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LETTER: Trying to prevent free expression

March 5th, 2016 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – It must be all of twenty years ago, long before Europe, and especially this little island, was in any way aware of Islam and its demands of the people of other faiths, and none, that I received a very long letter from a Muslim, who did not attempt to hide a warning if I wrote in a certain way which could be construed as anti-Mohammed and Islam, generally.

I had never given this issue a thought throughout my life, yet someone who said he worked in a hospital decided I needed to be threatened for something which never crossed my mind in the first place. It was a very long diatribe written in perfect script, which but for its content, was a beautiful example of English written in the script we associate with the Middle East or North Africa.

The writer was obviously insulted because I had written a letter to ‘An Realt’ which

took the mickey out of Catholicism and its teachings. We are allowed to do this in

a democratic secular society, where our views and comedic take on all matters, be it

religious or political, are the treasured rewards of living in a free society. 

I am Irish living in my own country. The writer was Muslim from overseas. However, this particular person took offence at me writing in this way in my own country,

even though I said nothing that could have been construed as unlawful under Irish law.

This religious zealot (I believe it was a man) was in no doubt my safety could be an issue if I did not heed his threat for something I’d never even known of, nor at all contemplated, or indeed cared about.

The reason I mention this after so many years have passed is to highlight the arrogance and effrontery by even seemingly ‘non-violent’ individuals coming from countries where Islam is the ruling religion. This message was carried to me at a time when nobody realised or objected to the safety of Irish citizens being compromised by guests coming to work among us from far-away Muslim regions. 

Back then, many carried the same message with them around the world as is only now being seen as outrageous and unacceptable. Yet, the thinking in the media and in government circles is to be self-censoring and to make no reference at all to what might be upsetting to Muslims even if it’s not said or written. Neat trick, that.

Irish Republic, 2016.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry.

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