Thursday, October 4, 2012

Still Not Getting the Whole Free Speech Thing

The following is part of an OpEd published to al-Jazeera addressing the violent Muslim protests and deaths that have occurred through September.  The portion I attached below addressed what the author (Dr Larbi Sadiki is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter) perceives to be a hypocrisy within the Western World.  He implies that there is an understood third rail that suggests that injurious comments are not made towards Jews within the western world because of an implied political incorrectness being violated. 

This, indeed, confirms that Dr. Sadiki (and likely the whole Middle East) really doesn't grasp the concept of free speech.  It is the Left that continues to apply their brand of political correctness towards what is acceptable.  More and more, they have taken the position that if they don't agree with the content, then it is unacceptable for anyone's consideration.  This same shortcoming applies in general, and specfically to Islam.  The solution, in Dr. Sadiki's mind is to allow Islam to acquire the false protection of political correctness so that it may join the list of taboo topics and protect itself from criticism. 

Unfortunately for Dr. Sadiki, that is truly contrary to our First Amendment which allows our citizens to offend any who would perceive offense. 
Maybe not everywhere in the Western world, but nonetheless juggling of moral double standards reveals incoherence.
This is what I meant by reference to Muslim ineptitude to defend their faith and their revered Prophet, Holy Book and traditions. Note how racism, sexism and anti-Semitism are too sacralised to be tolerated as items or matters of free expression, itself a sacrosanct article of faith in Western societies. They are rightly offences which carry legal consequences for those guilty of them.
What if, hypothetically, the ban on injurious treatment, expression and attitude against Semitic people, often narrowly understood as against Jews, is extended to include irreverence against Islam!? What would it take for this to be routinised as universal political incorrectness!?
By and large, there is no ban in the West on free expression that may blaspheme Jesus Christ. Mel Gibson, Madonna and Lady Gaga are amongst the icons who have in the past been accused, through their respective art, to have produced anti-Christ-irreverence. In the West, too, people get offended and they protest when Jesus Christ is ridiculed and treated with irreverence.
However, what is it that has enabled Jews to invent a device as powerful as anti-Semitism to ban injury against their dignity and identity that we Muslims have yet to grasp? There are hundreds of journalists and editors who would exercise self-censorship and refrain from publishing injurious material against Jewishness and Jews.
There is a puzzle and a challenge for Muslims to ponder so that, given their collective numerical size and wealth, they may work to put in place a similar device to stop injury to the Prophet. Laws that protect humanity against injurious attitude and ridicule are adopted everywhere such as minimisation of the Holocaust.
(Hey...thanks Blazing Cat Fur...for the link.  And, I didn't get you anything.)

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