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Freedom or Hatred

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by CML (United States), Feb 8, 2006 at 14:10

We here in the west have enjoyed a very high set of ideals and fairness that is the envy of the world. Well at least a big portion of the world. Yet I was taught that freedom is a two sided coin. The other side of the coin is responsibility. I must ask myself when exercising a freedom, am I stepping on someone the freedoms of others? In exercising my freedoms am I keeping with the higher ideals that my faith calls for me to adhere to. This entire issue is riddled with hypocrisy on all sides; there is no doubt about that.

The first thing that stands out is when someone writes that Muslims are hypocrites. Right away anyone of the Islamic faith is branded a radical. All Muslims are not radicals; in fact the overwhelming majority are not radicals. The problem is that the radicals are the ones who get the copy in the press. We must remember that extremism makes good drama and no matter how much journalist claim to be objective and analytical the bottom line is their job is to write stories that sell papers.

As for freedom of speech, is it freedom to ridicule? I remember the unkind depictions of Black Americans in the newspaper cartoons of the twenties, thirties and forties. These were very hurtful and fostered racism and hatred. These so called expressions of freedom supported a restriction of the rights of millions of Americans because their skin was different. Then there were the portrayals of Native Americans in the papers of the western frontier in the eighteen hundreds. These men and women were depicted as alcohol guzzling, hair scalping savages. Actually French bounty hunters started the scalping thing. Is this what freedom is all about? Do we have the freedom to promote hatred? Where is the responsibility side of this coin.

We in western societies claim to be adhering to Christian values. Yet I do not see Christ like traits. This man Jesus when ridiculed by his countrymen did not counter with ridicules. In fact he prayed that those who scoffed and mutilated him would be forgiven. So do we stoop to the level of SOME Islamic circles and render "evil for evil" and call it free speech? Isn't if crucial that we follow our high ideals during this time of conflict. Isn't that after all what makes our cause worth dying for? If we stoop to the level of our enemies then how is it that we differ from them? I believe it is right to apologize to all of Islam because Islam is not our enemy. Our enemy is the hatred and extremism that is but a small part of the Islamic movement. Those cartoons branded all people of the Islamic faith and put them all in one barrel. Is that not what we in the west claim to disapprove of? Do we not claim to be for equality and justice? Are these cartoons just? Do they represent the high ideals we claim to adhere here in Western societies? Or do we claim the freedom to hate. Were they responsible when we are trying to reach out to moderate Muslim and build bridges and create allies? Just how did that aid our diplomatic efforts?

Sure many people will jump to defend the cartoons. People are angry and rightfully so. However I would urge that we channel our anger to where it belongs. It is not Islam but a radical movement that would stifle freedoms of others. Isn't this our fight, for freedom of all people? Are our soldiers not dying for the freedom to live our lives and practice our ideals. We must not only fight the radicals but we must also fight their philosophies. Philosophies that are much older than our current enemies. These are the philosophies of hatred and tyranny.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph. 6:12

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