You know people truly support free speech when they are willing to defend speech they don’t agree with, even speech that might be considered “blasphemous” to others.
That’s why Muslim imam Imtiaz Ahmed, no matter what he thinks, isn’t a free speech advocate:
“Of course we defend freedom of speech, but it has to be balanced. There has to be a limit. There has to be a code of conduct,” Ahmed said.
“We believe that any kind of vulgar expression about any sacred person of any religion does not constitute the freedom of speech in any way at all.”
Ahmed said there should be limits placed on freedom of speech to prevent the publication of offensive material.
A five-year-old should be able to rebut this by now. If you limited free speech to speech that’s not offensive, then the concept would have no meaning. What’s offensive to some is perfectly fine for the rest of us. By his logic, the Koran and Bible need to be banned because the ideas in them offend damn near everyone who doesn’t subscribe to those faiths.
If Ahmed really cherishes freedom of speech, then he should be whole-heartedly supporting the freedom of others to say things that criticize even his most cherished beliefs. He could always add that just because you can say something offensive doesn’t necessarily mean you should, and that’s a sentiment we can debate, but he never gets that far.
That’s not what he wants. He wants to curtail speech that he doesn’t like. And that’s why we must reject what he’s saying; they stand in opposition to the ideals of a free society.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Nancy for the link)