A French teenager who called Islam a ‘religion of hatred’ releases a book on freedom of speech.
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a messenger of God. It is the world’s second-largest religion with 1.9 billion followers or 24.9% of the world’s population, known as Muslims.
Mila, 18, is a teenager from Isère, France. She was 16 when her first Instagram clip went viral wherein she describes Islam as a “religion of hatred”.
On January 19, Mila, who loves singing and whose profile is represented with an LGBT flag, was talking with her followers on Instagram when one of them reportedly began harassing her.
After rejecting the follower’s advances, he reportedly began insulting her with homophobic attacks and accusations of racism, calling her a “dirty French girl”.
In her new book, titled ‘I Am the Price of Your Freedom,’ Mila said she has received hateful messages because of her comments.
“If I get attacked then I am going to defend myself,” she explained. “We no longer have the right to mock, criticize or insult religions, even when they are intolerant, sexist, or homophobic.”
The controversy started in January 2020 when Mila said on her Instagram that “the Koran is filled with nothing but hate, Islam is a shitty religion.”
In February 2020, in the show Quotidien, Mila defended her right to her strong atheist convictions during the interview.
“I absolutely do not regret what I said, that it was really what I thought I would still like to say that in some way I am a little bit sorry towards the people who I might have hurt who practice their religion in peace, and I never wanted to target human beings,” she told host Yann Barhes.
“I simply wanted to… blaspheme… I wanted to talk about a religion and say what I thought about it, and that’s all.”
The Vienna public prosecutor has opened an investigation into “death threats” and cybercrime about Mila’s remarks. He also opened an investigation for “incitement to racial hatred”.
However, according to the initial evidence gathered, Mila cannot be accused of racism.
“For the time being, the girl cannot be accused of racism,” a source told the radio station France Bleu Isère.
Mila, later on, apologized in a tweet saying: “I apologize, I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I spoke too quickly. Error is human.”
In October 2020, teacher Samuel Paty who had shown the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in his civics class was beheaded by an Islamist radical outside his school in Paris.
In February, investigators identified thirteen people from several French regions aged 18 to 30 and charged them with online harassment. Some are also accused of threatening death or other criminal acts.
“She received over 100,000 hate messages and death threats saying she would be tied up, cut up, quartered, stoned, beheaded, accompanied by coffin images, and photo-montages of her bloodied decapitated head,” her lawyer Richard Malka told the court. “I cannot believe that these 13 people who have all been through our education system do not know that criticizing religions is legal and has nothing to do with racism.”
Under French law, there are no restrictions on blasphemy or any criticisms of religion.
President Emmanuel Macron also defended Mila.
“The law is clear. We have the right to blaspheme, to criticize and caricature religions,” Macron said. “We have the right to criticize religions. Mila had every right to criticize religion. But, like everyone else, she should not engage in hate speech about those who practice their religion.”
Mila told TF1 channel: “Even if I have a knife placed under my neck, I won’t stop speaking out, but I am still a young woman who does not know what to think about her future.”
France’s defense of religious extremism has incited intense protests by many Muslims worldwide, who accuse the country of encouraging insults against their beliefs.
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