Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Slandering Muhammad Is Not a Crime ^ | October 3, 2012 | Jacob Sullum

Posted on 10/03/2012 9:56:26 AM PDT by Kaslin

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly last week, President Barack Obama tried to explain this strange attachment that Americans have to freedom of speech. He was handicapped by his attraction to a moral principle whose dangers the journalist Jonathan Rauch presciently highlighted in his 1993 book, "Kindly Inquisitors": "Thou shalt not hurt others with words."

During the past few weeks, the widespread, often violent and sometimes deadly protests against "Innocence of Muslims," a laughably amateurish trailer for a seemingly nonexistent film mocking the Prophet Muhammad, have demonstrated the alarming extent to which citizens of Muslim countries -- including peaceful moderates, as well as violent extremists -- embrace this injunction against offending people. "We don't think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression," a Muslim scholar explained to The New York Times. "We think it is an offense against our rights."

This notion of rights cannot be reconciled with the classical liberal tradition of free inquiry and free expression. But instead of saying that plainly, Obama delivered a muddled message, mixing a defense of free speech with an implicit endorsement of expectations that threaten to destroy it.

"The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression," Obama said. "It is more speech." So far, so good. "There is no speech that justifies mindless violence," he added. "There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There's no video that justifies an attack on an embassy." Although it is sad that such things need to be said in the 21st century, Obama was right to say them.

But Obama undermined his own point by pandering to the rioters and their sympathizers. "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," he declared, condemning this "crude and disgusting video," which he said "must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity." He seemed to conflate tolerance of religious differences, which freedom of conscience requires, with respect for other people's beliefs, which cannot be enforced without destroying freedom of conscience.

Obama muddied matters further by quoting Mohandas Gandhi's puzzling declaration that "intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit." This statement appears in a 1921 Young India article in which Gandhi chastises "non-cooperating" lawyers for looking down on colleagues who did not join them in protesting British rule by refusing to participate in the legal system. That "arrogant assumption of superiority" was crucially different from violence, and Gandhi's sloppy equation of the two is precisely the sort of confusion that defenders of free speech should be keen to correct.

Rauch explains why in "Kindly Inquisitors." Quoting a law professor's comparison of racial epithets to bullets, he notes the implication: "If you hurt me with words, I reply with bullets, and the exchange is even."

Rauch's book was largely inspired by the tepid Western response to the death decree that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued against Salman Rushdie in 1989 as punishment for the insufficient respect he had shown Muhammad in his novel "The Satanic Verses." Though Khomeini was wrong to call for Rushdie's murder, many commentators said, Rushdie was wrong to be so reckless with Muslim sensitivities.

This pathetic pattern, which was repeated after the manufactured outrage over the Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, is playing out yet again as American officials ritually reject the "intolerance" embodied in a ridiculous YouTube video, as if they have a duty to condemn cultural artifacts that upset people. As Rushdie himself told New York Times columnist Bill Keller, "it's not for the American government to regret what American citizens do."

That's the appropriate response to people who insist, as an Egyptian protester quoted by the Times did, that "Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!" No. That is not our president's job. Neither is lecturing us about being nice to people who think trashing a school or burning down a restaurant is an understandable response to hurt feelings.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: barackobama; crime; freespeech; muhammed; pc; radicalislam; radicalmuslims; uselessnations

1 posted on 10/03/2012 9:56:33 AM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Slandering Muhammad Is Not a Crime . . .

And telling the truth about him isn't even slander. He actually was a pirate, a violent man, an oath breaker and a pedophile, just for starters.

2 posted on 10/03/2012 10:04:02 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Yeah, Mohammed would be on death row in our society - so why isn’t his religion?

3 posted on 10/03/2012 10:14:23 AM PDT by struggle (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman

And those are his qualities that make him a good Democrat.

4 posted on 10/03/2012 10:16:44 AM PDT by History Repeats (Drink plenty of TEA, but avoid the Koolaid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

I’ll take that bet.

5 posted on 10/03/2012 10:17:01 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

The Scorpion (Islam) and the Frog
One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.

“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

“Alright do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.

“Ahh...,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.

“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”

Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

Self destruction - “Its Islam’s Nature”, said the Scorpion...

6 posted on 10/03/2012 10:20:16 AM PDT by DaveTesla (You can fool some of the people some of the time......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman

kudos, how can you slander someone when you are telling the truth about him?

“He actually was a pirate, a violent man, an oath breaker and a pedophile, just for starters.”

and a murderer, liar, a total immoral and repugnant excuse for a man.

the outcome is a race of barbarians, morons, and demon possesed haters of mankind. either we deal with it or they will deal with us.

won’t be pretty either way, but i believe that freedom needs to win out.

am tired of commentators that have never read the koran, never read history and calling islam the religion of peace.

our school systems have no clue on presenting history, and i am weary of stupid people spouting off cliches when they have read nothing, know nothing and declare they have a right to an opinion.

sorry, an opinion is based on facts, not feelings. these idiots do not have an opinion, they have a “feeling”, like sissy mathews’ tingling in his legs when he hears a speech from the obamanation.

Blessings, bobo

7 posted on 10/03/2012 10:20:42 AM PDT by bobo1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman
Our nation's founders weren't ignorant of this potential muddiness. Their insightful response was clear: to side with freedom of speech for all!

There ought not to be an allowance for revisiting this issue without the same result as our Founders. For a president, his UN statements, IMHO, constitute an impeachable violation of his oath of office!

The blade this president is welcoming to our nation's collective breast will exact a dear price in blood that easily could and should have been avoided.


8 posted on 10/03/2012 10:29:21 AM PDT by holden
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

I heard Mohammed had sex with pigs. I believe it.

9 posted on 10/03/2012 10:30:58 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TexasRepublic

Maybe that is why they don’t like pigs?

10 posted on 10/03/2012 1:48:42 PM PDT by DocJ69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: DocJ69

the pigs never called them back for a second date.

11 posted on 10/03/2012 2:15:26 PM PDT by teeman8r (Armageddon won't be pretty, but it's not like it's the end of the world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson