‘Faith crimes’

“Liberals have lost some important battles in the struggle to preserve democratic standards in the face of extremism. One was lost here in Britain, and by my profession, namely the decision by all British newspapers not to reprint the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The papers’ decision was encouraged by the Labour government and accompanied by a good deal of sage self-congratulation that wisdom had prevailed. The fact that journalism’s central task is to relate or show to people what is happening was put to one side, even though in this case what was happening was, inter alia, murders, burnings, riots and boycotts. Now that the smoke has literally cleared, we can see more clearly what that decision was: a disastrous miscalculation.”

John Lloyd in the Financial Times, 17 June 2006

And how can we see this more clearly? Apparently because “complaint backed by believable threat of violence, laced with the undertones of cultural guilt” has only encouraged calls for censorship from other minority communities, such as the Hindus who protested about the London exhibition of the paintings of Maqbool Fida Husain.

In other words the Nick Cohen line, which fails to distinguish between causing offence and promoting racism.