Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
If you have a bright idea, but are not allowed to share it, regardless of its value, it will die with you without contributing anything to the world at large.
Free thought followed by free speech, followed by freedom to act is at the root of every positive achievement in human history.
Without the scientists gathering their right to free speech from the Catholic Church, there would have been no European renaissance. Likewise, the political and religious freedoms that we now enjoy in the West would not have been possible without free press, which over years gradually snatched powers from dictatorial and totalitarian monarchs.
But, free speech is like food, we need it badly. If there is too little of food, we starve to death and if too much we suffer from obesity, which also kills, in the form of diabetes mellitus, heart disease and sleep apnea, to name a few.
Since the recent horrific events in Paris and killing of staff of Charlie Hebdo there is a constant discussion about free speech. On one extreme are those who still do not recognize any exceptions to free speech and on the other end are the proponents of blasphemy laws, in many so called Muslim countries. Other equally popular authors or religious and political dignitaries, fall along this wide spectrum in the middle or towards one or the other end.
Every good author in recent weeks has had something good to contribute on the issue, but the readers may not get a comprehensive view by reading only one or a few authors.
This is where the Muslim Times comes in, we have collected more than 80 articles on the issue by popular and skillful writers, including those who frequently contribute to our own blog.
While the non-Muslims are obsessing over Charlie Hebdo cartoons, we have found a wonderful cartoon, which beautifully captures the dilemma of free speech and its limitations, in the West:
During all these debates we have also shared a very worth while article from Newsweek, which offers a discussion on pictorial depiction of the prophets. One can look at it through different lenses, but the lens that I am using tells me that this article brings the best pictures to show to the world that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, has been recognized as one of the best law givers of the world, by the highest authority on Law, the USA Supreme Court, since 1935:
Without further adoo, here is the link to our collection.