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← Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote

Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

The Editor and the Publisher of The Statesman have been arrested for "hurting the religious feelings of Muslims" by reprinting Johann's article. Oh it must hurt so, it must be agony, I do so sympathize. Feelings are so important, aren't they? So much more important than beheadings and stonings and honour killings. If we have any readers in Calcutta, can you tell us a good email address to write letters of protest about the ludicrous arrest of these brave men.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 12:49:00 UTC | #324302

splink's Avatar Comment 2 by splink

This is a beautiful article. Right on about Geert too.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 12:53:00 UTC | #324305

George Lennan's Avatar Comment 3 by George Lennan

Is it not time to take a stand?

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 12:53:00 UTC | #324306

adamd164's Avatar Comment 4 by adamd164

I second that request. You couldn't make this stuff up! Absolutely outrageous.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 12:59:00 UTC | #324310

lol mahmood's Avatar Comment 5 by lol mahmood

Breathtakingly articulate and cogent. For all those 'I'm an atheist, but' heads, THIS is why it matters.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:00:00 UTC | #324311

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 6 by kaiserkriss

I would have thought India of all places, the biggest democracy in the world would stand up to narrow minded religious based intolerance.

This together with the despicable Wilders case in the UK should start to open the eyes of the public that their rights to free speech are slowly being eroded by excuse the expression, thuggery.jcw

PS I'm glad to see Richard take the initiative on this.. Post 1 above.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:00:00 UTC | #324312

owstreet's Avatar Comment 7 by owstreet

Im a Bangalorean...I dunno if these are the best people for the job but ill post a couple links anyway.


2) Kolkata Press Club...these guys have fought for the freedom of the press in the past.The email is .Lets bombard their inbox for what its worth :)§id=46&contentid=2008050920080509183430806e4bead10§xslt=

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:01:00 UTC | #324313

boogerjames's Avatar Comment 8 by boogerjames

George Orwell would be either

a) laughing his ass off

b) shitting his pants

The amount of doublespeak going on in the world concerning Islam is ridiculous. Never have I heard the "he had it coming" argument used with such veracity.

All we can hope for is that people like Johann keep speaking the truth. Hopefully someone will listen before its too late.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:03:00 UTC | #324314

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 9 by NewEnglandBob

So many in the world are regressing. Freedom of speech is far more important than the criminal behaviour of religious fanatics. The UN is a useless organization because it stands up for the thugs, hate mongers, murderers, rapists and irrational ignorant like the religious fanatics.

I am surprised that many places in Europe are now succumbing to these malcontent Islamic lowlifes.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:03:00 UTC | #324315

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 10 by Friend Giskard

What is the evidence that this Wilders is a racist?

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:03:00 UTC | #324316

beanson's Avatar Comment 11 by beanson

Wow- what a forceful piece

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:08:00 UTC | #324319

BrandySpears's Avatar Comment 12 by BrandySpears

This kind of crap is what scares me the most.

Johann Hari speaking about special considerations given to religion (RD is in the audience):

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:10:00 UTC | #324320

boogerjames's Avatar Comment 13 by boogerjames

What is the evidence that this Wilders is a racist?

I think this refers to the fact that he is trying to ban the Koran.

I don't think Ray Bradbury would appreciate that.

Why aren't 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 required reading for the whole world? I think most kids in the West read this stuff in high school. Maybe we need to distribute some copies to the Middle East.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:11:00 UTC | #324321

ColdFusionLazarus's Avatar Comment 14 by ColdFusionLazarus

I am indeed appalled by the erosion of secularism around the world. It's about time I started doing something constructive about this. Thanks Johann Hari.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:13:00 UTC | #324322

nattyadams's Avatar Comment 15 by nattyadams

Nehru is spinning in his grave.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:17:00 UTC | #324325

tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 16 by tieInterceptor

I wish we would start protesting on the street and making noise,

seriously, how hard can it be to get 10.000 angry atheists to surround the parliament? that will get things moving... it works for the Muslims, and if you do it 2 or 3 times, after that only the threat of action is enough to get things going your way.

I'm ready to print a placard that reads, behead those who defame Darwin... or not.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:18:00 UTC | #324326

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 17 by mirandaceleste

A wonderful and articulate article. The outrageousness and insanity of arresting someone for hurting the feelings/"offending" a religion and/or religious individuals is just mind-boggling. Who doesn't have their feelings hurt regularly? Who isn't offended by something or other regularly? How insecure a group or individual must be to not only see everything as a threat, but to also use suppression and violence to stop the "threat." It's both disgusting and a frightening indication of the effect that many aspects of religion are having on the world.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:21:00 UTC | #324328

Nastika's Avatar Comment 18 by Nastika

Interesting to note that the editor and publisher of the Statesman are being charged under section 295a of the Indian Penal Code. This section was passed in 1927 with the blessing of the Viceroy and was intended to prosecute those who deliberately published literature that increased the hindu-muslim tensions at that time.

Edit: How about e-mails of support to The arrests followed after Mohammed Shahid made a complaint to the Bow Bazar Police Station in Kolkata (Calcutta). The editor and publisher are now out on bail.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:22:00 UTC | #324329

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 19 by aquilacane

Very right!

EDIT: stuff

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:22:00 UTC | #324330

Kit Finn's Avatar Comment 21 by Kit Finn

I can't remember who wrote it, but I once read something like:

"The right to be offended is the most precious thing which a free society grants you."

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:24:00 UTC | #324333

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 20 by Styrer-

The right to free speech I am defending protects Muslims as much as everyone else. I passionately support their right to say anything they want – as long as I too have the right to respond.

These words are likely to reverberate around Hari's and the publisher's cells like unheard echoes, unless one resonation escapes in a way they can't.

I hope Richard's request for an e-mail address properly willing to receive insults and disapprobation will quickly be made known.

There are reasons why Johann Hari earned a double First from Cambridge; and his above words, and the article as a whole, together with his direct and fearless style of written discourse, are surely one of them.

I suspect another is his imperviousness to intimidation, from whatever quarter it may come. I hope all of the above, and especially the latter, carry him through safely.

[Edit: I seem to have misunderstood. Is Hari the editor of the Statesman, as he seems to say he is, or is someone else, to whom he refers in the third person? In any case, let the import of my comments above stand. Thanks.]

[Further edit: Got it! Though probably nobody's interested anymore, I read 'editor' in 'calling for me, the editor' as a noun in apposition, wrongly thinking Hari was linguistically playfully introducing us to the idea that he was 'editor' of that publication. Sorry. As you were.]


Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:24:00 UTC | #324332

jenlaferriere's Avatar Comment 22 by jenlaferriere

I was so enraged when I read the last article by Mr. Hari about the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights...

Now I'm just plain pissed. this is not right. Richard you were so spot on with your comment. I'm so glad that we're protecting peoples feelings!

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:25:00 UTC | #324334

thereisnodog's Avatar Comment 23 by thereisnodog

This is truly beyond a disgrace...4 thousand crazy 'prophet protecting' rioters. i am shaking with anger at what is going on...i feel the very fabric of things i take for granted are bing pulled from underneath me. I can only see this going one way and it doesn't look pretty...what on earth is going to happen as more and more people get arrested tortured and killed for trying to...not even bring islam to book...but just starting critical dialogue. I have been following the Wilders story and although i havn't found out enough to form an opinion on him...surly a Muslim peer threatening the lords with his 'posse' has got to be a despicable cowardly moment for the government...recklessly capitulating to the bullying of the deluded.

Does anyone else see some really really dark clouds on the horizon?

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:27:00 UTC | #324335

Mister Chong's Avatar Comment 24 by Mister Chong

Where are the whiny, politically correct fuckers of this forum, when Muslim fundamentalism is the issue? Nowhere to be found.

How Richard Dawkins can live with himself, I have no idea. He chose to focus his attacks primarily on American Christianity, all while that disgusting, vile cult of death, Islam, is taking over his own country.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:30:00 UTC | #324337

Sciros's Avatar Comment 25 by Sciros

Where are the whiny, politically correct fuckers of this forum, when Muslim fundamentalism is the issue? Nowhere to be found.
If you want whiny PC fuckers you're gonna have to go look in another forum. Many here take issue with religion in general but few pretend that they're all the same.

Richard focuses on the Abrahamic religions because his primary focus, in the end, is proliferation of scientific knowledge. He's not out to wage war on Islam per se. Why you act like he has an obligation to is unclear.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:35:00 UTC | #324340

boogerjames's Avatar Comment 26 by boogerjames

"The right to be offended is the most precious thing which a free society grants you."

Being offended is indeed a "right". It is also a privilege and above all a choice. Yes you can see/hear something that is "offensive" and choose not to take offense.

Also, the truth, no matter how offensive, should never be subverted to untruth, however pleasant.

And another thing: Plenty of people are offended by plenty of things on a daily basis. Why is it that only religious people and minorities (gonna piss some people off with this one) are able to seek legal redress for being offended?

I was offended by the way the cute girl in the cubicle down the hall turned me down for a date, but I don't get to threaten violence or have her arrested for doing so. I have to hit on the girls further down the hall. Darn my luck.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:39:00 UTC | #324341

Rikitiki13's Avatar Comment 27 by Rikitiki13

Domestic Violence

He's the man who cuts your hair,
Shaves your face with sharpened blade.
She's the girl who reads your children stories,
Sitting in the shade.
He's the cabby on the street,
She's the girl you used to know,
And they'll use a point to make a point,
A sledge to strike a blow.
They're the dark-side of ourselves,
Demonic Dillingers of hate.
'Cause it's high-noon with no heroes,
And the hour is getting late.
They'll shoot down their opposition
Because God has told them to,
And slash their cutting commentaries
While we wonder what to do.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:42:00 UTC | #324342

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 28 by Sargeist

Reading an article like this only makes me rather depressed. I do worry, though, if only because of the lack of easy to obtain and unadulterated evidence, about the claims that any mention of religion at the UN is now forbidden. This is only during debates involving the UNHCR, I gather, but I don't know if that is particular important, or what. Is all of this really true? What goes on at these meetings, and is it as important as the general images we see on TV of all the delegates sitting around in the big chamber demanding that strongly worded resolutions be put together? Or is this the same thing? I wish I understood.

Can someone who knows better than me point me to something which indicates whether this really is a problem? Can it *really* be the case that the United Nations is not going to allow people to say, for instance, "Children in Saudi Arabia are being married off at the age of 6 to old men", and that no one would therefore be able to denounce it?

I sincerely hope there has been some sort of inadvertent mistake.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:44:00 UTC | #324343

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 29 by rod-the-farmer

I am not sure that I agree "everyone has the right to be offended". I feel very strongly about this, but maybe there is an interpretation here I am not seeing.

I look at it this way. If this is indeed a right, who grants it ? Unknown. Who takes it away, and how ? Again, unknown. I agree you can be offended if you like, at anything you think offends you, but I am not sure I think this progresses automatically into a RIGHT to be offended. Why is that necessary ? Why do we need a "right" ? That would be like me saying I have the right to enjoy opera. Why do I need a right ? Can't I just enjoy opera without some idiot forcing people to change their behaviour and MAKE them play opera music for me ? Nah. This is just stupidity, I think. I am prepared to hear an opposing argument, but so far, I don't see why anyone needs a right, here. Go ahead and be offended, but the issuance of a right implies that someone else has to change how they behave, to accommodate you and your mysterious right.


Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:45:00 UTC | #324344

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 31 by Sargeist


I agree. The word "right" indicates that a power has been bestowed. Well, to me (and you, possibly) anyway.

I wonder also about the idea that we can choose not to be offended. I think I can go along with the idea that we can choose not to stab people to death in a frenzy of indignation, but the actual feeling that goes with being offended is not something I think one can just turn off. Basically because you'd have to know you were offended in order to know what it was you were trying to ignore. By which time you've already been offended.

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 13:49:00 UTC | #324347