Saturday, March 06, 2010

Mansur defends free speech

Prof Mansur defends the speech of this he finds repugnant. Good for him.Offensive speech, is the true test of free speech. Expose the darkness to the light and reply with words. That is how to fight against vile speech.
Protect free speech, even if offensive


How does a liberal society deal with a case such as that of Salman Hossain, who posted vile, incendiary messages in public against Jews and others he detests and wishes harm?

It keeps this individual under surveillance and indicts him under the country’s Criminal Code — in Canada it would be section 319 — if he is found to contravene it.

But a liberal society that takes freedom of speech for its anchor will not censor, or indict, this individual on the ground his speech is offensive to some or all people.

In several of my recent columns published in this paper, I have contended that Geert Wilders, the Dutch MP on trial for hate speech in Amsterdam’s Court of Appeal, has the right to express freely — irrespective of whether I, or Muslims in general, find his views offensive — what he thinks about Muslims, Islam and the Qur’an.

The trial of Wilders in Holland indicates how persistent the temptation is within a liberal society to resort to illiberal means in dealing with situations that might cause some public unease. Complaints against Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine before various human rights commissions in Canada are other examples.

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