February 09, 2006

Press versus religious freedom

Hello all,

Happy birthday to my padre who turns 48 today (with a confidence range of +/- 15). Thanks for being a great dad. We miss and love you a lot and look forward to our next time together.

Now, the question that's been searing in my mind ever since a discussio amongst friends Sunday night. As many of you know (probably anybody who actually reads a blog), much of the Muslim world is enraged over a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammed. In Islam, of course, it is forbidden to show images of the Prophet, Allah, etc. (from what I know).

The question is, where do you stand? The Fun Zone is actually somewhere in the middle. I appreciated the input of some very strong first amendment (U.S.) and press freedom advocates whose argument went, as despicable as the cartoons themselves were, the right to create such cartoons is essential to the functioning of the kind of society they want to live in. They ended their side of the discussion with the question, "if you are going to prevent people from publishing what they want, where/how will you draw the line"?

I have to admit, during the whole conversation, I was pretty opposed to this line of argument. Just my gut instinct, but I much more supported the idea of another friend who said, "the freedom of one individual should not be allowed to abridge that of another". In this cases, it seems the freedom of Muslims to not see the depictions, either on the news or in newspapers, or even to hear that it was done, which I think is a breach itself of their freedom, has been violated. We also discussed it in terms of Danes who might not have wished the cartoon published but are/will suffer the consequences of boycotts of their products. Where is their freedom? Lastly, and of course this is to the extreme, but already people have died in riots surrounding the cartoon, what if my family member was killed in protests resulting from some stupid Danish newspaper's right to publish an inflammatory cartoon? I don't see the freedom in that and to be honest, I'd rather have my family member and a little less press freedom.

Somehow, though, I'm stuck in the middle. Press freedom is supposed to protect us (I think), but it seems reasonable to suggest in this case that it could also harm us. Where/how would you draw the line?

One thing I can't stand is the kind of stupid rhetoric used by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe yesterday when he said, among other things, "...the same is true of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons: They don't lash out in violence when their religious sensibilities are offended. They certainly don't expect their beliefs to be immune from criticism, mockery, or dissent. But radical Muslim do." Oh, where Robert Fisk?


Blogger Richelieu said...

Imagine if this happened in Ethiopian,do you think Ethiopians are ready to cope w/ this???

12:45 AM  
Blogger safiya said...

This is not an issue of freedom of the press and the sensibilites of Moslems. There is no issue of free press in Denmark. The issue is the right of offend, or the right to express hate speech via the media.

If this was an issue of free press as opposed to moslem specific hate speech, the danish paper should have done deragotary cartoons of Mary, Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Krishna and Buddha.

Which newspaper in Europe dares to draw a really deragotary drawing about Mary? You try that in Ethiopia, and the Christians will kill you.

I think it is a cheap and dishonest argument to talk about free speech in this case. This is pure unadultered racist hate speech

3:50 AM  

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