Secular Right | Reality & Reason



Erdogan, Again

Cross-posted on the Corner:

Turkey’s thuggish (“mildly Islamist”, if you are The Economist) prime minister Erdogan is doing his bit to restrict free speech. The Seattle Times reports:

Prompted by the anti-Muslim video produced in California that has stirred deadly riots around the world, delegations from major Muslim nations have arrived at the United Nations prepared to demand international curbs on speech or media that they believe defame their religion or the Prophet Muhammad…. The demand for limits on anti-Islamic expression is coming from leading Islamic groups such as the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and leaders as diverse as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Erdogan, who Obama views as a key ally, has declared that all 57 Islamic nations “should speak forcefully with one voice,” and has called for “international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred.”

These leaders consider anti-Islamic material a kind of “hate speech” that should be banned around the world. They are expected to demand those regulations when debate begins Tuesday in the General Assembly.

“This has exposed a huge fault line in political philosophies,” said Stewart Patrick, of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. “It may be irreconcilable.”

May be irreconcilable. Good grief. Suggesting that it is not — maybe with some “dialog” here, or a bit of “inter-faith” there — will only encourage those who believe that there does indeed exist some middle ground where debate can be politely and oh so sensitively stifled. Just look at the U.K. if you want to see how that works.

To quote yet again what was written in Jyllands-Posten at the time of the Mohammed cartoons:

“Ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed. Der er intet men.” The translation? “Free speech is free speech is free speech. There is no but.”

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  • WmarkW · September 27, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Unlike shopping and flying, if we give up the right to blaspheme Islam, the terrorists HAVE won.

  • Steve Cardon · September 27, 2012 at 12:39 am

    The problem is that Islam is trapped within its own rigid theocentric paradigm. Listening to the stream of middle-eastern leaders addressing the United Nations today (including the always rambling Ahmadinajad), it became crystal clear to me why there is such a philosophical impasse. I have been asking myself over the last week why a double standard exists in the middle-east. This double standard allows Muslims to be insulting and mocking of other religions, but woe betide the non-Muslim (or Muslim for that matter) who ridicules Islam. This is an obvious hypocrisy you would think… but it isn’t, not from the Muslim perspective. In the view of Islam, it is the ONLY LEGITIMATE RELIGION and therefore there exists no equivalence to insulting FALSE religions like Judaism, or Christianity. The rift is laid out in Islamic dogma, and is therefore irreconcilable indeed. Phobia may be justified in the face of such a militant absolutist world view. The intellectual and philosophical bridge that provides for respecting other religions will not be crossed by Islam.

  • John · September 27, 2012 at 2:53 am

    When the Kemalist generals in Turkey were contemplating one last intervention to prevent the Islamists from taking charge, the Economist supported the Islamists. They were fully aware that the conflict was between freedom and democracy. The Economist chose democracy, probably wrongly.

  • Marco · September 27, 2012 at 3:25 am

    We’re past the thin end of the wedge. It’s already under the door.

    There are other religions, and probably secular ideologies as well, which would be willing to jump on this bandwagon if given a chance. “Free speech doesn’t mean the right to insult our deeply held and sacred beliefs”. Sorry, folks, that’s exactly what it has to mean. It doesn’t mean that people can’t choose to be tactful and considerate according their own conscience and judgment; it means that the law shouldn’t force them to do so.

    I’m getting really pessimistic about this nonsense. Are free speech advocates ready for an actual fight, not just a debate? That’s what it’s likely to come down to. Not overseas, but here where we live.



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