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Issued: 02 April 2015

The Media Review Network (MRN) deplores the French authorities silencing of Professor Farid Esack.

Esack a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, South African Muslim scholar, writer, and political activist known for his opposition to apartheid was banned from speaking on Palestine at a French University – Sorbonne.

The much hailed democratic pillars of Freedom of Speech and Expression is once again being spotlighted. In a world where injustice is the norm much emphasis is placed on democracy. In the Western context, it enshrines an individuals ability express oneself no matter how controversial it may be to others. Yet within in the Western paradigm, the application of democracy and its freedoms are highly selective and only apply to certain sectors and factions of society.

Free and fair elections aside, France’s practiced democracy is questionable and in the case of Esack it couldn’t be more evident. Ironically, this is the same country that was at the forefront of promoting the right to freedom of speech and expression of Charlie Hebdo. France was supported by the West including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and now sees it fit to deny that same right to another individual.

What has happened to Esack’s right to freedom of speech and expression? Is Esack’s right to freedom of speech being denied because he chose to speak on Palestine?

The silence of the media is deafening when it comes to defending this right of Esack. The double standards are clearly visible.

Selective silencing of voices is the ultimate paradox of democracy, and we as the MRN are sceptical about the West and French commitment to freedom of expression and speech. We call on individuals of conscience and affinity to justice to stand and make their voices heard. It is time we end this cycle of selectivity, hypocrisy and silence.

Issued by:

Nabila Ismail

Researcher, Media Review Network

Tel No: 011 837 3220

MRN

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.
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