Oh, those Letters To The Editor. I wish there were more times when I read one and thought, “Gosh, that cogently sums up the issue and makes an interesting point!” But Letters To The Editor tend to have the opposite effect, showing me just how ludicrous people can be. So today, with a few free minutes, I thought I’d peruse the letters to the editor on the Calgary Herald’s web site and see what I could find. I found this.
The article, entitled “More respect needed” by Masood Nasir is typical. Masood does not want to say that he’s with the guys who are murdering and rampaging because someone made a movie about his faith that was unflattering. In fact, he condemns the reaction as being against the teachings of the Prophet. However, as so often happens, he puts the blame in the wrong place.
He starts by expressing that free speech was “intended to lead to truth and morality”. I don’t know if I agree with that. I believe that free speech was intended to give the masses the ability to freely stand up to tyranny, to not fear holding unpopular beliefs, and the like. I’m sure there was talk about both truth and morality, but I don’t really believe anyone would consider that free speech would lead us there.
He then expresses that free speech conflicts with values such as peaceful coexistence, and as such, must be balanced. That sounds dangerously close to defeating the whole point of free speech. Let’s say you had a tyrant king, and exercising your free speech would result in his slaughtering a village full of dissenters. Should the speaker then balance their right to speech against the death of the townspeople and say nothing? Even knowing how the king would react beforehand does not transfer the blame from king to speaker.
I understand that Masood Nasir feels that we ought to all be more respectful of Islam, even if we don’t really feel that way. After all, when we disrespect it, they’re just going to go all crazy and start killing random innocent people. But what message are we sending? I thought we didn’t bow to acts of terrorism, but that is exactly what is happening here. We are allowing people to bully us.
Nothing deserves my respect except those things that have earned it. The fact that a person believes in the teachings of someone does not validate anything, so why should I be expected to show respect? And when does this become a two way street? To Islam, I am about as shitty a thing as a person could be. I’m an infidel atheist. Islam teaches that I, as a disbeliever, am the firewood of hell. Their words, not mine. That’s Sura 72:15. Or how about we look for Islam’s respect in Sura 9:123 which reads, “O ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers …. and let them find harshness in you.”
Right. Pretty clear this is a one way street. So, Masood, I don’t feel the need to offer you or your faith respect. I don’t care for the movie that sparked this controversy, but where do you get off saying that the psychotic reaction to the movie is the fault of the movie maker? The guy’s a giant dick, but so is every single person who thinks that the right thing to do when someone insults your faith is to murder and destroy everything that reminds you of your offender?