The UK appears to be considering jumping onto the slippery slope. Is the United States, despite our history of separation of church and state, far behind? Codifying religious blasphemy as part of the civil code is dangerous in the extreme!
And just what is the Islamic definition of blasphemy? According to this source, the definition is nebulous and open to exploitation:
The...Quran, the primary authority in Islamic jurisprudence, offers no explicit definition of blasphemy. The hadiths, a collection of sayings attributed to Mohammed, mention briefly the “abuse of the Prophet” as a capital punishment offence...As I read the above citation, I think of Mona Eltahawy and her zeal as she defaced private property in the NYC subway this week Did she not appear absolutely convinced that she had the right to do what she did?
Proponents of strict implementation of Sharia religious law usually argue that blasphemy should be punishable by death. Muslim clerics that condemn cases of blasphemy sometimes exhort on fellow Muslims to punish the perpetrators, while in some countries, conservative clerics with influence over the state judiciary pursue suspected blasphemers in state courts.
Yet in the Muslim world only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates currently permit blasphemy to be punishable by death. Muslim clerics that condemn cases of blasphemy sometimes exhort on fellow Muslims to punish the perpetrators, while in some countries, conservative clerics with influence over the state judiciary pursue suspected blasphemers in state courts.
[I]t will be up to individual Muslim clerics – with varying degrees of juridical knowledge and reputation – to declare an individual a blasphemer. A wide variety of alleged offences have been branded as blasphemous in different environments, ranging from cultural production deemed offensive to Islam to bizarre allegations of blasphemy such as the Sudanese case of a teddy bear named Mohammed.
I think of Salman Rushdie.
I think of the recent filmifada, too, of course.
And the Danish Cartoons and the ensuing outrage.
I also think of these signs that Muslims carried in the streets of London:
The slippery slope.