Blasphemy is so easy

Sometimes it’s pretty clear that religious campaigns against offensive statements aren’t even about getting rid of offense. They’re about ensuring that no one says anything about their religion at all.

The Gelsenkirchen club, which plays in Germany’s top league, the Bundesliga, has asked an Islam expert to consider whether the song might be insulting.

The third verse contains the words: “Muhammad was a prophet who understood nothing about football”.

“But of all the lovely colours he chose [Schalke’s] blue and white,” it goes.

The club has received hundreds of e-mails from angry Muslims recently, since Turkish media carried reports about the song.

(via BBC NEWS.) The offensive content here is close to zero, unless you the Koran has a firm line on what Muhammad’s understanding of football, which seems to me unlikely. To the truly devout, the song is the equivalent of a  meaningless statement, funny nonsense, along the lines of “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” Indeed, the German muslim council has set out, as its first mission, to discover if it refers to anything substantive at all. By being so off-the-wall, the furore shows that this really comes down to the right of non-Muslims to say things about Muhammad that hasn’t been pre-approved by Muslims. I am guessing those writing furious letters from Turkey wouldn’t object to the notion that the Prophet Muhammad knew more about football than anyone who came before or after him, even though that is equally insane a statement. I hope no one tells them about the nickname for Deportivo La Coruna.

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