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The Pictures [Feb. 13th, 2006|07:39 am]
The Pictures
In regards to the global fiasco over the Danish drawings I pose the following question:

Are Islam and Free Speech compatible? Or maybe another way to say it is, is Islam a threat to free speech, or is free speech a threat to Islam?

I tend to be a pretty conservative westerner on most issues and I live with a Palestinian refugee, so this issue has monopolized much of our conversation.

I’m of the opinion that the cartoons are quite tasteless and go beyond what I personally consider to be a reasonable degree of religious sensitivity. But do they cross into hate speech? I’m not sure. On some fronts yes, and some no.

My friend does not feel that free speech should extend to slander that he feels “has no point.” An opinion I can sympathize with.

On the same token here, I often have a pretty Libertarian streak. The hairs on my neck stand on end with aggression when my right to self-express is infringed upon.

How would the west react if a Saudi newspaper printed cartoons with the western constitutions being used as toilet paper? I think that is about the only parallel I can come up with. I’d be plenty pissed, but I doubt I expect the House of Saud to apologize for it. I’d hope they’d say the expression is tasteless and insensitive though.

I do believe that Westerners and Muslims can live with cohesion and in a productive manner. Example the house I share with Bahaa. I do think though that Westerns should be more sensitive to the tradition of Islam, but in tandem I think the world of Islam should be more sensitive to the West’s sensitivity over free speech. Be it many millions of us died battling regimes that sought to suppress and or destroy it.

In conclusion, to the West, just because we can say it doesn’t mean we should and to Islam and their traditions of religion, let Allah be the judge. We’ll reach no peaceful conclusion unless both parties offer concessions.

I think that this issue is far from over and is for lack of a better term, it’s the straw that broke the camels back.