The Muslim Times Leading the Discussion on Free Speech and Its Limitations

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin, 1722. For TMT collection on Free Speech, click here

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin, 1722. For TMT collection on free speech, click here

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.

As we count the blessings of free speech, we also note that there seems to be no room for hate speech or slander in a free and progressive society.

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:

Source: Latuff

Source: Latuff

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:

A frieze, designed by Adolph Weinman, on the north wall of the US Supreme Court depicts great lawgivers of the Middle Ages.  Holy Prophet Muhammad is shown holding a Quran and a sword (presumably for defensive war)

A frieze, designed by Adolph Weinman, on the north wall of the US Supreme Court depicts great lawgivers of the Middle Ages. Holy Prophet Muhammad is shown holding a Quran and a sword (presumably for defensive war)

Without further adoo, here is the link to our collection.

Categories: Free speach, Free Speech, Freedom

Tagged as:

4 replies

  1. TMT should go beyond leading the discussion. It should take practical steps such initiating demonstrations against these killings and in support of the victims.

  2. It looks like school is cession people!!!Stay on the path everybody.Stay pointed in the right direction.Thanks TMT for helping me with that.

  3. Death for blasphemy in the Old Testament

    Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.

    Then the Lord said to Moses: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

    “You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.”

    Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses.

    (Leviticus 24:10-23)

    For an extensive discussion and debate, in the comment section, about freedom of speech in Islam or the Western society, please go to a post Freedom of Speech: A Core Islamic Value!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.