Free Speech and Islam

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Does the picture above depict the Prophet Mohammed?

I honestly do not know, and had not even considered the question in my previous post when I used it as a contrast to the top photo of a Muslim demonstration against Islamist terrorism in the US. As well as an example of cherry picking. I felt it showed the difference between two ideas of Islam as proposed by the two sides in the Oxford Union debate “Is Islam a peaceful religion?” I subsequently edited it out after being made aware it may be an issue for more people coming to the post to view the debate.

So I include the picture here, because I am assured Islam is peaceful. I am a non believer living in the UK. I edited it out of the previous post but wanted to make clear there should be no issue using it. Therefore whatever the truth behind the picture above I can sleep soundly. I am not being naive but living in the world I want to live in by acting as if it is so, where a cartoon depiction is nothing to worry about or fear.

On the subject of free speech and Islam do read this post from Kenan Malik:

A 2006 debate, in fact, between myself and Imran Khan (the lawyer not the cricketer) on the issue of Islam, free speech and the Danish cartoons for a special Channel 4 Dispatches programme. I had not realized that the broadcast was available on YouTube. The issues we debated remain strikingly relevant. Perhaps the most telling moment came when the moderator Jon Snow announced an audience poll to see whether the cartoons should be shown on the programme. The audience overwhelmingly voted ‘Yes’. But… you can probably guess what happened next.

I was, however, and still am, deeply infuriated by the way that Channel 4 framed the debate. I had agreed to discuss the question of whether free speech should include the right to offend. Channel 4 wanted to pose it in terms of ‘Muslims versus free speech’, which I rejected. I got an agreement from the producers that the final question to the audience would not be ‘Are Muslims a threat to free speech?’, as was originally proposed, but ‘Should free speech include the right to give offence?’ On the night of the debate, however, the producers restored the original question without informing me. Afterwards, Channel 4 claimed to have got the questions ‘muddled up’. As if.

Read more and watch the video here.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

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Filed under British Society, Religion

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