Freedom of expression is not just for Islamists


Adam Walker, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association spokesman, says: ‘The principle is more important than who is being attacked – this time it is Muslims and Christians but in the future it could be atheists themselves’.

But not causing offence is not a principle the last time I looked.

If it were, they would be the first to be censored because every other word that comes out of them, the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence as well as the Bible and Torah… is offensive.

I know the UCL Union, Queen Mary College security, the BBC, and apologists for Islamism are all more concerned with causing offence than they are with free expression.

But dear readers, it is freedom of expression that is the principle and that is something that we will need to teach the ‘moderate’ Ahmadiyyas and the Islamists.

First lesson: Freedom of expression is not just for Islamists and the religious.

Comments

  1. PersianPower88 says

    Arabs can’t take criticism, it is part of their barbaric, primitive, backwards desert culture. They’re so obsessed with their sexist values of hyper-masculinity that to be critiqued in the least is like a stab in the heart. Filthy, smelly, subhuman savage beasts.

    • Brownian says

      There are few cultures on earth that wouldn’t take exception to the criticism that they are “[f]ilthy, smelly, subhuman savage beasts.”

    • David Hart says

      I’m sorry, Mariam, I know your policy, but surely there comes a point when someone just has to go to the spam-dungeon, and that point is round about where they stop engaging in substantive debate and start to call our opponents subhuman…?

      • says

        I don’t read his posts; why do you? The problem is that someone is always making a comment keeping him around here. I know even I have at times had to tell him to fuck off. If we ignore him he will hopefully go away. But I won’t be pressured into censoring annoying fascists. The best way to deal with them is to actually let them speak. And we are free to do so too. Seriously, if I were to remove people I thought were not engaging in substantive debate, it would be anyone defending religion, any atheist that is not pro-women’s rights, anyone who is far-right, anyone who is homophobic, any post-modernist Left, any anti-immigrant and against immigration, anyone anti-communist, anyone pro-capitalist, anyone who supports multi-culturalism and defends the ACLU or sharia law or or or. There is no end in sight if we start removing people who we think are not engaging in substantive debate.

        • PersianPower88 says

          I appreciate your commitment to freedom of speech. Political correctness is a stinking disease, the people who find my comments to their dislike are the same people who support the sexist barbarism of Arabs.

          • says

            I not only dislike your comments, I find them disgusting and revolting just as revolting as the Islamists in fact. You all belong to the far-Right. Just because I don’t censor you doesn’t mean I like your comments. When will you get the hint and fuck off PersianPower? I know Robert Spencer (Stop Islamisation of America), the BNP, or EDL could do with an arse like you. If only I believed in the power of prayer and you’d be miraculously gone in the morning.

          • PersianPower88 says

            Robert Spencer really isn’t a good example of a far-right anti-Islamist, the man has praised Islam for making people moral, and in one of his articles praised Iranian culture and civilization.

            People need to be politically incorrect, yes, Arabs were primitive and illiterate, and yes, Arabs did rape and murder millions of Iranians, and yes Sharia Law which came from Arab culture is barbaric and oppressive of women.

            “O, Iran! Where have all those kings, who adorned you with justice, equity, and munificence, who decorated you with pomp and splendor gone? From that date when the barbarian, savage, coarse Bedouin Arabs sold your king’s daughter in the street and cattle market, you have not seen a bright day, and have lain hid in darkness.”
            Rustam quoted in The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation, p. 62.

            I ask that you view Arabs through an open lens, through the spectrum of a vatan parast who has endured the Mongols, Arabs, Turks, Greeks and other barbarians. You will understand my perspective on the most devilish, deceitful, disgusting enemy the Persian man has ever dealt with: the Arab.

        • says

          I don’t read his posts; why do you?

          Because you publish them on your blog.

          This isn’t a free expression issue. There’s plenty of other internet for him to spew on; why do you need to give him a platform here? Comments are like a private party; if someone is wearing the wrong tie or reeks of B.O., you don’t have to open the door. If you do, your other guests may leave. Look at YouTube comment threads for a great example of how this inevitably works.

          • says

            I don’t ‘publish’ the fascist PersianPower’s comments on my blog. I publish my entries and people are free to comment. It is a free expression issue. I am not having this discussion confidentially with a few friends. It is a public blog, isn’t it? And people I don’t agree with, whose views I despise, as well as those whose views I support are allowed to post here without my deciding what stays and goes. Rather than constantly pressuring me to censor him, challenge the arse if it bothers you so much – not to change his vile views – but to show others how disgusting his views are. Though I am pretty sure it is quite obvious.

            Moreover, I just got an email from someone saying that if I allow him to post comment on my blog, it will reflect on me. No it won’t. What I say and do reflects on me.

          • Mriana says

            I agree, Maryam. If you were to censor everyone who came in here, who did not agree with you, all you would be left with are your fans and friends and maybe not even that, because even at that, friends and fans don’t always agree with every word that person they like says. At the same time, if we all agreed, what would there be to discuss? Then again, when one refuses to listen to another POV, insisting theirs is right, that can be a problem, but maybe, just maybe, eventually, something might slip through that gives them pause to think. IE, I abhor violence and am a pacifist to a fault, but yet people, including my own sons, have pointed out to me, that sometimes you have to physically defend yourself. My older son gave me the example of an Islamist about to chop off my head for not bowing and submitting to their god. He thinks under such a circumstance, I would abandon my pacifism and physically defend myself. He’s probably right too and even Vulcans, despite being fiction, sometimes override their pacifistic ideals to defend themselves.

            So, yes, eventually something someone says might cause one to think about their extreme views on a given subject.

    • says

      They’re so obsessed with their sexist values of hyper-masculinity that to be critiqued in the least is like a stab in the heart. Filthy, smelly, subhuman savage beasts.

      Wait you sure you’re not describing the American Axe Scented Frat Boy?

  2. mirax says

    I like that you put ‘moderate’ in quotes when referring to the Ahmadiyya. I have a suspicion that they will only be ‘moderate’ as long as they have no power over you. There is really no moderate religion. Even the best of them – the Bahais (who dream of global dominion and have a scary book of laws with lots of corporal and capital punishment), the Buddhists and Sikhs – have blood on their hands or in their minds.

    The ahmaddiyya spokesman would have been far more believabe as an honest interlocutor if he had acknowledged how freedom of speech protects minorities like his own from unfair harassment and threats.

  3. mirax says

    Ah, the sting of having been completely pussywhipped by the Arabs 13 centuries ago has not lessened for some persians, I see.

    • PersianPower88 says

      Am I missing something? Is an Atheist seriously applauding Arab imperialism and colonialism which set the world backwards and promoted a religion of violence, hate, war and destruction? Am I speaking to an Islamist right now or a secular Atheist?

      Arabs will be dealt with in time. Let them sip their wine, their days are coming to an end as Iranians shake with nationalist fervor.

  4. Martyn N Hughes says

    ‘it is freedom of expression that is the principle and that is something that we will need to teach the ‘moderate’ Ahmadiyyas and the Islamists.’

    Freedom of expression is indeed the principle. No apologies required nor offered.

  5. A Hermit says

    ‘The principle is more important than who is being attacked – this time it is Muslims and Christians but in the future it could be atheists themselves’.

    Yes, and next time it could be a Christian or a Muslim being harassed and bullied out of their job for saying something unpopular or “offensive”.

    These people just don’t get it, do they?

  6. Irene Delse says

    @ mirax #3:

    Don’t forget that Arabs and Persians had another go at it much more recently, during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s…

  7. Irene Delse says

    <i<‘The principle is more important than who is being attacked – this time it is Muslims and Christians but in the future it could be atheists themselves’.

    Oh, hum. Mr Walker forgets that more often than not, it’s already Muslims being shut up by other, more intolerant Muslims. The debate over Sharia was open to all until the holier-than-thou bullies decided to show up!

  8. says

    If it were, they would be the first to be censored because every other word that comes out of them, the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence as well as the Bible and Torah… is offensive.

    Excellent point, which usually religious believers (and non-believers who don’t feel offended) fail to see: a lot of people are offended by those religions.

    And if the “principle” in question is allegedly not causing offense, but doing so by means of criticizing another group for their beliefs, most versions of Abrahamic religions claim that atheists are being immoral for rejecting the religion in question, and/or the existence of a creator, and even have penalties for atheists (either to be imposed by believers, or by their deity – or both), or at least for those who remain atheists – and they claim or imply that such penalties are deserved.

    It’s true that not only atheists are targeted in that manner (e.g., adherents to religions other than the preferred one are usually targeted as well, to different degrees), but that only means they criticize even more groups for their beliefs.

    And it’s not only that they just say that atheists are mistaken and God exists: they usually morally condemn people for not believing that God exists.

  9. knutsondc says

    I’d be less dismissive of the Ahmadiyyas’ claim that they’re against any speech or conduct that “offends” anybody if they expended any energy denouncing the absolutely vile language and images all-too-often used by Islamists — and even some self-styled “moderate” Muslims — to describe Western culture, women and non-Muslims (in particular unbelievers and Jews) to name only a few frequent targets. Their failure to call out the verbal “bomb throwers” in their own faith community suggests that all they truly care about is shutting down any criticism of Islam or any of its beliefs or practices. Their pious bleating that they’re trying to vindicate a “principle” against speech that “offends” anyone is transparently bogus.

    Even if the Ahmadiyyas did apply their “principle” consistently, they’d still be wrong. It’s almost impossible to say anything worth saying concerning religious faith without “offending” somebody!

  10. Sigmund says

    The actions of Adam Walker always bring to mind one particular quote of Winston Churchill:
    “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. ”
    The Ahmadiyyas eagerly push the atheists towards the jaws, all the while desperately trying to forget that they themselves are still on the menu.

  11. Mriana says

    First lesson: Freedom of expression is not just for Islamists and the religious.

    I don’t think I can add anything else to what you said, Maryam, except that I completely agree, although I wish some Islamists would not express themselves.

  12. Brian Westley says

    As an atheist, I would be GLAD if atheists were attacked by insulting cartoons, instead of death threats, violence, non-deliverance of flowers, etc.

    • Robert Vickerstaff says

      Can you imagine the headlines? “Muslims in outrageous cartoon slur: Islamic Society accused of showing inadequate respect for Richard Dawkins in caricature drawings depicting outspoken atheist leader as { Satan’s chiwawa | novelty cordless multifunction sex toy | genetically-modified fork-tongued pig-monkey hybrid }” or something… But no, it’s only death threats or crackpot apologetics about the Koran prefiguring the invention of the ball point pen before the existence of paper.

  13. Ariel says

    I’m curious if Adam Walker, with his “There is no need to print these things other than to cause offence”, would take a similar stance also in this case. (Yes, it’s that horrible Facebook again!) Here we have another illustration of how this whole “causing offence” approach can turn into a dangerous slippery slope. Note also the charming comment by Chairul Azis in the linked material: “He has triggered unrest among local residents”. Hmm, now I know at last what you are doing here at ftb: triggering unrest, of course. Shame on you :-)

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