Free speech under attack because of video about Muslims
by Don McKee
Columnist
October 01, 2012 01:04 AM | 1663 views | 19 19 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
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Freedom of speech is under attack because of the “Innocence of Muslims” the amateurish video that, per the New York Times, “depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a child molester and thug, among other things.” The head of the Arab League predictably is calling for an international law against insults to religions.

In the wake of widespread violent protests in the Arab world, Google determined that the video did not violate its “hate speech” rules or any law and has kept the video on the Internet but conceded to the opposition in Egypt and Libya by taking the video down in those countries.

If you want to get an idea of what results from criminalizing so-called blasphemy – which includes all manner of insults and other real or imagined offenses – check out the prosecutions in the Arab world. Just last week an Egyptian court upheld a six-year prison term for a Christian school teacher convicted of insulting Islam – and the country’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, showing that even a mere mortal can be “blasphemed.” The Christian was found guilty for posting Facebook pictures considered to be offensive to Islam and Morsi, the Associated Press reported.

Case after case of prosecution for blasphemy is documented by Human Rights First. Most of these are in the Middle East, notably Pakistan, but include India and European countries. In Austria in 2011, a woman who gave a series of lectures in Vienna was convicted of “denigrating the teachings of a legally recognized religion” and fined 480 Euros. She initially was charged with incitement to hatred as a result of lectures criticizing Islam.

Human Rights First says: “Accusations of blasphemy have resulted in arrests and arbitrary detentions and have sparked assaults, murders and mob attacks….Journalists, bloggers, teachers, students, poets, religious converts, Internet users and others have been targeted, charged and sentenced to prison or received other punishments for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

So far, First Amendment protection has been afforded the video and its producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. But he has been arrested and jailed in Los Angeles on suspicion of violating probation on a 2011 bank fraud conviction. So chances are he will get a three-year sentence, providing the proverbial pound of flesh for angry Muslims.

Yet President Obama tried to get Google to dump the video, asking the company to reconsider its decision to keep the video up. Google refused. The attempt to squelch the offending video fits into Obama’s policy of trying to defend Islam, in the view of Lyombe Eko, professor of journalism, University of Iowa. He cites Obama’s trip to Egypt in 2009 when he made a statement that raised false expectations, to wit: “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

That statement, Eko writes, “gave the world the false impression that (Obama) could control media content in America” and led to false expectations that he could squelch the video to appease offended Muslims. But he couldn’t. Free speech still lives.

dmckee9613@aol.com
Comments
(19)
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Sanity Check
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October 04, 2012
Author wrote: "Most of these are in the Middle East, notably Pakistan, but include India and European countries."

Pakistan is not in the Middle East. It is neighbors with India, China, Iran along with Afghanistan (again not in the Middle East).
To Donnie....
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October 02, 2012
Donnie:

Willful incitement is not free speech. One is no freer to scream "fire" in a crowded movie theater than to publish a willfully false and provocative video that will surely allow the opportunists in Islamic countries to use it to further their own political aims.

To shift the focus of scrutiny from the motives and intentions of the publisher of this video is to a large degree (1) to support your own biases against President Obama and (2) allows provocateurs like this Nakoula character free reign to do this again and again.
Too funny
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October 01, 2012
Wait, so when the President said, "the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech" and when he said, "it is time to marginalize those who -- even when not resorting to violence -- use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel as a central principle of politics" and when he said, "Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views -- even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened," what he really was saying is that he doesn't want free speech?

frogbreath
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October 01, 2012
Foley's latest-- typical diversion tactic. He takes all the evils of the teachings and practices of Islam and compare it to a handful of imbalanced people in the USA.

Foley , you are not a deep thinker.

You compare grapes to watermelons. Take a break, you are worn out.
Kevin Foley
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October 01, 2012
So we can assume all the "Obama hates free speech" posters here passionately support the Westboro Christians' free speech right to protest at the funerals of service men and women with their "God Hates America" placards.

Just me
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October 01, 2012
Muslims demonstrated last Friday in Dearborn, MI for an end to free speech, demanding blasphemy laws worldwide, including the U.S.Imams around the country regularly preach this to their followers.

Islam and sharia are in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution, but they will not rest or stop their violence until they have commpletely dominated our country and its laws. This is just the beginning.

At the Democrat convention in 2008, there were only twenty-some Muslims as delegates. This year the number had leaped to well over 200 Muslim delegates. It's clear that Islam and leftists in America have joined together to change our country forever. Now what will we do about it?
MisFortune
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October 01, 2012
Obama may yearn for the end to free speech, but it ain't gonna happen. Whether he is in or out of office for the next four years, he would not succeed in denying us that right. His very incompetent regime may not realize it, but their power is not limitless, and I think the American public will rally to protect their Constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic.
oh yeah so obvious
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October 02, 2012
Oh yeah MisFortune, the "godless" lefties are now fully behind Islam. Please, you can't be taken seriously when you can't keep your slanderous allegations separate.
Off Balance
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October 01, 2012
"Look at me, look at me., I am trying to show you folks of the Muslim world that I stand with you. I, at this time cannot challenge the First Amendment, but I can find a way to punish those who offend you or your prophet. See? I am really on your side.

I ask you to be patient and when I win my second term, I will see to it that America becomes a country that apologizes for all of it's wrongs. I cannot lift you all up, but I can bring America down to your level. I can, and will also reduce our nuclear arsenal to a level that we will no longer be the strongest country in the world. You all know this because the microphone was "accidentally" left on when I promised that to Medvedev. Now I must go and pay tribute to the Prophet."
Kevin Foley
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October 01, 2012
The "pound of flesh" canard was offered up by the head of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, last week.

This "free speech" argument is among the many bogus "outrages" the far right is flogging in a desperate attempt to smear Obama ahead of the election. See recent polling in swing states if you want to know how it's working.
Laura A.
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October 01, 2012
Really Mr. Foley, we hardly need to make up outrages! Though I forgot, the sodomizing and murder of an American ambassador and three other American heroes is just a bump in the road to you liberals (unless it would've happened on GWB's watch, of course).

If recent events and the cover up, Limbaugh notwithstanding, aren't enough to outrage you, then I feel very, very sorry for you, for you have lost your way.
Samuel Adams
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October 01, 2012
You just rest on those polls, allright Kev? It's not over til the fat lady sings, Michelle gets her next sabbatical and Barrack works this week's crisis, never of course letting one go to waste.

We'll see how the Boy President does in the debates Wednesday. My theory is even the leftist news hacks asking the questions won't be able to cover for him this time.
Kevin Foley
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October 01, 2012
Ms. Armstrong - If you worship Boortz, you're the one who's lost.
Devlin Adams
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October 01, 2012
Foley, how about you knock off the crap. She did not mention Boortz.
B D Lane
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October 01, 2012
Nice article, Mr. McKee. President Obama's White House probably will use a parole violation to justify giving a "pound of flesh" to the screaming extremists calling for the head of the producer, but it seems to me this is a very dangerous game for the administration to play. If they don't make it clear that the producer's arrest has nothing to do with his freedom of speech, his incarceration implies to terrorists that the US has bent to demands in the face of violence. This underscores weakness, which further compromises American security.
Laura Armstrong
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October 01, 2012
Actually Don, the purported Egyption Coptic Christian who made that movie is now alleged to be in reality a Muslim with ties to terrorism and a motive other than previously stated.

See if this comes out in a day or two. (Source: Walid Shoebat)
B D Lane
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October 01, 2012
If true, that is extremely interesting and relevant... which means no one will cover it. Thank you for pointing new information out.
Laura Armstrong
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October 01, 2012
President Barack Obama said at the U.N. that "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Does this sound as though he believes in free speech Don? Just the fact that the U.S. government revealed this Egyptian Coptic Christian's (filmmaker's) full name and location was bad enough. The cover up is what this is all about. The fact that Obama and his administration lied about events on 9-11-11 and are getting away with it, thanks to the complicity of America's news corps. And our diplomatic community has lost so much because of it, but where is analysis of that? All focussed on the fake controversy over this You Tube film. Such blatant abuse.

I don't think so.
Crazyville redux
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October 02, 2012
Wow, another generation of 9-11 conspiracy nuts is born. Welcome to Crazyville Ms Armstrong...you and your new generation of 9-11 conspiracy crazies may not have much in common politically with the "original" 9-11 conspiracy nutjobs but you do seem to share a passion for home-brewed fiction.
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