Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
This Is "The Holy Grail For Dealing With Offensive Jokes" According To Maajid Nawaz
24 March 2018, 14:55 | Updated: 24 March 2018, 17:45
Maajid Nawaz was disappointed by the criminal conviction of a comedian who trained a dog to respond to Nazi statements, and passionately explained why free speech is so important.
A YouTuber who filmed his girlfriend's pet dog performing Nazi salutes has been convicted of committing a hate crime.
Mark Meechan denied any wrongdoing, and insisted the video was only posted to annoy his girlfriend.
The original clip was uploaded to YouTube in April 2016, and had been viewed more than 3 million times before its removal.
But Maajid Nawaz thought the judges ruling was disproportionate, and passionately explained why.
"I think this case is a gross affront to freedom of speech" he said.
"Without free speech you don't even have the rights to practice your religion.
"In other words the cornerstone of any secular, liberal,democratic society is free speech.
"Free speech is probably the most important element of a secular democracy.
"It's free speech that opens up debates and inquiry and without free speech you cannot have free inquiry.
"And without free inquiry you cannot have freedom of thought.
"To clam down on free speech means thought control, because as I said without free speech you cannot have freedom of thought."
Maajid said: "It was Galileo and his free speech that allowed him to do what he did when he questioned the on scientific orthodoxy of his day.
"It was free speech that allowed Darwin to do what he did when he questioned the religious and on scientific orthodoxy of his day and as a result of their free speech in other words their heresy.
"In a free society you have every right to be offended but you have zero rights to insist that I do not offend you."
Watch Maajid's passion unfold in the video above.