Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WSJ: 'Reasonable Men Respect Islam'

This Wall Street Journal author suggests "reasonable" men should not disrespect the "religious sensitivities" of Muslims. He goes on to write about the importance of free speech. But this author provides no clues as to where criticism should begin. Free speech isn't only about allowing the American Nazi Party to demonstrate or artwork that depicts a crucifix in urine. It also includes the right to criticize such offenses.

At what point is truth more important than "religious sensibilities"? At what point is free speech justified - nay, necessary - to expose evil? When do men become "reasonable" for questioning a 'faith' that encourages the abuse of women and children? A 'faith' that promotes warfare against those with different religious beliefs? Is it ever respectful for "reasonable" men to scrutinize a cult that imprisons, oppresses and murders those who are weaker?

According to Peter Hoekstra, free speech is something to be tolerated, and Islam is to be respected:

The Netherlands is bracing for a new round of violence at home and against its embassies in the Middle East. The storm would be caused by "Fitna," a short film that is scheduled to be released this week. The film, which reportedly includes images of a Quran being burned, was produced by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament and leader of the Freedom Party. Mr. Wilders has called for banning the Quran -- which he has compared to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" -- from the Netherlands.

After concern about the film led Mr. Wilders's Internet service provider to take down his Web site, Mr. Wilders issued a statement this week that he will personally distribute DVDs "On the Dam" if he has to. That may not be necessary, as the Czech National Party has reportedly agreed to host the video on its Web site.

Reasonable men in free societies regard Geert Wilders's anti-Muslim rhetoric, and films like "Fitna," as disrespectful of the religious sensitivities of members of the Islamic faith. But free societies also hold freedom of speech to be a fundamental human right. We don't silence, jail or kill people with whom we disagree just because their ideas are offensive or disturbing. We believe that when such ideas are openly debated, they sink of their own weight and attract few followers.

Our country allows fringe groups like the American Nazi Party to demonstrate, as long as they are peaceful. Americans are permitted to burn the national flag. In 1989, when so-called artist Andres Serrano displayed his work "Piss Christ" -- a photo of a crucifix immersed in a bottle of urine -- Americans protested peacefully and moved to cut off the federal funding that supported Mr. Serrano. There were no bombings of museums. No one was killed over this work that was deeply offensive to Christians. - Islam and Free Speech

1 comment:

Nora said...

My goodness, what an unfortunate article!!...but at least he adds: We believe that when such ideas are openly debated, they sink of their own weight and attract few followers. I know many people who would have directly call GW a racist and no other thing... :(

Anyway, what I am worried about this GW business is that the people demonstrating the other day against the film were Dutch anti-racists, not Muslims, so full of fear about the consequences of the movie.

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