Fifty years ago, probably even 30 years ago, if you walked into a police station and reported someone for telling a joke, the sergeant behind the desk would likely have given you a two-word response, the second one being off. Today however, the politically correct morons who run our not-so-magnificent boys in blue have taken to pandering to the even more politically correct idiots who go whining to them about, well, almost anything.
Sandwich shop owner Neil Phillips was actually arrested in September but the story broke
only this week. The non-case against him has been discontinued.
Okay, we get it, Mandela was black so a joke at his expense can only be racist
, right? There are two problems with this. One is that if the police are so keen not to offend blacks, why did they murder Mark Duggan
? The other is, why is it racist
to make bad jokes in poor taste about a dying black man yet a defence of freedom of expression to laugh at Jesus & Mo
This has a long history but back in 1988, a hack by the name Salman Rushdie
published a long, boring book called The Satanic Verses
. Because of what most people would consider an innocuous couplet, the then spiritual leader of Iran issued a fatwa
against him. The fact that Rushdie is an apostate made his blasphemy far more serious than if it had issued from the pen of a heathen.
Much more recently we saw the cartoon controversy, which began in Denmark, then spread to the rest of Europe and caused worldwide outrage
- as it was intended to. Hot on the heels of that, the Jesus & Mo
comic strip was launched compounding the blasphemy by guying not only The Prophet but that bloke who pre-empted Criss Angel
by walking on water 2,000 years ago.
While even most of his enemies will concede that Mandela has earned his place
in history, can his achievements really be said to eclipse those of Muhammad?
Alas, dying men in far off exotic lands are not the only ones who are to be afforded special protection from bigots, or just plain jokers. Does anyone remember the homophobic
tweet that led to the arrest of a professional footballer
last year? And no, being black is no defence, as a certain lady councillor realised two years ago when she was dragged into court for calling someone a coconut
So where does this leave the founder of Islam? As he's long dead we can't ask him, but the book he gave the world has more than a few words to say about hypocrisy
: "But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do."