Religious sensitivities, the Islamic world and the communication revolution

Much hue and cry has been raised the world over the US made video titled “The Innocence of Islam”. In Sri Lanka too we have seen protests and numerous articles on the issue, most lambasting the USA. At the United Nations (UN) General Assembly last week, many leaders from Muslim nations accused the West of hiding behind its defenses of freedom of speech and ignoring cultural sensitivities by allowing such video to be made.

One’s faith is sacred to people, be they  Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus or Jews and it’s a matter which has to be dealt with respect and a lot of sensitivity. Hence making a film like the “Innocence of Islam” is only intended to provoke and get itself undue publicity, which it did thanks to all the violent protests held world over. All the uproar only made people who would never have heard of the “Innocence of Islam” watch it and pass it onto other.

Let us just consider for a minute how sensitive most Islamic countries are to the religious sensitivities of others. I would say very little. It is a well known fact that in most Middle Eastern nations, places of religious worship of other faith are allowed to be constructed, carrying a religious idol into one of these countries is forbidden and even if a religious symbol is found in a home, the occupants could face imprisonment.

This is as opposed to the rest of the countries in the world who, to a large extent, have no such restrictions on worship, whatever the faith maybe. Things are not perfect anywhere but the basic right of people to practice their faith is respected.

Tolerance and awareness of religious sensitivities is a knife that cuts both ways. One cannot ask for religious tolerance for only one’s faith and forget the fact that others have their own beliefs and faith too and they too need to be respected.

We’ve seen the Buddha statues at Bahamian that stood for hundreds of years being dynamited for no reason, we’ve seen churches been vandalized in Pakistan and a 15 year old been arrested due to a false accusation that she burnt a copy of the Koran, we’ve just seen Buddhist temples being attacked in Bangladesh over a photo posted on Face Book. And so the list goes on.

Films, video and songs that hurt religious sensitivities of Buddhist Christians, Jews and Hindu are also a regular occurrence and these are dealt with according to the laws in place in each country.  Russia chose to jail girl band “Pussy Riot” because they dared to perform an anti-Putin song within the percents of the country’s main orthodox church, the USA has jailed the man who made the “Innocence of Islam” video and France has asked those offended by the anti-Islam cartoons published recently to use the country’s anti defamation laws to deal with those who published them.

In an age where modern communication levels have reached a pinnacle, where very person is able to get their personal views across the world in a matter of seconds, no State can regulate what goes public.  It is impossible and it is also not necessary. Tolerance begets tolerance the same way that intolerance begets intolerance. We do not live in an age where anyone is going to wait for the Islamic world to give its stamp of approve before making film, writing a song or writing a book.  These are ground realties that have to be recognized. Just because a handful of people like to provoke and inflame religious passions by making videos such as the “Innocence of Islam” violently protesting against them and by shedding blood in the name of Islam will not help. The end results is it leads to more misunderstanding between followers of Islam and others religions. By all means protest and show your anger but do it in a peaceful manner. And while you have every right to protest, also keep in mind that other people are also entitled to their right to hold different point of view.

  • Muslim

    The views expressed in this article especially at the begining are universal and applicable to all religons. Towards the end the writer tends to focus only on excesses in Muslim Countries.

    These views are accepted but should not be exclusively applicable to Muslims. You only need to research on the web to see what is happening in the so called democratic and secular countries of the west. In fact despite the so called freedoms of the west there are numerous attacks on muslims in those countries.

    Also you need to differentiate between freedom of expression and racial abuse. Constructive criticism and exposure of shortcomings can be accepted. Discrimination, racial profiling, abuse, insults, arson, violence cannot be accepted as a human right or freedom.

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/mosques_in_us_that_have_experienced_violent_or_racist_incidents1 has documented these incidents. We are aware of the pathetic condition of muslims in Rankhine in Myanmar. We are also aware of discriminatory practices in France and Switzerland. The blatant discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories has been going on unchecked for decades.

    These are quoted not to justify excesses by muslims but to give a more balanced picture of the world where discrimination against religous and ethnic minorities is rampant.

  • BalangodaMan

    Mr Muslim,

    The problem is where, with some religions the very act of violence or protest against other religions is considered to be, by its followers, a demonstration of their faith and their devotion.

  • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

    What exactly was in the film? Who made it? What were their motives? Was Muhammad really depicted? Was that a Qur’an burning, or some other book? Questions of this kind are obscene. Here is where the line must be drawn and defended without apology: We are free to burn the Qur’an or any other book, and to criticize Muhammad or any other human being. Let no one forget it. – Sam Harris

    That is the essence of free speech. If you are not happy with something someone said or did, you can sue. You just can’t do deliberate and organized terrorist attack on embassies and kill ambassadors because to show if displeasure. The US and UK governments do not like Julian Assange. Not one bit. But they don’t storm into Ecuadorian embassy in London to extradite him. That’s how civilized world works.

    There are limits to freedom of speech for practical purposes. You can say whatever you want to say about me. But if you make false accusations, I will sue you. That’s what libel laws are for. I don’t have the right to go ahead and kill you. If you really get under my skin, I might act violently, and if I harm someone, I should be put to jail. That’s how it works. Only barbarians settle their matters by killing people.

    Islam is not the only religion that is attacked by writers, movie-makers or fundamentalists of other religions. But it is only Muslims who act so violently to such attacks. The view that all religions are equal is not correct. Of course they are all equally wrong. But they are unequally violent, and Islam is the most violent one of them all.

    Islam’s latest contribution to world’s peace:
    At least 32 killed today in blasts across Iraq by freedom fighters in the name of Allah
    http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC120930-0000055/19-killed-in-blasts-across-Iraq–Report

  • V

    Weren’t the Baymian Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban? If so aren’t the Taliban an extremist arm of Islam? Should they really have been used as an example here to cover the religious sensitivities of the whole Islamic world? Hmm.

  • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

    The point, however, is that I can say all these things about Mormonism, and disparage Joseph Smith to my heart’s content, without fearing that I will be murdered for it. Secular liberals ignore this distinction at every opportunity and to everyone’s peril. Take a moment to reflect upon the existence of the musical The Book of Mormon. Now imagine the security precautions that would be required to stage a similar production about Islam. The project is unimaginable—not only in Beirut, Baghdad, or Jerusalem, but in New York City. – Sam Harris

    Read the full article. It’s really interesting.

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/on-the-freedom-to-offend-an-imaginary-god

  • stanobey

    Insider Outsider,

    The Muslim world is not just the Middle East. In many other parts of the ‘Muslim world’ other religions flourish. Sweeping generalisations dont build strong arguments unfortunately.

    In some countries churches have been attacked. But churches are being attacked in many parts of Asia. May be that has something to do with the churches and the evangelism coming out of them as well.

    Finally, there is no problem with complying with the law – problem is why does the law protect some but not the Muslims?

  • Muslim

    According to the facts, violence and bigotry is not confined to Muslims extremist. Extremist are found in all religions and non religions. The vast majority of the people in the world follow some religion or other. The Major Religions being Christianity 2.1 Billion followed by Islam 1.5 Billion, Hinduism 900 Million, Buddhism 376 Million. Non religions number 1.0 Billion of which only 14.5 Mn are non religious / secular.

    When we study the violence and conflicts throughout the world these are not limited to Islamic countries. Violence and conflict is not limited to religious reasons and there are more killings and violence due to reasons other than due to religion. Therefore just highlighting a few incidents does not present the true picture. Especially when you consider the total population of Muslims and number of Islamic countries these should be statistically higher according to the sheer numbers. However this is not the case. Most killings and violence are in countries which are not Islamic.

    Highest number of killings and violence is in the African and American countries. Sri Lanka is at 110 with 3.2 per 100,000. US is at 92 with 6.5 per 100,000. Afghanistan is at 119 with 2.8 per 100,000. http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/violence/by-country, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate. Many Islaamic countriess are at the lower end of the scale. So perceptions can be deceptive. Despite the ravings and propaganda of the atheist and non religionist it is proven that religions and Islam provide the best systems of human government and society.

    The following sayings about Muhammed, peace be on him, by learned scholars and statesman / women confirm that Islam is a global religion of peace and humanity.

    “It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.” –Annie Besant, THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF MUHAMMAD, Madras, 1932, p. 4.

    “Medieval Islam was technologically advanced and open to innovation. It achieved far higher literacy rates than in contemporary Europe;it assimilated the legacy of classical Greek civilization to such a degree that many classical books are now known to us only through Arabic copies. It invented windmills , trigonometry, lateen sails and made major advances in metallurgy, mechanical and chemical engineering and irrigation methods. In the middle-ages the flow of technology was overwhelmingly from Islam to Europe rather from Europe to Islam. Only after the 1500′s did the net direction of flow begin to reverse.” (pg 253) Jared Diamond a world renowned UCLA sociologist, and physiologist won the Pulitzer Prize for his book: “Guns, Germs, and Steel.”

    The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire that is Muhammed. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he? ” Lamartine, Historie de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol. 11 pp. 276-2727

    “If a man like Muhammed were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.” George Bernard Shaw

    “Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and pillar of stability for many of our people…” HILLARY RODMAN CLINTON, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1996, p.3

    • Happy Heathen

      Dear Muslim,

      There is no point in beating about the bush and trying to portray Islam as a peaceful religion. Anyone can quote from everywhere to prove anything including portraying Adolf Hitler as a saint.
      Islam from the inception is a murderous theocracy.
      The siege of Ta’if is a classic example.
      The proselytization was carried out through intimidation and the present day mob mentality is a legacy of Mahound’s murderous campaign that started from Ta’if.
      The destruction of Bamiyan Buddas is not an act of fanatics.
      The destruction of the temple of Al-Lat is the precedent to the destruction of Bamiyan Buddas. What’s more, Mahound himself ordered the destruction and you still believe Islam is a tolerant and a peaceful theocracy?
      Did you protest when Bamiyan Buddas were destroyed?
      Why is it that modern human rights such as abortion, contraception, and gay rights are curtailed or out-right banned in countries where Islam is the state religion?
      It is a tragedy of biblical proportion that people still believe in a Mesopotamian myth when there is overwhelming evidence against it.

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      Islam is a global religion of peace and humanity.

      So killing people for adultery and apostasy is something that a peaceful religion does?

      Buddhism is a peaceful religion. It’s disciples may act violently from time to time. But that’s not because of something inherent to the doctrine of Buddhism itself. Islam on the other hand has a crazy fascination with killing people. It’s inherent to the religion. It is written in its holy books.

      There are three things for which traditional Islamic tribunals issue death penalty (In contrast, Buddhism doesn’t have a death penalty, see the difference?). One of them is apostasy, the other two being murder and adultery. Apostasy just doesn’t make any sense. You are killed for arguing against the god’s(reputedly) self-evidently true and beautiful Word. But these reasonable guys usually give you three days to “think it over” and “accept the faith”. Faith at knife point? It just doesn’t make any sense? Can you make one love you at knife point?

  • walter

    My question to our Muslim friends is very simple.
    We know that there are moderate Muslims, but they have no say.
    I have Muslim friends whom I meet almost daily, who will share and even pay for the liquor and even the prohibited flesh.

    My question is “why do the Muslims display their faith publicly”?
    Why do they have long unshaven beards?
    Why do some women cover from head to tow?
    All other religions do not demand that their followers show in public their belief’s.
    If this can be resolved by the Muslims, all anti Muslim propaganda will have a natural death.
    This has nothing to do with Democratic freedoms.
    The Muslims must make an effort to live with the rest of the World without giving the impression that only Islam can save the World.
    Today in Europe their dress code is being attacked, I believe these prohibition’s are necessary.
    The rest of the World with much older religions of which I am one, do not see the necessity of displaying one’s Religion in public.
    You cannot identify an average Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or an atheist by dress, in any public forum.
    Only the Muslims are demanding that the Public acknowledge them by their attire. This must stop.
    IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN EVERY CITIZEN MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED ONLY AS A CITIZEN, NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS.

    We ordinary citizens all over the world do not want to identify a Muslim by his dress code. Let him or her just be an ordinary citizen like the rest.

    RELIGION IS A PRIVATE MATTER OF CONSCIENCE, PUBLICITY IN ANY FORM OF ANY RELIGION MUST BE “BANNED”

  • Muslim

    Islam is a Global and Peaceful religion as demonstrated by more than 1.5 Billion adherents around the globe. Of course in the eyes of our so called rational irrational friends they shouldn’t be seen in public with beards etc. Human Rights??? Freedom of expression??? According to the flawed logic of these non religious people killing a few here and there is ok as long as it is not sanctioned by religion even if the national average is higher than other countries. Walking about half naked is ok but covering oneself and guarding ones modesty is a sin???

    Islam prescribes strict codes of behaviour which can be adopted voluntarily. The same is with other religions. Even Buddhism has its 5 precepts, Christianity the Ten Commandments etc. Sharia law is practiced only in a couple of countries like Saudi Arabia where 100% of the population are muslims. The non religonist who don’t believe in any religion don’t want any restrictions on behaviour. Prostitution, gay sex, porn, child sex, drugs, gambling, liquor, you name it they have it. So it is not surprising that these people are against Islam and find the flimsiest of reasons to abuse and insult muslims.

    Fortunately such people number only a few millions in the entire world. They have succeeded in undermining some of the other major religions by sowing the seeds of doubt and corrupting the teachings and the clergy. In the case of Islam there is a global resurgence and the efforts of these non religionist have failed. Islam is now the fastest growing religion in the world and people are accepting and practising on their own free will. Hence the insults and abuse. A question of sour grapes.

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      Islam prescribes strict codes of behaviour which can be adopted voluntarily

      This one is funny. Of course anyone can volutarily subject themselves to torture. It’s just that most people don’t want to. One can of course voluntarily decide to adhere to Islam’s code of behaviour. The more important question is whether one can decide not to adhere to that code without getting killed.

      Buddhism has 5 precepts. But you don’t get murdered like a dog if you break the third precept. Even if you break the first precept, that is if you kill someone, Buddhism doesn’t tell Buddhists to kill you. But strangely the most peaceful religion in the world, Islam, has a fascination of brutally killing people for that sort of thing.

      Islam is now the fastest growing religion in the world and people are accepting and practising on their own free will.

      Yeah sure. Except if you are Salman Rushdie who decided tha faith is bogus and wrote a novel about it, you will be killed against your free will. Apparently the (reputedly) self-evidently true and beautiful Word if god is not immune to novels and two-bit Youtube videos.

      Sharia law is practiced only in a couple of countries like Saudi Arabia where 100% of the population are muslims

      Isn’t it great that even though Islam is such peaceful and tolerant religion, there are countries where 100% of them are Islam. All 100% of them apparently chose to believe Islam. Not one of them thought Islam was fake and built a Christian temple in the middle of the desert.

      This guy Muslim. The force is strong in this one.

      Prostitution, gay sex, porn, child sex, drugs, gambling, liquor, you name it they have it. So it is not surprising that these people are against Islam and find the flimsiest of reasons to abuse and insult muslims.

      Child sex? Really? It was Prophet Muhammef who had a nine year old wife. Not Richard Dawkins. But the fact that you can get killed for criticising the self-evidently true and beautiful Word of the Lord is not a flimsy reason to attack Islam. The fact that girl children are circumcised and infibulated, causing them to not only never enjoy sex, but also endure a lot of pain, is hardly a flimsy reason to attack Islam

      • Gamarala

        Dear Editors,

        My previous reply to Mr. Muslim seems lost in limbo. Could you please check?

        Dear Sharanga,

        In all fairness to Mr. Muslim, and despite his lack of fairness to the devil worshipping, immoral, secular liberals who are corrupting the calming influence of Islam, his point is that out of the 1.5 billion Muslims, only a fraction engage in actual violence. Therefore, in order to debunk his claim, you need to demonstrate that this behaviour is expressed by more than the fringe loons, although Mr. Muslim might have made the task easier with his own words ;-)

        Another point I raised in my last post, is that the collective Muslim psyche suffers from a persecution complex, doubtless aided by the grievances that Mr. Muslim outlined in a previous post. This has led to an insular world view, and may also account for the violent behaviour in the community, as opposed to Islam, given that
        a. Christianity was also brutal in the past
        b. Islam did have a golden age

        As a point of comparison, consider also the persecution complex of the Tamil community, and the resultant support for Terrorism, although no religious creed intervened.

        Dear Mr. Muslim,

        What is the penalty for apostasy in Islam? If I joined your religion, can I leave? What are the repercussions?

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        only a fraction engage in actual violence.

        That is not an argument that I’d argue against since it’s obviously true. But since you mentioned it, I might add that although they don’t immediately resort to violence, many of them, including Mr. Muslim, threatens it, as when he says things like people who wish to abuse the prophet or desecrate the Quran do so at their own risk.

        My main quibble with Mr. Muslim is his claim that “Islam is a Global and Peaceful religion”. No doubt it’s global. The question is whether its peaceful, and my argument is it is not. Violence is a part of their doctrine. It’s not just about how Muslims act. It’s about why they act that way. They act that way because the Holy books of Islam tell them to do just that.

        Say someone claims Religion A is a peaceful religion. I ask them back what do I have to do to disprove that claim. Any reasonable person would say that “if you can prove that Religion A explicitly instructs people to kill other people, then my claim is disproved.” So I quote the holy books of Religion A, and demonstrate that it specifically instruct people to kill other people under certain circumstances. Since his claim was empirically disproved, the reasonable person would accept it and mentally cross the claim out of his mind.

        So we have Islam, which specifically instructs people to kill other people for murder, adultery and apostasy. It promises heavenly rewards to martyrs who get themselves killed while killing thousands of civilians (anyone who says they do it because they interpreted the holy text incorrectly are being completely idiotic. If someone misinterprets holy text, then that means god intended for them to misinterpret the holy text. Since god is omnipotent and omniscient, it is literally impossible to go against god’s will). Following the tradition of the prophet, Muslim leaders issue Fatwas on men, whose only crime was writing a book. So there’s so much empirical evidence that Islam is hardly peaceful religion. Yet, most Muslims, strangely, disagree.

      • sabbe laban

        Muslim

        I’m waiting for your answer for Gamarala’s question, “What is the penalty for apostasy in Islam?”

  • Anbu

    Islam in the modern world tests the limitations of secular liberalism . Either we bury our heads in the sands or we question it’s place,like we do with other religions, without pandering to hateful right wing ideologies .

  • Muslim

    We need to thank Sharanga and other anti-religonist for their concern regarding the sex lives of our women folk and our well being etc. Thank you for your concern but we are doing fine without your help. We enjoy being repressed and following strict codes of behaviour.

    Islam is a complete code of life from cradle to the grave. It encompasses governance, trade, justice, banking etc. as well as worship, charity, marraige, parenting and good behaviour. Hence we don’t have to borrow anything from anyone. Gay rights, porn, child sex, liquor, gambling etc is not for us.

    • Gamarala

      Dear Mr. Muslim,

      Everyone’s individual choices can be respected – within reason. For example, you may say something like “freedom from slavery is not for us”, and indeed, the Koran and Bible both advocate slavery, but no one in the modern world with an enlightened understanding of morality could allow slavery to continue, not even Muslims and Christians. Likewise, bigotry and discrimination against gay and lesbian people, is a result of a lack of education in biology and the social sciences, and it is immoral to allow it to continue. Ditto for the suppression of women.

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      As a human being, I believe it is right and proper for me to have an interest in the rest of my fellow human, to argue and fight for their well being, to worry about what human civilization becomes in the future. Therefore it is important to me that people are not subjected to things that they do not wish to be subjected to. It is important to me that people are allowed to make decisions on their own.

      So it is important to me, Mr. Muslim, that you are allowed to practice your religion if you want to, but it is equally important to me that some girl-child is not robbed of her opportunity to ever enjoy sex, without her consent. It is important to me that a person is allowed to speak his mind, freely, without having to fear death. It is important to me that some girl in Pakistan is not executed for adultery after being gang raped.

      You said that you enjoy being repressed and following a strict code of behaviour. It is important to me that you are allowed to do that. But it is equally important to me that someone who doesn’t want to be repressed and live by a strict code of behaviour is allowed to do so without being murdered.

      As a human being, I demand the right to oppose those who want to repress the rights and freedoms of other human beings. That’s my code of behaviour.

    • Muslim

      Sharanga

      Since you are so committed to helping humankind there is ample scope here in Sri Lanka where people are living in dire straits leave alone enjoying pleasurable sex. For instance I am sure your heart will ache for these people and children whose lives have been destroyed.

      http://groundviews.org/2012/10/03/nothing-to-call-our-own-the-plight-of-the-recently-returned-resettled-and-landless-idps-in-sri-lankas-north/

      http://groundviews.org/2012/10/02/menik-farm-the-tragic-end-of-a-bitter-saga-from-detention-to-forced-relocation/

      http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/abortions-are-increasing-in-sri-lanka/

      http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/child-rape-on-the-rise-in-sri-lanka/

      Maybe you can get over your current fixation with muslims and Islam and open your eyes to what is happening around you on your own doorstep?

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        By opening my eyes to them, do you mean closing them to Muslims and Islam? My eyes are quite open to the plight of IDPs. But the fact remains that 1500 million Muslims could do much harm to the future of human civilization than 20 million Sinhalese people.

        And most Sinhalese people don’t believe that the moon-landing was a hoax.

      • Muslim

        Sharanga

        Were you at the BD embassy today? Good work.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Would it matter if I tell you that I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about? Or would you simply believe whatever you want to believe, without evidence, just like you believe great many other things.

  • Muslim

    This is what former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahatir Mohammed has to say regarding this. Hee puts it very succintly.

    http://chedet.cc/blog/?p=840#more-840

    Addendum to “Freedom of Expression”, updated Sept 19, 2012

    1. Hillary Clinton says the film insulting to Muslims cannot be stopped because of freedom of expression.

    2. The French and Italian papers published photos of a naked Duchess of Cambridge. Now a French court has ordered the publishers to surrender all the pictures to the royal couple and to stop publishing them. The Italians are also going to do the same.

    3. So freedom of expression is selective, not to be used against a countess but okay for the prophet of the Muslims.

    4. I know there are many hypocrites in the West but this is the mother of all Western hypocrisy.

    ORIGINAL POSTING FOLLOWS;

    1. Hilary Clinton defends the film which insults the Prophet of the Muslims because of freedom of expression, a part of human rights. I think Western values have gone crazy. In the name of human rights and free speech one can insult anybody. What kind of human society will we have if everyone can curse and denigrate everyone else? There will be no peace either between countries or religions or races or members of the public anywhere.

    2. How would one feel if someone comes up to you and calls you “a bastard, the offspring of sex between your mother and some man who is not your legally wedded father.”

    3. Well how would one feel? The Americans would feel nothing because in their society this is normal. Their mothers sleep around with just about anybody. That is the norm, they would say. So do their fathers. It is an expression of the equality of the sexes.

    4. Asians, and Muslims would feel insulted. They would probably kill the persons who say such things of their mothers. Free speech, yes. But insulting speech, no! Certainly no Asian would like to be called a bastard even as a joke.

    5. It would seem that the liberal West believes that free speech is licence to curse and insult other people without limit.

    6. They can enjoy this licence among themselves. That’s okay. But they cannot insist that everyone accept their coarseness and lack of manners. If freedom is a part of human rights, not the rights of the West alone, Asians must have their rights to their own norms and code of morality. Otherwise Western freedom would be about denying others their freedom.

    7. If that is what Western freedom is about then how others react to Western freedom must be accepted by the West as the expression of freedom of these others.

    8. Western values are not universal, no matter what the Westerners claim or believe about their values. Other people and Asians have their own values. If the West believes that freedom must be enjoyed by all, must be universal, then that freedom must be extended to the values subscribed by others.

    9. If you don’t believe others should have freedom to enjoy their own values then you do not really believe in freedom as a part of human rights. Of course certain events we are seeing today seem to indicate that the West has arrogated freedom to themselves only. The freedom to kill people, including innocent people, is obviously a part of Western freedom.

    10. That would mean the West is more authoritarian and undemocratic than the very people they accuse of being authoritarian and undemocratic.

    11. It is about time that the West rethink their beliefs in freedom. If you really believe that freedom should be enjoyed by all, then respect other peoples’ rights to their faiths, their values and their freedoms.

    12. I deplore the extremely violent reactions to the film and killing of the American consul but I fully understand that some people’s feelings are stronger than some other people. In a free world the strength of these people’s feelings is their right. If there is such a thing as human rights then there should also be respect for the sensitivities of other people.

    13. Otherwise stop talking about human rights and certainly stop violently promoting these so-called rights. You have no right to take the moral high ground.

    • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

      1. Yes. Because of First Amendment.

      2. Defamation laws only apply to living people in USA. You can say whatever you want to say about Elvis Presley

      3. Freedom of expression is selective? Actually, defamation laws are selective. You have to be alive to be protected by them. If you are Prophet Muhammad, or Jesus, you are out of luck.

      4. Hypocrisy? There’s no hypocrisy here. You can make fun of Mormonism or Christianity for all you want. Ask Bill Maher or watch his show.

      I won’t bother to reply to the rest of the post.

    • fact is fact

      @Sharanga

      so by this it means that anyone can insult a non american dead mother! what would be your reaction if that mother is yours? i know; you will simply “disregard” and respect the freedom of speach for sure.

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        Actually you can insult a living a person too. Defaming and insulting are quite two different things.

        If I am insulted, or anything or anyone that matters to me is insulted, my reaction would be to strike them back with everything I have. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll burn a country’s embassy, kill the ambassador and demand that that country curtails freedom of speech of its citizens simply because I am hurt. There are downsides to free speech. But the benefits outweigh the harms. Our own country shows that curtailing free speech is a bad idea.

      • Gamarala

        If someone insults your mother, in all likelihood, that man/woman has a poor upbringing, and very little can be done about it. Being able to tolerate the ravings of lunatics is called “growing up”. These concepts are absent in mainstream Muslim society, and it will continue to be absent unless Muslims intellectuals “grow up”.

        This generally means transitioning from a primitive taboo based society to a society which handles morals and ethics based on logic and reason. Such reasoning is notably absent from mainstream society in much of the developing world, and among the uneducated in the developed world.

      • fact is fact

        Subject matter need not to be confused and we can’t add here apple and orange.

        First, those who advice about what is a civil society must understand that insulting or defaming (both have enough gray area) is not a civil act and it is an uncivilized act just as killing people for oil and grab others land. Also freedom of speech is comes with an attached condition; that is, using it responsibly. if this is well understood its clear who should be grow up first. Secondly, reaction comes in many forms. Some of them are violent. Its better blame the people who were responsible for such violet as cause is the reason for effect. It’s a right of people to demonstrate for what they respect most or fight back against the oppressors. Muslims are not fools to get caught in to the mere words. Muslims intellectuals are aware of the fact that they are being fooled by others to grab their wealth. Also aware of the fact that there are enough and more effort is being taken to inert them. Unfortunately none of them will work for sure.

        Fighting against oppression is not terrorism and protesting against insult is a right! This is common for all communities.

        I think for many it may be a surprise that religion of the people those who think need to be grownup is the world fasted growing religion! Perhaps many people not only need to be grownup, they even need to be educate themselves properly about rest of the world :)

      • concern

        Its really pathetic some cant even understand the reality, its not muslims invaded the lands in Palestine to establish a jewish state where people are came from Europe to settle by force. Its not muslims that invaded lands like Christian American and European, where Iraq and Afghanistan are muslim lands invaded by Christians under the pretext of fighting terrorism just for oil ( 9/11 was filmed by mossad agents with first hand information, still many don’t believe the American story). Its not Muslims that burn people in Myanmar, sri lanka and Gujarat in india. Yes. Muslims are threat to the world peace. We can see that well!

      • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

        @fact is fact

        Insulting and defaming are not civil acts. That’s why there is some protection against defamation. But there’s a reason that these acts are not completely forbidden. The world can’t move forward if people completely stop insulting and defaming the people they don’t like. Rational arguments work for some, but not for all (everyone who think that the moon-landing was hoax belongs to this category). So if you want the masses to want to abolish slavery, you need to disparage those who want to keep their slaves.

        You say that freedom of speech need to be used responsibly. So what does this word “responsible” actually mean here? Was Salman Rushdie being irresponsible in using his freedom of speech when he wrote his book “Satanic Verses?” The thing is, freedom of speech means nothing when you add “responsibly” after that because the word “responsible” can be interpreted according to your whims.

        The whole purpose of the constitutional right called “freedom of speech” is to allow people to say and do things that other people disagree with, and do and say things that might hurt other people. It’s purpose is let Salman Rushdies of the world speak things that others disagree with. If you want to say things that other people agree with, and other people likes, then there is no need for constitutional right called freedom of speech. You can just talk.

        Fighting against oppression is not terrorism and protesting against insult is a right!

        First, fighting against oppression can be terrorism. Terrorism isn’t an ideology. It’s a method of war. It’s about using fear to achieve a particular goal.

        Secondly, are the Muslims fighting against oppression? Are you seriously telling me that writing a novel oppresses Muslim people? Did Salman Rushdie oppress the Muslim people?

        Now, about freedom of speech and how the modern world works. We who belong to the species Homo sapiens, have been arguing against each other since the day we first invented language. From there onward, the normal way to resolve arguments have been to kill or beat up your opponent. The normal enthymeme has been:

        I think Salman said a bad thing, therefore, Salman should be beheaded

        This is apparently what all the gods thought was right, 2000 or so years ago. But us humans understood, over time, that this is a bad idea, simply because both false beliefs and true beliefs feel true when you are believing them so you might be wrong and wrongly kill a person. So we made a proposal ourselves. We will argue against bad ideas, but we won’t behead the bearers This new found idea is what the Muslims are simply not getting.

        I think for many it may be a surprise that religion of the people those who think need to be grownup is the world fasted growing religion!

        I’m not surprised. In fact I knew it already. This is why I said in an earlier thread that Islam is the biggest threat to modernity. Evolution denial even when the mere fact that antibiotic they themselves use work and doesn’t work when over used is evidence for evolution, moon-landing denial when there’s evidence right in front of them, makes a lot of sense of everything that’s wrong about the world.

  • fact is fact

    I think the writer is not well informed regarding the issues around the world. His claim of ONE middle east country or ONE in south asia which don’t allow public worship place or idol has taken to highlight and rest 50 plus countries which allow such is being ignored, this shows his/her poor knowledge of the international event. Mean time his analysis of beating around the bush is very funny. All the violent that he/she is highlighted is a result either deformation of religion or result of discriminating the people following a religion. After making g the trouble no pointing in highlighting the reaction!

    • Kota

      Dear Muslim,

      Why are avoiding answering Mr. Gamarla’s question ‘What is the punishment for apostasy in Islam’?.

      Is it because you are feeling embarrassed ?

    • Muslim

      Dear Kota

      I dont want to waste my time beyond the topic of this article. Mr Gamarala if interested can contact any of our religous scholars and find out. These are theological questions that have to be answered by our learned scholars not by lay people like us.

  • Happy Heathen

    fact is fact
    October 4, 2012 • 9:09 pm

    “I think for many it may be a surprise that religion of the people those who think need to be grownup is the world fasted growing religion! Perhaps many people not only need to be grownup, they even need to be educate themselves properly about rest of the world ”

    That’s because they are copulating like bunny rabbits and what’s more wearing a condom is a sin worth of eternal damnation!!!

    Furthermore, most Abrahamic religions (barring Judaism) grew due to intimidation and other ‘unethical’ proselytization and not due to people being enlightened by Islam(or Christianity).
    It is a scientific fact that the believers have lesser IQ than non-believers. So according to your argument the people might be getting dumber by the day!!! Rajapakse Clan might like that as it is easy to rule a bunch or morons.