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FREEDOM OF SPEECH is all about offensive speech.

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: From another perspective, muslims in the Western world are suffering

Submitted by Wes Clark (United States), Feb 14, 2006 at 21:36

Of course freedom of speech covers insulting another's religion! That's what FREEDOM means! Expression of thoughts which are warm and friendly, gentle and comforting, doesn't NEED any protection. It is unpopular, unfriendly, provocative and hurtful ideas which require protection. While it is true that freedom needs responsibility, it is up to each of us to judge when to speak out. The purpose of the Danish cartoons was to demonstrate media bias in favor of Muslims, or fear of their irrational anger. It has vastly succeeded.

Four years ago, I knew next to nothing about Islam, and didn't much care. I had Muslim friends and colleagues, and accepted them cordially, as fellow Americans similar to myself, and their beliefs were theirs, and not my concern.

Now that some Muslims are trying to kill me, I have learned a lot about Islam, and Arabs. I have read about Arab and Middle Eastern history, studied the Quran, as well as numerous other sources, including those of the Islamic perspective.

To say that the Quran does not advocate violence, oppression of women, or slavery too, is simply to deny what is explicitly written there, allegedly the word of Allah. These words are used, not only by radical Islamists, but by more-or-less legitimate Muslim governments to justify often unspeakable brutality against their own citizens.

After 9/11, there were stories of Muslims dancing in the streets and cheering, and in the USA, American Muslims were conspicuous by their silence. I was willing to discount that as irrational ethnocentrism. Until this month, I imagined that most Muslims were like the rest of humans: that they want to take their children to school, work productively at a good job, come home to a happy family, enjoy a peaceful evening, and to make love. Then, a MAJORITY of Palestinians voted to support an organization which, in the name of Allah, espouses a policy of murdercide, and vows to slaughter the Jews of Israel and eliminate that country from the earth.

I can no longer deceive myself. While it may be true that a small fraction of Muslims are actually trying to kill me, I am forced to conclude, as I watch Muslims all over the world rioting and murdering, in response to a few cartoons, that perhaps even a majority of them harbor a virulent hatred and a murderous intent toward me, and toward Westerners and Americans in general.

This is not bigotry. It is an informed judgment made on the basis of viewing the evening news, and of watching the bizarre and barbaric behavior of Muslims all over the world.
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