Would Samuel Paty have been jailed in Scotland?

Oct 19, 2020 by

by Effie Deans:

Tens of thousands of French people have taken to the streets to demonstrate in favour of free speech. The French Government has responded robustly to the murder of a French teacher, Samuel Paty, who was killed by a Chechen extremist for showing cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad to his freedom of speech class.

The French Government and people have almost universally expressed their solidarity with the M. Paty. No one has questioned his right to show such cartoons. But what would happen to a teacher in a Scottish school who did the same thing? If parents or pupils complained about the class, would the Scottish Government be quite so robust in defending freedom of expression? The answer of course is no.

A Scottish teacher who showed his class cartoons of Muhammad would I strongly suspect be sacked instantly. He might also be prosecuted under Humza Yousaf’s hate crime laws. Mr Yousaf has recently made a few concessions to his bill. He now says that the hate crime legislation would only cover offences where the stirring up of hatred was intentional.

But M. Paty was apparently aware that his freedom of speech class was stirring up hatred. He was threatened by extremists and warned to desist. Nevertheless, he continued with his classes because he believed freedom of speech was more important than these threats. Well when someone his warned that his action is causing hatred and continues to do it, it is reasonable to assume a degree of intent. He didn’t just accidentally show the cartoons while being ignorant of the possible consequences of doing so.

Read here

See also: Je suis Samuel, by Brendan O’Neill, spiked

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