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.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The March 

The March will be starting in a few hours.

I have publicly expressed support for this march; indeed, my message of support was published on their site.

However, I do now have to say that I am disappointed with the organisers for this recent announcement.

At the outset, we said that displays of the Danish cartoons would be welcome on Saturday. No, let me rephrase that: At the outset, I, Peter Risdon, said the cartoons would be welcome. I am going to take full responsibility for this. I now think that was a mistake.

In practice, Muslims who wholeheartedly endorse our statement of principle,....who abhor the threats made against Danish cartoonists and believe people should have the right to publish things they themselves find offensive or abhorrent, would be UNABLE to come to our rally on Saturday, because to be surrounded by these cartoons, now, in the present context when the BNP are using them as a rallying point, would be intolerable.

So I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.

So what, exactly, is the point of the exercise? We were going to demonstrate for freedom of expression, because we believe in it, even when my freedom might offend you, and your freedom might offend me. But now, because some people might be offended at other people exercising their freedom, we're all going to put a limit on our freedom. Excuse my French, but WTF? Is this just going to be a demo talking about Freedom of Expression in the abstract, but gingerly stepping around the most relevant case study in recent months, just like the proverbial elephant in the kitchen?

I will nevertheless be there. Knowing the British spirit of independence and bloody-mindedness, the one that defied Hitler all those years ago, I'm sure they'll come along and "do the right thing". Personally, I'll be circumspect, and if there's no other Arab in sight, or just men from the Saudi Embassy, I'll watch from a distance. To everyone else who can make it, I urge you to come along and express yourself in total freedom.

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