Is Insulting Islam “Attacking the Powerless”?

The question “is freedom of speech an absolute right” is a dangerous one. Of course, nothing is absolute, and of course, almost no one is saying our freedoms have no limits. While people were criticising the peace process between the state and the PKK in Turkey, even though some were only criticising the way it is done and not the process in principle, the only thing the government could come up with have been this question: “do you want our sons to die, mothers to cry?” The motive behind these two questions might differ between each other, or in different contexts; however, the result is always the same. These are cruel assumptions that contribute nothing to the discussion, and create an ironically “absolute” defence mechanism against future solutions that could be achieved. If we are asking the question “is freedom of speech an absolute right”, we are holding the correct assumption that some people might think so. However, this is not a question of what some people think. This question almost always aims to legitimise the restrictions people think authorities should place on speech. This question, when uttered THIS loudly, only holds the “wrong” assumption that “most” people think freedom of speech is an absolute right. In fact, the reality in the world today is that most people are more willing to support restricting speech more than necessary, rather than allowing its existence more than necessary. If we suppose the ultimate question should be “is freedom of speech an absolute right”, we should at least have a problem of “too much freedom.” The fact that now we are talking about a freedom of speech, but not a freedom of restricting speech in legal and social contexts just shows what we need: freedom. In a world where people are jailed, tortured, beaten or killed as a reaction to “speech”, holding the question “is freedom of speech an absolute right” as the primary approach to our predicament here, is the cruellest thing to do. Continue reading “Is Insulting Islam “Attacking the Powerless”?”

Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the Fascist Pressure to Talk about Things – Part II

In the first part, I wrote about discrimination and murder. Because of the limited time I have in my hands nowadays, I had to cut the article short, and wait for an opportunity to write the second part. In this part, I will try to point out a problem on which many articles have so far been written. This problem is often called “liberal pusillanimity.” In his article “Je suis Charlie? It’s a bit late,” Kenan Malik argues that the situation we are in today regarding free speech is the result of the self-censorship culture developed by many people who call themselves liberals. According to Malik, had such people shown stronger support for free speech for the last 20 years, we would not be dealing with most of the problems we have right now. This “pusillanimity” presents itself in a few different manners, including the ones that are subjects of this article. Continue reading “Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the Fascist Pressure to Talk about Things – Part II”