2020-November-24 18:13
426
2020-October-28  21:01

Hate Speech Is Not Freedom of Speech

TEHRAN (FNA)- Muslims across the globe continue to take part in rallies to protest France's president and his support of secular laws that deem caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as protected under freedom of speech.

They condemn Emanuel Macron and members of his government for supporting blasphemous caricatures that are published under freedom of expression. Such depictions are a form of hate speech and they are sacrilegious. Religious leaders have also denounced the purely provocative move, calling it a direct insult to all Muslims.

Officials in Iran have also condemned the French government for supporting the sacrilege of Islam’s Prophet (PBUH), stressing the necessity for Emanuel Macron to apologize to Muslims. The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the French Chargé d' Affaires, Florent Aydalot, over the French president's recent remarks against Islam.

The truth is every country has its own rules when it comes to freedom of the press and speech. But in general, there are four basic stages at which freedom of the press can be limited: Access to information; prior restraint on publishing inflammatory information; libel and invasion of privacy; and requiring reporters to testify or otherwise disclose sources and materials gathered.

The lesson to be learned from this is that nothing is certain or ever will be about the subject. Like any precious and constantly threatened right, its only hope for life rests in the unrelenting vigilance of those who understand it best and most appreciate its value - the members of the press themselves.

While the recent beheading of a teacher in Paris was a heinous crime, and while expression of any opinion is essential for democracy, very few have ever seen Charlie Hebdo and its level of provocation. In 2008, the biweekly tabloid fired a cartoonist who had joked about the Jewish faith.

The magazine is a voice defending the superiority of France and its cultural supremacy, and has a small racist readership, which it obtained by selling provocation - exactly the opposite of the view of a world based on respect and cooperation among different cultures and religions.

It is sad to see how the racist publication goes on to publish even more blasphemous cartoons and how a stubborn government continues to prop it up with even bigger political fan fair – and with a helping hand from the infamous Macron.

At any rate, the recent incidents in France should be seen as a racist deception because the subsequent Islamophobia campaign in the form of “anti-terror” raids and blasphemous cartoons is suspicious and overwhelming. They are never designed to foster interfaith dialogue or understanding between Muslim countries and the West.

This is why tensions remain high and will continue to have serious political and cultural reverberations. Angry protests will also continue to take place across the globe, which demonstrate the freedom of speech has its limits when it comes to disrespecting Muslim beliefs and values. Clearly, the French government has once again disregarded Muslim sensitivities and has become a fertile ground for anger and resentment.

This is not about a small, tightly networked group of misinformation experts guiding an effort that reaches millions of Westerners through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organizing. This is about the “fear of the other” and its vast right-wing Christian-Zionist network that are behind the Islamophobia campaign in Europe and the United States.

The spreading of hate and misinformation primarily starts with key people and organizations, which are sustained by funding from a clutch of foundations and racist lobby groups. They solicit money by telling public they are in imminent danger from Muslims and boast a history of fabricated evidence that perpetuates conspiracies of “radical” Islam infiltrating Europe through immigration, civil rights and advocacy organizations.

It’s the same manifesto that is once again being laid out in France and elsewhere in Europe. What else did you expect from the so-called religious tolerance and freedom of speech and expression in the West?