France has recently been dabbling into the controversial debate concerning the right to Blasphemy following a teenagers’ criticism of Islam on social media.
The French girl, Mila, has been receiving death threats following her anti-Islam tirade, and the controversy has dragged into discussion, even the President.
President Emmanuel Macron defended the girl by saying she has the right to blaspheme, as France is a rigidly secular country.
It all began on 18 January when Mila revealed her sexuality on her Instagram post. While saying she was homosexual, she added that “blacks and the Arabs” are not her types. A Muslim commentator called her a “dirty lesbian”.
The criticism on her Sexual Orientation was responded with the attack on the religious orientation as Mila said, “I hate religion. The Koran is a religion of hate”. She said these words before using “stronger words” against Islam.
Subsequently, she received death threats following her statement against Islam and has since deactivated her Insta account.
However, she refused to back down from her comments, insisting in her first television interview that she did it on purpose. “I wanted to blaspheme,” Mila said in her interview.
Despite her offensive demeanor, the Head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith Mohammad Moussaoui said nothing justified death threats no matter how serious her remarks.
Following her comments, the police opened two cases: the first to assess if Mila’s statement amounted to hate speech, the second relating to her online attackers.
Mila has stopped going to school because of the threats. She fears she could have been “buried alive, or burned with acid, or at least stripped naked in public”.
Is the Right to Blasphemy worth it?
There are different aspects to view this matter. First, being a homosexual should not bother anyone. However, it seemed to bother a Muslim commentator, whose derogatory words led Mila to criticize Islam.
Apart from this particular incident, the west should be proud of ushering at an advanced age. Indeed, the west in general and France, in particular, should boast of this level of advancement of individual liberty. The freedom not only to choose one’s sexual orientation but to express it proudly too. Something unheard of in the oriental societies for social or religious restrictions.
- another blasphemy case in Pakistan.
- Nine years of Salman Taseer’s death in a blasphemy case.
The teenager was enjoying individual freedom of choosing her sexual orientation. But were her comments about “Blacks and the Arabs” sound consistent with the European mindset that distinguishes itself as cherishing human dignity beyond race, color, or religion?
Then, Mila posted the comments to make it square with that Muslim commentator in a personal dispute while ending up hurting the sentiments of around 1.5 billion people. Isn’t it ironic?
The police dropped the charge against her as she was merely stating her personal opinion on religion, and not targeting individuals.
Politics Makes Ugly Things Uglier!
It might have been dismissed as a social media tirade among teenagers who do not know much about religion as the Head of the French Council of Muslims tended to ignore her reckless statement by defending her right to life.
It could be ignored as a sporadic incident that was better forgotten than seething in suspicious hearts to multiply hatred. But politics magnified the social dilemma that was not initially as big as the political leaders turned it to be.
Mila’s cause was espoused by the far-right as National Rally leader Marine Le Pen who said the teenager had “more courage than the entire political class in power for the past 30 years”.
Besides the far-right leader’s support, Mila received support from Bruno Retailleau, a center-right les Republican leader. He praised Mila for speaking out against “this political Islam, which is trampling our values”.
What lessons do we learn!
In fact, we learn nothing. As humans, we tend to view things from a conditioned perspective, influenced by the environment we are a part of. So, the oriental mindset will continue to admonish Mila as a “dirty lesbian” as she will persist in her dislike for “blacks and Arabs”.
It is strange that for the French leaders, individual freedom is esteemed so much so that it readily tends to compromise morality.
Of 67 million French population, around 10% are Muslims in France. More generally, Mia’s remarks roughly disturbed every fourth person living on this planet, as Muslims make up 24% of the world population, according to PEW research.
Does 1.8 billion people’s sentiments matter, or they all must suffer at the hand of one girl, and few of her political supporters, who had to use her right to blasphemy to make her critic speechless?
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