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definition of freedom of expression

Reader comment on item: Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

Submitted by Fida Marvat (Pakistan), Sep 25, 2012 at 10:35

Western governments and mainstream media invoke the sacred right to free expression only when it comes to Venezuela, Cuba and the Muslim world. How else one can explain the outrage over the Salman Rushdie affair ( and he was taken into state protection). The only explanation is the double-standards involved in the definition of freedom of expression.

It was, for instance, a question of "free expression" when a rag like Denmark's Jyllands-Posten published those caricatures made by a third-rate artist hungry for some attention. Likewise, the concept is invoked when Israel is under moral and political siege. It is also a matter of free expression when Islamophobes like Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji are concerned.

"Freedom is always and exclusively freedom of those who think differently,"
German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.

Freedom of expression needs a fresh definition. True freedom of expression comes into play when writers or artists defy prohibitions. Provocative writings and cartoons by members of dominant communities vilifying the religious beliefs of minority groups that are targets of racism are merely a manifestation of anti-minority bias and incitement to xenophobia. This applies to the West as well as, as it does to the Muslim world, Latin America, Africa.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

It may be too obvious to point out, but the First Amendment in the United States protects all speech short of that which is criminal or libelous. In the political realm, everything goes.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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