Wednesday, February 13, 2008

freedom of speech revisited

A group of Danish newspapers have reprinted the Prophet Muhammad cartoon that sparked rioting in Muslim countries 2 years ago and created a storm of controversy. The occasion for revisiting the issue was the arrest of 3 suspects accused of plotting to kill the cartoonist who drew the bomb-turban caricature, the most controversial of the group.

Many considered the cartoons a slur against Islam. There is no doubt that they are inflammatory, individually and as a collection. In the context of ongoing terrorist threats, I appreciate the fact that those newspaper editors had the guts to print the cartoons, now and 2 years ago. I don't believe that American editors printed them (please comment if you are aware of any who did).

Sometimes free speech loses out to political correctness in America. The voice of moderate Islam tends not to be heard above the din of the extremists. What little is heard suggests that the majority are horrified by the bloody actions of the jihadists. Similarly, moderate Christianity is somewhat invisible in American media, taking a backseat to the antics of the religious right. Free speech helps to keep some balance and ensure that unpopular opinions can still be voiced.

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