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The pen is only powerful when we defend it unconditionally

The pen is only powerful when we defend it unconditionally

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Date Published: 
Wednesday, 11 February, 2015
Summary: 
In a speech yesterday at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies the former Lord Chief Justice chose to explain why Muslim sensitivities should be especially respected. He also used this pulpit to warn people in Britain not to exercise their rights as free citizens. Here is an excerpt: ‘By now it must surely be appreciated that depicting the prophet in a derogatory way will cause grave offence among many Muslims and can lead to an explosive reaction with dreadful consequences. ‘The power of the pen can be mighty and even cartoonists who rely sometimes on gross exaggeration to make their point do need to exercise self-restraint, particularly in sensitive areas where religion is involved.’ In fact the power of the pen isn’t very mighty at all. Because on the one hand people with Kalashnikovs can kill and silence the pen-wielders. And on the other hand the sort of people who would once have defended the rights of people with pens – people like Lord Woolf – will use the aftermath to explain why people with Kalashnikovs should now make our laws.