14 August 2008

Wingnut or Faithful ~ Is Violence Ever Right?

I have no agreement with this Christian preacher's rant -- see video below -- but the core fact remains he is exercising his freedom of speech, something we in civilized countries have grown to appreciate and are willing to protect even when we disagree with it. In this video, the Christian calls the Muslim prophet several blunt descriptive terms which refer to the prophet's dealings with villagers who disagreed with him, his role leading raids on trade caravans, and his engaging in marital "relations" with what we today would call an "under-age girl" whom he took as one of his several wives. In the video, some woman in the audience -- apparently a Muslim -- disagrees with him and first proceeds to violate the preacher's property rights, and then assaults him with punches, and threatens "don't talk about my prophet, I'll kill you." What I would like to know is:
  • Do Muslims disagree with the facts as asserted? Even though they are rather well documented in the Hadith and by historians?
  • Do Muslims agree with appropriateness of the woman's reactions? Even though violating property right and violence against speech is against every civilized code of law ever construed?
  • Is violence ever the correct response against the exercise of free speech? Even though such freedom of speech is the core of laws in modern civilized society?
If the answer is Yes -- to any of these questions -- then it would seem there perhaps really is a Clash of Civilizations because facts are facts, and threatening violence against free speech is viciously evil, and actual assault should be punished severely, most especially a hate crime like this... I find myself in moral and political solidarity with Johann Hari, an opinion commentator in The Independent who opines that We need to stop being such cowards about Islam.

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