Muslim clerics condemn ‘any connection between your faith and terrorism’.”