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Living with freedom of speech really isn't so hard

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: Free speech, western style

Submitted by Jeff (United States), Jan 12, 2008 at 18:28

Dear P. Hanbury,

I do not labor under the misconception you describe, and I don't know anyone who does. However, I'm not personally acquainted with any of the Muslims who march in the streets of western cities, demand beheadings and happily chant silly rhymes about a holocaust in Israel that's just around the corner (the first one never really happened but the second one will be just wonderful).

We only ask Muslims to follow "our" rules (that is, laws created by freely elected governments) when they emigrate to "our" countries, just as I would follow their rules if I chose to emigrate to a Muslim country. (For example, I would not pack a Bible were I to emigrate to Saudi Arabia, as I've never heard anything particularly inviting about the Saudi prison experience.)

I have been insulted and offended on numerous occasions in my life, and I have yet to go out and shoot a little old lady in the back, or enter a mosque and murder the imam, and consider that an appropriate reaction. I doubt very much that such behavior would receive enthusiastic approval from Christians around the world, or that Christians around the world would find videos of those events entertaining.

I have never witnessed nor participated in any deadly riots resulting from the daily insults directed at my country, my culture and my faith. I have never carried a sign calling for the beheading of those who insult my country, culture or faith. I don't think any of these simple facts is related to the age of my religion. For example, the Bahai faith is only 150 years old, and I don't see Bahais behaving that way either (despite the fact they're routinely imprisoned and murdered by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran).

And are you really saying that, had you lived several hundred years ago, you would have defended the crimes of the Catholic church because it was young, or the pope was inexperienced, its founders were dead, etc., etc? Or is it only for Muslims we find reasons they're not responsible for their actions?


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