Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

In danger: Free speech


Freedom of speech. What is it worth? Without it we can lose everything including our lives. Imagine what life would be like if radical Islam eliminates free speech. You will not be able to express your opinion.

According to Wikipeda the Pakistan Penal Code (295 and 298) prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion. This includes defaming the Muslims’ prophet Muhammad. The penalty ranges from a fine to death.

Danish Palestinian poet, Vahya Hassan, said, “Muslims love to take advantage of free speech. As soon as there is someone saying something critical against Islam, they want to restrict it.”

The Charlie Hebdo magazine published a series of satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Most, if not all, Muslims consider a picture or cartoon of Muhammad forbidden. An Islamic response to the cartoons was a sentence (fatwa) issued on the lives of the cartoonists and the magazine. Years later, Islamic gunmen executed the fatwa killing 12 Hedbo cartoonists and its publisher.

Days after the massacre a magazine spokesperson said “We will not give in, otherwise all this won’t have meant anything.” This time, in Pakistan, Islamic groups placed a bounty of $1,000,000 for the lives of Charlie Hebdo magazine’s cartoonists.

Throughout the world, the actions of millions of Muslims, openly and adamantly, protest the showing of Muhammad cartoons and freedom of speech. In some of these demonstrations violence and deaths of non-Muslims resulted.

The Seattle Globalist reported a group of Somali Muslim Americans gathered to demand the resignation of a teacher who showed the cartoons to her teenage students.

In a Dearborn city council meeting a Muslim man proposed implementing Sharia morals patrols and restriction of free speech. 

In Iran, immediately following Friday prayers, tens of thousands took to the streets to condemn the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo shouting “Death to France, death to Israel, death to Britain, death to Charlie Hebdo while carrying flags saying “To Hell with Free Speech.”

ABC News quoted Iranian lawmaker, Ahmad Tavakoli, who blamed the West for the Charlie Hebdo attack. Addressing Westerners, he shouted, “This is the fruit of your own action.” A few days later, with government encouragement, the protests were repeated by tens of thousands in cities and countries around the world.

The following is a list of a few of the areas, around the world, where demonstrations occurred protesting the caricature of Muhammad and thereby objecting to free speech: Afghanistan, Srinagar, Karachi, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Banako, Mali, Niger, Australia, Algeria, Asia and Africa.

The size of demonstrations ranged from hundreds to thousands. The highest estimate reported was by the Russian interior minister. He estimated that 800,000 protesters attended the Jan.19 demonstration against criticism of Muhammad.

Take a moment and imagine what life would be like if radical Islam succeeds and eliminates free speech. Without free speech they can enforce brutal laws like the Pakistan Penal Code that allows a death verdict. You will not be able to protest and express your opinion nor practice the religion of your choice.

Civilized people must stop trying to appease people who live by 1500-year-old barbaric laws. They demand that we must also live by their Sharia laws. Appeasement has not worked in the past. There is no realistic way to assume appeasement will work now. If we continue making the same mistakes we will lose everything including our lives.

Ed Ziegler can be reached at Brooklyn13@Embarqmail.com.


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