It is disturbing to note the advent of leaders in many European countries supporting a policy of aggression and resentment towards Islam and Muslims. This attitude is reminiscent of Hitler’s antagonism towards European Jews during WW11 and the ensuing holocaust.

The recent heinous killing of a History teacher in Paris, which has been condemned worldwide, evoked an angry response from President Macron, when he promised to protect France from  “radical Islam”, whatever that means. He also undertook to build a form of Islam which would be in sync with  secular values of France.

However the “freedom of speech” is not a universal value. It is a liberal construct which non-liberals may find it difficult to subscribe to. If the “freedom of speech” was a universal value, then the debate around it should end immediately. The use of the “K” word in the South African context becomes acceptable as well as the denial of the holocaust during WW11. But these are not only sensitive terms but are deeply hurtful and cannot be  classified as freedom of speech.

Journalistic professionalism, Defamation Laws, Public Order laws exist all over the world in order to protect the integrity and honour of the members of our communities and societies.

What is critical to all of humanity is the universal value of respect. It is elementary to all human politeness and courtesy. What should be the beginning of all discussions and debates pertaining to our value system, are the various elements that make up that system. It includes honesty, trust, trustworthiness, truth and of course respect amongst others. In the context of “Freedom of speech” and expression, respect should be the beginning of the debate.

Freedom of speech should not be used as a political tool and very selectively at that.

Who decides what qualifies as freedom of speech?

Freedom of Speech is about power. It is this power that uses “Freedom of Speech” to determine how far to go when implementing this liberal construct.

Secular liberalism has forced its own values upon the unsuspecting world.

Islam encourages all forms of criticism, appraisal and analyses. There is no place for insults, insolence, insensitivity and contemptuous rudeness in Islam. There is no place for mockery and denigration of the culture and belief-structure of “the other”, in Islam.

Issued by:
Ibrahim Vawda
Media Review Network
Johannesburg
South Africa.
072 295 0088

Author: Ibrahim Vawda

Ex educator and spent the last 14 years in education as headmaster. A proud Muslim and keen internationalist. Passionate about human rights issues. No respect for politicians.