Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cartoons, Free Speech, and one-way tolerance.

Over at Debate and Relate we have been debating the Danish cartoons issue here.

Here is what the fuss is about.

I believe in free speech, but I believe that is only part of the issue. If Islam believes in media tolerance, then it should be a reciprocal arrangement, and it isn't. Have a look here and here some examples of anti-semitism in the Arab media, and here for some further information on the subject. A 'net search on 'cartoons, arabic media' gives you some interesting images. Islamic countries routinely print ant-semetic, anti-west, and anti christian cartoons. Hypocrisy pure and simple at work there.

Another part of the issue is that a minority in one society should NOT be able to dictate to the majority what the limits of freedom of expression should be. (It is my belief freedom of expression should be constitutionally enshrined, and as broadly interpreted as possible). Yes, they can participate in debate, and work to influence the dialogue that forms policy, but if they resort first to threats, and actual violence, that is something that should be resisted.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
(Attributed to 'Voltaire')
A clash of the values at the core of two very different cultures, and I for one don't think appeasement is the answer.


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