The National Secular Society (NSS), who, like the rest of us, are not wrong about everything, have an interesting article on their website about a gymnast, Louis Smith (of whom I confess I have never heard) being forced to apologise for insulting Islam. The NSS point out that though blasphemy is no longer a crime in this country, there is a de facto blasphemy law and that the case of Mr Smith illustrates how it works.
Meanwhile, over at the Spectator, do listen to their podcast which deals with the persecution of atheists in Muslim-majority countries such as Bangladesh. Among the very interesting nuggets that emerge in the conversation is the belief, reported by Douglas Murray, expressed by a leading Islamic cleric, Sheikh Qaradawi, that Islam’s very existence would be in peril if the laws on blasphemy and apostasy were not there to defend it. (The key moment is at 17.45 minutes in. The same sentiment is to be found quoted on the Sheikh’s Wikipedia page.)
When Douglas Murray speaks of the tide of secularisation and unbelief that threatens the Muslim world, and the corresponding fear that this arouses in the guardians of that world, I am sure he is right. The murder of atheists in Bangladesh is not a sign of the strength of Islam, but rather a sign of weakness: a hysterical over-reaction to the perceived threat of atheist “contagion” which might well bring down the whole tottering structure.
Read more at Catholic Herald.