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The rule of law as a solution

Reader comment on item: What Do Terrorists Want? [A Caliphate and Shari'a]

Submitted by Alex Hourany (Lebanon), Jul 27, 2005 at 08:46

If law in Europe and America is at the base of political life, then law itself and its application can help in curing this problem.

Now, how much is hate teaching and inciting people to kill others a sort of free expression of opinion? In a state governed by law where all sorts of liberties are protected, a newcomer to this state is not supposed to teach or learn hate by any means (religion, education etc.). There is a dilemma here, and a legal one before all. I am not sure of that, but I think this dilemma hadn't been until now studied by the political or judicial branches of Western states.

Freedom of religion, expression and speech are guaranteed by law, but to what extent some acts fall in this category. If teaching hate is a legal act, then teaching children this Koranic verse of Surat al-Tawbah "wa qaatilu 'lladhiina laa yu'minuuna bi-'llaahi wa laa bi-'l-yawmi 'l-aakhiri wa laa yuharrimuuna maa harrama 'llaah wa laa yudiinuuna diina 'l-haqqi mina 'lladhiina uutu 'l-kitaabu hatta yu'tu 'l-jizyata 'an yadin wa hum saaghiruun" is acceptable regardless of any consequences it might produce. In addition, what is in this verse is not really teaching hate, it is incitement to kill or fight those who hold an opposite belief.

The other more important legal question would be whether banning such teachings is legal? Some jurists would say that this is illegal because freedom of religion is guaranteed by law. However, isn't the elimination of the causes of crime a way to eliminate crime beforehead?

Thus, by first resolving the question of what acts of freedom of expression or religion should be considered legal or illegal and what acts can be legally banned, the cure for this problem can be initiated.
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