Friday, September 22, 2006

Ann Widdecombe Conservative MP champions free speech

During BBC Question Time (21st September 2006):

Ann Widdecombe said:
"But let me say this: I also believe very strongly that in this country [Britain], if we are to have good relations, [with Muslims] we must have one law for all.

Now there were people [Muslims] standing outside Westminster cathedral bearing enormous plackards saying:
'Jesus is the slave of Allah'
'Islam will conquer Rome'
and nothing happened.

Can you imagine what would happen if I stood outside a Mosque, with a big plackard saying 'Rome will conquer Islam'?

I would actually be in front of the courts.

Now weve got to have a situation where there is mutual respect, but where the same law is applied to all of us."

[considerable applause from the audience]

... later in the programme ...

Regarding the lecture by the Pope:

Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to the U.S. said:

"I have no idea whether the Pope did this deliberately, or whether he made a mistake, and frankly I don't care.

I think he has a perfect right to say what he says, and he has said it.

It has been taken out of context, and people have got unrteasonably steamed up about an obscure late 14th century Byzantine emperor.

But I think there is something even more important than this:
And that is the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.


I want to make one final point: The freedom of speech comes with the freedom to be offensive. It comes, from time to time, with the freedom to upset people.

The important thing is: When it happens, be it said by a Catholic Pope, or by a Muslim, the reaction of the authorities and the law should be an absolutely level playing field for everyone, and we don't have that.


The Pope does not have to be a diplomat, he does have to be true to his faith. I am not a Catholic."


Regarding the address by Home Secretary John Reid to Muslim parents:

Ann Widdecombe said:
"We have to ask this question:
Are we concerned that Muslim young men have been and are being indoctrinated by those who wish to destroy rather than to build up our society?

If the answer to that is 'yes', then where would we expect the first vigilance to start? It would be in families.

I don't think that John Reid said anything that was contrary to common sense, or contrary to the concerned spirit that people now have about what is going on."

The full "Question Time" programme can be viewed on the BBC website:

Humanity needs peace not Islam.


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