Monday, February 13, 2006

Free Speech vs. Political Correctness

The huge controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed and offending Muslims boils down to a single conflict: what's more important, free speech or religious sensitivity?

I believe free speech is paramount. Yes, there is the old bromide that free speech doesn't protect you if you needlessly yell "fire" in a crowded theater, but publishing a picture is not tantamount to telling a dangerous lie that could endanger people.

Unless you throw religious intolerance into the mix. Once that happens all bets are off. Thus we are treated to the sight of riots, destruction and yes, death, all incited and caused by those who feel their imaginary friend or his Prophet have somehow been insulted.

Bear in mind Mohammed said there were to be no images in order to avoid idolatry. He wanted to avoid the rampant iconography so prevalent in the Catholic Church. He wanted the concept of Allah to be worshipped, not the image of him -- or of anyone else, especially including Mohammed.

The rampant hypocrisy here is that Muslims routinely engage in idolatrous behavior anyway. How many times have we seen mobs chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" while marching under a huge banner of Ayatollah Khomeni or Ayatollah Khamenei? How many huge pictures of Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, or his son Muqtada as-Sadr? If this is not religious idolatry, what is? On a more secular note, how many gigantic portraits of President Bashar al-Assad or his late father Hafez al-Assad festoon the buildings of Damascus in Syria? How many images of Saddam Hussein graced pre-invasion Iraq? Evidently the images of current religious and secular leaders somehow have an exemption from the anti-idolatry clause in the Koran.

Mohammed has nothing to fear. The images we now see of crazy, deranged, angry people, shooting guns into the air, burning cars and destroying storefronts will not cause an explosion of idolatrous worshipping at the feet of building-sized posters of the Prophet.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't get that. Force feed them to keep them alive, them make them defecate until they're empty again. Obviously, I'll never make a torturer. - plc

The Flamingo said...

The rioting of a few Muslims is certainly reflecting poorly on everyone. I am not Muslim, but I have no doubt that Mohammed would have condemned the violent protesting that is going on right now.
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