It’s no surprise that the Muslim world wants to limit our freedom of speech. What’s deeply disturbing is that the Administration apparently does as well.
In a statement on Ikhwanweb, the English-language website of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, Egypt’s ruling party says:
[H]urting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable.
We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions. . . . Certainly, such attacks against sanctities do not fall under the freedom of opinion or thought. [Emphasis mine]
A petition on Change.org, sponsored by the Board of Directors of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City (ISGKC), asks the President to outlaw “any action that may insult one’s religion.”
May insult? Wow. Just wow.
The petition says:
We understand the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and, as such, prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, etc., but when the allowance of “free” speech incites violence it should be banned.
We understand freedom of speech exists, in other words, and we hate it. Notice that ISGKC wants to put the responsibility for the reaction of the audience on the speaker, not the audience.
The petition goes on to say:
We condemn the violence and feel that, in spite of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, action may be necessary to pass such a bill or, at least, censure such actions in order to calm the current situation as well as prevent future re-occurrences.
American Muslims are hard-working, law abiding, and tax paying citizens. Everyone respects freedom of speech and the First Amendment in general, however, when freedom of speech results in defaming and insulting others and provokes the killing of innocent people, it should be outlawed. [Emphasis mine]
Imam Mohammad Qatanani, leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County (New Jersey) told a reporter recently:
We, as Americans, have to put limits and borders [on] freedom of speech.
He went on to say that Americans “have no right to [talk about Muslim] holy issues.”
We believe freedoms have limits and rules, otherwise we will get people into trouble. . . . Freedom according to Islam must be according to the Quran and Sunnah. You can do [anything] you like within the teachings of these two resources. This is the difference and main reason [for the conflict].
And it ought to be a source of conflict, too. The idea that non-Muslim Americans should redefine the word freedom to mean sharia ought to be repugnant to every American.
Unfortunately, it’s not.
The Administration is running $70,000 worth of television ads in Pakistan which tacitly support just that idea:
“We reject all efforts,” says the President, “to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
That’s not true. And a former Constitutional Law lecturer has to know it. America doesn’t reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. To do that we’d have to repeal the First Amendment. In fact, we allow egregious denigration of religious beliefs.
Piss Christ, anyone?
Or Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America? That’s the 1977 case in which the Supreme Court allowed uniformed Nazis carrying swastika banners to march through a heavily Jewish Chicago suburb in which 5,000 Holocaust survivors lived.
And the Muslim Brotherhood tells America that “hurting the feelings” of Muslims “cannot be tolerated”?
Sorry, guys. Over here it can. We hurt the feelings of Christians, Jews and Muslims, among others, on a regular basis. If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Our Supreme Court held 35 years ago that speech that hurts someone’s feelings–even if that speech is ugly and outrageously offensive–is the price we pay for freedom of speech. Speech the majority hates is precisely the speech the First Amendment protects.
The President seems to have forgotten the words of the late, great Justice Louis Brandeis. The Framers of the First Amendment, Brandeis said, knew:
that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.
Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Barr, on the other hand, recently called on Muslim artists:
to use their artistic talents to create productions of the highest standards of quality, in all languages, to highlight aspects of greatness in the Messenger of God, to introduce him to the peoples of the whole world, and to use those productions to compete at international art festivals of all kinds.
If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Or, better yet, get out in the public square, make a better speech or movie or book, and turn the hearts and minds of people to embrace your perspective.
That’s how we roll in this country, Mr. President. Good thing Dr. Al-Barr was there to show you how it’s done. The fitting remedy for evil counsels is not to repress them.
The fitting remedy for evil counsels is to beat them at their own game.