Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Muslims Boycotting Free Speech

I'm not one to jump to conclusions. Contrary to popular belief, I tend to question almost everything, preferring to remain without a conclusion until I'm virtually certain about an issue. This tendency has hurt me in the past, but my cautious skepticism is something that has mostly served me well. In other words, I tend to avoid premature conclusions by establishing a threshold of certainty before making a conclusion.

But when it comes to Muslims and free speech, we've blasted that threshold out of the water. We've seen an inordinate number of Muslim attempts at stifling free speech. We've seen Muslim nations attempting to limit free speech through the UN. We've seen news crews getting attacked. Again. And again. We've seen Muslims demanding the removal of peaceful messages. We've seen Muslims attacking cartoonists and committing arson against their homes. We've seen Muslims threatening cartoonists. We've seen Muslims attempting to kill cartoonists. We've seen Muslims killing video directors. We've seen Muslim desires to assassinate authors. Again. And again. And again, and again, and again. We've seen Muslims censoring debates. We've seen Muslims advocating Jihad against websites. We've seen websites bowing to the death threats. We've seen YouTubers forced to remove videos because of death threats. Even David and Sam received a death threat by a Muslim for simply "preaching" about Muhammad and Jesus. David and I posted a blog about this phenomenon in London last summer, and we were certainly victims of it last June in Dearborn. Recently, we've seen Yahya Snow attempt to boycott dialogue with David because of David's defense of free speech. And now, we see Pakistan boycotting Facebook because of the same stance: an adamant refusal to give up free speech.

Since the last occurrence is quite recent and has not been introduced yet on this blog, here's a snippet from the Guardian:


Image taken from MSNBC

Pakistan today blocked Facebook indefinitely in response to public outrage over a competition on the social networking site that encourages people to post drawings of the prophet Muhammad.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, which controls internet access, directed service providers to block the website "till further notice" in compliance with a high court order obtained by a group of lawyers yesterday.

The court action was triggered by a Facebook page entitled Everybody Draw Mohammad Day -- May 20 which contains over 200 images, many of them certain to offend Muslims, who consider all depictions of the prophet to be blasphemous...

The page says its objective is to encourage the "free discussion of brutality of the radical aspects of Islam" and invites members to submit drawings of the prophet Muhammad by tomorrow .

Let me be the first (actually, I'm definitely not the first) to say that I find many of these drawings gratuitously offensive. I can see how many would be offended by them. But herein lies the point: the right to free speech trumps the "right" to not be offended. Free speech is what secures the pursuit of truth, liberty, and justice. Yes, this means that people can be offended. But freedom from offense is in no way more valuable than the guarantee of truth, liberty, and justice.

Unfortunately, Muslims generally cannot handle being offended. They are intolerant of those who criticize them. Can it be any more clear that the intolerance does not lie with the critics, rather it lies with those who call for the death of critics? This is why it was no surprise when a government panel revealed that the majority of nations that are least tolerant of others' religions are mostly comprised of Muslims. And though they exemplify intolerance abroad, they demand tolerance in the West, all the while redefining tolerance as privileged status.

The verdict is in: Muslims respond to criticism with intolerance and censorship, often violent. Of course, this does not apply to all Muslims, but an alarmingly high number.

I'm waiting for the day when the West will awaken and realize that criticism is not intolerance, but censorship and violent reactions are.

***UPDATE***

We couldn't make this stuff up, folks! Less than 12 hours after writing the above post, Pakistan has banned YouTube and 450 other websites, citing offensive material. Businessweek writes:

Pakistan, home to the world’s second- largest Muslim population, blocked Google Inc.’s YouTube service and more than 450 web links as the government widened a crackdown on Internet material deemed as blasphemous.

The sites were blocked because of the increasing level of sacrilegious and derogatory material, the Islamabad-based Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said in a statement today. The regulator, which shut access to Facebook Inc.’s website yesterday, may block other sites with blasphemous content, said Khurram Mehran, a spokesman at the regulator.
Of course, this is mainly in response to the "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" facebook page, whose creator writes:

“We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Mohammed depictions, that we’re not afraid of them,” according to the Facebook description page. “They can’t take away our right to freedom of speech by trying to scare us to silence.
Well said. If anyone wishes to argue that Pakistan is just looking after the moral well-being of their nation, please address the fact that Pakistan is the country that leads all others in searching for the term "sex", according to the New York Times. That they lead all others in looking up "Danish Cartoons" is interesting, too.

19 comments:

The Berean Search said...

Well said Nabeel! I can't even think of anything else I want to add other than, well said!

David Wood said...

Boycott Nabeel for suggesting that freedom of speech is important!

Yahya Snow needs to write half a dozen complaints on his website!

Call Negeen and tell her she shouldn't associate with the people on this blog!

Someone get Revolution Muslim to send out a prayer request calling for Nabeel's death!

No more debates for Nabeel!

This is why an imaginary UK Muslim apologetics group has secretly banned Nabeel!

Nabeel is a Jew!

Nazam said...

Official Muslim Response to "Draw Muhammad Day"

http://www.facebook.com/#!/HonourProphetMuhammad?ref=ts

David Wood said...

Hi Nazam,

How did this response get "official" status? Since many Muslims around the world are calling for the brutal murders of those who draw cartoons, what makes Sami's response "official" and other responses "unofficial"?

minoria said...

ONLY 10% of the world has INTERNET ACCESS,so only 700 million even go to an internet cafe.Out of 7 billion.In Europe it is like 45% with Internet access.

In Pakistan it will affect a minority of the population,the well-off.But we must protect freedom of speech,otherwise we might a well live under communism.

Nazam said...

David,

the Facebook group "Honour the Prophet Muhammed" is an peaceful response for Muslims and non-Muslims to "the draw Muhammed day" campaign. It has never claim to represent the voice of 1 billion Muslims globally. However it does officially represent the voice of 39,000 members and counting.

These are some of the comments the group has received from non-Muslims;

Trent Voigt - "Even though I am an atheist, this campaign you have started has given me cause to respect muslims and support how you propose to respond to a campaign that must cause you great offence. I wish you all the best in this noble endeavor to show the gentle and wise side if Islam that is all too often obscured by the widely spread image of raging anger and violent threats."

William Wiklund - "I may not be a muslim, but I applaud this initiative. Islam is a religion of love and peace, even though some use it (just as many others do for other religions) as a tool for evil. A civil response is always the best response, responding in anger only leads to further conflict. Spread the love, people. :)"

Simon said...

TO ALL


HAPPY DRAWING MOHAMMAD DAY


FROM THIS DAY ON I WILL CELEBRATE IT LIKE ITS A HOLIDAY EVERY YEAR. I WAS THINKING PERHAPS WE SHOULD GET PAID FOR IT AS WELL? HUH

Odo said...

This outcome was inevitable. The Muslims will use this opportunity and apply to peoples sympathies in order to gain converts. Muslims will point to the really insulting pictures and make pleas for compassion and understanding from secularist moral relativists who follow the dogma of popular culture. This is the Muslim playbook as taught by Muhammad; make the victims out to be the oppressors and the oppressors the victims.

Pakistan has censored face book along with 450 other internet sites such as you tube, it seems a fatwa has been called against the secular web. The Muslims in Pakistan (and elsewhere) are probably being trained on how to use this incident to their advantage as I write, manipulation of the weak willed and fragile minded has already begun in western and English speaking countries weeks ago over this matter, even the sole creator of this 'day' was intimidated into submission within the first 12 hrs of making it "go viral" as she repeated endlessly in a deeply appeasing and apologetic manner to Muslims worldwide, of course for her innate western ignorance. "Hey it's not my fault, I was born with it". A boycott has been called by Muslim leaders all over America against face book and other networking sites, the Muslims are taking this day to go to the park have a picnic and prayer, and to convert. This outcome was inevitable.

While the Muslims slaughter OUR brothers and sisters, while Muslims employ manipulative, deceptive, seductive, and unGodly techniques on OUR brothers and sister, techniques no ninny agnostic/atheist secularist can even comprehend, techniques Christians and Jews shun and rebuke for their inherent evil, WE sit around playing with free speech and cartoons, we continue to appease appease appease and appease, we continue to back down from the issues at hand (like the inherent Jew hate engraved in Islam’s doctrines).

And all we can do is draw pictures of Muhammad?

And all we can do is play right into Muslim hands?

Muhammad's systematic slaughter of Jews, Christians, Polytheists, is no laughing matter to make a cute and cuddly picture of a teddy bear with a turban, this is a serious issue that needs to be discussed and made light of in a very serious and factual way – and if this was to be done by our good for nothing leaders and politicians in a historical high brow manner, the Islamic world would most certainly come out of it as a whining, teething, and very malicious infant.

All I am seeing is a 'play-down' of history, Muhammad's actions are being linked with fun and games, people are getting their frustration's out over friends and family being slaughtered & oppressed through hateful and repulsive representations on a piece of paper while Muhammads historical actions are going unnoticed. Muhammad's actions are being reproduced by Muslims through the entire world, thousands slaughtered, thousands of OUR brothers and sisters suffering.

sorry for ranting...

The Fat Man said...

So Pakistan bans Facebook and Youtube because of offensive material in regards to Islam and there Prophet.

But what about all the good material praising their Prophet and Islam, what about Sammi's group?

You see muslims will cut off the nose to spite their face.

Pakistan why not just ban the internet all together.

Paul Guralivu said...

To Nazam:

"William Wiklund - "I may not be a muslim, but I applaud this initiative. Islam is a religion of love and peace, even though some use it (just as many others do for other religions) as a tool for evil. A civil response is always the best response, responding in anger only leads to further conflict. Spread the love, people. :)""

Do you know HOW FAKE IS THIS ?

And you know why ?

There is one thing to applaud a initiative and there is an other thing to make such a statement(without knowing ISlam): "Islam is a religion of love and peace".

The normal response of a person that doesn't belong to Islam would be that: <>, but something like: "Islam is a religion of love and peace" from a nonmuslim. PLEASE.

Paul.

Nazam said...

Paul,

forgive me if I have misunderstood you but William Wikland isn't a made up fictional character but he is someone who exists.

Here is the front page of his Facebook;

http://www.facebook.com/#!/Fillchiam

and here is the link to the comment that he made;
http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=122422947769479&v=wall&story_fbid=128362887175485

I can you show you other non-Muslims who believe that Islam is a religion of peace. You can say that they are completely wrong about their understanding of Islam but you can't say that these non-Muslims don't exist? No offence attended towards you but this to me would be just pure prejudice.

The Berean Search said...

Pakistan also blocked youtube, so the good news out of all this is there are a lot of Pakistani dawah channels and Zakir Naik fans that I won't have to deal with on youtube!

Thank you Pakistan for making a decision that reduces the number of voices on youtube that claim Islam is true!

I'm doing my best to find the silver lining here. I like to think of myself as an optimist.

Anthony Rogers said...

Nazam,

For the sake of the readers from Pakistan, could you provide some accessible proof that William Wikland is a real person? Thanks.

The Berean Search said...

Anthony,

Here is what I found from a search for William Wikland:

Regimental number 343
Religion Church of England
Occupation Sailor
Address Melbourne, Victoria
Marital status Married
Age at embarkation 43
Next of kin Wife, Mrs Sarah Wikland, 222 Montague Street, South Melbourne, Victoria
Enlistment date 15 June 1916
Rank on enlistment Private
Unit name Machine Gun Company 12, Reinforcement 4
AWM Embarkation Roll number 24/17/3
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Orontes on 16 August 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll 343A
Rank from Nominal Roll Private
Unit from Nominal Roll 11th Machine Gun Company
Fate Returned to Australia 5 November 1917


Facebook pages always display prominently on searches by name, but William Wikland is nowhere to be found. I find that fascinating.

minoria said...

Hello NAZAM:
One thing disturbs me.Does THAT group that Sami has organized agree that we NON-MUSLIMS have the freedom of expression right to satirize Mohammed with drawings?

TWO POSSIBILITIES

1.If NOT then they should say it,otherwise it is hypocrisy(by making non-Muslims believe the group is tolerant)
2.If they approve of our right then they should say it(and not care if it irritates INTOLERANT Muslims)

SILENCE

Because if they are silent then I would conclude they believe that if Muslims were the MAJORITY in the US then such an action would be illegal and punished.

ONLY since they can not stop it in the West is why they have resigned themselves to have a "write something good about Muhammed" campaign.

What is your position?Do you agree they have the right to satirize Muhammed?If not then the peaceful campaign is only a diversion,a red herring(since their real feeling are hidden,to give a false good impression of tolerance).

If I were a Muslim I would say:"You can satirize Moh. all you like,I don't like it,but I respect freedom of expression,a human right."

Nazam said...

Anthony and The Berean Search,

you have to cut and paste the links that I have provided from Facebook to find him :)

Robert (Minoria),
The fact is that millions of Muslim-Americans — many of whom have known about South Park caricatures of Muhammad for years — behaved exactly the way free speech advocates wanted them to: by remaining silent or expressing their feelings peacefully. The fact is that over the course of 10 years, millions of Muslims respected the free speech of South Park and didn’t even lodge a polite complaint with Comedy Central. What exactly are we being punished for? Our inability to enforce a zero-tolerance policy and prevent a blogger from hitting the Enter key?

Just this week, Congressman Bart Stupak wrote that he had received so many death threats (that’s actual phoned-in threats, not just one passive-aggressive blog post) that he was advised to beef up his security. It’s safe to assume that most of those death threats were fueled by religious fervor, but since the religion in question isn’t Islam, it gets a pass.

Why not target the Revolution Muslim group, who issued the warnings that brought this whole crisis to bear?

In other words, target the people responsible for sullying free speech, not those who respected it.
Imagine for a moment if an African-American blogger complained about an unfair stereotype in a cartoon in the same crass manner as the Revolution Islam folks. Would free speech advocates respond by hosting a contest to draw as many vile stereotypes of blacks as they could? I can’t imagine that anyone would even propose such an idea. So why, then, are millions of Muslim-Americans who said nothing about South Park in the past decade being subject to this mass insult? To prove a point? What point would that be?

Verumi said...

Hello, Nazam.

I feel for the silent majority of Muslims who truly are hurt by the recent insults thrown at Islam and Muhammad. I will not pretend that I have any love for Islam, but I do recognize that some Muslims have a genuine spiritual relationship with their Creator. It sounds like you are one of those.

With 1.5 billion Muslims around the world (Muslims often point this out), I hope you understand why it is increasingly becoming difficult for us (I'm speaking for me and people I know) to believe that the Muslims in videos and photos committing violence and aggression do not represent the Muslim psyche and, in essence, Islam. If, let's say, half a billion Muslims are correctly represented by these aberrant groups, I have to wonder why the remaining peaceful 1 billion CHOOSE to be INVISIBLE.

For my part, I don't expect the majority to apologize for the actions of the few. I just have a hard time understanding why Muslims, who consider their peaceful Islam hijacked, do not come together and drown out the voices of the violent few. Human instinct dictates that we fight for what is near and dear to us. If violent Muslims follow their instincts, why can't the peaceful Muslims?

I believe there are peaceful Muslims among us (and I know I'm not the only one who does), but WHERE ARE THEY? I(we) can hold my faith that you are out there only so long. Your silence breeds suspicion and mistrust against you. Unjust and unfair it might be, but that is the result of the evil actions of those who walk among you.

Are the peaceful Muslims willing to do something about this disgraceful representation of their peaceful Islam? You have FREE SPEECH in the West. Not only is it your right to exercise, there are also some of us who would rejoice to see you STAND UP FOR YOURSELF and continue to pursue the peaceful life we all strive for. We are all humans after all, and life is too short.

Nazam said...

Thank you Verumi for the comment. However, I do humbly disagree with you that the Muslim community is silent when it comes to such things. There are many who have spoken out, both from America as well as from the same countries you talk about. Could more be done? Certainly. But are they silent? No, that’s just the feeling people get when only Revolution Muslims are given airtime.

Religious extremism is something that exist in every community and we all have our part to play in preventing it. Just this week, Congressman Bart Stupak wrote that he had received so many death threats (that’s actual phoned-in threats, not just one passive-aggressive blog post) that he was advised to beef up his security. It’s safe to assume that most of those death threats were fueled by religious fervor, but since the religion in question isn’t Islam, it gets a pass.

Verumi said...

Hello again, Nazam.

Even if we will assume correctly that all of the anti-abortionists are Christians (for the sake of argument), you do not see multitudes of Christians marching on the streets chanting "God is great!" and celebrating the death and destruction of abortion clinics and/or their staff. You don't see multitudes of Christians holding threatening banners and burning things on the street in agreement to that violence.

I don't know how much you know of Jesus Christ, but if you know His teachings, you would know that true Christians condemn the violence that anti-abortionists (nor any group, for that matter) perpetrate; that is, no true followers of Christ would seek to take the life of another human being for disagreeing with their religious values.

So, no. Those religious zealots don't get a pass. Their actions are condemned by the Christian community, and they are subjected to the law of the land for their crimes.

With regards to less media coverage for those who speak against Muslim violence, I confess I no longer have patience for that excuse. Again, there are so many of you--that is, peaceful Muslims. If there's a will, there's a way, no? If a very small group like RM can create big waves, how much bigger waves can a larger, peaceful community of Muslims make? Why wait for the media to come to you? Organize a press conference that the media cannot ignore. Post videos on YouTube. Organize a Condemn Muslim Violence Day campaign. Something.

Sorry. I do realize that you are pretty much lone voice here for your community, but it really baffles me when I'm told there are millions of Muslims who condemn violence and yet choose not to speak against it LOUDLY AND CLEARLY; and in general, why so much is being SAID about Islam as a peaceful religion, and yet so many violent ACTS are getting a pass with the Muslim community.

As I said previously, I believe true peaceful Muslims are out there, but with the silence so loud from that community, I now sometimes wonder if violence against other people (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) has become such a norm that it is practically invisible.