Freedom of speech versus self restrain


“Actions are judged by intentions” is a well-rehearsed legal maxim. The Danish newspaper that published the cartoon caricaturing the Prophet of Islam said we were exploring the boundaries of free speech. This grotesque image depicting the prophet as a violent terrorist deeply offended the Muslims.

Freedom of speech is a basic human right, which we all accept. It is a reality that there is no absolute freedom of speech. We all exercise self censor all the time and in the media either the editor or the proprietor will do. Similarly offending people by mocking their beliefs and sacred religious symbols is unacceptable. Particularly in a plural and diverse society. Freedom of speech is only a veil used to disguise the hatred of anything Islamic. Our foreign secretary Jack Straw expressed this sentiment when he said the cartoons were, “disrespectful, insensitive and wrong”. These cartoons incited hatred, which sadly was expressed in violent slogans and placards by young Muslims. We condemn such hateful slogans as well. The Muslims have made it absolutely clear that they will, “not allow anyone to ridicule their prophet including biblical prophets like Abraham, Moses and Jesus”.

Being sacrilegious is no way of coexisting in a civilised society. We praise the British press for showing restraint.

It is a clear attack on what Muslims believe as the “mercy of God”, the most generous saviour of mankind.

Every Muslim tries to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad since he personified all the virtues of love and goodness. Therefore ridiculing him is ridiculing all those who follow him.