A French court confirmed the aquittal of a Frenchman who had been accused of burning a copy of the Koran. He displayed this action on the Internet and was then charged with inciting racial hatred. Prosecutors wanted to send him to jail for three months and fine the action to the tune of $1,400. In the Internet footage, Rojas Abbate, makes paper planes from a copy of the Koran and pretends to send them against the World Trade Center.
The Appeals court ruled his display of ignorance was “willfully outrageous and deliberately provocative” but this was not sufficient to result in anyone attacking Muslims. His defense lawyer noted, “blasphemy does not exist in France.” Absolutely correct. Freedom of speech means one has the right to display not only ignorance but also stupidity. If we used the criteria of “inciting hatred,” where would they leave Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann?