In the News: Je suis Mila: Even in France, insulting Islam is taboo

Je suis Mila: A French teenager has been mobbed on Twitter, forced out of school and investigated by police for insulting Islam.
, Fraser Myers, Spiked, 2020-02-07.

A 16-year-old has become the most hated girl in France after she criticised Islam on an Instagram livestream. Mila (who can only be identified by her first name) is currently cloistered in her house, living under police protection, and is unable to return to school.

During her livestream, a Muslim boy asked her out in the comments, but she turned him down because she is gay. He responded by accusing her of racism and calling her a ‘dirty lesbian’. In an angry follow-up video, streamed immediately after she was insulted, Mila responded by saying that she ‘hates religion’. ‘The Koran is hateful… Islam is shit… Your religion is shit… I’d stick a finger up your god’s arsehole’, said the teenager.

The video went viral and was reposted on multiple social-media platforms. Before long, Mila was receiving death and rape threats, and her identity and school were made public. Her family and the local authorities have been unable to find her a school that will guarantee her safety.

The police opened two investigations in response to what has become known as ‘l’affaire Mila’. One, still ongoing, is into the death and rape threats directed at the 16-year-old. The other was into Mila herself, for ‘inciting religious hatred’.

The investigation into Mila has since been dropped. But that it was launched in the first place is nonetheless extraordinary. […]

[…] Mila’s lawyer, Richard Malka, told The Times last week that, ‘No human-rights association has protested or expressed solidarity with the girl whose life has suddenly been plunged into hiding’. ‘It is the left that traditionally defends secularism in this country… It saddens me that it has not done so in this case’, he lamented. […]

L’affaire Mila should have been clear-cut. This was a case of a 16-year-old schoolgirl expressing a blasphemous opinion. Her views should be tolerated in any country that upholds free speech. Free speech includes the right to mock gods, prophets and holy books.

But today, things are less clear-cut. The politically correct notions of ‘hate speech’ and ‘incitement to religious hatred’ have essentially revived old and draconian blasphemy laws in a new guise. The effect is exactly the same – the censorship of criticism of religion. And while the French state did not go so far as to prosecute Mila for blasphemy, an intolerant Twittermob was on hand to ensure she was punished for her wrongthink.

We need to stand up for free speech against both the state and the social-media mob. Je suis Mila.

What happened to Mila is extremely worrisome. Many of the French seem to have forgotten that blasphemy is not a crime in that country, and that Mila had a perfect right to criticize a religion, regardless of whether her choice of words was vulgar or polite. But because she insulted Islam, the useful idiots of the Islamists, whose goal is to attain total impunity for that religion, failed to defend Mila as it was their duty to do.

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