In today’s [url=http://www.metro.co.uk] Metro [/url] newspaper (a free paper given out by the Daily Mail or similar, as I understand) there was a story about a man handed an £80 fine for wearing a Cradle of Filth t-shirt. Many people might feel this justified but unfortunately the authorities are not about to lay into the next X-Factor winner for crimes against art: the reason for the fine was supposedly that the t-shirt bore the message “Jesus is a Cunt”, which contravenes the new laws banning people spouting hate against religion.
Now I use the word ‘allegedly’ above because I don’t trust the Metro, but since most articles are direct transcripts from Reuters, the chances are there’s a grain of truth here. Plus, this is a story calculated to make middle-England feel better rather than arouse ire, so in all likelihood, this is true. I once thought that Britain was just not the sort of country that would easily slip into a police state – genuinely I believed this – but suddenly I’m not so sure. This really is (to coin a cliché) the thin end of the wedge.
Fundamentally we live in a society that should feel okay about displaying such a t-shirt. Yes some might feel insulted but the person of intelligence understands that this is not to be taken literally. Of course the irony is that this law was brought in to prevent people spouting anti-Islamic hate in the wake of fuckwits who seem to have difficulty reading the Qu’ran. Maybe it’s because it can’t be translated into English, but then my Islamic convert father has never felt the need to murder people in its name, nor have my sister or brother. In fact one might have just a tad more respect (though clearly that’s not a lot, regardless) for these suicide bombers if they did their hideous crime in the name of a real belief rather than in the name of one that has nothing to do with it.
But that said, it’s pretty funny that no one in this country would ever even consider putting “Mohammed is a Cunt” on a t-shirt thanks to Salman Rushdie and Khomeni. And what a PR coup for Islam that particular episode was. The idea that you can educate a population as to how a madman can be deluded into thinking a religion supports them by bringing in easily twisted laws is utterly preposterous. At the same time the Islamic community could do itself some favours by questioning how they will deal with their own ideas that do not permit one Muslim to ‘rubbish’ another, thus leading to a tacit acceptance of people muddling politics and religion to the detriment of both.