Nobody Loves Abdullah
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Unfree Speech

I was surprised by Mezba's comment in this post:

Rushdie’s writings were offensive to Muslims and I have no problem with countries banning his books and what not.

That almost-flippant remark says a lot.

No nation has absolute free speech. For example, in the US, selling information about undercover FBI agents is the kind of speech that is not free. There are other exceptions as well.

However, the situation with Rushdie is straightforward. He wrote a book that a lot of people really really don't like. Of course, most of them haven't read it but never mind that. What matters is that they really don't like it! Ergo, nobody in their society ought to read it.

November 24, 1988: The novel is banned in South Africa and Pakistan; bans follow within weeks in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Qatar.

Isn't that charming?

Is anyone forcing individual Muslims to buy or read Rushdie's book? No. There might be a few curious minds in Islamic nations who'd like to read the book, so they could figure out what all the hoopla is about.

But they can't because they need to be, somehow, protected from the written filth. What happens then if they smuggle The Satanic Verses and get caught? Muhammad's Beard! These wretched beings were trying to read, and later perhaps sell, a forbidden! book. What punishment would be adequate? A fine? A public lashing? A few decades behind bars?

I find it offensive that a Muslim who has the choice to read or not read Rushdie's book casually denies that same freedom to Muslims in other parts of the world. Even though this little kafir's fragile feelings are hurt, he won't call for the guilty comment to be banned.

Furthermore (channeling Treebeard): A blogger should know better!



Shows the main problem with banning speech based on whether others take offense to it, or, even, whether it is considered offensive by a majority of folks. (As opposed to when offense is intended toward a particular person AND the behavior is objectively menacing or harassing.) [In an inadequate nutshell.]

For instance, someone that accepts a dinner invitation from a family and then proceeds to spend the entire meal talking about how the family's religion is stupid probably won't be invited back after such boorish behavior, but we don't need the government to step in. Unless the family asks him to leave...and he won't. Or, if he starts advocating that people with that belief ought to be killed because of their religion.

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