Does free speech mean insulting others?

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Imtiaz Ali Syed

Dhu al-Hijjah 16, 1433 2012-11-01

Letters To The Editor

by Imtiaz Ali Syed (Letters To The Editor, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 9, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1433)

Muslims have effectively and repeatedly challenged the west’s ludicrous assertion that freedom of speech is absolute. A reader agrees and exposes the west’s hypocrisy.

The West has a strange notion of “free speech.” It is invoked whenever someone in the West insults Islam’s revered personalities or the noble Qur’an. If Muslims protest, they are told to shut up and accept Western values. They are also told the West allows such scandalous movies as The Last Temptation of Christ but Christians do not mind. The fact that Christians do not protest does not make it right. Further, if others have abandoned their values, it does not mean Muslims should follow suit. Yet “free speech” defenders cannot explain why there are restrictions on some speech or actions in the West. People cannot needlessly shout “fire” in a crowded theatre or shopping mall. Try telling a security officer at an airport even in jest that you have a bomb in your bag and see what happens. These restrictions exist to prevent public disorder. So why is it OK to offend Muslims by insulting Islam’s revered personalities?

This is cultural imperialism. The West wants to impose its values on Muslims while the latter refuse to surrender their basic rights. Muslims must uphold their values; it will not be easy but defending cherished principles requires sacrifices.

Imtiaz Ali Syed

Montreal, PQ, Canada

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