14 July 2015

The state, not "terrorists", censors you

The Blog


Describing Islamist attacks on people who don't share their beliefs as if their actions represent a totalitarian suppression of free speech is an absurd analysis.


That is the view put forward at the L'Ordre blog based with Beliefnet. In an analysis from the weekend 11-12 July, the blog drew attention to the following problem with anti-Islamists' half-baked claims about a threat to the constitutional right of freedom of expression (highlighted part selected by The clubof.info Blog):
Anti-Islam campaigners try to argue that Islam threatens freedom of speech but in doing so they misunderstand what freedom of speech is. Freedom of speech doesn’t refer to a right granted by gunmen, soldiers and terrorists to the public, but to a right granted by the state to the public. 
Claiming that terrorists threaten our freedom of speech is bogus even if they kill cartoonists and people who mock Mohammed, because freedom of speech was never contingent on what terrorists do or don’t do anyway. Terrorists were always able to kill people for what they expressed in public, as were any other members of the public. Everyone is at risk of being killed for what they say at all times and freedom of speech has never been about providing any protection from that threat, but only from such threats that originate from the ruling power of the state.
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre#ixzz3fbrAHU00
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre#9ocB0WywIkvyHk8L.99
Shouting or ultimately assassination by members of the public cannot endanger constitutional rights because no such acts have any effect on the law and the laws guaranteeing free speech still hold even if people are killed for such expression. On the other hand, far-right figures who advocate the elimination of Islam and the rolling back of civil liberties in order to attack Muslims are indeed attempting to alter the law to curtail constitutional freedoms.

In this sense, anti-Islam activists such as Pamela Geller can be more accurately classified as enemies of free speech than ISIS terrorists such as those who killed cartoonists for depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Similarly censorship refers to state actions and not actions taken, however violent, by members of the public who feel offended by an image. Killings of cartoonists who depict Mohammed are neither a form of censorship, nor a threat to the right of free speech, and are simply acts of premeditated murder that have no relevance to at all to freedom of speech.

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