Friday, 25 January 2013

Is ‘Free’ Speech a Product of Secular Intolerance?

From the days of Salman Rushdie and the Danish Cartoons to the recent movie on YouTube, the issue of free speech and Islam has primarily surfaced in the context of vulgar language being directed at the Prophet (saw) and the teachings of Islam; this rabid Islamophobia is fueled by the mainstream media, in particular the gutter tabloid press like the Daily Mail. To reinforce the prejudice, the media disseminates un-Islamic actions of individual Muslims as representative of Islam. Besides the mass media, the Internet is filled with many anti-Islamic websites, engaged in the same task of circulating crude propaganda and inciting hate.

There are primarily two types of groups engaged in this type of activities, the far right extremists driven by xenophobia, and the militant secular camp. The former has adopted the anti-Islamic stance to conceal their disdain towards foreigners. So they make the flimsy argument that the Muslims are not a racial entity. That is true; however, the Muslims are largely composed of foreigners, when they are attacked by the far right, one can see the racist undertones and at times the clear racist language surfacing.