by Yasir Qadhi, just posted on Facebook
Every few months, something happens that demonstrates the inherent hypocrisy and double-standards of liberalism’s accusations against Islam. Of them is the claim that Muslims don’t believe in ‘freedom of speech’ since we don’t accept people making fun of our sacred symbols.
Yet, as I have argued in many lectures, each and every society has its self-imposed taboos in speech that it does not transgress. And when it does, there are actual ramifications and repercussions, whether legal or societal.
Recently, a small unknown mattress company in Texas released an ad in which they advertised a 9/11 sale as a ‘Twin Towers’ sale, in which two employees fell over and caused two stacks of mattresses to collapse, and a lady says as the mattresses are falling, ‘We will never forget’.
It was a cheap, foolish, tacky ad. The actors and ad consultant obviously lacked intelligence, but clearly they didn’t intend to insult anyone.
Yet, the ad caused a national backlash. The small store had to shut down its business; its owners received death threats (along with thousands of abusive and foul-language messages); the parent company has unconditionally apologized and, to show how ‘sorry’ they are, will donate a large sum of money to some 9/11 cause.
One thing you will not find in all of this debacle is people championing the ‘freedom of speech’ card for this tacky ad. For some strange reason, all of a sudden this ‘fundamental value’ of Western liberalism to insult and to speak freely seems to be overlooked when it comes to specific issues.
If a tacky 9/11 ad provoked such a furious reaction and caused a business to shut down, is it really that difficult to understand that Muslims will indeed be even more angry when their Creator, or prophet, or book, are *intentionally* insulted and sacrilegiously denigrated?
True, such provocation should not result in physical harm, but the anger is fully expected and, indeed, a natural and logical reaction to a crude insult of an icon or symbol that is so revered and beloved by a people.
Again, the point of this post was to demonstrate that there is no such thing as ultimate free speech, anywhere in the world. Yes, there are differences to the Shariah’s understanding and a liberal understanding, but both draw lines, and both have limits.
Here more on the story: