I object to the passages in the Quran and the Hadith that order the believer to kill the infidels wherever you find them. And I object to the practices that can all too easily be justifed on the basis of these texts. I object to the segregation of men and women. I object to taking girls and women as slaves. I object to the mass rape of women. I object to child brides. I object to those who take gay men to the tallest building and throw them down, and -- if the victims are still alive -- stone them. And I object, as every German should, to the jihadists' revival of anti-Semitism.
I confess that I once believed that Muhammad's instructions and the commands in the Quran were there for me to submit to, not to question. I have learned to question. I have learned to doubt. It was a long and hard process. I stand here today before you to promote a message of optimism in my book, Heretic. I spell out in there that we need to distinguish between Islam, a system of ideas, and Muslims, our fellow human beings.
But I am optimistic that it could become a religion, and it could become one of peace, only if reformed. Why am I so optimistic? I am so optimistic because there are Muslims who are risking their lives to reform it -- to identify what, in the teachings of Muhammad, should be left behind in history, and what should be preserved. I distinguish between three sets of Muslims. The first set I label the Medina Muslims. In the popular press, they are described as extremists, radicals, fundamentalists and the like. What they have in common is a burning desire to apply Muhammad's example in Medina to twenty-first century society.
They aspire to create a Sharia-based government. Some of them have local ambitions, some of them have regional ambitions, and some of them have global ambitions.
Some of them want to wage jihad, or Holy War, to get to realize their objective, and some of them think that it wiser to preach to reach that same objective. The second group are the Mecca Muslims. I think they are the largest in number. In their daily lives they may or may not observe. The Mecca Muslims are caught between two worlds.
Defending the Right to Offend
On the one hand, they are attracted to modernity and they enjoy modern amenities. They vote with their feet for modernity, and sometimes desperately so, like the boats full of people fleeing the chaos caused by the Medina Muslims in Libya. But they also cling to the Quran and Muhammad's teachings. Some of the more pious ones, if they make it to the West, "cocoon" their children from modernity. They say: You can't watch television.
You can't wear makeup.
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You can't have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. And finally, number three, the dissidents. It is these brave Muslim men and women who are confronting the reality that unreformed Islam is simply not compatible with modern morals. Today, there is a desperate and unequal struggle between the Medina Muslims and the dissidents of Islam for the hearts and minds of the Mecca Muslims. In this struggle, it is of great importance that we back the right side. I admire and respect Chancellor Merkel.
And because of that, I had expected that she would appreciate, better than other Western leaders, two key points. First, there is that crucial difference between ideas and people.
Jews are people. Muslims are people. A Right to Offend. Description Over the past two decades, there have been a series of events that have brought into question the concept and practice of free expression. In this new book, Winston provides an account of the current state of freedom of expression in the western world. He analyses all the most pertinent cases of conflict during the last two decades - including the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the incident of the Danish cartoons and offended celebrities - examining cultural, legal and journalistic aspects of each case.
A Right to Offend offers us a deeper understanding of the increasingly threatening environment in which free speech operates and is defended, as well as how it informs and is central to journalism practice and media freedom more generally. It is important reading for all those interested in freedom of expression in the twenty-first century.
Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Review quote Every generation needs to be reminded, in George Orwell's words, that "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear". This message is even more important in our globalized and networked world, in which nearly everyone, it seems, can speak and be heard.
As usual, Brian Winston is an ideal guide to the past as well as the present and even the future challenges faced by those who are devoted to preserving this most basic human right. All three expressions would be permissible if they were not about religion.
If the Dalit group had criticised Gandhi for his views on caste, this would be permissible. If the rationalists had criticised astrology, this would be permissible. If the feminists had criticised Indian culture in general, this would be permissible. In all three cases, the expression would have caused offence. A fundamental character of criminal law is that it is uniformly applicable. Criminal law does not usually provide for exemptions on the basis of religion. As mentioned, insults to political parties or historical figures are not afforded any such special privilege.
The right to offend: crucial to free speech — digwobbxembtertsi.tk in English
Neither is the perceived insult to any other social institution. Religion, however, seems to hold a peculiar status in Indian criminal law. There is nothing that makes religion special so as to make its perceived insult a criminal offence. There is no principle that explains why insult to religion should not fall within the ambit of freedom of speech and expression. Secularism is a constitutional principle prohibiting religious interference in State affairs.
The blasphemy law does not aid the State to become secular in any way. If anything, it may betray secularism by being partial towards religions at the expense of non-believers. It held that the legislation was a reasonable restriction on free speech in the interest of public order. It held that blasphemy includes a tendency of bringing about public disorder.
This argument is flawed in two ways.
Yet, this seems to be the case with the proposed law in Punjab.