Did you know? "Freedom of speech" means some things are off-limits

For some Muslims, religious freedom means that you can't criticize.

"The right to free speech is not absolute. It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other" religious figure.
Mazhar Rishi, Council on American-Islamic Relations

That statement is wrong on so many levels.

Let's start with the most basic. Every single example of "religious law" that I have ever seen isn't directly from the Divine. It's from humans who claim to speak for the Divine. Flawed humans who are not above putting their own spin on things.

Second, this assumption makes the expression of your beliefs totally subservient to everyone else. For example, the Prophet Muhammad had a child bride. By the standards of many religions today, that is abhorrent. Without the right to criticize, you can't even even question the morality in relation to modern beliefs.

Third, it places all law under religious interpretation. In the U.S. at least, we have a long (and mixed) history of separating church and state to the benefit of both. Since I am pretty sure that Muslims don't want to live under Jewish law, I think we can say that there are grounds to keep religion and secular government apart.

Fourth, like it or not, criticism is one way to test an idea's merits. Good ideas tend to withstand criticism, bad ideas tend to buckle under the pressure. Want to kill your religion? Keep it in a glass case where no one can touch or question it.

— NeoWayland

Posted: Fri - February 24, 2006 at 04:39 AM  Tag

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