This absolutely shocks me. People discussing religious "limits" on freedom of speech? Boycotts? Threats? I'm sorry. I do not believe in your religion, be it Islam, Christianity or any other. I'm an atheist. Your religous laws and taboos have no domain over me, or a Danish or French newspaper editor. They have an absolute legal and moral right to express their opinion of any religion in any fashion they choose, no matter how much it may piss you off, and you have to sit down and swallow it. It's one of the fundamental freedoms of a free society, and no society in which it's not allowed can be considered free by any rational standard. "Freedom of speech has its limits when it concerns others... How would it feel if Jesus Christ was the one insulted instead?", says Randa Ahmed. I don't know, Randa, why don't you ask a European Christian? European newspapers have been depicting the Christian God, and Jesus, and every saint going in cartoons for well over a century and Christians seem to have learned to live with it. You can, and must, too.


gw666 wrote on 2006-02-03 07:37:
You are right, fuck Muhammad and Baby Jesus, you gotta have the right to say that, no matter what.
Zero_Dogg wrote on 2006-02-03 08:41:
*claps* Well written
bellish wrote on 2006-02-04 03:23:
You are absolutely right. And yet... Perhaps it's not a popular view but while nothing is sacred and everything is open to ridicule in the West, it is not so in Muslim countries and in today's world something published in a newspaper in Denmark will soon be seen all over the planet. I don't believe that freedom of speech should be limited but I think that the republishing was incredibly stupid and irresponsible and personally I would have preferred if they'd refrained, out of a little respect for different people's views. Of course they had the right to print it, but to be honest from what I've heard of them they really weren't saying a lot and what they were saying was downright stupid. Picturing Mohammed with a bomb is close to associating the whole of Islam with terrorism which to me seems a very wrong thing to do. I don't believe there should be any religious limits on freedom of speech, but I do believe that with the current state of the world, people should think twice about whether what they're trying to achieve is worth the cost. You're right: people have to learn to live with anything they hold sacred being lampooned, and Islam should get no higher standing than any other religion, and yet that is not all there is to the issue right now.
adamw wrote on 2006-02-04 06:36:
I never said I _agreed_ with the cartoons. You've probably heard this, though - "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". I'm actually rather alarmed to find I agree exactly with Boris Johnson on this issue. As he said, somewhere (can't find where), there is this ludicrous belief that Islam must be treated - unlike any religion - with kid gloves: Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism are all fair game, but when it comes to Islam, everyone has to obey their rules and tiptoe around the subject, which is just wrong from all perspectives. I have no problem with people disagreeing with the depiction of Islam from the cartoons (as, in fact, I do) - that's called an open debate, which is just as important as freedom of speech. What I object to is people saying they shouldn't have been printed, not on the basis that they were bad cartoons (which most of them were, they just weren't funny...should've called Steve Bell), but in order not to offend people. What I also object to is calls for the response to take the form not of, e.g., a forthright letter to the editor but instead, e.g., killing Danish people (apparently free speech is bad but free violence is fine) and sacking newspaper editors and legal action etc. There's also the point that the newspaper deliberately printed the cartoons as a political statement about self-censorship - it didn't print them, really, as its opinion of Islam.