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WHETHER BLASPHEMY IS PART OF FREEDOM

OF EXPRESSION?

BY S. FARMAN AHMAD NAQVI


ADVOCATE HIGH COURT ALLAHABAD.
The blasphemous cartoons published by a Danish newspaper and its wide
circulation by the news paper brotherhood world over can in no terms be accepted as a
solitary case of free expression and opening of a dialogue. Circulation of a hurting feature
to millions cannot be treated to be exercise of a right but it is mischief committed
knowingly. One of the 12 cartoonists speaking anonymously told Danish radio that “one
of my thoughts by saying yes to the job was a wish to open up a dialogue with Muslims
in Demark”.
When one sits down to a discussion with someone, it is not expected of him of
spitting on other’s face or calling his mother’s names first. In the unedifying din that has
ensued, perhaps he and other journalists will be moved to contemplate their own
approach to other cultures. Religious tolerance means to extend religious freedom to
people of all religions, even though you sincerely disagree with their beliefs and
practices. Whenever someone deviates from reality others usually get hurt.
The West likes to frame this as free speech issue, but there are many categories of
restricted speech: for instance, eight countries in Europe ban speech denying Holocaust.
They can call our prophet a terrorist, but we cannot question the Holocaust a myth.
France has once banned certain material about Hitler. It will be appropriate to place here
the case of YAHOO!, INC., a Delaware corporation vs. LA LIGUE CONTRE LE
RACISME ET L'ANTISEMITISME, a French association, et al [169 E Supp.2d 1181
(N.D. Cal. 2001)]*(1), whereby the French court blocked a site of Yahoo.com, for the
reason that it sell by auction some banned material in France about Hitler.
Two Human rights organizations filed a law suit in France against Yahoo alleging that its
auction practices violate French law. In 1997 Bradley Smith *(2) director of Committee
for Open Debate on the Holocaust CODOH launched a campaign to deny the reality of
Holocaust. The purpose of this Holocaust “Mythology”, Bradley Smith asserts, is the
inculcation of a sense of guilt in the white western Christian world.
Those who can make others feel guilty have power over them and can make them
do their bidding. This power is used to advance an international Jewish agenda centered
in the Zionist enterprise of the State of Israel. Holocaust caused by the so called ‘civilised
world’ upon Jews in Europe and not in Middle east or any other part of the World. It is
strange freedom of expression where one type of people are not supposed to speak about
one thing because it hurts the feelings and sentiments but in the same breath the
prohibitor breaks its own rules and defends publication of certain hate materials in the
name of freedom of expression.
To the so called ‘civilised world’ who wonder why Muslim sensitivities should
trump free speech, Muslims respond with accusations of Hypocrisy. Richard A Posner
says, ’A danger of the balancing approach to free speech is that the costs freedom of
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expression are more salient than the benefits, and their silence may cause the balance to
shift too far towards suppression’. Omer Safi, associate professor of Islamic studies at
Colgate University in New York said,” I would argue that the genesis of this whole
controversy has a lot more to do with the position in which Muslims find themselves in
Europe than with Islamic theology”. He further says,” I think that some of the same kind
of questions that Europeans asked about Jews a hundred year ago are now being asked of
Muslims. Namely can these people ever be proper citizens of Europe if their loyalties and
allegiances lie elsewhere?’
These are some of the questions which should be addressed by the Europe and
West so that a just and equal society shall emerge in future. The press is painting a gory
and dim picture of only protests of Muslims without placing the background of overall
controversy of west where ‘Nazism’ existing with a face painted with the name of
“Civilised world”.
The term “Civilised world” is simply a camouflage of ‘Nazis’, who now roam by
using new terms like ‘free world’, ‘democracy’,’ freedom of expression’ etc. The parallels
of Holocaust can very easily be found in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Abu
Gharib Jail, Sabra and Shatila refugee camps of Lebanon, Vietnam and Palestine etc.
These are some of the questions which should be addressed by the Europe & West
so that a just & equal society shall emerge in future.

**************

This article was published on Wednesday 15th


February 2006 in Hindustan Times Lucknow edition,
and in Northern India Patrika, Allahabad on
Thursday February 9th 2006

Sources
*1. Source http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/caselaw/yahoovlicranov2001.htm
*2. www.codoh.com