Britain, long the world’s leading exporter of Enlightenment values such as free speech and religious coexistence, now risks becoming a leading importer of Islamic blasphemy outrage. As the U.K. has worked to integrate immigrants from Pakistan, British culture has too often deferred to radical views on blasphemy—allowing activists to impose de facto blasphemy laws.
The latest incident happened last month in West Yorkshire, where students accidentally scuffed a Quran belonging to an autistic 14-year-old boy. Things quickly escalated. A Labour Party councilor said the book had been “desecrated” and that the matter needed “to be dealt with urgently by all the authorities,” including the police. Amid death threats, the school suspended four students even though the head teacher found they had no malicious intent.