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15-Oct-2016 05:37

Yale University Press especially distinguished itself by publishing a major study of the controversy in 2009—without the actual drawings. and the European Union have entered into a dialogue in recent years with the 56 states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is seeking an international law prohibiting blasphemy.Governments began to treat those threatened for their opinions almost as harshly as those attacking them. In 2006, Tony Blair’s government passed the Racial and Religious Hatred Act—a kind of “blasphemy lite” law—ostensibly designed to protect all religions against threatening expression but generally understood as intended to limit hostile criticism of Islam. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the OIC that, while the First Amendment prevented the U. from prohibiting speech, the administration might still “use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming so that people don’t feel they have the support to do what we abhor.” Admittedly, it is difficult to draw a clear line between criticism of an Islamic belief and an attack on Muslims who believe it.A woman protests a speech by Geert Wilders in Australia in 2013. Wilders’s 2008 film ‘Fitna’ interweaved passages from the Quran with clips of jihadist violence.Agence France-Presse/Getty Images The new censors advanced such arguments as that “free speech can never be an excuse for racism.” These arguments are essentially exercises both in begging the question and in confusing it.Over time, they encouraged others who had no interest in Islam whatsoever—from wealthy individuals to “dissident” minorities to democratic politicians—to try their hand at silencing opponents.Almost no newspapers published the Muhammad cartoons, for instance, though the story of them dominated the international media for weeks.Hearing criticisms of your own convictions and learning the beliefs of others are training for life in a multifaith society.Preventing open debate means that all believers, including atheists, remain in the prison of unconsidered opinion.

True belief and honest doubt are both impossible without it.

Today, hurtful speech is more likely to be political speech than obscene speech. I recall, alas, making a very poor joke about literary deconstructionism. The literary, media and political worlds rallied in defense of Mr. He became a hero of free speech and a symbol—even if a slightly ambivalent postcolonial one—of Western liberal traditions.

My colleagues, though more sensible, were baffled and hesitant. But he also went, very sensibly, behind a curtain of security that was to last many years. Rushdie’s life but the lives of his publishers, editors and translators might be threatened—his base of support in the literary world thinned out.

The Saturday Essay No Offense: The New Threats to Free Speech The U. and Britain have long considered themselves the standard-bearers for freedom of expression. We said most of the right things about defending freedom of thought and the imagination.

Can this proud tradition survive the idea that ‘hurtful’ speech deserves no protection? 14, 1989, I happened to be on a panel on press freedom for the Columbia Journalism Review when someone in the audience told us of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s religious edict for blasphemy against the British novelist Salman Rushdie. But the death sentence from Iran’s supreme leader seemed unreal—the sending of a thunderbolt from medieval Qom against modern Bloomsbury—and we didn’t treat it with the seriousness that it deserved.Freedom of political speech, however, was regarded as sacrosanct by all.



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