A lecturer at an Irish university has said he would consider legal action if a member of the country’s media published or retweeted a cartoon of Mohammed.
Dr Ali Selim, who teaches at Trinity University and is a member of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, made the comments in an interview with Irish radio station 4FM.
The interviewer, Niall Boylan, asked Dr Selim if his (Boylan’s) life would be in danger should he retweet the cartoons, to which he replied “Not your life would be in danger but definitely we will check the Irish law and if there is any legal channel against you, we will take it.”
His reason for this litigious response was that upsetting Muslims by publishing cartoons of the prophet “doesn’t help for a peaceful coexistence”.
Mr Boylan called Dr Salim’s proposed response to taking legal action for blasphemy over a drawing which says ‘love is stronger than hate’ as “pathetic”.
Asked if he would seek legal advice if any journalist in Ireland tweets or reprints the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, Dr Selim said ‘Yes’.
Mr Boylan replied, “That’s outrageous, absolutely outrageous” he said. “We live in a country, a democratic country with freedom of choice, freedom of expression. If you want to be offended by it or members of the muslim community want to be offended by it, that’s fine. But people have a right to express their views.”
The lecturer audaciously exclaimed that he was “a great advocate of freedom of expression” but said a simple cartoon was “an act of mockery”.
And he told the radio presenter that he “would not” be committing blasphemy if he went on the radio and said he did not believe in Allah, or any god and was an atheist.
“You can say love is stronger than hate but you can’t portray the Prophet Mohammed,” Selim said in the interview. “If the law gives you the right to do it, do it, if the law does not give you the right to do it, then don’t do it,” he said, referring to reprinting the cartoon.
And he even told Irish listeners that they should “blame the law” when he confirmed he would seem legal advice should anyone tweet or print the cartoon.
He added that if anyone was offended, they have the right to express their disapproval within the boundaries of the law within the state that they live in – even though he lives in a country which is predominantly Roman Catholic and his outrage concerns a religious ruling which has no historical or legal foundation in Ireland.