In comments to my post below, Ismaeel has said he might engage in dialogue, which is very welcome, and has made a partial response to my comment at his blog.
Ismaeel, if you want proper space to develop the discussion of any point let me know by email including the wording you want to use, and I’ll post it as a new thread.
As a starting point, he said:
[Risdon had suggested that] we didn’t give a response to the idea of non-Muslims privatley viewing the Danish cartoons. Actually we did, on several occassions. Islam was, centuries before the west, adamant about the absolute sanctity of the private sphere, whatever went on behind closed doors was no buisness of the state. However what we also made clear is that when you noise it abroad that you are going to exhibit such socialy destructive material, then it ceases to be a private concern.
I regard the exhibition of the Danish cartoons and for that matter the exhibition of the holocaust cartoons in Iran to be uncivil and anti-social and am opposed to both.
Islam in fact prescribes detailed rules of behaviour, in private as well as in public, in a way no other religion does. See here and here, for example. Moreover, and again unusually, Islam makes no distinction between the state and religious authority, prescribing laws for the regulation of every aspect of human conduct. Al Sistani has issued fatwas concerning, among other things, masturbation (not allowed), having sex while looking in a mirror (allowed) and oral sex (“It’s allowed provided no liquid coming out swallowed”).
Whatever you mean by “the sanctity of the private sphere”, you cannot seriously be suggesting that Islam in all its manifestations – I am simply repeating your generalisation here – regards private conduct as beyond its sphere of influence. This is why my question is so pertinent: are you trying to extend at least some aspects of Islamic law and practice to the private actions of non-Muslims in this country? A direct yes or no answer to that question would be welcome.
I infer from your words that you would answer “no but”. You seem to be saying that it is unacceptable for anyone to do something in private that you regard as “uncivil” if they publicise the fact that they are doing so. You have gone to some pains to define what you consider civility to be. You do, therefore, seek to regulate the actions of non-Muslims in the public domain, and also in the private domain if they “noise … abroad” what they are doing. In a society that is not traditionally or historically Islamic and in which Muslims constitute a small minority, this is quite astonishingly arrogant.
I assume you advocate the right of women to wear the veil, which most Britons find to some extent offensive. If this is so, you seem to be advocating the right of Muslims to offend everyone else, but also their right to dictate what other people can do, either in private or in public.
Say it ain’t so.