One of the most important human rights is the freedom of expression. Not just because this is vital to human creativity. But because it is the only way we have of protecting our other rights – by identifying and exposing violations of human rights.
It is no accident that freedom of expression is one of the first things restricted by oppressive regimes – and even democratic governments when their leaders are criticised.
This is why the current clamour to limit the freedom of expression in the interests of “religious tolerance,” “multiculturalism” and “respect” is so insidious.
It’s not a matter of balancing the creative and artistic rights of Danish cartoonists, authors like Salmon Rushdie or Dutch film makers against the need for religious tolerance and respect. It’s a matter of sacrificing the human rights of women, gays and the non-religious which are regularly violated in the name of religion.
Requiring us to ignore persecution of fellow humans so that we don’t offend somebody’s religious feelings.