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Can Hate Speech Claim Right to Expression?

Syed Hassan Kazim for BeyondHeadlines 

Nowadays it has become a fashion to speak about freedom, the so called freedom to speak whatever one wants at his will.  This freedom is being used by many just to humiliate the ones whom they don’t like or against whom they have grudge of any kind.

Once it was Salman Rushdie who used or we may call misused this freedom to express his views just to write a book based on fabricated stories against the Prophet of Islam. Then came the Danish cartoonist with the ‘’ turban and a bomb’’ cartoon in which Prophet was shown as a turbaned man having a exploding bomb on his head to show that Islam as a religion only preaches hate and killings. When the cartoonist was being condemned for his biased and prejudiced work, the media world over decided to back him against the upsurge of the so called ‘’ Islamism’’ and everyone started to talk about the so called ‘’ freedom of speech‘’.

Various newspapers started to publish the same cartoon just to provoke the Muslims without caring the about the sentiments of 1.6 billion inhabitants of the world. Whenever a Muslim condemned the cartoons, he was asked to remember about the principles of ‘’ freedom of speech’’ and preached by the so called tolerant ones for not to become so much intolerant and accept criticism in a good sense.

And now all the boundaries of the so called freedom of speech have been breached by the ones only who seemed to be guarding that freedom. An American director, reportedly named Sam Bacile, with the support of the highly powerful Israeli lobby has made a movie titled ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ in which he criticized the Muslims and has tried to show the Prophet of Islam in a very bad sense. As a result the whole Islamic world has erupted in anger with the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens killed in the city of Banghazi when the protesters put the embassy on fire. The protests intensified on friday with US embassies being attacked in Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen and India. There were protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Banglades, Indonesia, Philipines and Doha too. The protests resulted in death of six people.

These incidence has once more enraged the most powerful nation of the world having a Noble laureate President ( Noble Price for ‘’Peace’’) asking for the blood of the ones who have killed his ambassador in the African country.

This movie seems to be have been made with only and only motive and that is to incite tension in the Muslim world and prove that Muslims are a highly intolerant society who cannot accept criticism. But the director of this highly condemnable movie missed out a point and that is, criticism is always welcome but in the garb of criticism no one has the right to fabricate stories and humiliate someone by using packs of lies.

Criticism is a totally different thing, many people criticize not only Islam but also many other religions. If they criticize just to know more about that religion or the religious ideology they are always replied in a good and gentle way but the ones who use their freedom to criticize just to humiliate others need to be replied in the same way.

They must not be ignored. Why is it that after such idiotic cartoons, films and books Muslims are always asked to control their sentiments? Why this so called freedom of speech is always used to demean someone’s dear one. Is this the way to start discussion always by abusing someone then tell him not to react, your way of freedom is others way of protest you exceed your right but expecting others to remain calm. They may have exceeded but at first place who provoked by hatching this well thought after conspiracy?

The artists who use their right to express their views do not have the right to hurt the sentiments of a hell lot of people just because of fun. I am against someone Insulting Prophet Mohammad and I would be against someone insulting the respected figures of other religions, no matter either they are of Christianity , Hinduism or whichever religion. Every freedom brings with itself some responsibilities and same is the case with right to express ones views. No one has the right to insult anyone just because he wants or someone other wants him to do that.

On the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter many people can be found who act as a self proclaimed advocates of ‘’Freedom of speech’’ but after this movie I wonder why most of them have become mum, why they are themselves ignoring this condemnable act of an American director? In the row of Salman Rushdie’s condemnable book they asked us to ignore him and respect his right to freedom. Now, where are those free fund advisors?

They must know that, every freedom brings with itself many responsibilities and so is the case with ” Freedom of speech”. Freedom of speech must not be regarded as a freedom to insult anyone by using a pack of lies and fabricated stories. The silence of the world community over this film which has resulted in an outrage in which even an American ambassador to Lybia has been killed speaks volume and is highly condemnable and shameful.

After the violence against the American embassies across the Arab world, American will once more use its drone and destroyers to track down the ones who have killed its ambassador. Innocents will be branded as terrorists and then killed. The best thing the American foreign policy advisors can do is to advice their President to reign in the Islamophobes and racists like Sam Bacile the director of the insulting moving about the Prophet Mohammad ( pbuh) and Terry Jones, the Quran burning pastor rather than sending marines, destroyers and drones to Benghazi or Sanaa ( Everybody knows what happens when drones and destroyers come into action).

The way these people are in a habit of making mockery of Freedom of speech is something which can never be accepted. Every freedom brings with itself a sense of responsibility which must be respected. Freedom doesn’t mean anarchy (to insult or mock anyone at will through lies and fabricated stories).

Post script: No one should be against Freedom of speech but everyone must need to have a sense of the responsibilities which come along with this Freedom. If the West had been such a great admirer and flag bearer of ‘Freedom of expression’, then Julian Assange of Wikileaks would not have to take refuge in the embassy of Ecuador in London.

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