Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rowan Atkinson Blasts Fascist Home Secretary

British Home Secretary David Blunkett has proposed "thought crimes" legislation aiming to protect Muslims but no other religious group: Religious jokes 'won't be crime'.

Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are "quite a few sketches" he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law.

He added: "To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom.

"The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.

"A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed."

He said he had sympathy with the law's backers, particular British Muslims, but added: "I appreciate this measure is an attempt to provide comfort and protection to them.

"But unfortunately it is wholly inappropriate response far more likely to promote tension between communities than tolerance."


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