The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A demonstration and a rally 

Finally, the British police have acted against some of these twisted specimens who demonstrated the loving and compassionate side of our religion.

Five held over cartoon protests

Five men have been arrested over their alleged role in protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, Scotland Yard said.
The five were alleged to have taken part in the 3 February demonstration which took place in London.

It's not as if there is any shortage of photographic evidence. But even when convicted, they'll never understand the difference between freedom of speech to criticize and satirize, and "freedom of speech" to threaten and intimidate.

Thankfully, some people do. I'm happy to publicize this forthcoming event in London. Here's the letter I got from an organizer.

"We are organising a rally in Trafalgar Square for the 25th March.

Details can be found at this website:http://marchforfreeexpression.blogspot.com

This is a non-partisan, non-political grass-roots movement that simply advocates a society in which we can debate, agree, disagree, annoy and even offend each other without anyone being threatened, hurt, killed or imprisoned.

We are endorsed by:
Free Muslims Coalition
The Freedom Association
The Libertarian Alliance
Little Atoms
Lord Alton
Maryam Namazie
National Secular Society
Oliver Kamm
The Rationalist International

Confirmed speakers for the day include:

Evan Harris, MP. Lib Dem human rights spokesman
Maryam Namazie, Broadcaster & Human Rights Campaigner
Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society
Mark Wallace, The Freedom Association

We would very much welcome your support, and a statement of endorsement you are happy for us to use in publicity material. In addition, I would be grateful if you were to consider speaking at the rally (I know you are basically anonymous, but there's no harm in asking).

Our statement of principle reads:"The strength and survival of free society and the advance of human knowledge depend on the free exchange of ideas. All ideas are capable of giving offence, and some of the most powerful ideas in human history, such as those of Galileo and Darwin, have given profound religious offence in their time. The free exchange of ideas depends on freedom of _expression and this includes the right to criticise and mock. We assert and uphold the right of freedom of _expression and call on our elected representatives to do the same. We abhor the fact that people throughout the world live under mortal threat simply for expressing ideas and we call on our elected representatives to protect them from attack and not to give comfort to the forces of intolerance that besiege them."

To which I replied

Dear Peter

Thank you for your kind invitation. I will be there on the day, but, I regret, anonymously, as sadly there are some of my fellow-Muslims who see violence as a solution to their own problems, and may choose to turn their email threats into reality. However I fully endorse this demonstration from people of all faiths. Wherever there is full freedom of expression, truth thrives, but tyranny and bigotry try to find a dark corner to hide in.

Best Wishes

Alhamedi Alanezi

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