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Free-Speech

Summary:


The concept is nicely summed up here:

Free speech-even speech you don't like; especially speech you don't like-is one of the things that literally makes America great https://t.co/G6M3PZTdjk

— Richard Dreyfuss (@RichardDreyfuss) April 29, 2017 

Brendan O’Neill - editor of spiked

It’s time to get serious about freedom of speech. It is unacceptable to repress the expression of ideas. It is unacceptable to repress the expression of hatred. ‘Hate speech is not free speech!’, people say. But it is. By its very definition, free speech must include hate speech. Speech must always be free, for two reasons: everyone must be free to express what they feel, and everyone else must have the right to decide for themselves whether those expressions are good or bad. When the EU, social-media corporations and others seek to make that decision for us, and squash ideas they think we will find shocking, they reduce us to the level of children. That is censorship’s greatest crime: it infantilises us. Let us now reassert our adulthood, our autonomy, and tell them: ‘Do not presume to censor anything on our behalf. We can think for ourselves.'

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/we-must-have-the-freedom-to-hate1/18445#.Wu7ObIgvzIV

This point on tolerance is also very apposite:

Tolerance demands conditions, something that the great Catholic preacher Fulton Sheen knew a century ago. The following piece is an excerpt from his 1931 book, Old Errors and New Labels, and is provocatively titled “A Plea for Intolerance.”

I’m sure his words were timely then, but perhaps moreso today. This line sums up his argument:

“Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.”

What a crucial point! The greatest barrier to dialogue is our failure to separate people from their ideas. When that happens, people become afraid to challenge bad ideas because they feel like they’re demeaning the person who holds them. But people are not their beliefs—they have beliefs, but they are not identical with their beliefs. That’s a vital distinction, which Sheen helps us see.

https://brandonvogt.com/fulton-sheen-need-intolerance/?doing_wp_cron=1507130927.9002470970153808593750

This professor also makes the valid point: ‘Hurling labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate.’

What those of us in academia should certainly not do is engage in unreasoned speech: hurling slurs and epithets, name-calling, vilification and mindless labeling. Likewise, we should not reject the views of others without providing reasoned arguments. Yet these once common standards of practice have been violated repeatedly at my own and at other academic institutions in recent years, and we increasingly see this trend in society as well.

One might respond that unreasoned slurs and outright condemnations are also speech and must be defended. My recent experience has caused me to rethink this position. In debating others, we should have higher standards. Of course one has the right to hurl labels like “racist,” “sexist” and “xenophobic”—but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Hurling such labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate. Indeed, it undermines these goals by discouraging or stifling dissent.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-cant-be-debated-on-campus-1518792717#click=https://t.co/rEmRMjIwWK

This article on how language manipulation can be used to manipulation beliefs:

How language manipulation distorted national identities

Not all indoctrination is bad. Helping someone understand their own thought processes to help quit smoking or other addiction, for example, is arguably also a form of brainwashing. But in this instance, the intention is to help the individual. Crucially, the individual is aware of what is about to take place.

What should be of concern is when this takes place without our conscious awareness. Because, and you don’t need me to spell this out, that if it’s being done deceitfully we can pretty much guarantee that it isn’t in our interests. So how do we know? It can be difficult, but here are some pointers:

  1. When you see or hear a headline, first ask yourself why this story is being aired? Or how much air-time it is getting? Who benefits from you buying into the narrative? There are endless stories all over the world the media can choose from, so why did they choose this one?
  2. What and how is language being used? Are there any words or phrases that are being repeated often? This is important because if this is the case, you will notice people around you repeating the same phrases as their own
  3. Spend time on numbers 1 and 2 before you get involved in the story. The moment you delve in and get involved in the arguments, you are psychologically much less able to step back and evaluate with the same effectiveness. It is, literally, the perfect example of: ‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’.

https://shysociety.co.uk/2018/03/17/language-manipulation-distorted-national-identities/

Finally, this legal blog makes some very interesting points on the laws currently used to monitor 'hate' speech in the UK.

http://barristerblogger.com/2018/03/24/its-time-to-change-the-bad-law-used-to-prosecute-count-dankula/

Summary: 

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.

...

There may be some positive things to be said about Mohammed, but I thought this was pushing things too far and mentioned just one occasion when Mohammed didn’t welcome a critic. Asma bint Marwan was a female poetess who mocked the ‘Prophet’ and who, as a result, Mohammed had killed. It is in the texts. It is not a problem for me. But I can understand why it is a problem for decent Muslims. The moment I said this, my Muslim colleague went berserk. How dare I say this? I replied that it was in the Hadith and had a respectable chain of transmission (an important debate). He said it was a fabrication which he would not allow to stand. The upshot was that he refused to continue unless all mention of this was wiped from the recording. The BBC team agreed and I was left trying to find another way to express the same point.

Summary: 

For an illustration of just how kneejerk accusations of Islamophobia have become, look no further than the row over Boris Johnson’s latest column. Writing in the , the former foreign secretary criticised Denmark’s ban on the burqa. A ban runs against Denmark’s ‘spirit of liberty’, he said. He makes clear that he opposes the introduction of a similar ban in the UK.

Yet while Johnson is against banning the burqa, he is nonetheless critical of this garment. It is ‘oppressive… to expect women to cover their faces’, he says. He adds that it looks ridiculous and its wearers sometimes ‘look like letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’. For making these remarks, despite his call not to ban the burqa, Johnson stands accused of right-wing, racist demagoguery.

Summary: 

A truly bizarre thing happened yesterday: Boris Johnson was branded an Islamophobe and a bigot for writing in defence of Muslim women who wear the niqab....He’s been slammed everywhere as a racist, a borderline fascist, a poundshop Mussolini who if he ever gets to No10 will declare war on Muslims and other minorities. What is the basis to these shrill and wilful misinterpretations of what he said? Because alongside defending women’s freedom to wear the niqab and burqa, he expressed distaste for these garments. And, as we now know, you’re not allowed to say anything even remotely critical about Islam or its practices these days.

...

The rash reaction to Boris’s comments, the depiction of him as a hard-right tyrant, confirms that it is now tantamount to thoughtcrime to say anything critical about Islam. To make any kind of moral judgement about Islamic practices, to question its beliefs or its prophets or its garments, is to run the risk of being branded an ‘Islamophobe’, a racist, a fascist.

Summary: 

Where’s the concern for Labour MP Sarah Champion? Where are the leftists demanding that this female MP stop being harassed merely for expressing her views? Where are the tweets drawing attention to Ms Champion’s plight — the fact that she now  an actual security team because people who hate her political views want to physically harm her? In this post-Jo Cox era, I thought we were all meant to have the backs of elected politicians who are under threat from extremists. And yet when it comes to Champion — just such an elected politician — people seem to be looking the other way.

News Date: 
30/07/2018
Summary: 

SHARES Twitter has launched a new scheme to clamp down on ‘abuse, harassment and other types of behaviours that can detract or distort from the public conversation’. It has selected two teams of academics to begin a project aimed at silencing the wrong type of speech on the social network. The researchers have expertise in a wide range of subject areas including Islam, diversity and the spread of right-wing populism. They will work to measure the effect of echo chambers and hate speech on Twitter, with the data used to guide the tech giant’s future strategy.

Summary: 

In his book , Rizvi speaks directly to the many closeted atheists, agnostics, and secularists in the Muslim world. These people are obliged by the societies in which they live to present themselves outwardly as Muslims, but in private, they harbor different ideas. Rizvi’s book is often polemical in tone, but also humane and sympathetic to the plight of Muslims around the world. He is keenly aware of the consolations which faith provide to some, and he never stoops to condescension.

If Rizvi is right, freethinkers in the Muslim world are more numerous than most of us suspect. Not only are their numbers growing, but they are becoming more and more emboldened. With eloquent and outspoken ex-Muslims such as Rizvi, who offer a message of hope and liberation from dogma, religious conservatives around the world should start to worry.

...

But the title is not necessarily self-descriptive, even though it has become that by now. You know, people say: “Oh, here’s Ali Rizvi, the Atheist Muslim.” In the first place, the title is addressing atheists who are closeted, who have to present themselves outwardly as Muslims. In the Muslim world, there are countless such freethinkers, atheists, and agnostics, who are going around presenting themselves as Muslims, because there are very serious consequences for openly saying what they are. You know all the reasons. It ranges from being rejected by their families, disowned and ostracized by their communities, to being persecuted, jailed, or even hacked to death, as with the Bangladeshi secular bloggers. These people are atheist in thought, but Muslim in appearance. They are all living a contradictory existence.

Summary: 

Anyone who doubted that the accusation of Islamophobia is used to silence perfectly legitimate political debate will surely change their minds as a result of the Trump / Sadiq spat. In the rush to brand Trump an Islamophobe and a racist merely because he criticised Sadiq Khan’s response to terror attacks, Labour and its media cheerleaders have exposed how much of a conceit the phobia accusation is, how cynical it is, and that it really serves no other purpose than to shush unpopular opinions by slurring them as bigoted.

Summary: 

The Met may make appeal to the definition of the , but there is a world of difference between a think-tank developing guidelines for community and fraternity, and an agency of law enforcement incorporating these definitions into a definition of criminal activity. How many police officers are aware of the history of Islam? How many grasp the theology of the long-prophesied Caliphate? How many understand the theo-political differences and divergences between ? (May one say ‘theo-political’ or does that fall foul of equating the religion with a political ideology?) Is  an expression of Islam? If so, how can it be Islamophobic to articulate the bald truth of its violent, aggressive “clash of civilisations” theological genesis and political nature? Doesn’t the Met understand the fundamental difference between abusing Muslims and criticising a religion; between being anti-Muslim and anti-Islam? Why have they adopted a sharia-compliant definition of ‘Islamophobia’, and not one which is informed by the superior enlightened approach to religion which is a hallmark of Western civilisation and founded upon the fundamental freedom of religion?

 

Country: 
Bangladesh
News Date: 
02/05/2016
Summary: 

In 2015, five secular bloggers were killed in separate attacks. Each incident sparked headlines and outrage, but the grim toll has continued into this year. Ever since a hit list of secularists was published in 2013, fringe Islamist groups have made it known that bloggers and secular activists who speak out against religion or in favor of atheism will be under threat. This has been compounded by the inability of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to rein in extremist violence in a country with a long history of extrajudicial murder and impunity.

Country: 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
News Date: 
29/06/2018
Summary: 

A chronicle of a society in its death throes: Lord Pearson asks if “Her Majesty’s Government whether, in pursuit of their anti-terrorism strategy,” will “require preaching in mosques and teaching in madrassas in England and Wales to be monitored for hate speech against non-Muslims.”

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