A mighty insult to Islam has been delivered in Sudan this week. The slur is, in effect, that Islam is the kind of religion whose adherents cannot bear to see a ‘kaffir’ woman allow children to vote to name a cuddly toy after one of their classmates (who in turn was named after the prophet Mohammed) without locking her in jail and then throwing her out of the country.
This is certainly an overgeneralisation, but for too many adherents, it’s sadly true.
There’s a moral here about how different worldviews interact. If you allow one group to set the terms of debate, then there’s nothing to stop them from using cries of ‘offence’ to constrain what can be said ever more tightly, as ‘respect’ blends into deference, appeasement and obedience.
Giving someone the power to decide when they’ve been unacceptably ‘offended’ creates the moral equivalent of the Salem witch trials.