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“Innocence of Muslims” and Muslims….

Raza Habib Raja

“One of the “best”ways to protest against a movie which portrays your faith as crazy, fascist and violent is to go and protest in a way that is crazy, fascist and violent !”

The above is a Facebook status of a friend (may be an excerpt from an article) which accurately describes what right now we are witnessing all across the Muslim world. How an obscure and crude movie on YouTube ( which by no stretch of imagination is state sanctioned or censored in the conventional sense) can spark such violent protests is something which really needs to be pondered upon.

Frankly I will not defend the movie as I have seen the thirteen minute trailer. I fully agree that it is crude and frankly aims at humiliating Muslims. But in no way, does it lead to any justification of the violence which has erupted all across the Muslim world.
Whenever I want to refute the increasingly voiced and accepted opinion that “ Moderate Islam is a Mirage”, something like this happens which leaves me completely speechless.

It is not the protests, as it is natural to protest against what a community feels is offensive and inflammatory. It is the ugly nature of protests which is extremely worrisome. Muslims really need to ponder over the fact that their excessive reaction actually ends up leaving them virtually isolated. The world does not feel any sympathy for them and correctly interprets them as perpetuators of hate and bigotry. This behavior also has a spillover effect on virtually all issues which involves Muslims and creates a universal impression that perhaps everywhere, even where they are actually prosecuted, Muslims are the main culprits.

And by the way let us not forget that while Muslims continue to rage over Blasphemous cartoons, movies and images, their own record with respect to treatment of minorities is pathetic. What they need to learn that world will only sympathize with them if they themselves show the same kind of respect they expect of their faith.

And besides the ugly nature of protests, the Muslims also have this misplaced anger towards the Western governments. An obscure movie, made by someone who has even been convicted in a fraud, is in no way connected with US government or West in general. However, in this strange Muslim mindset ( which by the way is roughly similar all across the globe reaffirming that Islamic identity cuts across the world), everything is being deliberately planned to insult them.

Much deeper and frankly important issue is the confrontation between Western ideals of freedom of speech and Muslims’ extraordinary reverence of their religion. I have pointed out before also that one of the major reasons as to why Muslims are like that is the extraordinary reverence which is instilled in their minds right from the childhood. Even those who are moderate ( and they exist in majority) and for that matter those who don’t follow Islamic rituals, have a tendency to get riled up when anyone mocks Prophet Muhammad or Quran. Religion for Muslims is like race or ethnicity and in fact even more than that. This is something which the West needs to understand.

While it is perfectly right to be critical of radical Islam and also question inhuman laws, but mocking or insulting the Holy Prophet will be completely counterproductive. It is just like calling African Americans as “Niggers” and expecting them not to even notice! Yes I am fully admitting there is a huge issue with the way Islamic World is today and we need to address the issue but mocking won’t just do it. I am being extremely realistic and pragmatic here. It is how you deal with the problem that will make any difference.

Yes I agree that religion is not that sensitive matter for many in the modern world but in Muslim world it is. And through mocking and ridiculing, we only further alienate the Muslims and in the process lose any realistic chance of engaging them for reforms.

However, at the same time it becomes difficult to just bow down in front of violent pressure exerted by Muslims when Muslims themselves show little credibility in terms of how they treat minorities and respect their religious freedom. Moreover, since freedom of expression is often construed as a hard won right therefore making exceptions for Muslims and that too in the face of violence, does not appear to be the “right” choice.

We need to nevertheless agree on something with religion’s criticism in the media. For example just like race, religion’s criticism also needs to be pondered over. For example, perhaps we can broadly agree that criticism on religious laws and customs is acceptable while ridiculing its symbols is not. There has to be at least some consensus, of informal type, which should guide media in general.

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1,085 Responses to "“Innocence of Muslims” and Muslims…."

  1. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ Mohan

    In Europe holocaust denial is really frowned upon. Now considering that holocaust is a historical and well documented reality, anyone who denys it only makes a fool of himself. There is therefore no need to frown upon it or to make laws against public denials.

    And yet there are laws. Ask David Irving!!

    You know why?

    Because a community considers denial a huge insult. It is justified in its feeling. Now the law is there because it hurts their sensitivity when someone denies a historical reality. it does not matter that the one who denies it is actually making a fool of himself.

    Same is the case with muslims…

    Try to understand there i a difference between sensitivities among communities…

    Holy Prophet is an extremely sensitive matter and if you wwant to mock and ridicule then you end up hurting Muslims a lot.

    Please I am not saying that Islamic laws should not be challenged but ridiculing and mocking the Holy Prophet is not the pragmatic approach.

    BTW article after article I have been critical of Muslims and also rigid interpretation of Islam. Even in this article I have tried to point out to Muslims that their excessive reaction is creating problems for themselves.

    But in NO way will I endorse ridiculing the Holy Prophet….

    For that matter I never endorse ridiculing anyone’s religion and its symbols….



  2. krash United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    The connection between “being deeply offended” and “reacting with violence” is not a necessary one. It can, and should, be broken.

  3. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ krash

    I fully agree…



  4. NDelhi India Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I am copying this from some other place , its apt for people like AKB

    “Show a mirror to the face of an ugly person – the ugly person will react in 3 ways : 1. he will take a deep look at his image in the mirror and simply walks away 2. he will deeply regret his looks 3. he will attack YOU for his ugly looks and accuses you or hurting his sensibilities !!! will accuse of gross mis-representation of his looks. cries foul and plays victim – all the while attacking you.

  5. Mohan United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:


    I am not asking you or anyone to endorse riduculing of Holy Prophet.
    I also do not endorse such disgusting things happening all over the world. But, the fact is that these things will happen and we have no choice but to accept it. ACCEPTANCE IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT.
    The people who indulge in making such idiotic cartoons anf films have
    an agenda, they want to provoke Muslims around the world and act violently to defame themdelves and sadly Muslims fall in their trap.
    Ignoring is the best policy.

  6. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    Could you restate the question please, a bit more than “what was that”?

    Also your comments on holocaust to Mohan are absolutely incorrect. Only two countries namely Germany and Austria,under the strong influence of Israel, have enacted the law against public denial.

    For your info Germans were also accused of Katyn massacre by the Russians and Americans and now after a lapse of over sixty years the previously classified documents reveal that the Americans deliberately blamed the Germans for the massacre of Polish elites instead of Russians, to protect the Russians.

    Rex Minor

  7. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:


    Did you ever get offended by insult to Jesus?

  8. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:


    In pakistan denial of Muhammed as prophet is really frowned upon – what’s your point?

  9. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:


    There is a Spanish proverb: “The wall of hatred was asked, ‘How were you built?’ And the reply was, ‘From the stones of insults.’

    It’s all very well to call for tolerance in the face of repeated insults against a person or a group but there is a consequence. The consequence is not only that the person or group insulted may react violently. There is also a consequence for a the society that accepts such insults as something that the insulted should just put up with. Such a society is allowing hatred against a group or a people to become acceptable. Hating Jews became acceptable in Germany so much so that there was no resistance from within society against it. Do we want to live in societies where there are walls of hatred around? Is it really ok for people to insult minority groups in the name of freedom of speech? I think not.

    When the West says develop thick skins to Muslims in the case of offensive material, given the history of racism and colonialism, one can see why many Muslims don’t really buy this line of argument. In fact they may get even more upset because this line of argument can seem quite condescending given the level of hostility that exists against Islam and Muslims, specially post 9/11. Commentators and politicians should consider that statements calling Muslims to shun violence should be accompanied by a recognition of the rising tide of anti-Muslim hatred, promoted and funded by certain interest groups, which is creating a global political problem. The video nasty of Sam Bacile is a perfect illustration of this, never mind it’s obvious intent to provoke conflict between Muslims, Jews and Christians.

    I think a balanced approach is to call for ostracisation of those who incite religous hatred. It has become unacceptable in the West socially for Blacks to be called niggers; for women to be called whores; for Jews to be caricatured; for gays to be called poofs. These are attacks against the person. As RHR says, even very liberal Muslims felt the hate that came with this video. This is because one’s cognitive makeup can include one’s heritage and one’s community, regardless of how observant they may be. Attacking the central figure in someone’s religion with gratiuitous insults can be like attacking the person. It’s time that society extends courtesy to all groups and not make exemptions for Muslims or other religious folk.

    In Pakistan, we have been either ignoring or very tolerant of insults made against minority groups for decades and the result is that our minorities are now leaving due to the violence and the lack of state protection.

    The world has become more of a global village as a result of the internet and easy travel. There need to be societal and perhaps legal sanction against those who would burn their neighbours’ house down or deny them the space to exist with dignity. Many democracies such as UK, Austria and India have laws against incitement of religious hatred. It is time the USA considered the same. I think liberals such as you sitting in the West should be making this argument.

  10. Shridhar Oman Google Chrome Windows says:


    “Did you ever get offended by insult to Jesus?” Good question…

    One who destroyed the Idols, is most Idolized person today…

  11. Thomas United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Where did the big bucks cum from….to make this insult to Muslims…??

    My inside source tells me that the movie was released’so there wouild

    be riots….. so the protesters faces could be data banked as targets

    for future drone strikes……

    Also to add insult to the death and injury already being meted out by

    NATO and Uncle Sam………

  12. Dr Mishra, Yorkshire United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    he says “Furthermore, none who has any interest in the truth can deny that the Prophet was under the direct command and protection of Allah. ”

    says who kc?? This is an international blog, and I think 99.9 % of Christians, Jews, Budhists and Hindus in the world do not believe in this statement but are content for the muslims to believe so. They just dont want the muslims to attack others and learn how to assimilate and integrate more .
    kaal also says ” Rumi … he opens the hearts of unbeliever so they can be filled with the beauty and love of Islam. ”

    sorry kc buddy, speak for yourself. Once the Jews, Christians and hindus see what utmost brutality Islamic people have visited on all cultures they came in contact with, the last thing that comes to mind is love of Islam.

    They just want to be left alone, but have no problems with muslims following their religion. All they ask is – do it peacefully and dont go on murderous rampage all over the world just because a vulgarian made an obscene film.

    Hindus, Christians and Jews dont go on rampages like that on such provocations, and are therefore more superior cultures
    ==============care to respond kaal, thanks ??

  13. Satyamukhi United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I am sure people know how a demand for demanding respect is viewd by mature people. The worst part is the idol breaker is feeling the insult that his own and his alter ego idol is now broken using not the force but the tools of rationality,creative, constructive intelligence and true knowlegde. Now the very same is asking, pleading the protection of Belief while all the time insulting the Beliefs of others. Don Cerleone was also very successful as long as he could offer Non Refusable Deal. Muslims simply have to live with the fact that no one gets the respect unless one command and earn respect by matching the sayings and deeds for universal good.
    The usual excuse wont work any more by indulging in the Kuffar of covering the truth about idol Muhamamd. This is the age of information and knowledge, falsehood of Beliefs dont stand a chance to cover the true light of Kaffir civilizational values. When 6-7 year old children produly carry the suicide belts and placards , agitaing demanding the beheading of those who break the mental idol of Muhamad then civilized humen need no any further proof of the medieval, barbaric mentality of islamic societies and start preparing for removing this undesired element among Kuffar societies.

  14. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    While I sympathize with your sentiments, do you think the protesters who killed the US ambassador saw this movie? And if they did, weren’t they committing a blasphemy as well? For the life of me, I don’t understand one simple thing: Why can’t people just switch the damn channel! That’s like a rapist saying that a woman in skimpy clothes provoked me. Lots of people in this blog come up with gratuitous insults for Islam, Hinduism, etc. etc. Some take the bait and respond. Some just move on. Here is another cartoon by The Onion. The last time I checked, there were no riots of random angry people:

  15. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    “You ahve to be born as a Muslim to understand that..”
    That is a very interesting observation. A couple of years ago, I had a small discussion with a Turkish friend who is an atheist and gay. He heard about someone who had converted from Islam to Christianity and promptly remarked that the fellow had done it for the sake of money. I asked him how could you just conclude that. He gave the same answer: you have to be born as a Muslim to understand that. It was a pretty staggering reply.

    Is it because the prophet is so central to Islam that you cannot insult him without insulting the whole Ummah and that is why the reaction takes shape of a collective rage?

    Jave Akhtar is a proclaimed atheist. But even his criticism of Rushdie was based on perceived insult of the prophet. Incidentally, he found no contradiction in supporting Hussain who had done very mischievous caricatures of Hindu goddess (One sketch showed Durga copulating with a tiger!)

  16. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Perhaps because for killers it is not about the Prophet at all. That’s really just a trigger. It’s about feeling like you are being repeatedly beaten up by a particularly nasty bully who is repeatedly telling you that you are a moron and a bully that’s sitting with it’s armies in your house. Switching over the channel does n’t really come into it. The ordinary guy is not being violent. I think the twitter hashtag #muslim rage against the Newsweek cover is more the mainstream view (annoyed, but not lost their sense of humour) yet the entire world (including the Muslims) are being manipulated by images on tv and the newspapers.

  17. Satyamukhi United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    WEST is just doing Ghazwa E Momeen. WEST is the Most powerful military, Economic and creative force of this time and America is its leader. NO one is more powerful than America.Russia, China, Europe and Asia are its companions. Truth of Science and Knowldge has truely blessesd and appointed America its favourite spokesperson. After the jahiliya of 2nd world war it has brought big chunk of humanity to the enlightenement and out of poverty. Truely blessed by the Intellect God ,They have Succeeded in buiding huge sphere of influence. Truth is whatever America say or define. Convert to American views or face the Amercan wrath in battle to decide who is the Big Dog Bappu. Any one insulting America is Wazibul Punishment.

  18. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:


    With your permission, may I surprise you with the concept of an Atheist Islamist – as full fledged an Islamist as any other, and by no means merely an agnostic Islamist (which are a dime a dozen).

    Non-Muslims have no option but to understand these things, because we share the same world as others. Without understanding people’s backgrounds, we are surprised, and often infuriated with people’s responses.

  19. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    “Some read that as satire, but it is not.”
    I remember you mentioning that you were a Luckhnowi. I know, for sure, that your post was a satire: the object of the satire doesn’t know if you are praising him or mocking him. Not fair, my friend. :D

  20. Satyamukhi United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    You hit the nail on the head.Indians also feel the same about islam and they alos need to take out their frustration. Lets not deny them the same right. Every utterance of AOA and Shahda is insulting to Indian people and their civilizational values.

  21. Anwar United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Here is something sensible on this subject from an academic whom I admire a lot…

  22. Dr Mishra, Yorkshire United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:


    very nice article, trying to cover all points of view. In your honesty to acknowledge that muslims get extremely emotional and upset over matters pertaining to their religion and their prophet, you hit the nail on the head.

    The problem is not Sam Bacile. Nor Salman Rushdie. The problem is within. When Raza, one of the most tolerant Pakistanis I have ever come across himself confesses to this angst, then what can one say to the ‘hordes’ from Egypt to Libya to Pakistan, baying for blood.

    Can I as a doctor use a medical analogy- physician heal thyself? Is it not possible for 1 billion muslims to turn to the mirror, and to each other, and repeat this sentence 100 times-

  23. Dr Mishra, Yorkshire United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:


    And then go one step further- and even if someone abuses Islam or the prophet, it is better to use dignified protest or legal recourse.

    And if muslims learn to shrug their shoulders and walk away, then that may be the best option of all.

    Peace Raza

  24. Chote Miya United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    “It’s about feeling like you are being repeatedly beaten up by a particularly nasty bully who is repeatedly telling you that you are a moron and a bully that’s sitting with it’s armies in your house.”
    You know that excuses like that get old. Granted the intervention of West hasn’t been about moral paradigms always but I have been totally disenchanted with some of reactions of liberal left about intervention in Libya. When US was dragging its feet on intervention, then they were criticized for being in cahoots with Gaddafi. When they did, exactly the opposite reaction from the same set of loonies. Their reaction about hurt sentiments would carry some credibility had they been equally indignant about the anti-Semitic rants and despicable stuff about non Muslims all over the Muslim world.
    Sorry, I have zero sympathy for such selective amnesia. Prophets existed because of humans and not the other way around. They should be judged on the same set of standards as all of us. Absolutely no exceptions, whatsoever.

  25. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    The bully has been nicked by the Talibans in Afghanistan. So hejumped on the band wagon of the arab spring revolution and he is now once and for all lost its ground in the muslim lands who have provided the USA until now the credit line and the energy to stay afloat with its armada. Morsi and co want from America no less than the amendments in their wrotten constitution which will restrict freedom of expression against Islam in USA.

    Rex Minor

  26. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    You asked a question. I answered it.

  27. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:


    Selective amnesia may be a two way street. There are a lot of hate filled rants about Muslims and Islam all over the Western Press in the comments sections. A quick look at the comments sections should give you the evidence. Currently judging by PTH and the trolls that seem to populate every comment section of the net, the extent of hate speech against Muslims wins hands down several times over. Please just do a comment count.

  28. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @Rex Minor
    Morsi wants the same thing that Ayaan Ali Hirsi wants. At least on both of those things they agree:

    “Reason: Do you believe that the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights—documents from more than 200 ago—ought to change?

    Hirsi Ali: They’re not infallible. These Western constitutions are products of the Enlightenment. They’re products of reason, and reason dictates that you can only progress when you can analyze the circumstances and act accordingly. So now that we live under different conditions, the threat is different. Constitutions can be adapted, and they are, sometimes. The American Constitution has been amended a number of times. With the Dutch Constitution, I think the latest adaptation was in 1989. Constitutions are not like the Koran—nonnegotiable, never-changing.”

    The political establishment, Fox and much of US media froths at Morsi’s poor knowledge and judgement when he asks the US to act against hate speech. However, Ayaan Ali Hirsi is feted, becomes a member of the prestigious and powerful American Enterprise Institute and get’s her own cover on Newsweek:

    Someone is also suffering from selective attention.

  29. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ Romain

    Did you read the article…almost entire article is devoted to advising Muslims that violence is leaving them isolated and their violence is hypocritcal considering that they have a very poor record with respect to minorities.

    Where did I say that violence is justified???

    regarding anger..well anger is instinctive and if i start abusing India and indian culture, almost all Indians will at least feel some anger..

    It is the way that anger is shown which makes a difference…

    This is what I am saying also….That while Muslims may be angry but that anger is misplaced as Western governments have no direct role…and secondly Muslims also need to control violence and thirdly also have a serious look at their own human rights record..

    What more can i say???

  30. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Dr Mishra

    Once Drone Achariya said somethig about hindu culture and lata, you yourself got angry. And you are not allowing me the liberty to even feel anger!!!!And btw my so called anger is actually coming up with a lot of advice to Muslims ( who you may have noticed mostly mistrust me and do not even think of me as one of their own)…



  31. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    That is called observational bias. No one says that there is no hatred against Islam in the West. But give me one instance where it has been institutionalized by the state apparatus. There will always be people who will have virulent anti-Islam views. The big difference is that such hatred is restricted to faceless trolls. One the other hand, anti-West and anti Semitic propaganda is not only restricted to some crazy Mullah but resides among the intellectual elite of the Muslim countries. They ply their trade not from some obscure internet cafe but form the mouthpiece of respected universities and media houses. How many prominent social figures in the West have called for elimination of Muslims or their deportation. Even as we speak, the Grand Mufti in Kashmir has ordered the Americans to leave the valley. Such examples are rare, if any, in the West.
    “These Western constitutions are products of the Enlightenment. They’re products of reason, and reason dictates that you can only progress when you can analyze the circumstances and act accordingly.”
    That’s true and that’s what a lot of us say about Quran and hadiths. They should be amended to reflect modern views. Are only Western constitutions eligible for amendment? Why? Because they are product of reason? Just because one group doesn’t go on the street and indulge in mayhem and barbarism doesn’t mean that it should be held to a different standard.

  32. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Here is what, in words of Anwar, a “respected academic” says:
    “The Western art of offending Muslims is a long established art. Western Christians have excelled in it and modern Zionists (Jewish, Christian, and atheist) have merely incorporated the clichés of Western Christian hatred of Islam and Muslims. ”
    I didn’t know Zionists incorporated all three of them! Btw, you artfully left mentioning that Hirsi Ali was talking about amendment of constitution for something else: Closure of Islamic schools in the US.

  33. Tilsim United Kingdom Safari Mac OS says:

    I have said what I had to say on this. Your comments reflect your frame of reference as do mine.

  34. Salman Arshad Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:


    What you propose may well become the practice in the media.

    But it is in no way reasonable. The freedom of thought and expression was litrally hard won, but that is because it is ALWAYS hard won.

    And this is merely a time to win it again.

    The dynamics of the fight have changed though. Those demanding an end to the freedom of expression are in a much large number compared to those who want to stand for the freedom.

    Violence cannot be avoided here. People will be killed for representing freedom. But in the bigger scheme of things, this is the good fight. It is for our coming generations that this fight must be fought.

    What is seriously challenging is the level of intellectual debate. When freedom of expression was being fought for, we had thinkers and philosophers taking the lead in defining its parameters, and actually fighting at the forefront.
    Today an imbecile called Sam Bacille has taken the place of Voltaire.

  35. RHR United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Freedom of expression is already there but every society has drawn some limits. It really boils down to define some no go areas. If you are intelligent then you know what I mean. Ok then there should be no one stooping racial slurs also. If that is allowed then I will withdraw my objections.
    I am not saying that there should be no criticism on Islam but merely that ridiculing its revered symbols is something which can have wrong consequences.
    In Usa crime rates in black is higher and while critism is levied but no one critises it by calling them niggers.

  36. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I have to agree with Tilsim here. He makes good and sound points. The bias and hate against Muslims in the west are unbearable. And it’s not restricted to only faceless trolls. If BM talks about Kashmir’s Grand Mufti, some Christian religious leaders in the US and elsewhere frequently refer to Muhammad as the Devil. Political commentators sympathetic to the Republican Party routinely write anti-Muslim articles in leading conservative papers. Some hate and bias against Muslims are there also in India but the leaders and commentators there are more responsible. The faceless troll argument applies to India but not to the west. Tilsim is right, Muslims/Islam have become an easy punching bag, and it’s a dangerous trend. Free speech and liberty are all very good but hate should be socially ostracized and condemned.

  37. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Agree also with Raza.

  38. MilesToGo United States Opera Windows says:

    na jao new york, mecca chale jao…

  39. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    What a worthless argument!

  40. Salman Arshad Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    There is a difference in putting a limit on insulting someone’s race, color, language etc., because those are not things that define someone’s morality, but they are identifications, that one cannot even choose in many cases.
    Religion is not identification, it is a set of morals, and a particular set of morals can and should be debatable for all times to come.
    Even freedom of expression should continue to be debatable!
    And in Islam, morals are primarily linked to the person of the Prophet. His life defines what is morally correct and wrong in Islam. He is the example to be followed.
    About two years back, Gillette tried to conduct a shaving competition for its promotion, in Karachi, and had to back off after “Millions of Muslims around the world” in Karachi got offended. You cannot draw a line, if offending someone is the criteria.
    What you are proposing is dangerous because freedom of expression should NOT be curtailed because of a fear of violence. That is a slippery slope. And there will be no justification for any “line” that you might want to draw.

    Giving in to violence is never the right step. Policy on freedom of expression should never be based on consequences. It is supposed to be a basic human right. And it must be fought against political correctness.
    If not, then that is what we had done with the Objectives resolution, the Ahmadi clause, the blasphemy law and all, it was all done in order to curtail the violence being threatened.
    Rather than criminalising ridicule, what can always be done is expressing disgust and disapproval at an act of ridicule.
    Yes there are countries who have, for convenience, created laws that limit freedom of expression, in the case of religions, (like India) but that has its consequences. If America stoops to our level, we’ll most likely see a Babri Masjid, Gujrat, Ahmadi/Shia killings there as well, since offence has no limits.
    Unfortunately, not just America, but a lot of Europe too has started to give in to violence threatened by Islamists.
    And, as I said, what you propose may actually turn out to become the policy, at the government level.
    The dangerous message however that goes with such giving in to consequences, is that violence works!
    The only thing that will come out of it is that the whole world will become Pakistan eventually.

  41. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Salman Arshad..

    Unfortunately religion for Muslims is like identity…and yes also for jews…

    That was th crux of the article…

    Anyways there are shades of grey here…and one can not simply brush aside your argument or mine…

    Yes I agree with you that giving in to violence is wrong but that I aaccepted in the article also..

    btw the entire article condemns violence by Muslims and in the end acknowledges that giving in violence gives a wrong signal..

    But ridiculing religion, ANY religions. revered symbols is wrong. Yes over time people will perhaps become desensitized from religion..but if you deicde to mock then frankly they wont..

    anyways as I said in the article and here also that it is a difficult road..

  42. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Salman Arshad,
    Agree with you completely. Sorry RHR, we have to agree to disagree. I believe religion should not be given a special sanction.
    Hate speech has a very specific definition.
    “frequently refer to Muhammad as the Devil”

    How is that hate speech against Muslims? If that is an example of hate speech, then Vajra’s claim that Vivekanand left a school of homos should qualify as hate speech. Right? I thought American laws provide protection against hate speech.

    You are mistaking my support for freedom of expression as endorsement of that stupid video. But when you start attaching qualifications to what is acceptable or not, then you invariably stifle even genuine works. As Rushdie says, today, his book wouldn’t be published. When that happens you get examples of art like this one. Because only complete loonies or rascals would go so far and, frequently, for dubious causes. I mean there are scientific works that postulate about the god part of the human brain, which is quite offensive to religious minded folks.

  43. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    “Some hate and bias against Muslims are there also in India but the leaders and commentators there are more responsible.”
    Some? And our leaders are more responsible? Really? Even they would stagger with disbelief on hearing this.
    Nehru made a grievous error when he introduced that rider with freedom of expression in our country. Otherwise, and if the judiciary held firm, I am sure we wouldn’t be witnessing the random acts of communal violence that are growing daily and the constant threat to artists. Abuse can hurt in the short run but it serves a useful purpose of letting things out in open. Right now, who are the people that speak what they want without any risk of censure? Shiv Sena and company. So the original objective of our law regarding the freedom of expression is anyways lost.

  44. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    “What is seriously challenging is the level of intellectual debate. When freedom of expression was being fought for, we had thinkers and philosophers taking the lead in defining its parameters, and actually fighting at the forefront.”
    Absolute gem:
    “Today an imbecile called Sam Bacille has taken the place of Voltaire.”

  45. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:


    Kindly read the article before “agreeing to disagree”I think the problem is that Muslims are being violent and which obviously makes their case extremely weak.

    Identity is a complex thing and religous symbols when mocked do cause resentment the way you feel agreived when your skin color is mocked..

    Ok then skin color and language is also a fair game…and yes also include gender and country of origin..why exclude them…

    Lets do that and i will withdraw my objections..

    Anyways I do not endorse violence by Muslims and through the article and in the following comments I did condemn it.

  46. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    And yes by the way i am studyig political thought right now at Cornell and taking a course in Enlightment..

    At least do not insult Volatair by saying that Sam Bacille has taken his place..

    I am 100% sure my philosophy professor will hate it….

  47. no-communal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Vajra is a one-off example and his criticism of Vivekananda did not amount to calling him the Devil incarnate. Besides, if making such comments became socially acceptable among Bengali or Indian Muslims good thinking Muslims should come out and condemn it. Note that I made a distinction between social condemnation and legally forbidding it. Social condemnation of hate against Muslims by leading figures in the west is the need of the hour. When apathy and hate against a community become socially acceptable it usually has consequences. Tilsim gave the most appropriate example of the Jews in Germany. One can also add the buildup to the Iraq war. In the post 9/11 climate hardly anyone including the most liberal papers asked for closer scrutiny or patience. Someone like Phil Donahue, one of the most respected TV talk show host ever, was dismissed from MSNBC for being “a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”. One must try to not fall in the same trap over and over again.

  48. RHR United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I think lets also mock Sikhs and then see the reaction…

    Ok why dont you endorse doing that in India????

    Surely that is also a religion…

    Any sane person disagrees with the jokes which ridicule sikhs….

    But by your logic it is ok..

    The lets go ahead…

    And then why make holocaust denial such an objectionable thing…
    Now just because jews feel insulted does not mean freedom of speech should spare expression of denial???

  49. Bade Miyan (BM) United States Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    “Vajra is a one-off example and his criticism of Vivekananda did not amount to calling him the Devil incarnate.”
    Are you so naive as to be completely unaware of how gays are perceived in India? That is actually one of the worst insults you can hurl at a religious figure. I bet if Vajra has made that comment publicly and scores of irate Bengalis came out and burned a few buses, you would have agreed that it was a hate speech. As for social condemnation in the US, please. I also live here. I haven’t heard of a mob of people going around and asking for Muslim heads on pikes. I asked you a simple question: How is calling Muhammad a devil, a hate speech?
    I guess Salman couldn’t have said it sooner. As expected, now a Newsweek cover is being debated as an example of hate speech.
    “In its own ugly way, this Nwesweek cover is almost as inflammatory as the Muhammad video itself” by Glenn Greenwald.
    My problem is that, at a different level, I find such moral relativism innately demeaning and serving as a grist to the mill of numerous intellectuals who continue to paint us, ever so subtly, as a gang of uncivilized brutes who should be coddled otherwise we will completely lose it.

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