Just Because Something Is Free Speech Doesn’t Mean It’s OK


@aliarsalem; who is the executive director of the Dallas / Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I question the purpose of free speech when it’s hate speech and when it’s meant to incite violence”

Last night in Phoenix there was a “free-speech” rally outside a local mosque where Muslims attended Friday prayers. The rally featured a Draw Muhammad cartoon contest similar to the one targeted by two armed men in Garland, Texas, earlier this month. The event’s organizer, who wore a t-shirt that said “F— Islam,” had encouraged attendees to come armed with guns and rifles.

Is this legal? Yes. But is it OK?

In the aftermath of the shooting in Garland, the national discussion quickly turned to the question of what constitutes free speech and whether it is acceptable to purposefully insult a community in order to rile them up to illicit a response. I was relieved to see that, for the most part, people thought the two men were exceptions to the rule of behaviors accepted in Muslim practice. Instead of being about Islam, the debate was about the responsibility people have when they exercise their free speech.


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