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Blasphemy: an indispensable human right

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Cherokee

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Blasphemy is an indispensable human right. Without the right to engage in blasphemy, there can be no freedom of inquiry, expression, conscience or religion.

As I predicted last week, the Organization of Islamic Conference has seized on the controversies regarding an anti-Islam video clip on YouTube and satirical cartoons about Mohammed in a French magazine to renew its call for a global ban on "blasphemy." The OIC is, in effect, not only announcing that Muslim states in general have no intention of allowing real freedom of conscience and speech, but they want to bully the West into eliminating those freedoms as well.

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu called on countries that respect free speech to “come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression.” OIC governments apparently cannot resist the populist appeal of perversely posing as "defenders of Islam" by attacking free thought and free speech.

Who, after all, will be authorized to define "blasphemy"? Does anything that offends any religious sensibilities qualify as "blasphemy"? Will a critical mass of objections be seen as legitimate grounds for silencing critics of religious doctrine, scholarly inquiry into their origins, skeptical analysis of superstition and faith, iconoclasm, or mockery of religious claims, symbols, assertions, and shibboleths?

Iran is a member state of the OIC. It has just raised the bounty, issued decades ago, against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. The novel, which is a fine one, is not, in fact, blasphemous by any reasonable definition. It probably would've been an even more interesting book if it had been. But it offended people, most of whom had not read it, was declared and widely considered "blasphemous," and therefore presumably would be banned under the OIC's proposals.

Pakistan says it's going to press the issue of a global "blasphemy" ban at the UN and other multilateral institutions. This is the same country that is persecuting a teenage Christian girl for alleged blasphemy in a most horrifying and indefensible manner. Along with a number of other Muslim-majority states, Pakistan allows for the death penalty, at least theoretically, for "blasphemy" criminal offenses.

Several Arab states, including Egypt and Kuwait, have recently been toying with new criminal definitions of "blasphemy" that specifically ban insulting the wives and companions of the Prophet Mohammed, which is barely concealed code for the suppression of Shiite doctrinal criticism of Sunni Islam. The OIC is based in Saudi Arabia, a country that does not allow freedom of worship for any non-Muslims. The examples of the hypocrisy behind these calls are simply endless.

If freedom of religion, conscience and speech are to mean anything, religious doctrines, symbols and assertions must be open to inquiry, criticism and, indeed, ridicule. Otherwise, the human thought process will be shut down by force of law in order to protect the sensibilities of the superstitious, and free inquiry into the most central issues facing humanity since the birth of the species will be effectively foreclosed.

These calls reflect a paranoid worldview that is widespread among Muslims that their religion is under some kind of global assault. If so—because Islam is spreading faster than almost any other religion, with the possible exception of Mormonism—it's an odd kind of siege. In reality, Islam is thriving in its countries of origin and spreading quickly into the West.

What this idea really bespeaks is a terror that most faiths contain at their core: that serious, skeptical, dispassionate evaluations of their specific claims will reveal them to be indefensible, hollow and easily debunked. Embracing modernity requires tolerating such fears without demanding the enforcement of religious orthodoxy, even of an ecumenical variety, through the power of the state.

In fact, and unfortunately, the devout of the world have little to fear. Sigmund Freud was right in his seminal 1927 tract on religion, "The Future of an Illusion," that as long as people fear death and yearn, in an Oedipal manner, for an all-powerful supernatural father-figure to "exorcise the terrors of nature" and "reconcile men to the cruelty of Fate, particularly as it is shown in death," we are likely to be stuck with metaphysical superstitions and religion. There is little chance, in short, that human society at large will ever be free of its grip.

Reason and skepticism, for good or ill, are not poised to overthrow faith. Islam is thriving in the modern world, both in its traditional lands and in its new adopted homes. Its politicized devotees are acquiring increasing power in post-dictatorship Arab societies. And on top of all of this, the OIC wants to globally shut down freedom of thought, conscience and speech to further "protect" Islam from perceived slights.

There is only one appropriate response to this, in language the devout should be able to easily understand: to hell with you.

Hussein Ibish writes frequently about Middle Eastern affairs for numerous publications in the United States and the Arab world. He blogs at www.Ibishblog.com.

To read more: Lebanon news - NOW Lebanon -Blasphemy: an indispensable human right

Food for Thought
 

karan.1970

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At one time, it was blasphemous to say earth is not flat or Earth is not the center of the universe.. We all know how that went..

For all we know, all that is considered blasphemous now may very well be as true as the 2 points above...


FTW blasphemy :)
 

Cherokee

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At one time, it was blasphemous to say earth is not flat or Earth is not the center of the universe.. We all know how that went..

For all we know, all that is considered blasphemous now may very well be as true as the 2 points above...


FTW blasphemy :)

For offending someone like in above mentioned case you have to question them . Without Questioning them we would not have reached a stage where we are right now .

Now i will take example of Golden Age of Islam

Al-razi is considered father of Modern Medicine and also did work in Philosophy and Mathematics and one of the greatest Pioneers of Golden Age of Islam .




Galileo and many other of his contemporaries questioned Christianity and Brought Europe back from Dark ages to what it is today . Same was with Islam

Al-Razi (865 – 925 CE) from Persia, the greatest of all Muslim physicians, philosophers and alchemists wrote 184 articles and books, dismissed revelation and considered religion a dangerous thing. Al-Razi was condemned for blasphemy and almost all his books were destroyed later.

Ibn-e-Sina or Avicinna (980-1037CE), another great physician, philosopher and scientist was an Uzbek. Avicenna held philosophy superior to theology. His views were in sharp contrast to central Islamic doctrines and he rejected the resurrection of the dead in flesh and blood. As a consequence of his views, he became main target of Al-Ghazali and was labeled an apostate.

Ibn-e-Rushd (1126-1198 CE) or Averroes from Spain was a philosopher and scientist who expounded the Quran in Aristotelian terms. He was found guilty of heresy, his books burnt, he was interrogated and banished from Lucena.

Al-Bairuni (973-1048 CE), the father of Indology and a versatile genius, was of the strong view that Quran has its own domain and it does not interfere with the realm of science.

Al-Khawarazmi (780-850 CE) was another Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer. The historian Al-Tabri considered him a Zoroastrian while others thought that he was a Muslim. However nowhere in his works has he acknowledged Islam or linked any of his findings to the holy text.

Omar Kyayyam(1048-1131 CE), one of the greatest mathematicians, astronomers and poets was highly critical of religion, particularly Islam. He severely criticized the idea that every event and phenomena was the result of divine intervention.

Al-Farabi(872-950 CE), another great Muslim philosopher, highly inspired by Aristotle, considered reason superior to revelation and advocated for the relegation of prophecy to philosophy.

Abu Musa Jabir- bin- Hayan or Geber (721-815 CE) was an accomplished Muslim alchemist cum pharmacist. Althouigh he was inclined towards mysticism, he fully acknowledged the role of experimentation in scientific endeavors.

Ibn-ul-haitham or Hazen (965-1040 CE) was an outstanding physicist, mathematician, astronomer and an expert on optics. He was ordered by Fatimid King Al-Hakim to regulate the floods of the Nile, which he knew was not scientifically possible. He feigned madness and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

These were the real heroes of that time .
 

Cloakedvessel

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Food for Thought

I 100% agree with the author. The hypocrisy of the Muslim world is mind-blowing.

The only thing more dangerous than the mob mentality we have witnessed in the past couple of days is reasoning like Islamists do. It has long been established in the Western World that you may criticize and mock any religion. But now we have to shut our mouths because fanatics living in the 16th - and I'm being very generous - century object.
And the irony here is that in many Muslim countries the most vile anti-Western, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian diatribes appear in the press and on tv - even Kuwaiti professors explaining to Muslim audiences how you can mass murder Americans using bags of anthrax smuggled through the border with Mexico- and they would not be there without government permission.

When the Danish cartoons were published, the countries of the Arab League wanted Denmark to punish the cartoonist. The Danish gave the correct answer, which was they don't censor.
 

Unbeliever

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If you neighbors wife controls a financially, philosophically and spiritually immensely powerful ideological cult or institution that hold large influence in the life and political and societal structure and opinion of billions of people and has been dead for more than a thousand years... your comparison is accurate.



P.S. Obama or people holding other public offices get all kinds of horrible abuse (much much worse than in this admittedly bad movie) btw. and yes that is part of freedom of speech.
 

Safriz

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The education to know the difference between assault and a film is a human right.

LIbel is the keyword here...
You cannot make false accusations on somebody while making fun of them....even on internet..
Its illegal and punishable by western law.
Thats what the video did,and many such cartoons and movies do.
 

Juice

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LIbel is the keyword here...
You cannot make false accusations on somebody while making fun of them....even on internet..
Its illegal and punishable by western law.
Thats what the video did,and many such cartoons and movies do.
No one knows they are false....and any one who could realisticly make any libel claim are long dead. And as a "public figure" you lose some immunity from satire.
 

Safriz

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on education bit..
Its also part of being educated that muslims dont come on street protesting if Asked questions about their faith..
I havent seen a mob burning KFC because most Americans donr read quran and dont beleive in it.
But i know of mobs protesting if a US pastor gets hold of Quran and burns it without any reason what so ever,albeit one reason,thsts tp show hate against muslims..
 

Bhairava

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Muslims, whatever you argue the rest of the world is not going to give up on its right for the sake of pleasing you. So why waste your time ? Why not just ignore what you dont like and move on with your life ? Saves a lot of headache for both the parties.

In the same way you can make satire of other religions too (actually you do now also) and join the party..:agree:
 
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