Sunday, December 12, 2004
Moore's paedophile 'slur' angers Muslims. (Via LGF)
Charles Moore, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, provoked a storm of criticism from British Muslims yesterday for an article in which he championed the right to call the Prophet Mohamed a paedophile.
Mr Moore, who opposes new legislation banning incitement to religious hatred, chose the sensitive issue of the Prophet's marriage to a nine-year-old to illustrate his case. "It seems to me that people are perfectly entitled - rude and mistaken as they may be - to say that Mohamed was a paedophile, but if David Blunkett gets his way, they may not be able to," he wrote in his weekly column.
Responding with a mixture of astonishment and fury, Muslims yesterday described the remarks as inflammatory and deliberately provocative. Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the main voice of British Islam, said he was astonished that "a journalist and former editor with such wide experience could stoop so low".
Muslim groups have been at the forefront of the campaign for laws against religious hatred proposed by the Home Secretary in the summer. They have long complained that, while British Jews are protected by the 1976 Race Relations Act, there has been no similar ban on anti-Islamic prejudice.
According to Mr Sacranie, there is now a concerted campaign to confuse the public, with recent claims that new laws would prevent comedians telling religious jokes. He said there is no conflict between humour and laws banning religious bigotry.