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Re: Lack of understanding

Reader comment on item: How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims [by Leading to a Separation of Civilizations]
in response to reader comment: Lack of understanding remains

Submitted by Paul (Canada), Feb 15, 2006 at 18:51

The idea that some lack of understand remains is correct, but if we rewrite your first sentence in a "turning-of-the-table" fashion, you will see what Daniel Pipes been saying all along: "It is unfortunate that a lack of understanding by the Muslims of how the West feels about these cartoons still remain."

I believe that more has been done, through "western" freedom of speech (like this forum, for example) to foster dialogue between all parts and further understanding of the issues, than has been done through the reactions of many Islamic communities in the middle east and elsewhere (which tended to be violent outbursts). Of course, in several cities throughout North America, several mosques are hosting open-houses to non-muslims, so that they can pass along a positive message about Islam. That is only possible because there are several freedoms which we all enjoy -- including freedom of expression.

On the topic of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, I refer the author to the International Freedom of Expression Exchange website and its many articles (e.g. http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/72194/). What should come across is that "freedom of expression" is subjected to the principle of "voluntary restraint", which is a nothing more than some form of auto-censorship in the interest of civil society. However, there are no laws or codes that regulate it, and hopefully never will.

Finally, it is the essence of liberal, democratic societies to resolve their issues secularly within the rule-of-law. Such processes are not immediate, as those dictated by a totalitarian leader or some religious head-of-state on a theocratic society. Activism is a good thing, but plain-old disorder and flag-burning does not score very high.



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