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Free speech is great… unless it offends Muslims: Ban Ki-moon

Well, that’s what he’s saying:

I am grateful to George Washington University professor of Law, Jonathan Turley, for pointing out that a growing number of world leaders find the First Amendment’s right of free speech to be an inconvenience. He cites, for instance, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s warning that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.” Turley makes the valuable — and if you think about it obvious — observation that free speech becomes intolerable not when it is used recklessly but when one person or a group of people object to its use, especially when they object violently.

I’m guessing Ban wasn’t referring to the “Book of Mormon.”

To be fair, the guy does come from a country where prosecutors just asked for a two year sentence for a guy who jokingly retweeted something from a North Korean-run Twitter feed, so perhaps it’s just how he was raised.

(HT to reader)

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  • RepoMan

    Or offends Jews.

    Denial of the Holocaust is illegal in around 17 countries, including Israel, France, Germany, and others – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial

    Criticism of Israel seems to be de facto prohibited in the mainstream US media.

    Let’s not be hypocritical here, and call a spade a spade.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Call me a hater, but I’m not sure Islam and free speech are compatible. The latest evidence from Sweden.

  • robert neff

    There is only one way to describe the video from Sweden (in the words of our host) – lovely

  • Wedge

    Ban Ki-moon et al’s argument: “These people are like children, they are incapable of rational judgment, therefore it should be illegal to provoke them.”

    I disagree and prefer to treat them like rational adults responsible for their own actions. It’s their problem if they can’t handle criticism of their prophet, not ours.

  • Wedge

    #1: Holocaust denial statutes have a lot more to do with collective guilt then they do with cowering in the face of violence. You don’t see Jews rioting when someone says Auschwitz was a summer camp.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    They aren’t rational, first of all, but that changes nothing as to us being able to say whatever we want about their stupid prohet. The thing is that we must never forget that they are irrational and that we must take precaution in case they act out violently. One such precaustion would be to limit immigration from Muslim countries as much as possible until they demonstrate the ability to be rational and to live by the laws of the land they are moving to. The onus is on them to prove that they are a part of the civilized human family, a test they have failed miserably.

  • R. Elgin

    Islam is a co-opted religion and is not beneficial to humankind as it is now. Mr. Moon does himself a disservice by making such dubious comments.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I remember a cartoon I saw of two pillars, labelled free speech and democracy, holding up a beautiful classical building. A muslim is looking around and remarks ‘What a beautiful place – I’d just like to knock out one of those pillars’.

    The Koran is a boring, repetative work of fiction and if someone can’t stand me saying it then let’s agree to live in different countries with different laws.

  • ecw

    #1: Holocaust denial statutes have a lot more to do with collective guilt then they do with cowering in the face of violence. You don’t see Jews rioting when someone says Auschwitz was a summer camp.

    Well it already is illegal or taboo and results in catastrophic damage to one’s reputation and professional prospects.

  • ecw

    Just this week, Twitter removed anti-Semitic tweets in France and blocked a neo-Nazi account in Germany:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20004671
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19988662

    I don’t think anti-Muslim content is removed or censored. Of course it may be in the future, but as of now it isn’t.

  • keith

    It’s a shame that some muslims behave worse than animals. I know a fair few people who are muslims who behave themselves well, it is a shame that some of them are so emotional and give the moderates a bad name.

    The extremists need to move back to countries where their savagery is acceptable. There are plenty of countries where these barbarians could be happy, they should move to Yemen, Saudi, Somalia if they’re not happy living in the west they should just fuck off.

    I’m all for tolerance of people of different races or religions, but tolerance is a two way street. These people cannot expect to have all the benefits of living in a sophisticated, wealthy, tolerant society if they’re going to behave like savages. Freedom of speech is a very important value in the west, if they don’t like it they should go elsewhere. I might have an intense dislike for bigots like Nick Griffin, but the fact he is allowed to say the horrendous things he does, is a testament to the freedoms that western Europeans enjoy. If those people don’t want to enjoy freedom I’m sure that Nick Griffin and other bigots like him would be quite happy to pass around the hat and buy some tickets for them to go to another country.