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Anti-Islam Film: The Litmus Test for the Sanctity of Free Speech

September 25, 2012

It’s looking a lot like 1979 all over again.

Free speech has been under constant attack by religious bigots and strong advocates of political correctness and thought-control these days.

During the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the transnational terrorist organization al-Qaeda flew the black flag of jihad above the grounds of the United States embassy in Cairo, Egypt. This was followed by a sudden but seemingly premeditated attack by militant Islamists on the US consulate in the Libyan port city of Bengazi. The Islamic militants brought with them home-made explosives and weapons, and then fired machine guns and anti-tank missiles at the building. Only a few hours after the attack the global media reported that the attackers murdered American Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a liberal dhimmi who supported the Arab Spring and hated Israel and the Jews, and at least three other Americans.

Militants and Jihadists in many Islamic countries in the Middle East have been for years waging violent protests against America, Israel and the Western world. This latest Islamic outrage, according to the dhimmi Obama administration, was allegedly caused by a trashy film titled ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which I didn’t watch or even intend to watch. This low-budgeted movie, produced by a Coptic christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, depicts Islamic prophet Muhammad as a deluded, feeble-minded sensualist and pedophile and sex maniac, and his devoted followers are shown as doltish, murderous Bedouins. The film also rejected the Islamic dogma that the holy Quran was a divine, true religion.

A day after the attack, the Obama administration responded to the bloody incident by apologizing to Muslims worldwide. Worse, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran a $70,000 tax-paid ad in Pakistan, saying the American government had absolutely nothing to do with the Nakoula film. 

The Obama administration, which has been busy campaigning, through U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice reiterated that the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi  was not premeditated. This strongly contradicted top Libyan officials who claimed the 9/11 assault was planned and well-calculated in advance.

Instead of blaming and criticizing ambassador Stevens’ murderers, President Obama put the blame on the controversial anti-Islam film.

“What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests,” Obama said.

Murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens: Did he support his own murderers?

Murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens: Did he support his own murderers?

Really? Well, perhaps the post-American president thought he’s speaking to morons. It’s a good thing the mainstream media is no longer buying Obama’s pro-Muslim rhetoric.

Washington Times, for example, correctly observes:

The White House consistently expresses understanding and sympathy with the faux outrage of the mobs in the street whose religious beliefs are often indistinguishable from those of al Qaeda. Each time theadministration does this, violence spreads. Unfortunately for Barack, a soon-to-be-released self-glorifying feature film about the bin Laden takedown won’t improve Mr. Obama’s image in the Muslim world. Look for those riots in December.

Yes, the Islamic attack was just a ‘faux outrage’. Only liberal useful idiots would buy the argument that the anti-Islam film triggered the ‘spontaneous’ attack.

The new Libyan President Mohamed Magarief  said that the anti-Islam movie had “nothing to do” with the US consulate attack. Magarief told NBC, a liberal media organization in the US, that the Benghazi attack was “a pre-planned act of terrorism”. He noted that the controversial video was uploaded months before September 11.

“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”

However, the liberal media and pundits in the United States are ready to surrender their freedom and right to free speech in favor of what they call ‘religious tolerance’. Consider this opinion crap by an LA Times’ senior writer who argued that the anti-Islam film fails the free speech test because it creates “a “clear and present danger” of harm”. This liberal dhimmi concluded that: “”Innocence of Muslims,” the film whose video trailer indirectly led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens among others, is not, arguably, free speech protected under the U.S. Constitution and the values it enshrines.”

What that liberal scribbler is trying to say is that when a speech triggers some offended people to commit violence, then that speech does not fall under First Amendment protection.

Fortunately, a rational commenter made the following comment:

The Holmes trope is a well known canard among liberals who seek to quell free speech. Unfortunately, you misunderstand the point. There is a difference between someone seeking to cause a blind panic in a moment, and someone creating something critical that people deliberately respond to with violence simply because they are offended or disagree.A little thought experiment: Let’s say for example that I find your attack on the First Amendment widlly offensive and as a result I and several of my like-minded friends riot and threaten violence against all who think such views of the First Amendment are insulting to America.

By your own standards, your speech is no longer protected and your column is subject to censure and even prosecution.

Now, I’m not going to riot or threaten violence, because that would be ridiculous. Your column is just (yet another) pedestrian, unreflective left-wing bromide aimed at justifying your political feelings (“The President was right to blame the video). But I do find it offensive, very offensive, that anyone would seek to curtail the foundational political speech protected by the First Amendment.

But I don’t have the right not to be offended and neither do you.

Since Obama and many world leaders can’t obviously defend freedom and rights, can we or the Americans now turn to the United Nations to protect our rights?

Well, good luck with that!

Here’s UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s latest attack on free speech:

“Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose. When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way. My position is that freedom of expression, while it is a fundamental right and privilege, should not be abused by such people, by such a disgraceful and shameful act.”

Scary, isn’t?

In his very speech at the United Nations, Obama told the globalists and the world body’s assembly of tyrants that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

That is even scarier!

Meanwhile in the Philippines, a human rights lawyer named Harry Roque refused to back down to Islamic supremacy by pushing through with the screening of the anti-Islam film at UP-Diliman.

Here’s an excerpt of the report:

Harry Roque, a prominent human rights lawyer and lecturer at the state-run University of the Philippines in Manila, said he screened the “Innocence of Muslims” as a demonstration of freedom of expression.

“As an academic, as a lawyer, I cannot allow rights to be infringed upon. I am in perfect discharge of my duties as a law professor and I’m willing to take whatever consequence,” he told reporters.

The movie was screened in a classroom as part of Roque’s constitutional law class on freedom of speech and went off without incident despite the university’s ban and rumours of a bomb threat.

Earlier, the university’s College of Law, which has produced several Philippine presidents and Supreme Court justices, issued a statement saying: “It (the movie showing) will not push through for security reasons.”

Signs were also posted at the college, saying “No film showing” but Roque’s class of about 20 students and a handful of observers, including fellow law school professors, still showed up.

Roque said efforts to prevent him from showing the film had made it more imperative that he screen it.

He had previously publicly announced his plans to play the film, inviting media and the public to attend.

Roque said he was forced to provide his own projector, computer, speakers and screen because the university would not lend him any equipment.

After the screening, he told his students: “Now that we have seen it, we can confidently say it is trash.”

He said that he did not endorse the movie’s message, saying it was laughable, but stressed it was important to have the opportunity to watch the movie.

A group of Filipino muslims decided to file a petition in courtdemanding the banning of the controversial anti-Muslim film in the Philippines. Even though I disagree with the lawsuit and their call to restrict our long-cherished freedom of expression, I applaud this muslim group for using our legal system instead of resorting to violence in expressing their anger or outrage. However, Ridjaludeen (men of Islam) president Agakhan Sharief made a chilling statement that a number of young devout muslims are asking him what they should do to Prof. Roque.

Agakhan Sharief cited the anti-Catholic exhibit held at the PICC, which was shutdown by the government, to support his argument that free speech must be limited in favor of religion. However, the difference between the anti-Catholic exhibit and the anti-Islam movie is that the controversial exhibit was sponsored by the government, which was a clear violation of the anti-establishment clause in the Constitution.

I also applaud Atty. Harry for defending free speech and freedom itself. Roque said in this interview that the showing of the anti-Islam film at UP-Diliman did not create a clear and present danger to public safety.

“So many people died so that we could enjoy the freedom that we have today. So, it was important to give life to this right (freedom of expression),” said Roque.

In his opinion piece titled Free Expression and Mob Rule, Roque cited established, reality-based expert opinions and judicial decisions that affirm the sanctity and value of free speech. He mentioned Prof. Fredrick Schauer of the University of Virginia Law School who argued against the disputed Chaplinksky’s rule for criminalizing ‘hate speech’.  Schauer wrote:  “In contrast to this international consensus that various forms of hate speech need to be prohibited by law and that such prohibition creates no or few free speech issues, the United States remains steadfastly committed to the opposite view. … all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

The UP academic also cited  the case of Hustler v. Falwell that disputed the ruling in Chaplinsky: “Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth.”

The United States Supreme Court explained the importance of protecting free speech in the following fashion:

“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty—and thus a good unto itself—but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions. The First Amendment recognizes no such thing as a ‘false’ idea. As Justice Holmes wrote, ‘When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market…’

“The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas.”

Roque then asked: “But is not inciting against a religion equally an affront on freedom of religion?”

His answer?

“Certainly not. In our constitutional tradition, freedom of religion consists of two negative state obligations: not to endorse a religion, referred to as the nonestablishment clause; and not to interfere with its free exercise. Were the state to prohibit the showing of a film clip because it would offend a religious group, this is tantamount to endorsement of a religion which is prohibited. In any case, even caustic attacks against a religion are protected speech…

“Without a doubt, Muslims must have a reason to be bitter about a film that they see as an affront to their most important religious figure. But the remedy in a democratic society is not to ban such a film, but for Muslims to prove in both word and deed that the affront is apparent and real. Certainly, the resort to mob rule is not the means to prevail in the free marketplace of ideas.”

Indeed, the right to ridicule or to offend is part of our right to free speech. The truest defender of freedom is someone who defends people’s right to offend!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 3:38

    I agree. It is the cowardice of liberals that will strip us of our freedom of speech.

    • September 25, 2012 3:38



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