No “Innocence” in the Freedom to Malign

Condemnation of an Amateurish and Repulsive Movie

The release of the repulsive movie “Innocence of Muslims” on the internet that has sparked so much outrage world-wide is as disgusting in its fallacious content as it is reprehensible in disregarding the religious sensibilities of over a billion Muslims. The New Republic said that the film “includes not a single artistically redeemable aspect at all.” The reviewer described the directing as “atrocious”; the sets “terrible”; the acting as consisting of “blank eyes and strained line readings”. The New York Daily News called it “obscenely inept vanity project” that is “far beneath any reasonable standard of movie-making.” 

Freedom of Expression is a noble concept that incorporates the freedom to choose the content of expression including the appropriate manner of expression. Like any other freedom, freedom of expression is not the “right” to just say or express anything. The moral responsibility that goes with freedom of expression implies that we at least be truthful, honest and that we not wittingly transgress the honor and dignity of others. Untruths, distorting facts and hateful expressions are therefore unacceptable. 

Not a License to Insult

Freedom of expression, it must be remembered, is not a license to insult (as in the case with the diabolical “Innocence of Muslims” movie). The harm here is not the freedom of expression per se, but rather the hatefulness or vindictiveness of the expression itself. Hate speech and defamation have a public orientation and undermines public good. (Hate speech is the purposeful distortion of facts intended to unjustly ridicule or discredit any individual, class of individuals, institution or faith.) The point to free speech advocates is that we can believe in both freedom of expression and the need for that freedom to be exercised responsibly. Obviously, making an insensitive blasphemous video falsely designed to denigrate a religion and its founder should never be celebrated as a rightful act of freedom. No one should ever abuse “freedom” as a deliberate pretext to malign or to provoke; for that desecrates the noble concept of freedom itself. 

Our Commitment

We, as people of faith and people of conscience, commit ourselves to … 
– uphold freedom of expression, but such “freedom” cannot and should not be used as a pretext to deliberately insult the rights, integrity, honor or faith of others. 
– urge those outraged to respond in the dignified manner that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself would have responded. 

*****

Shaykh Sadullah Khan is the Director of Impower Development International www.impowerinternational.com.



By: sadullah khan | Source: IslamiCity | Category: Americas, Articles, Faith, Featured, Society | Topic: freedom, innocence | Values: freedom | Views: 2,535 | Comments: 5

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5 Comments

  1. As usual, there is nothing new in the article; just the regurgitation of what every muslim author has written on the subject.

    But all of them miss the point. “Freedom Of Speech” exists because some idiot pays attention to it. Muslims should just TUNE OUT; stop paying attention to it; then nobody will make any insulting speeches to Islam, because nobody will listen to them. Stop reacting. It is that simple.

    Actually that is the strategy of Daniel Pipes. He wants all kinds of speech, cartoons, etc offensive to muslims / Islam CONTINUOSLY / EVERY DAY, till muslims get used to it and stop paying attention to it.

    You cannot control other people; so muslims will have to learn to control themselves if they want to live in this globalized world. Otherwise, its enemies love to create problems for muslims, and it costs them literally nothing. They just sit on their couch, watch TV muslims burning the cities, especially in muslim countries; what else can enemies of islam ask for.

  2. Romesh as hurtful of comments you write..I almost agree with each of

    them as any enemy who knows your weak point would love nothing

    better than you reacting upon it and how much it has effected the

    economy of Pakistan is unbelievable and how much pleasure our enemy

    gets must be beyond his expectation. We thank God we are seeing a small

    change happening in Pakistan and I hope it takes us to progress.

  3. They sound very good to ears-Freedom of S.P.M.(Speech, Press & Media). Think serously

    what this has done and doing to our lives, faiths and humanity.

    At present as the word Terrorism applies only to Muslims, the Freedom of Press/Media and

    Speech… do apply only to Islam/Prophet whereas other forms of of freedom if used are

    labeled as Extremism, Un-Patriotism, Terrorism, anti-Semitism, Anti Christ… and so on.

    Is this Freedom of S.P.M.?

    The Freedom has gone beyond the control in holy scriptures, especially Bible, in which the

    Chosen & Innocent Persons of God (Prophets) were maligned, cursed and accused of the

    crimes, illegal sex and violence when they were exceptional Humans, Merciful and Loving.

    Actually this has given birth to Division, sectarism, Atheism and Dystheism.

    The Freedom of S.P.M. must come to end in regards to Faiths and Religions whether it is

    any Abrahamic, Pagan, Idolatry etc. There should be a Bill/UN Charter and a strict law must

    be passed that no religion and its Prophets are maligned etc.

    Remember The Holy Scriptures say the Best of the Judges is God/Allah and we shall not

    judge other people or other faiths unless we Judge ours.

    Quran 5:50 ‘… And who is better in judgment than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.

    Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge

    others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, & after that to face judgment. ‘

    Salam, Shalom and Peace.

  4. This brief article appropriately captures the concept of freedom from an Islamic view and also relays the feelings of freedom loving and respectful people the wolrd over. Commendations to the writer whose articles are incisive, inspiring and appropriately to the point.

  5. I think Muslims in general have to understand that world communities have marched

    beyond medieval times and primitive mind set. They should accept human beings

    attach different meanings to writings of others. What is offensive to Muslims may not

    be seen that way by others.

    Muslims should grow up and realize that they can not control others in their thinking

    and right to express their views. So I say, get over. Sooner the better.

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