Read Nick Cohen in today's Observer:
The idea that Index [on Censorship] could have been at the centre of a scandal would once have been absurd. It was founded by Stephen Spender in the early 1970s to fight for the right of Soviet dissidents to speak freely. Vaclav Havel, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie, Doris Lessing, Arthur Miller, Aung San Suu Kyi and many another clear and strong voice used its pages to denounce the suppression of opinion wherever it occurred. Yet when it contemplated the warm corpse of a film-maker who had been ritually slaughtered for dramatising violence against Muslim women, its instinctive reaction was so hateful it still has the power to shock six weeks on.Please read it all. (Hat tip: EG.)
In the 20th century, feminists had a little success in persuading Western liberals that women should be treated as independent creatures whose intelligence ought to be respected. But these small gains can go out of the window when brown-skinned women contradict the party line that religious fundamentalism is all the fault of poverty or racism or Bush or Israel and isn't an autonomous totalitarian ideology with a logic of its own.
Why not go along with the new tough liberalism and, as David Blunkett is suggesting, make it a criminal offence to incite religious hatred? There are plenty of reasons why not; many were well made in the Commons last week, but MPs didn't point out that when society decides that people's religion, rather than their class or gender, is the cultural fact that matters, power inevitably passes to the priests and the devout for whom religion does indeed matter most.
To their shame, many on the left have broken with the Enlightenment to perform this manoeuvre. They have ridden the Islamic wave and agreed to convert one billion people into 'the Muslims'. A measure of their bad faith is that they would react with horror if this trick was pulled on them, and they were turned into 'the Christians' whose authentic representatives were the Archbishop of Canterbury and 'Dr' Ian Paisley.