Hate Speech

In Europe and in Pakistan, Two Women Are Condemned for Insulting Muhammad

Anti-hate speech laws have gone too far.



Insulting Muhammad is a risky business these days. Not only in Muslim-majority nations with stiff blasphemy laws, but also in supposedly enlightened Europe. Yes, even on a continent that loves to trumpet its commitment to freedom of speech, mocking Muhammad can land you in hot water.

Consider the recent trials of two women who committed the speech crime of insulting the Prophet, one in Pakistan and the other in Austria.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, has finally had her death sentence for blasphemy overturned.

Bibi was found guilty of blasphemy in 2010 after she got into a row with neighbours during which they insulted her Christian faith and she fired back with a swipe at Muhammad. (She has always denied doing this.)

Under Pakistan's cruel, archaic blasphemy laws—first introduced by the British Raj in 1860 and strengthened under the military rule of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s—it is a crime to insult religious beliefs, willfully desecrate the Koran, or insult the Prophet.

The price for destroying a Koran? Life in prison. For mocking Muhammad? Death.

Bibi was packed off to death row, where she languished for nine years, awaiting the gallows. "Hang Asia," read the placards of hardline Islamists who agitated many times for Bibi's execution to be hurried along.

But Wednesday, in a decision that rocked and enraged these Islamists, Bibi had her sentence overturned. She has been freed. She will now, of course, be spirited out of Pakistan to somewhere that's safe for those who don't love Muhammad.

Somewhere in Europe, perhaps? Good luck with that. This is also a place where officialdom will punish you if you insult the Prophet.

Bibi was taken to court and convicted merely for saying something about a holy figure to a small group of people. The case of a woman who did the same thing, only in Austria, reached its conclusion just last week.

In 2009, a woman known only as E.S. in the court proceedings, gave two seminars titled "Basic Information on Islam" at the hard-right Freedom Party Education Institute in Vienna. There were about 30 people in attendance.

During the seminars, she brought up the prickly issue of Muhammad's marriage to Aisha. It is widely accepted as historical fact that Muhammad got hitched to Aisha when he was 56 years old and she was 6 years old; and that he consummated the marriage when Aisha was only 9 years old.

This shows, said E.S. in her seminars, that he "liked to do it with children." She continued: "What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?"

Unfortunately for E.S., there was an undercover journalist among her small audience, and the journalist lodged a complaint with the cops. E.S. was arrested, put on trial, and in early 2011, she was found guilty at the Vienna Regional Criminal Court of threatening the religious peace in Austria.

Her words were a libel against Muhammad, the court said—she had wrongly accused him of having a "primary sexual interest" in children's bodies. And they were also capable of "hurting the feelings" of Muslims. She was fined 480 euros.

Now, a 480 euro fine is nothing compared with what Bibi suffered. But the principle in both cases was the exact same: Those who insult Muhammad must be punished.

The denouement to E.S.'s trial came last week. She appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), perhaps fancying it would defend her rights. Instead, it upheld the ruling of the Viennese court.

The ECHR said on Thursday of last week that E.S., like all Europeans, has the right to freedom of speech. But—and there is always a but—this freedom comes with responsibilities, including the responsibility to avoid, "as far as possible," being "gratuitously offensive" to "objects of veneration."

In short, don't insult gods or prophets. Just as the Raj straitjacketed its subjects on the subcontinent and forbade them from insulting religious beliefs, so Europe's spectacularly misnamed court of human rights instructs Europeans not to "gratuitously" insult religious beliefs.

How is it possible that a court tasked with upholding freedom of speech—under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act—could nod along to the curtailment of someone's freedom of speech?

The problem lies in Article 10 itself. It starts off well enough—"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"—but it goes swiftly downhill from there.

This right, the Article decrees, can be curtailed by "formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

The European Court gives us freedom of speech in one breath and takes it away in the next. This is a good, jolting lesson in what happens when you caveat or hamper or err over freedom of speech—you destroy it.

You can't kind of have freedom of speech. You either have it or you don't. And in Europe, thanks to ECHR's green light to the curtailment of freedom of speech in the name of everything from public safety to the protection of morals (Stalinist, much?), we don't have freedom of speech. We have licensed speech: we are licensed to speak until we say something the state disapproves of, as E.S. discovered.

This isn't only an illiberal ruling; it's a dangerous one, too.

Europe has a radical Islam problem. As we have seen in recent massive terror attacks, and most notably in the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in 2015, we have fairly significant numbers of people who are violently intolerant of aspects of the Western way of life, and of anyone who takes the piss out of Muhammad.

The European Court of Human Rights has just given its official nod to such intolerance. In agreeing with Austria that it is impermissible to insult Muhammad, the court has taken the side of those who think that Muhammad's insulters deserve punishment. There are significant differences between the ECHR, the Pakistani court that sentenced Asia, and the terrorists who massacred the journalists at Charlie Hebdo. But they are procedural differences, not philosophical ones.

Pluralism cannot survive without free expression, and free expression requires tolerance of criticism. The ECHR has failed not only to defend the liberty of E.S., but of all Europeans—Christian, Muslim, and atheists alike.

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  1. The woman in Pakistan had her sentence commuted. The commutation sparked mass protests. The problem is not the government passing blaphemy laws. The problem is the populations in these nations demand that the government do so. The governments in these places are just a reflection of the societies they govern. If your society isn’t free, no government is going to make you free.

    1. Echoes of Learned Hand.

    2. They have their own definition of free. Free to live somewhere that is free of blasphemers.
      It is good that the world has such places for like-minded people to live.

      1. As long as I don’t have to live there, that is fine with me.

        1. As long as we don’t import any significant amount of that shit here, its fine with me also.

          1. I wouldn’t say I’m fine with anyone anywhere being tyrannized by governments, but it certainly ain’t any of my bidness to intervene. They gotta fix their own mob rule.

            1. And, as in GB and Austria, serve as cautionary tales for the rest of us who haven’t completely abandoned the notion of literal free speech.

            2. Which they won’t do. Cowards and lickspittles

        2. As long as I don’t have to live there
          I believe our masters and betters are quite intent on bringing there over to here.

          Anyway, blasphemy has always been an offense for the clerisy, it’s just that their gods are different.

    3. Why isn’t Tony every in comments for these articles?

      1. Or rev or SPBG?

    4. I’m not sure I agree with that. If you are a slave, your government can free you even if a lot of the citizens don’t want it. Of course, you may end up having a civil war over it, as Pakistan now seems to be headed toward somewhat. They sure are mad about it. A number of officials and lawyers have been killed over this case, already. SO, how do you change the local culture? You change the law, ala’ gay marriage here, or civil rights laws, and you watch the conventional wisdom morph over time in your direction, hopefully as people get used to the idea. Not sure it works in all cases, but they should at least try in Pakistan to coax the citizenry out of the 6th century into the modern world.

  2. This “E.S” case does pose an “intersectionality” problem for conservatives, Trumpistas, and other GOP-suckers…

    Now this Austrian woman “E.S” is obviously an un-American, a ferriner, whose presence on our shores would MALGA (Make America Less Great Again).

    BUT, she likes free speech, so we can NOT honestly trot out that stale old tripe about how the ferriners dilute American political values!!!

    So, Austrian woman “E.S” shows up at our borders, to file papers asking for asylum… For “safe harbor” from the speech NAZIs of Europe… Assuming that she can actually get far enough to file papers, which is questionable these days… Should we let her in, or not, all ye GOP-suckers?

    1. Only in the strange imaginations of modernists is this a dilemma for their opposition

    2. Your strawman isn’t even made of straw.
      Not only do you fail to understand how your hated enemy thinks, you don’t even know what they think.

      1. If he wanted to know he could ask, but as he shows with the last line of his comment he’s incapable even of that

    3. So, Austrian woman “E.S” shows up at our borders, to file papers asking for asylum… For “safe harbor” from the speech NAZIs of Europe

      Honestly, this does seem a like a case where they should be able to seek asylum. She is essentially being persecuted for her religious and/or political beliefs. Now, the case of the woman in Pakistan is even more clear cut and, as such, it’s hardly surprising that they were spirited out of Pakistan to somewhere at least marginally better on religious persecution.

      Also, just for the record, Mohammed was probably a pedophile but then again so was almost everyone back then so…historical context kind of matters.

      1. I thought asylum is for people whose lives are in danger. E.S. just doesn’t want to pay a fine on principle.

        1. It is, I think, although someone that complains about fines just for speaking their mind seems like a good addition to the U.S.

        2. Well, if you are insistent enough about not paying the fine they do eventually escalate to killing you, keep that in mind.

  3. For mocking Muhammad? Death

    “But I said ‘Knock, knock’, not ‘mock’!”

  4. I don’t think we’re allowed to talk about this.

    1. Under threat of death.

  5. Several of the Peanuts here were harassing me about insulting Islam the other day. Islam is a form of tyranny like all religion is.

    Any, I can’t hang around today due to EOM. Regrets. I will make it up to you Peanuts tomorrow.

    1. Remember how you assured us the people Obama traded for Bergdahl were all just peaceful Muslims and Obama didn’t release terrorists to get back a desserter? As usual, you were lying.


    2. Remember how you assured us the people Obama traded for Bergdahl were all just peaceful Muslims and Obama didn’t release terrorists to get back a desserter? As usual, you were lying.


    3. Islamophobia is a form of racism. You correctly point out how racist conservatives and Republicans are, then engage in racism of your own. It’s your biggest failure as a left-libertarian.

      1. Islamophobia is NOT a form of racism. Islam is an ideology, not a race. Also, the followers of Islam are from many races on this planet. It is not an irrational fear if followers of that religion often kill people who oppose them. Let’s ask the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo or the massacre at the French concert how they feel about “Islamaphobia”!

        1. You’re responding to a troll account, supposedly humorous mockings of lefty opinions and causes.

          1. C’ Mon, now. It’s pretty damn humorous. The comments wouldn’t be nearly as fun to read without the sock puppet punching bags.

      2. If you don’t know the difference between race and religion/ideology, you should not be here. You are too stupid to post.

        “Islamophobia” is a term of political propaganda used to attack anyone who criticizes Islam. Try something else.

    4. Sarah Palin’s Buttplug|11.1.18 @ 9:58AM|#
      “Several of the Peanuts here were harassing me about insulting Islam the other day.”

      Complete list of turd’s posts which are not lies:

    5. Woefully obtuse once more. No-one “harassed” you, but I did respond to what you said with questions, in the spirit of free expression. You had nothing but accusations and vitriol. Like I said before, I might even agree with you about Islam but you’d never know because you’re so abrasive and vicious, all you do is lash out. You called me a conservative with nothing to back that up, and assumed Islam was “[my] ideology” because I had questions about your desire for “humanity” to “eradicate” it. As I also said, I respect your right to express your opinions, but that right does not negate my right to respond. You’re playing the victim and lashing out. Next you’ll accuse me of playing the victim because you’ll project and infer that I am somehow offended, but I was genuinely interested in why you of all people, who is constantly bashing almost everyone else here for being “right wing” etc, would take such a militant position, especially since you have argued for Muslims in certain cases, so you clearly have changed your position and have just reduced them all to one collective identity like those nasty right wing bigots you hate so much. Free speech isn’t defined as saying something and then claiming your being unfairly attacked if anyone should question or disagree with what you said.

    6. Peanuts is your new insult?

      1. He’s been falling back on that for ages.

      2. Just a variation on “goobers”, “goober peas” being a southern term for “peanuts” you see

        1. And Goober being a slang term for a stupid Southerner (US).

    7. Religion in general isn’t at all a form of tyranny you knucklehead. Not unless you’re talking about an actual theocracy. Membership in a faith is purely voluntary in these United States.

      1. Islam, properly followed, appears to contain all three of our branches of government rolled into one: the executive branch of the govt is headed by clerics, the legislative branch is the Koran, and the judicial branch is sharia law. That is technically all illegal in the US. Seems like a problem.

        1. So I say ‘unless you’re talking about a theocracy’ and you retort with a theocracy. Seems legit, assuming you live in a country that actually has Sharia law.

      2. That’s like saying religion isn’t organized crime, but then there’s Scientology.

        You have to watch very general statements like that, there are often exceptions to them.

        And a religion that’s willing to deploy violence to enforce its dictates can start to resemble a state long before it reaches the point of officially being one. What’s the point of not officially having Sharia law, if you still get punished for violating it?

  6. Europe has a radical Islam problem.

    Ugh. This is a white nationalist, alt-right talking point. It’s disappointing to see it expressed in Reason.

    Look, as a libertarian, of course I oppose the death penalty for offensive speech. But for a different take on this issue, see Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky’s piece Is the First Amendment too broad? The case for regulating hate speech in America.

    1. OBL, as a proud left-libertarian, you will surely condemn all of the flagitious, malicious, and vicious anti-Caucasian hate speech being promulgated by the likes of Michelle Goldberg.

    2. The problem is that only the alt-right are wiling to talk about it.

    3. “Hate speech” is a phrase meaning “free speech which offends me”.

      If you’re in favor of criminalizing hate speech, you’re against free speech.

  7. “In Europe and in Pakistan, Two Women Are Condemned for Insulting Muhammad”

    I don’t understand why a story about a woman’s death sentence being commuted would have a headline about her being condemned. You can’t do that and expect people to not think you’re playing funny with the truth.

    “Now, a 480 euro fine is nothing compared with what Bibi suffered. But the principle in both cases was the exact same: Those who insult Muhammad must be punished.”

    A 480 euro fine isn’t comparable to a death sentence, and a guilty verdict isn’t comparable to a commutation.

    I’d also point out that the issue isn’t only about whether it should be okay to say whatever you want about people’s religious beliefs, it’s also about whether you should be free to say whatever you want about people’s race, gender, or orientation, according to the First Amendment, as well.

    Hell, Norm MacDonald and Megyn Kelly have been blackballed, not for what they did themselves–but for defending what other people said and did as within the bounds of free speech.

    1. The larger issue is also where these laws come from. It wasn’t a crime to insult Muhammad anywhere in Europe 50 years ago. It is only a crime now because there has been an influx of Muslim immigrants who want it to be a crime and the governments of Europe are necessarily reflecting their views.

      If you want open borders, then you need to understand that people with different values are going to cross those borders and demand a government that to some degree reflects those values when they get here. While I can’t stand blasphemy laws, I do see how the Muslims who have come to Europe like them and expect the government to at least some degree reflect their views.

      If you don’t like that, and I don’t and neither does reason it seems, then you need to either be willing to tell the immigrants that they don’t get a say in their government on some things or not let them in in the first place. Reason can’t seem to even acknowledge that the choice has to be made much less say which option it supports.

      1. Part of the problem is that these Muslims are coming from places where . . .

        The reason Christians in Syria largely backed Assad is that if he loses, they have a snowball’s chance in hell under the rule of a Muslim leader. Likewise, the Shia who were fighting ISIS had no hope living under ISIS. Who wins that war determines who gets to have freedom of religion–in a place where religion is incredibly important.

        Those refugees were fleeing that war, not their religion or their culture. They brought that mindset with them. In the minds of many, refusing to let other people insult the Prophet or proselytize is freedom of religion.

      2. Comparing the Muslim immigrant experience in Europe to the immigrant experience in America might be interesting that way. In some ways, freedom of religion is like a substitute for secularization. They don’t have freedom of religion in Europe in Europe so much as they have a secular society. We have freedom of religion. Muslims have assimilated into American culture, I believe, much more thoroughly than they have in Europe. Pary of the reason may be that capitalism affords more employment opportunities for Muslim youth, but part of it may be that freedom of religion is more conducive to assimilation than a secular society.

        I used to go to mosque in LA twice a week. One of the most popular topics there was immigrant parents concerned about their children becoming too Americanized. Maybe they’re worried about that over in Europe, too, but that’s not what I hear.

        1. You have to remember that most Muslims never read the Koran. To most Muslims translating the Koran from Arabic is a sin unless you get it exactly right such that it is approved by a committee of Imans. This almost never happens. And the Koran is written in a very archaic form of Arabic. So very few Muslims can read it untranslated. What most Muslims know about the Koran is whatever their Imams tell them about it. Imams are incredibly important in Islam and changing the teachings of the local Imam has an enormous effect on the local Muslim community.

          What happened in Europe and a lot of other places is that Saudi backed Wahabist Imams have taken over the majority of moques are started teaching a much more radical version of Islam than was taught even 30 years ago. This more than anything has lead to the rise of extremism and terrorism.

          To give you an example of the effect changing the Imams can have on a community, the Afghans fought what was universially considered a jihad against the Soviets for over a decade without there being a single suicide bombing. They have fought the US after the Taliban came in and with the help of Bin Ladin and Saudi money changed all of the Imams and you can see the results.

        2. I think part of it is just that Muslims were, until very recently, a fraction of a percent of the US population. It’s much easier to refuse to assimilate when there are a lot of you around.

        3. Regarding the last sentence of your first paragraph: Is Europe devoid of capitalism? I did not know that!

          Regarding those Muslim parents fearing their children would become ‘too’ Americanized: Well, what’s the f-ing reason you came to America? To become American? Then that implies you WANT to become Americanized. If not, get the hell out & be less American anywhere else. You can’t have it both ways. I see some of the same attitude in large Latino populations who refuse to learn English & only speak some subset of Spanish in their communities & then carry it over with each other in the multi-nationality workplace. That’s absolutely rude to everyone around you. IMO, English needs to be made the Official Language of the U.S. We cannot be divided by religion OR language. That’s NOT what ‘America’ was founded to be.

      3. The status of these embarrassing antiblasphemy laws that many European states are now having to repeal–in part because the populace quite rightly suspects that they will be actively used in the future to protect Islam–reminds me a bit of the antisodomy laws in the USA that were overturned with Lawrence. In fact in both cases these laws had basically been unenforced for over a century; look elsewhere for the real action. The persecutors of homosexuals used and abused other laws and police powers to cruelly abuse those citizens. And every European country–with the enthusiastic blessing (indeed, demand) of pretty much every supranational government and nongovernment organization, and every other guardian of so-called “human rights” and “liberal values”–has “religious hatred” laws in place that are enforced, and perform exactly the same function as ye olde blasphemy laws. No embarrassment needed. Instead, only praise, for being so modern!

        And it’s coming here, make no mistake, if the Democrats ever gain control of the courts. Ayatollah Sadiq Khan chastised the USA for its lack of censorship at SXSW, to rapturous applause.

        1. They will try it I have not doubt. I doubt it will succeed here since the US has a much longer and deeper tradition of free speech and a society that is much more hostile to Muslims than Europe. One of the results of them trying it, will be the Left telling gays that they need to go back into the closet. Few things are more offensive to Muslims than open homosexuality. Sadly, at least some gays are so lefitst, they will go along with it.

          1. Rather, the gays will become women. It’s all part of the plan.

      4. If you want open borders, then you need to understand that people with different values are going to cross those borders and demand a government that to some degree reflects those values when they get here.

        It’s amusing that a purely libertarian implementation of their own philosophy can end in no other way than the destruction of libertarianism. That’s one tell that lets you know that the people that believe in open borders are so ideologically driven that they will destroy themselves.

        1. I would point out that, until recently, you couldn’t have said that. This open borders mania is mostly a product of the march through the institutions overtaking the organized Libertarian movement. (Must be nearly finished to have bothered with that sort of mopping up operation.)

          Way back when, Libertarians favored open borders, but only as the last thing you’d do, after everything else was accomplished, and we were living in a libertarian world. The LP used to understand path dependence.

  8. You can’t kind of have freedom of speech. You either have it or you don’t.

    Exactly. Like you can’t kind of have the right to keep and bear arms.

    1. That is a false dilema anyway. There are degrees of freedom of speech. Just because reason would prefer that there be no restriction, doens’t mean that all restrictions are equal. They are not.

      1. Putting someone to death over hate speech is pretty much like when Trump is mean to journalists.

    2. They don’t want freedom of speech.

      They don’t want to be like Americans any more than we want to be like Austria.

      Anyone else noticed that in British dystopian fiction, they always seem to fantasize that the United States of the future has descended into endless civil war and chaos? “The Children of Men”, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, . . .

      They don’t want freedom of speech in the UK either.

      The First and Second Amendments and our passion for them on such a wide scale aren’t just what protects our rights. They’re also a big part of what makes us American. Religious fanatics with guns running around saying horrible things to each other–that’s the way the average Brit and European see us. It has to come crashing down eventually. There’s just too much freedom.

      This is one of the greatest music videos of all time. Understand what Bowie is showing the world about what fear of Americans is really about. It seems to him that everyone is trying to kill each other. In the end, America is weird, hyper-religious cult marching off in a parade to somewhere for some unknowable purpose. They do not want to be like us. They don’t even know what we are.


      1. Part of the problem is that these Muslims are coming from places where . . .

        The reason Christians in Syria largely backed Assad is that if he loses, they have a snowball’s chance in hell under the rule of a Muslim leader. Likewise, the Shia who were fighting ISIS had no hope living under ISIS. Who wins that war determines who gets to have freedom of religion–in a place where religion is incredibly important.

        Those refugees were fleeing that war, not their religion or their culture. They brought that mindset with them. In the minds of many, refusing to let other people insult the Prophet or proselytize is freedom of religion.

        1. Damn squirrels made post this to the wrong response.

        2. Your last sentence: Then they have to pick a different word, because ‘freedom’ it’s certainly not!

      2. This is a great point. I read a lot of hard Sci Fi and the Brits tend to do it very well. It is frequent that in British Sci Fi the US is some extreme right wing religious place where science has been abandoned and all advancement has stopped. Possibly some hate left over from 1776? Not sure…

        I used to do a lot of work and travel in Europe (UK, Germany, Sweden) and they are a different culture. On the whole; they are very civil, like their order and think of themselves in the collective (in my experience). Here in Dallas some guy in a giant F250 might run you off the road screaming obscenities and then stop to help you change the tire that you blew out on the shoulder. Different culture, different attitudes. My work abroad taught me that with all of the problems we have with Progs and Cons here, its still the best place to live (especially in Texas 🙂 )

  9. You’d get the same panicked reaction screaming ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater by screaming ‘ALLAHU AKBAR!’

  10. Check out this drawing of Muhammad.

    1. I don’t think this bunch at Reason would ever host an Everybody Draw Mohammed Day again.

      1. I hope Pakistani Reason has its own beloved commenter drawing valued attention to the legion evils of the Musharraftards and Muhammadfags.

      2. Not the current lot anyway.

  11. Nevermind. Poop emoji didn’t show.

  12. Nevermind. Poop emoji didn’t show.

    1. It’s like guns.

      When poop emojis are outlawed, only the squirrels will have them.

    2. Don’t squeeze the Koran!

  13. * being attacked by radicalized squirrels*

    1. Flinging great balls of shit

  14. it is a crime to insult religious beliefs

    So don’t leave us hanging – what sort of punishment was meted out to this woman’s neighbors who insulted her Christian religious beliefs?

    1. I noticed that too, pretty obviously insulting Christ is totally cool there.

      1. Not Christ as they regard him as the messiah, the penultimate prophet and messenger of God, but insulting Christian beliefs is totally cool there.
        In fact they believe that Christian beliefs are an insult to Christ.

  15. Ostensible adults fighting — and limiting freedom, or killing people — over fairy tales is sad in every direction, and has been for millenia.

    Choose reason. Every time.

    And liberty, education, tolerance, science, inclusivity, and modernity.

    1. If only we could have atheist science based governments like the Soviet Union.

    2. Choose reason. Every time.
      And liberty, education, tolerance, science, inclusivity, and modernity.

      Woah! Kirkland’s telling people to vote against the Dems.

      1. I think most people here are telling people to vote against the Dems. Myself included.
        The difference is the number of people who are telling people to vote against the Dems and against the Reps.

        1. The difference is the number of people who are telling people to vote against the Dems and against the Reps.

          It’s no coincidence that this is also how you can tell the difference between a mature adult and someone that’s in high school or college.

          The difference is reality and probability, in that you’re going to have a Democrat or Republican win. If you question that, I’d refer you to Gary Johnson’s performance during the last election.

  16. Thank heavens we have a strong regime of freedom of speech in this country. It really is something to be truly grateful for.

  17. “Anti?hate speech laws have gone too far.”
    “You can’t kind of have freedom of speech. You either have it or you don’t.”

    So, which is it?
    Personally, I would say that anti-hate speech laws in and of themselves are the definition of “going too far”, especially compared to some exceptions of limitations on free speech like child pornography (actual…not teen sexting) or perjury.
    Even though hate speech does no actual damage to anyone, it is generally treated like a crime that does. That seems like much more of a slippery slope to the most serious form of punishment because the perceived seriousness is totally dependent on subjective opinion. But it’s silly to suggest that a much more limited exception, like perjury, is going to lead to stoning people for drawing pictures.

    1. That’s different because it’s allowed in our country.

      1. Actually, no, rather than being “allowed” which implies the permission of our betters, it is not forbidden.

        The First Amendment does not say that “speech is allowed”, it says that, “Congress shall make no law…”.

        1. I think my comment zipped right past you.

    2. I have lived in Australia and Canada and can tell you that both places believe in conditional freedom of speech. “I believe in freedom of speech but…”

      Except for a small minority they absolutely cannot imagine allowing people to say “just anything they want to”. This is mostly because they actually have faith that the “authorities” will always do the “right thing”, whereas I thing that the prevailing view of Americans (across the political spectrum) is that, by and large, the “authorities” will always do the “wrong thing”. The disagreements come in about what is the “right thing” or the “wrong thing”.

  18. I’ve noticed Islam doesn’t fuck with hyper Catholic countries like Ireland and those in Latin America too much, southern Spain being the exception. I guess you have to be as batshit crazy as they are to get any respect with them.

    1. If Islam doesn’t fuck with Ireland, it’s probably because they think they might get bombed right back. The only “hyper Catholics” in Ireland are hyper to find a way to somehow give transwomen late-term abortion rights.

      1. If Islam doesn’t fuck with Ireland, it’s probably because they think they might get bombed right back.

        The IRA is dead and gone, at least officially, but I think the real reason is because no one wants Ireland or really gives fucks about the Irish. Least of all the Irish.

        1. “… I WILL NOT TAKE THE IRISH!” Lol!

    2. The only reason Al Qaeda fucked with Spain was that Spain sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. that resulted in the 2004 Madrid attack.

      The most recent terrorist attack in Spain was in . Barcelona is less tha 150 mile from the French border, so hardly southern Spain.

      Latin America has had no attacks because no one there was involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Per wikipedia, “Ireland has permitted U.S. military aircraft to use Shannon Airport as a refuelling hub. Also, Ireland has seven troops deployed to the Isaf’s headquarters in Kabul.” I suspect no one from Al Qaeda noticed them on them.

      1. Haven’t looked too deep into it. Just a passing observation. Southern Spain was more of a historical reference, but yeah, solid points. The rest is referring to a penchant for ultra violence without batting an eye, making it harder to control and instill their ideology.

        1. Well, it’s true that Spain was part of the medieval caliphate. But it wasn’t restricted to the south. at its height
          pretty much all of modern day Spain was part of the medieval caliphate.

          It wasn’t until the end of the fifteenth century that Christian forces were supreme over all of Spain. Queen Isabella is not just famous for financing Chris Columbus’ voyage to the New World, she’s also famous for expelling the last of the moors and all of the Jews to lands to the east or conversion on pain of death for those who resisted. Real sweetheart she was.

          Isabella is also famous for being the mother of Catherine of Aragon the wife that Henry VIII of England was so desperate to divorce that he started a whole new church to allow him.

          But, yeah, various Islamist group have been sore over the loss of Andalusia ever since.

          1. So they’re sore losers and have long memories like Democrats.

            Also, I think you mean Moops.

          2. The Umayyad Caliphate, the relatively conversion-blas? dynasty that came to be romanticized mostly by Arab nationalists and interfaith-dialogue-seeking Christians looking for a tolerant Islam to celebrate, made its last (and most chill) stand in C?rdoba, presiding over the anomalously peaceful and very diverse Islamic civilization that everyone likes to point to today. But as you say that was nearly all of Iberia save the Basque country; by the time Southern Spain was the characteristically “Muslim” part, the Umayyads were long gone, replaced by harsher Islamic rulers and, eventually, the typical condition of “borders” between the two faiths, wherein a bunch of local rulers warred unceasingly and opportunistically with one another, with little regard for whom was of what faith as they made and betrayed alliances. At one point Jews had if anything, a tendency to flee from Muslim rulers to Christian. By the time the Reyes Cat?licos kicked the last Muslims out of Granada, making a big deal about their religion all of a sudden was more a P.R. move than a liberatory “reconquest” that everyone cared about. They and their predecessors had been conquering all the Christian kingdoms on the peninsula exactly the same, after all.

            1. *who was of what faith

    3. You have to be stupid enough to admit a bunch of Muslims before they have much opportunity to screw with you. Aside from Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad, South America is almost totally devoid of Muslims, most of the countries there are a rounding error away from zero.

      Until recently, you could have said that of the US, too, but, I guess we’re stupid enough now.

  19. Show me a place where a person has been tried and convicted of insulting Jesus Christ or any other religious leader.

    1. The Pope is the religious leader of the Christians! Jesus Christ is their deity.

      1. The Pope is only the leader of Roman Catholics; the Protestants will be throwing bombs at you for saying that mate.

      2. The Pope is the religious leader of the Christians
        The Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, the Hussite Wars, the Protestant Reformation, the Huguenot rebellion and the European Wars of Religion might disagree on that point. As does the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Nestorians, Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolics, all who are as old or older than the Church of Rome.

        1. the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Nestorians, Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolics, all who are as old or older than the Church of Rome.

          LOL not a single one of those patriarchates, besides Antioch, is older than Rome; and none claim to be, nor deny Rome’s primacy. As for whether the Chalcedonians created a “younger” church by schisming from them; well, who schismed from whom is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? The Chalcedonians will say they are the “original” church, and the Oriental Orthodox the schismatics; and vice versa. That’s why “objective” historians never engage in talk about the nonrigorous, theologically loaded question about which branch of a schism is “older.” The Roman Bishop claims to be the leader of all Christians; that is why I made my cutesy remark. Well, maybe not this one; he probably claims to be the leader of all ocean plastics or whatever.

          The Great Schism and the Schism of 1054

          What “Great Schism” are you talking about, if not the one in 1054? The one in the fourteenth century when there were three popes? If you encounter any Avignonian loyalists please convey my apologies.

          Also, dude, “Nestorians” is not the preferred nomenclature. “Church of the East,” please.

    2. Judea, 33 AD.

      1. Was this the Judean People’s Front, Judean Popular People’s Front or People’s Front of Judea?

        1. SPLINTER!!!

  20. And the veil is torn away. This case will serve as a reminder of what leftist ideology means to freedom. We need more cases like this in Europe to remind Americans what a rare and precious thing they have in the First Ammendment.

  21. The religion of peace!

  22. Anti?hate speech laws have gone too far

    The existence of a hate-speech law is going too far.

  23. Holy crap, I just realized this article is by Brendan O’Neill. Way to go full alt-right, Reason.

    1. Brendan O’Neill is a Marxist who defends capitalism. He also defends free speech and personal freedom in general. He also self identifies as a “Marxist Libertarian”

      I’m pretty sure one thing you won’t find him defending is Tory class privilege which is a completely different thing from actual earned wealth.

      1. Of course given the fact that he does not have a “posh” accent (his speech is full of lower class markers) and that he also has Irish ancestry it is to be expected that he rejects aristocratic privilege.

        1. Hmm you are right! I have never heard him speak and always assumed due to his Irish name and employment history that he was an Australian, who of course all have lower-class accents. Seems he is from North London. But I’ve heard only the poshest people from London don’t sound like cockneys nowadays.

    2. How long has Brendan O’Neill been writing for Reason now? Also he is the editor of Spiked!, nee Living Marxism–the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, one of those kinda-creepy-cultish innumerable Trotskyist splinters. Long story, but now he–and they–are probably one of the better libertarians to write for Reason at this point. And certainly one of the more insistently pro-Israel. But you were probably joking anyway. (Spiked!‘s comment section was oddly dominated by alt-right types and others who bore little resemblance to their eccentric suite of positions, which might be one reason they shut it down recently.)

  24. Simple solution, as I see it. If the ECHR is so terrified of extremist violence that they feel they must silence their own people, then all you need to do to end such silencings is to blow up a building or two after you’ve been judicially silenced.

    The ECHR will fall all over itself to appease you.

  25. “Goddamn, Irene, they’re bombing us.”

    Don’t know where to post this.

    1943 Bombing Raid on Boise City Oklahoma.

    Apparently more aircrew personal from the USAAF were killed in training and transportation accidents in WWII than were killed in combat.

    Just found it interesting.

  26. The anti-speech laws are the right idea, but don’t go far enough.
    We must eliminate all forms of free speech and control all methods of disseminating information if we are to live in a socialist utopia like Cuba.
    Free speech is for our ruling class elitist assholes only and not for the great unwashed masses.
    We’ve been over this before.

  27. “Anti?hate speech laws have gone too far.”

    Note to author: they go too far as soon as they are passed in any way, shape or form…

  28. The European Union is a union of governments which have united to more effectively enslave their populations. The ECHR is PR ploy designed to persuade people to trust their governments. The ECHR and the European governments don’t protect free speech or freedom of belief and non-belief, or the right to privacy and the right to own and use private property free from government interference, or freedom from stupid and oppressive regulations, or the right to keep and bear arms, or the right to be free from invasions of privacy, or any other important rights. Slavery is the price people pay for believing in government, in asking for government welfare, in asking the government to protect people from real life, including things like hunger, disease, injuries, insults, cold, ignorance, violence, economic failure, and so on.

  29. So, from 1945 until 2018, Austria wasn’t a shithole. I hope they can rejoin civilization in the near future, but it’s not going to happen while they’re a vassal state of the 4th Reich.


  30. The “European Court of Human Rights” has shown plainly that it is not a court of law, it is a committee of apparatchiki whose purpose is inventing asinine sophistries to permit governments to violate human rights while pretending that they’re protecting them. May they all die of rectal cancer.


  31. Moohammy can lick my hairy nutsack. And any insulted Islamofreaks can go fuck themselves.
    Come get me, E.U. faggots.

  32. This is not news to those of us that are avid news readers. Europe has been steadily losing their right of free speech by the way of hate speech laws for years. This is disgusting and sad.

  33. A medal is more appropriate.

  34. Defending others in a war WE DIDN’T START is one thing, but strutting around being the world’s moral and political dictators is getting a bit worn out. We need to try staying home and minding our own business. Let Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, et al make toasters, refrigerators, lawnmowers, and stuff like that….

    1. Ah, such wishful thinking. I’d join you in that thought process, if I didn’t live in the real world. A world a bit ‘too real’ in that weapons manufacturing has been status quo for home sapiens since recorded history began, and well before, too.

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