Jason's Blog

In defense of free speech

by on Feb.08, 2006, under General

Ok, this has been hitting the sites, so had to talk about it a bit here:
– I’ve got a link on the bottom right that goes to this page as well. Basically, a lot of Islamic nations and various religious groups are upset over a serious of political cartoons produced in a newspaper in Denmark. These cartoons apparently portray the prophet Muhammad in a manner that upsets a lot of people. The results are a bit more though than a simple “upset” considering there has now been efforts to boycott Danish products, bomb threats, violence, flag burning, and numerous other VERY heavy handed actions.

I had to post my support for these guys for a major reason – the simple fact that the ability to speak one’s own mind, to say what one wishes in ANY situation is a requirement for basic human rights. Now, there is a requirement that such freedom of speech not have an effect (i.e. shouting fire in a crowded theatre), but satire – which comics are – is definitely not such a case. Saying falsehoods in a newspaper are definitely wrong, but the ability of a person to speak their own mind, and express their own views, to publish commentary in a manner that may be provoking is part of free speech, the freedom to express thoughts and opinions. These aren’t being presented as fact, merely political/religious commentary.

The reactions by so many, deriding these comics and deriding the actions of the publishers is to me unacceptable. Yes, it’s good to keep in mind the sensitivities of people – however, there ARE limits. And, I think people today are overly sensitive to issues that they shouldn’t be. If you’re really secure in your beliefs, these shouldn’t bother you in the slightest. I can understand censoring/restricting hate messages – i.e. some of the Nazi/Holocost images being spread in a Jewish community would cause a great deal of stress, but this is WAY over the top.

Ok, I’m not speaking coherently right now – but everyone gets the point, my message, and my views on this topic. I’d highly recommend everyone to join and support the ACLU – I’ve got the link on the side, as they support such issues here in the US. Civil liberties ARE important – some of the most important things that makes the United States a place worth calling home.


1 Comment for this entry

  • Stephen

    I can very well understand your concern with this sort of insanity. When religion becomes so serious that you can’t poke fun at it on occasion (if that is even what these images were supposed to do) without the fear of mass violence, than it becomes completely useless. I really can’t understand all of the newspapers who have chosen not to run the actual images, pandering to these nut cases. Instead, they have descriptions of the images which are completely based on one person’s value system, and can’t possibly be as descriptive as the actual images themselves.

    I’ve seen all of them, and there were two that were particularly noteworthy. The one where mohammed is waiting in heaven for the suicide bombers with his hand up, telling them “Stop! We have run out of virgins.!” had me literally falling out of my chair. The thought that someone could actually believe in this drivel (the complete BS of 70 virgins) is completely beyond me.

    The other image I found quite impressive was the one with mohammed with the bomb on his head. According to the author of that image, it was intended to shed a bit of light on the fact that the world opinion of Islam is being hijacked by violent fundamentalist zealots, and this image depicts that very well. I don’t quite understand why mainstream and moderate Islam doesn’t absolutely condemn the violence in response to these images, instead of turning the entire situation into an “east vs. west” religious battle.

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