Leftist Muslims: 'Freedom of Speech Does Not Mean Hurting Someone's Feelings'


Europe once led the world in true liberalism and championing Western ideals of liberty. It looks like those days may be long gone.

A politician in the Netherlands — arguably one of the most liberal nations in Europe — is now under fire for standing up for a simple concept: Freedom of speech.

Not long ago, the conservative Dutch politician Geert Wilders announced a tongue-in-cheek competition to draw the Islamic prophet Muhammad. As you may know, most Muslims today view any depiction of that figure as sacrilegious and even enforce that belief with deadly violence.

Wilders and his aptly-named Freedom Party, however, are trying to make a point. If Islam is truly a “religion of peace,” why does simply sketching one of its famous figures send followers into a blind rage?

Unsurprisingly, a major Islamic group is now throwing a fit … and the statement from one of their leaders should make it clear which side of history they are on.

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“In a statement, (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen called it a ‘provocative’ move, which would sow seeds of hate among different religious groups,” reported the Turkish news source called Anadolu Agency.

“Freedom of speech does not mean hurting someone’s feelings,” declared Al-Othaimeen.

Think about that for a moment. If freedom of speech ends the moment one of seven billion people in the world has their “feelings hurt,” what good is freedom of speech at all?

Indeed, freedom of expression wouldn’t even be necessary if everyone had the exact same views. The entire point of this freedom is precisely because people disagree — sometimes vehemently.

Do you think this cartoon contest should be protected under free speech?

The principle is that mere words or satirical cartoon drawings do not justify using force against another person, and all of Western progress is based on the free exchange of ideas. Yes, even the controversial ones.

“Freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics,” Wilders said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom.”

But the “religion of peace” doesn’t see it that way. That became abundantly clear in Texas back in 2015, when a similar “Draw Muhammad” contest turned deadly.

“Two men who opened fire outside a contest for Prophet Mohammed cartoons in (Garland, Texas) were shot dead by police Sunday night,” CNN reported at the time.

Those Islamic gunmen were intent on killing as many people as possible, all because of a satirical art exhibition. The same Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, was there — and he knows a few things about the struggle for free speech.

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A 2008 film produced by Wilders and critical of Islam put him on an al-Qaida hit list. Perhaps more disturbingly, the online movie also got him arrested in his own country.

“In 2011, Wilders was cleared on charges of inciting discrimination and hatred over a controversial film he made about Islam,” CNN reported.

Nobody disputes that cartoons criticizing Islam — whether at Charlie Hebdo’s office in France, here in the U.S., or in Holland — are controversial. The real question is whether one group stuck in the dark ages should be permitted to impose their outdated views on others, even at gunpoint.

Leftists and statists fundamentally despise free speech because it endangers their attempts to accumulate and keep power over everyone else.

Free speech is what allows them to be defeated. That’s why they hate and fear it so much … and that’s exactly why even “unapproved” free speech is so important to preserve.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.