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Freedom of speech

By Ms Kiran Rizvi

There has been a mention or two of the alleged ‘freedom of speech’ in USA, primarily in regard to the anti-Islam movie that attracted undue attention all over the world. While everything is to be taken in context, I felt that the subject needed some clarification after I read a piece on Viewpoint from an expatriate Pakistani professor residing in US. While I can understand that it is hard to comprehend this concept for people in Pakistan because the culture in the subcontinent is restrictive in nature, I certainly did not expect such odd sentiments from a person living in the US.

Freedom of speech is at the center of personal freedoms in the constitution of USA. While it is true that there are many intangible ways to restrict this freedom, by and large people are free to say whatever they feel like provided their words do not result in tangible loss of life or property, for example one cannot legally lie to sell a product etc. Even though uttering offensive words in public sphere can be devastating in many ways, there are no laws that would imprison, fine or punish the perpetrator at state penitentiaries. The debate, therefore, is what is/should be considered ‘offensive’.

Obviously there are some categories that everyone agrees on, when it comes to offensive language. This includes racist, sexist, slanderous and hateful language towards an individual or a group of people. So the question is what do people in US do if a person is found to have used offensive language in public? They can be fired from public or private posts, they can be stripped of their honors, their name can be smitten from the honorary rosters or in the absence of such distinctions, his business could be boycotted etc. There are many organizations that look after the interest of certain groups when it comes to monitoring the offensive language in public. Anti Defamation League comes to mind when we talk about monitoring and protesting anti-Semitism expressed around the world. Such organization use their political and economical power to make sure nothing that is redolent of anti-Jewish sentiments is forgiven in public media. Their contention is that “All it takes is one lie to reignite anti-Semitism”, ironically this heading is displayed on their website in relation to the ‘lie’ that Jews were behind the infamous anti-Islam movie.

People in USA react to hateful and offensive speech in many ways. It can either be used to evoke public disdain, thereby discrediting the perpetrator as a decent member of the society forcing him/her to retract his words or apologize. An example would be when Rush Limbaugh, a famous radio host used indecent remarks for a woman who spoke in favor of women’s health and abortion rights. Mr. Limbaugh had to apologize or face boycott from his sponsors and listeners. Another example was when a church decided to show up with anti-homosexual slogans at the funeral of a homosexual soldier, public disdain was used to characterize the church as an outlier and disgrace to civil society. Sometimes ignoring the events and not giving them enough coverage works too, for example when anti-zionist Jews in Bronx burn the Israeli flag to protest against policies of Israel, no coverage is given to those events, granted their protest is against government policies of Israel and not anti-Semitic in nature. However when a non-Jewish Texas politician, Larry Taylor, uses ‘jew’ as a verb to chide insurance companies, he ends up writing an apology letter to ADL and lose his public post.

Another extreme example of anti-religious expression in USA, in recent history, is ‘PissChrist’. While some Christians took the 1987 photograph of a plastic statue of Christ in artist’s own urine, as a symbol of what Christ’s message has been reduced to in modern times, others have taken it as a sign of disrespect and are outraged on its display in public and private galleries. This was especially disturbing because part of the funding to the artist Andres Serrano was allegedly tax payers’ dollars. There have been ‘death threats’ to the artist, gallery owners and others involved in this controversy but no state punishments have been meted  out to any of the parties involved in the name of ‘freedom of speech’. This whole incident, however, is mainly ignored by the media in recent years to the outrage of devout Christians who see more coverage on the anti-Islam movie than the PissChrist incident.

With freedom comes responsibilities, and yes, in USA you have the freedom to hate, but this hate is not free, it comes at a great economic or personal cost. The cost of freedom of speech depends on who exercised it against whom and in what capacity to gain what interest. The sentiment in Pakistan is that all religious defamation should be outlawed internationally so the sensitivities of devout followers of the religions are not perturbed in any way. However the problem is what is considered offensive to the followers of a religion. To some, a movie that has no resemblance to the story of Islam which uses a few names of the characters from Islamic history cannot be logically accepted as an insult to the religion; whereas not using the honorific ‘PBUH’ in front of Muhammad PBUH, may be seen as offensive to others. There is no point in passing unenforceable laws, and everyone already condemns the attack on any religion or race officially, so what can be done if a group feels unjustly targeted for slanders? There are many ways to combat such spewing of hatred and misinformation other than legislating against the act. Recently when NY subway authority, unable to oppose the petition made under ‘freedom of speech’, had to grudgingly put up anti-Islamic posters in the subway stations sponsored by a pro-Israel organization, another Jewish organization sought to combat this hateful act by putting up pro-Islamic posters instead. This is how US combats bigotry, it may not always be right or succeed in doing what it professes, but that is how it approaches the negative impacts of freedom of speech.

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175 Responses to "Freedom of speech"

  1. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Ms Kiran Rizvi

    <<<<<>>>>>>

    ”Surprising as a Muslim you feign not knowing what is considered offensive to followers of a religion” ..in this case Islam. If you really don;t know about your own religion then you should be ashamed of sneaking in the Islamic faith.

    .
    <<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>

    .
    Are you really in your mind?? Can’t you realize the mockery and insults passed to holy personalities in that movie?? How can you ignore the theme of the story which clearly attacks the Prophet and his life??
    You surely must be blind at soul if you try to justify that profane movie.

    You comparing ‘insults’ to holy men to ‘addressing’ the holy Prophet is absurd and utterly wrong! It is not an insult if you don’t write PBUH depending on the context of discourse. Muslims have the option of addressing the Holy Prophet as Holy Prophet, Rasool e Pak, Nabi -e-Pak, Rasulullah, etc etc without reading or writing PBUH against his name and Muslims do this in their ordinary course of discussions or writings.How could you be dumb enough to compare the obscenity and profanity exhibited in that movie unless you wanted to be accursed like its producer, director and cast??

    .
    We are not interested in you diatribe about what or what not is freedom of speech in Muslim countries or with the Muslims insofar as the Holy Prophet and other holy personalities of Islam are concerned. Your explanation of it is frivolous and mala fide and the thinking of a bigot. It;s you who are a bigot who doesn’t know her own religion and its subtlities; it’s you who needs education on ‘freedom of speech”.
    Finally Muslims are NOT bound by what the US does or doesn’t. We respect their laws but cannot tolerate profanity at their hands. they who don’t have any heart for their own religion or personalities cannot be taken as role model by Muslims…..our code of life is defined by the Quran and the Holy Prophet, If someone somewhere doesn’t have a law to punish blasphemers we have….and even if we don’t have such a law we as Muslims know how to defend our faith. At the same time a Muslim offending holy personalities of other faiths also bears the same punishment as prescribed for others. Let’s be fair….if people eat pork, perform same sex marriages, one in five American women suffer rape, children out of wedlock are acknowledged as heroes, where sex is free,,,,etc etc you have NO reason to teach us Muslims to do follow their creed. And, yes, Islam is a universal religion and according to our belief ‘all within and without earth or heavens belongs to
    Allah” —–thus Muslims have right to protest against profanity committed everywhere because it affects them….the world over. If to hurt the feelings of others is ‘freedom of speech’ then fie on those who hurt and those who support them..
    AA

  2. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    Fred Reed on the US….

    .

    A Surrender of Sorts
    Relaxing in the Handbaket
    November 2, 2012
    .

    ”Nonsense is ever a firm basis for politics. The American public believes itself to be free, to have a spirit of rugged individualism, to live in a democracy admired by the world. In fact Americans are not particularly free and becoming less so by the minute, are not individualists but herd consumers formed by a controlled press, and do not live in a democracy.”

  3. Rex Minor Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Ms Kiran Rizvi,

    You appear to be a nice individual and criticising some one called Professor and talk about the ignorance of muslims from Idoa subcotinent. I am not an indian nor a pakistani muslim and am a great believer of democracy and freedom of expresson(not speech per say)as far as it does not interfere with the same rights of others.

    America is a lawless country of amendments.legislations and litigations, and more people are put away to protect the communities than in any other country of the world. A country of contridictions, the land of pioneers and adventurers, there is no law to prevent the burning of scriptures but there is a law in Florida(thanks to jeff Bush) to shoot down on spot any one from whom one feels threatened. The case of Zimmerman got the publicity because he shot down a young and unarmed black individual and the police did not even investigate the incidence. We shall remember Florida, the land of everglades which is moving slowly but steadily towards the ocean. No sir; please do not justify the land which is slowly and gradualy moving towards Abyss! Let the Latinos and Afros sort out the mess where people eat harmone injected Texas beef and Montana Buffalows and where alcohal is forbidden around the kentucky area.

    Rex Minor

  4. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    It looks like the Obama win has taken a heavy toll on Rex Minor. After months of giving away tell tale signs the old Pushtun has finally gone completely crazy. Rex, admit it, the “God of Ibrahim” was mighty pleased with Obama and his drones. If not, he would not have sent the super storm Sandy making Obama look so very bi-partisan and Presidential in the closing days. See the signs, the Taliban is going to be droned out of existence. Without their public be-headings, amputation of limbs, public shooting of women in Football Stadium (all part of the Sharia) the world finally will be a better place.

  5. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @@ Ms Kiran Rizvi

    THIS IS ESPECIALLY FOR MISGUIDED PEOPLE LIKE YOU!!

    .
    When The U.S. Ridicules The Principles Of Free Speech

    By Kourosh Ziabari

    06 November, 2012
    .

    Prof. Terri Ginsberg is an American university professor, film scholar and cultural critic. She made the headlines in 2008 when she was dismissed from her post at the North Carolina State University as a professor of film studies for criticizing the apartheid policies of the Israeli regime and its mistreatment of the Palestinian citizens.
    .
    She was “punished with partial removal from — and interference in — duty, non-renewal of contract and rejection from a tenure-track position” and then realized that the whole universities across the United States had boycotted her after she applied for 150 jobs but was denied even interviews, which she says was something very unusual for someone with her publishing and teaching track record.
    .
    According to Electronic Intifada’s Nora Barrows-Friedman, Prof. Ginsberg and her lawyer struggled for over a year and filed a lawsuit against the NCSU, but the North Carolina Superior Court denied the case and ruled in favor of the university’s denial of the tenure. Subsequently, Prof. Ginsberg and her lawyer, Rima Kapitan, filed an appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, but the appeals court dismissed the appeal and upheld the lower court’s verdict.
    .
    Firing Terri Ginsberg from the university, simply for voicing her criticism of the Israeli regime and its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians unequivocally ridiculed the principles of free speech which the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment are supposed to sustain and showed that the United States is not that utopia of freedom and democracy which many people have wrongly come to believe.
    .
    What follows is the text of Iran Review’s exclusive interview with Prof. Terri Ginsberg about her dismissal from the North Carolina State University , the Palestinian culture and civilization, the continued oppression of the Palestinian people by the Israeli regime and the rise of Islamophobia in the West.
    .
    Q: The United States has always boasted of itself as a beacon of freedom and pioneer of democracy; but what happened in 2008 when you were fired from the North Carolina State University for criticizing Israel demonstrated the opposite. Your petitions and appeals to the North Carolina courts were not upheld, as well. What do you think about the decision they made in expelling you?
    .
    A: NCSU’s decisions perfunctorily to eliminate me from consideration for a tenure-track position, and then to fire me, were very troubling on several levels. First, the decisions were made on clearly impermissible grounds. NCSU claimed falsely th……………
    http://www.countercurrents.org/ziabari061112.htm

  6. saadh Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    On the flip side of Ms. Ginsburg’s regrettable story:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/key-members-of-the-congressional-islamophobia-caucus-swept-from-congress.html

    Rampaging mobs protesting the film destroying private and government property worth billions of rupees like in Pakistan is not the answer. Western countries will not be threatened into applying European anti-defamation laws denying the Jewish Holocaust to religious defamation, demanded by many Muslim countries. However, the violent reaction to the film is a wake-up call for governments to focus on concrete measures to fight religiously motivated violence, discrimination, and other forms of intolerance, while recognising the importance of freedom of expression. The public must demand that their governments speak out and to condemn hatred while encouraging open debate, human rights education, and interfaith and intercultural initiatives.

  7. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ saadh

    .

    with war ravaging in several countries your good wishes are simply a madman’s dream. Keep dreaming snugged into your cozy corners!!

    .
    the worst thing is that Ms Rizvi evidently admits not knowing what offends the followers of a religion (Islam in present case) ..this goes to prove either she is too naive and immature or a big fool trying to fool others!!

    .

    I hope she would not find my words about her ”offensive” as I think she rightly deserves better.
    Shame on such people who have NO love or understanding of their own Faith!

  8. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    White People Mourning Romney
    .

    The most devastating day.
    .
    THESE NARROW MINDED PEOPLE…A HERD OF WHITE ELEPHANTS
    .
    http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com/

  9. saadh Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    AKB:

    Nobody can be as sane and broad-minded as you are living in your rustic surroundings!

  10. Kamath. Spain Safari iPad says:

    Herr Rex minor: ” ….America is a lawless country of amendments.legislations and litigations, and more people are put away to protect the communities than in any other country of the world…”
    You have a juvenile if not a primitive understanding of US?. But keep on writing. It is funny.

  11. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kamath,

    I will repeat Saadh words. Nobody can be as sane and broad minded as you are living in your rustic sorroudigs. What you do not follow you find primitive.
    The third biggest employer in the USA is the Prison Establishment. When on the pretext of security the Govt prowls on citizens in the USA as well as on their communications with people in foreign countries without obtaining prior court permission, it violates the 4th amendment. This is under review with the congress.

    it is eculiar among Indians that they usualy react to info on the blogs and challenge what is not in their knowledge. When you guys are going to wake up to become a member of the knowledge community and share knowledge and not share snotty comments or post some ones opinions from the internet domain. Is it not lawless to be able to shoot down another human from whom one feels threatened in the state of Florida?

    Rex Minor

    Rex Minor

  12. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    AKB,

    What did the idiot CEO and ex Governor expect from the voters. He was a fool and failed to present himself as the alternative to democrats! what was he thinking when he tells the Nation in his debates with Obama that 1)he favours obama health insurance program for uninsured and seniors but it should be handled by the States.
    2)he has the ability to work with congress members from both sides of the Isle.

    The election was not being held for the post of a Governor or the post of a coordinator, but for the Prsident of the country. He proved to be a bigger idiot than the man he was opposing. In Germany the result would have been poor participants in the election.

    The BBC organised a debate seesion a day before the election, and most criticised Obama 4 years record but stated that they will caste their ballots for him because the alternative was a radical individual and they feared his policies for military.

    Rex Minor

  13. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    a great indian,

    Britain’s Princess Anne looks at a sculpture of India’s Noor Inayat Khan after an unveiling ceremony in central London. Britain’s Princess Anne unveiled a sculpture Thursday of Noor Inayat Khan, dubbed the “spy princess”, who was sent into occupied France in World War II to help the resistance. AFP photo
    more photos »A bust of Noor Inayat Khan, the British secret agent of Indian origin who was executed by the Nazis, is to be unveiled on Thursday in a quiet public garden in central London by Princess Anne.

    Over 400 distinguished guests are expected to fill leafy Gordon Square to pay tribute to the World War II heroine, who was shot in Germany’s Dachau concentration camp in 1944 at the age of 30. The guests will include MPs, peers, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, war veterans, former agents who served alongside Noor as members of the top secret Special Operations Executive (SOE) and even the RAF pilots who flew them on their deadly missions.

  14. Kamath. Spain Safari iPad says:

    I wonder why Quran was quiet on freedom of speech! It is supposedely contains all the knowledge and wisdom for mankind!

  15. KR United States Safari  Android 4.0.3 HTC_PH39100/3.26.502.56 Build/IML74K says:

    @AKB: I am not offended by anything u said of me for the same reason I was absolutely not offended by the movie made by a person of questionable intellect, whose work accurately reflected his competence. I was offended by the decision of Egyptian media which chose to publicize this work which had rightly gone un-noticed for months.

  16. KR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Kamath: I will assume that your question is neither rhetorical nor derisive. Faith and rationality are not always comparable. Faith has its own place in human lives and may not live up to rational discourse, which is primarily the language of science. In order for freedom of speech to work, certain conditions need to exist, such as high percentage of competent and analytical individuals. Maybe Allah determined that those conditions were not present in the Arab society. Historical Muhammad (PBUH) is known to have encouraged discussion among his peers who constantly questioned his actions and motives…this is a tacit approval of freedom of speech in the form that could have existed in that society.

  17. KR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    I will ignore the examples of US atrocities against FS given by AKB as it is already discussed in the article. However, historically US has not always lived up to the principle of freedom of speech. A great example is when McCarthy legislated to round up anti-capitalists into prisons and a mass hysteria against communism swept the US. However, US learned its lesson and when similar sentiments were invoked by a few in the US senate/house against Islamic ‘terrorism’ asking to round up Muslim state workers, their efforts were shot down and labeled as mere McCarthyism .

  18. KR United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Aside from ADL, the Feminist groups in US are also very vocal and do not let any misogynist comment go unpunished. The 2012 election was a testimony to this because all candidates who had issued any comment that could be construed as misogynist or insensitive towards women lost, including Mitt Romney who used “binders full of women” to describe women in his cabinet.
    The racially charged language is now unanimously agreed to be offensive and NAACP need not always intervene before a person would be fired/disgraced for using racially charged language. There are some groups who are still struggling to gain traction in terms of defining language that is hateful towards their kind. Examples are homosexuals, mentally challenged, obese and aged people.

  19. Mohan United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:

    Ms. Rizvi,

    A very good article and great sensible respond to the bloggers who had raised some objections on your article.
    Freedom of speech is a great cause worth fighting for.

  20. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Kamath. says:
    November 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm
    I wonder why Quran was quiet on freedom of speech! It is supposedely contains all the knowledge and wisdom for mankind

    who says.there is complete freedom within parameters.

  21. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    नोबेल पुरस्कार विजेता वीएस नॉयपाल के बाद जाने-माने रंगकर्मी गिरीश कर्नाड ने रवीन्द्रनाथ टैगोर पर निशाना साधा है.

    समाचार एजेंसियों के मुताबिक, गिरीश कर्नाड ने टैगोर को “दोयम दर्जे का नाटककार” बताया है.

    संबंधित समाचारक्यों विवादों में हैं नायपॉल?एक स्कूल, आठ नोबेल विजेताअमरीकी अर्थशास्त्री रोथ और शैपले को नोबेल इससे जुड़ी ख़बरें
    टॉपिकभारतगिरीश कर्नाड ने कहा है, ”टैगोर एक महान कवि थे लेकिन नाटककार दोयम दर्जे के थे.”

    उन्होंने दावा किया कि टैगोर के समकालीन भी उन्हें नाटककार के तौर पर स्वीकार नहीं करते.

    विवादों में गिरीश कर्नाड”टैगोर एक महान कवि थे लेकिन नाटककार दोयम दर्जे के थे.”

    गिरीश कर्नाड
    मशहूर नाटककार गिरीश कर्नाड ने इससे पहले नोबेल पुरस्कार विजेता लेखक वीएस नायपॉल की कड़ी आलोचना की थी.

    उन्होंने कहा था कि नायपॉल को भारतीय इतिहास में मुसलमानों के योगदान के बारे में कुछ नहीं पता है.

    कर्नाड ने नायपॉल को ‘संगीत की कद्र न करने वाला’ और सम-सामयिक विषयों पर एक ‘गैर भरोसेमंद’ लेखक बताया था.

    उन्होंने ये बातें हाल ही में मुंबई में एक साहित्य उत्सव के दौरान कही थी जिसमें नायपॉल को साहित्य में उनके योगदान के लिए सम्मानित किया गया था.

    हालांकि नायपॉल वहां मौजूद नहीं थे. इसके बाद नायपॉल ने कहा था कि भारत पर उन्होंने पर्याप्त लिखा, अब और नहीं लिखेंगे.

    नायपॉल को वर्ष 2001 में साहित्य के नोबेल पुरस्कार से सम्मानित किया गया था

  22. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    More than 50% women voters managed to get less than 20% seats in the congreswhich comares to 28% women seats in Afghanistan, 31% in Iran and 33% in Germany. Imagine if the Mormons had their way to the white House, there would have been the new America auhorising six women partners for one man!

    Rex Minor

    PS
    Freedom of speech, the american way is neither allowed in Europe nor in Islam!

  23. Kamath. Spain Safari iPad says:

    Notebook KR: How about human rights in Arab Society? You see in his parting last sermon Prophet Muhammad pleaded with his followers to take care of their slaves/ or lok after them. But he never banned or condemned slavery. As a matter of fact, one of his 10 wives was a slave , a generous gift from none of his admirers. Did he reject that gift.?
    Have you realized how a slave might feel to given as a “gift” to cok and sleep with? What do you think Allah had in mind at that time? If it is Ok then is t Ok now?

    Once again read the references in any of the writings by Hadith collectors ( the are 4 of them).

  24. Muhammad United Kingdom Safari iPad says:

    Nice effort Kiran Rizwi
    However people who have been taught lies for last 1400 years will need another 1400 years to learn humanity.

  25. Muhammad United Kingdom Safari iPad says:

    Nice effort Kiran Rizwi
    However people who have been taught lies for last 1400 years will need another 1400 years to learn humanity. It’s not going to happen in our life time.

  26. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Tagore was a great poet but a second rate playwright,” Karnad said

  27. Gautama United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:

    Mohammad,

    Are you sure that after 1000 years there won’t be another Mohammad who will say this:
    ” However people who have been taught lies for last 2400 years will need another 1400 years to learn humanity.”

  28. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    KR,
    You asked for “Free Speech’ and Kamath gave you the ‘free speech’ as he understnands it. Do not forget that the nonbelievers had no part in establishing the UNO “human rights” but were initiated and established by the believers. And it is the fathers of modern India who were the thinkers and architect of “Kama Sutra” before Sigmund Freud underwent research on this subject, and it is todays Congress Govt which have devised a sophisticated name of “Bonded Labour” for the human slavery.

    You slip into the category of Naives who are not aware that the American society today is made up of ghettos, each communiy living within their own culture, language and traditioal environment; millions and millions of illegal immigrants, mostly of Hisponic origin and sorrounded by countries who have nothing but disdain for this multi-cultured non-cohesive and non-indigenous community.

    Rex Minor

  29. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Kiran Razvi

    .

    Are you trying to stress that the one who exposed the culprit is a culprit hisself?? Nay, the Egyptians did no bad…unless done malafidely.

    .

    Freedom of speech is only free within a limit. A limit which dispatches people to spew out their venom in Hyde Park, UK.

  30. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Kiran/Rex

    i am quite surprised to note that Rex, Tajender and I are agreeing on several issues now!!! Good augury for the West to reform itself!!

  31. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @Muhammad
    .

    what you puked about Muslims and Islam can be said only by the follower of a 19th century faux frofet born in India and now burning in the fire of hell till eternity!!Shame on you!!

  32. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    The World Doesn’t Love the First Amendment
    The vile anti-Muslim video shows that the U.S. overvalues free speech.

    .

    The First Amendment earned its sacred status only in the 1960s, and then only among liberals and the left, who cheered when the courts ruled that government could not suppress the speech of dissenters, critics, scandalous artistic types, and even pornographers. Conservatives objected that these rulings helped America’s enemies while undermining public order and morality at home, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

    A totem that is sacred to one religion can become an object of devotion in another, even as the two theologies vest it with different meanings. That is what happened with the First Amendment. In the last few decades, conservatives have discovered in its uncompromising text— “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”—support for their own causes. These include unregulated campaign speech, unregulated commercial speech, and limited government. Most of all, conservatives have invoked the First Amendment to oppose efforts to make everyone, in universities and elsewhere, speak “civilly” about women and minorities. I’m talking of course about the “political correctness” movement beginning in the 1980s, which often merged into attempts to enforce a leftist position on race relations and gender politics.

    .

    First Amendment protects verbal attacks on groups as well as speech that causes violence (except direct incitement: the old cry of “Fire!” in a crowded theater). And so combining the liberal view that government should not interfere with political discourse, and the conservative view that government should not interfere with commerce, we end up with the bizarre principle that U.S. foreign policy interests cannot justify any restrictions on speech whatsoever. Instead, only the profit-maximizing interests of a private American corporation can. Try explaining that to the protesters in Cairo or Islamabad.
    .

    Meanwhile, some liberals began to have second thoughts. They supported enactment of hate-crime laws that raised criminal penalties for people who commit crimes against minorities because of racist or other invidious motives. They agreed that hate speech directed at women in the workplace could be the basis of sexual harassment claims against employers as well. However, the old First Amendment victories in the Supreme Court continued to play an important role in progressive mythology. For the left, the amendment today is like a dear old uncle who enacted heroic deeds in his youth but on occasion says embarrassing things about taboo subjects in his decline.

    We have to remember that our First Amendment values are not universal; they emerged contingently from our own political history, a set of cobbled-together compromises among political and ideological factions responding to localized events. As often happens, what starts out as a grudging political settlement has become, when challenged from abroad, a dogmatic principle to be imposed universally. Suddenly, the disparagement of other people and their beliefs is not an unfortunate fact but a positive good. It contributes to the “marketplace of ideas,” as though we would seriously admit that Nazis or terrorist fanatics might turn out to be right after all. Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/09/the_vile_anti_muslim_video_and_the_first_amendment_does_the_u_s_overvalue_free_speech_.single.html

  33. rationality United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    AKB buddy you seeem to be all over, been laid off ?

  34. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    AKB,
    You are a great guy to confront these satanic ambassadors of the Indian DIY Islam of Rashdis and Razvis and Naqvis all other children of the colonial times. Shame on them, their forefathers rushed over to Mecca and clarified their misgivings or improved over the knowledge of the arab and Egyptian scholars. Toay, they rush over and write and then they are delivered to the uionist pblishers an they pay them well to follow anything which is more palatable in the west.
    Note carefully, the author is worried about the American amendments but not the last amendments for the humans. Here is another classic intelligence, Farid Zakari invites Soloman Rushdi and asks him why do the muslims around the world are infuriated and angry aboit the anti-Islam book when most have not seen it. Ofcoure, Rushdi being so close to the muslim communities of the world that his info was very important.

    Rex Minor

    PS Incase you were not aware of, anyone speaking against the monarch though will be arrested by the police, for his protection.

  35. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Rex

    .
    People like Rushdie and Tasleema Bengali are the people who write obscene criticism to scriptural and religious matters …only to win cheap publicity and favors from the anti Islamic West.
    This Rizvi though not comparable to them is trying to head towards their direction . However, I presume her to be a sensible girl who would not rush for a vile direction which her faith forbids her to tread. Freedom of speech, like freedom of action is confined to limits….not only in America but everywhere in the civilized as well as uncivilized worlds. She need to get out of the Western impression and take care in becoming a victim to their influence which directs that Muslims should malign their own faith and pick at it so that they could find a wicked excuse to tighten the noose around their necks.

    .

  36. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @rationality

    Are you a female?? Your name so suggests??

    .

    You seem to be laid out for losing the bet…right??

  37. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    A few quotes:
    .
    That there is a social problem presented by obscenity is attested by the expression of the legislatures of the forty-eight States, as well as the Congress. To recognize the existence of a problem, however, does not require that we sustain any and all measures adopted to meet that problem. The history of the application of laws designed to suppress the obscene demonstrates convincingly that the power of government can be invoked under them against great art or literature, scientific treatises, or works exciting social controversy. Mistakes of the past prove that there is a strong countervailing interest to be considered in the freedoms guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
    Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States (Roth v. United States, 1957

    .

    How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.
    Soren Kierkegaard Either/Or Part I (1843), Swenson p. 19.

    .
    And I honor the man who is willing to sink
    Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
    And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
    Will risk t’other half for the freedom to speak.
    James Russell Lowell, A Fable for Critics (1848), Pt. V – Cooper, st.

  38. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    All speech should be presumed to be protected by the Constitution, and a heavy burden should be placed on those who would censor to demonstrate with relative certainty that the speech at issue, if not censored, would lead to irremediable and immediate serious harm.
    Alan Dershowitz (2008). Finding, Framing, and Hanging Jefferson: A Lost Letter, a Remarkable Discovery, and Freedom of Speech in an Age of Terrorism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 30. ISBN 0470450436.

  39. Kashif United States Safari Mac OS says:

    In my humble opinion, this is simply a question of upholding the globally accepted norms of decency of expression. This is also a question of showing elementary consideration of the religious sentiments and sensibilities of others. Muslims are not asking for too much when they expect non-Muslims not to insult the Holy Founder of Islam – Muhammad. Similarly, Muslims too, are equally obliged to abstain from using insulting speech about any person viewed with religious reverence by followers of other religions. Figures such as Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Krishna, Rama, Guru Nanak and other Founders of Faiths should be mentioned with reverence by all, whatever one’s faith. This is a question of simple and elementary decency.

  40. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kashif,

    You sound like a preacher of elementary decency( your last entence) and the globaly accepted norms(your first sentence) but ignore the facts that we are not dealing with the decent peoples nor are we addressing the country which accepts the norms of the civilisatios. We are talking about the 21st centutry of America where there are deficits in their legal system which are not fully realised by its citizens and impact citizens of foreign countries. The denegration of Islam amd its Prophet Mohamad(pbuh) without any constraints in the laws of the country, is totaly not acceptable. Let the American legislators come in line with the laws of the civilised world.

    Rex Minor

  41. Maggu India Safari iPad says:

    All religions insult other religions. So there is nothing wrong if a prophet or god is insulted. Religions are brands after all and selling ones own means you have to denigrate others. Islam, Christianity and every other religion does it. Everyone is selling that theirs is the ONLY path to heaven and all others are false.
    .
    For some reason the people most offended seem to be followers of Islam. Is it because theirs is the brand that can least withstand critical scrutiny? It’s only the fragile brands which ask for protection, others stand on their own virtue.
    .
    Surf washes whitest!

  42. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    maggu,
    religions dont hate each others, zoinists(wahabi,salafi hindutva ) hate everybody.

  43. Maggu India Safari iPad says:

    Name any ONE religion that says god can be found through many paths.

  44. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Maggu says:
    November 11, 2012 at 11:49 am
    Name any ONE religion that says god can be found through many paths

    all.

  45. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    rex,

    All observers admit it: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did everything in his power to destroy President Barack Obama’s political career.

    President Obama should return the favor.

    He should destroy Netanyahu’s career in the biggest, most spectacular way possible – by busting Netanyahu for 9/11.

    The major US and international media, owned and operated by cheerleaders for Israel, are so terrified by this prospect that they are trying to pretend it is “business as usual” between the US and Israel – maybe even between Obama and Netanyahu – despite the obvious blood feud between the US president and the Israeli prime minister.

    One exception: The post-election Yahoo News story headlined “Obama victory spells trouble for Israel’s Netanyahu.” The author, Jeffrey Heller, writes: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an even more awkward time with Washington and re-energized critics at home who accused him on Wednesday of backing the loser in the US presidential election. With Iran topping his conservative agenda, Netanyahu will have to contend with a strengthened second-term Democratic president after four years of frosty dealings with Barack Obama and a rift over how to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.”

    Heller’s article frames the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu according to the Israeli propaganda template. It suggests that Obama’s only two choices are (a) to launch a major war against Iran, as desired by Netanyahu, or (b) to continue imposing sanctions to starve the Iranian people, in order to punish Iran’s leaders for pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy program – a program that is completely legal under international law, unlike Israel’s massive, illegal nuclear weapons program!

    These may be the only two choices that are acceptable to Israel. But they are not the only choices available to Americans.

    American strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his 1999 book The Grand Chessboard, pointed out that the most important single element of a viable US strategy in Eurasia is friendship with Iran. What Brzezinski did not state outright, but left for the discerning reader to discover “between the lines,” is that Israel is badly damaging US national interests by forcing the US to be an enemy of Iran.

    Israel hates Iran because Iran’s leaders, like the vast majority of the people of the Middle East, do not accept apartheid Israel as a legitimate state.

    That is indeed a problem for Israel. But why is it a problem for the US?

    If the US maintained good relations with Iran – not a client state relationship as existed under the Shah, but a friendship-of-equals based on mutual respect and shared interests – the US strategic position in Eurasia would be greatly enhanced.

    Then why is the US starving the Iranian people, murdering Iranian scientists, paying MEK terrorists to bomb and kill large numbers of innocent people, and generally doing everything it can to hurt Iran? The short answer: Because Israeli interests dictate US Mideast policy.

    Some apologists for Israel claim that it’s really about US dollar hegemony. They say that Iran’s move to sell oil and gas in other currencies threatens the US dollar, which is why the US is so antagonistic to Iran.

    What these critics don’t understand is that the US dollar is not the US dollar. It’s the Zionist dollar.

    The US dollar is issued by the Federal Reserve, a private corporation owned by the biggest “American” banks. But those banks are not really American. The leading banksters who create American dollars out of nothing, backed by nothing, are ethnically Jewish and primarily loyal to the state of Israel.

    After all, the Rothschild family, the biggest of the “eight families,” created Israel as its base of criminal operations. Even mainstream historians admit that Lord Rothschild created Israel in 1917 by handing the British an offer they couldn’t refuse: “We can win World War I for you, by dragging America into the war – but in return, you must give us Palestine.”

    To put it simply: The Rothschild-led bankster cartel has been occupying Palestine since 1917. And it has been occupying the USA since the Federal Reserve coup d’état of 1913.

    So the US and Iran are actually allies, not adversaries, in the battle against Zionist dollar hegemony.

    The Zionist bankster cartel that prints our currency out of thin air can easily print enough money to buy up virtually all major Western media. That’s why most Westerners have unconsciously accepted a pro-Israel world-view.

    The banksters also have enough money to buy as many politicians as they need. That is why the US Congress and the White House are Israeli-occupied territory.

    But today, thanks to Netanyahu’s overweening chutzpah, Obama and allied forces in the US military and intelligence communities have a chance to do what no US President since JFK has dared to do: Tell Israel to go to hell.

    All Obama has to do is go on television and announce: “We have discovered credible evidence of Israeli involvement in 9/11 and the subsequent cover-up. As of this moment, I am declaring a state of national emergency based on undeniable evidence that our nation has been covertly attacked and occupied by a hostile foreign power. I have ordered the FBI to arrest several thousand suspected Israeli agents, and I will be forming a second 9/11 Commission, led by former President Carter, to expose the full, horrible truth about the 9/11 attacks.”

    Such “scorched earth” payback from Obama would be exactly what Netanyahu deserves.

    Netanyahu, a close personal friend of confessed 9/11 criminal Larry Silverstein, went on record immediately after 9/11 chortling that the attack on America was “very good.”

    Then he quickly added that what he really meant was that 9/11 was very good for Israel.

    It is time for President Obama to make Netanyahu eat those words. It is time for the President to shove those words right back down Netanyahu’s throat. It is time for Barack Obama to demonstrate that he is President of the proudly independent United States of America, not just a puppet of Israel and its bankster mafia. It is time for President Obama to end Israel’s stranglehold on American finance, American media, and American foreign policy.

    It is time for President Obama to give Netanyahu the payback he has worked so hard to earn.

    But does President Obama have the courage, integrity and statesmanship to save the world’s biggest power, the USA, from a filthy little country run by certifiable madmen?

    Does he have the courage to do the one thing that will end the phony “war on terror,” and earn him his thus-far-undeserved Nobel Peace Prize? Does he have the vision to do the one thing that could win him “greatest president ever” status in the history books?

    Can he get away with it and escape assassination?

    The next four years will answer these burning questions

    from PRESS TV

  46. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Kashif

    You intentionally avoided to mention the name of Murja Ghulla of Qadian in the list of holy men you stated in your previous emmisive. Why? Were you ashamed or in your heart believe he was a fraud??

    ..

    Islam forbids abusing holy men or religions but Muslims wouldn’t allow anyone to abuse their Prophet Muhammad ,,,not at any cost. Mirja Ghulla is a different story because he was a fraud and a coward in that he did not say he introduced a new religion of his own…moreover his followers are idiots who are bent upon to call them Muslims and imitate their book and practices without adhering to the basics, ie admitting the finality of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad.As such they are criminals and have to be treated like them.

    .

  47. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ maggu

    teray qurban jaaun!! tu na mard he na aurat….tera kia banay ga kaaliyay!!

    .

    would you like me to insult you or your household??? I know you wouldn’t like that. Similarly Muslims don’t like that idiots like you misuse and abuse freedom of expression or free speech for abusing those whom the Muslims love more than their parents. Be careful with your tongue before you are slashed by the sharpness of your own ugly tongue.
    the persian axiom rightly says

    .
    zubaan shireen
    jehan geeri!!

  48. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ maggu
    critical scrutiny is not the same as abusiveness which hurts the feelings of others. Would you like to conduct ‘critical scrutiny’ of a man on the roadside by abusing him or mimicking him?? He certainly would react and maybe stab you!

  49. Maggu India Safari iPad says:

    But why should it only be that Islam and its prophets can’t be insulted?
    .
    You are insulting and even calling someone else’s prophet a criminal. Is that ok? Who are you to decide?
    .
    “He certainly would react and maybe stab you!”
    .
    This kind if threat is what is criminal in the civilised world.

  50. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    maggu jee,
    tera aana dil ke armano ka mit jana.

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