Thursday, February 23, 2006

CAIR: "Freedom of speech is not absolute"

This is CAIR in their truest form. They have weighed in on the Cartoonifada, and I for one don't like what I'm hearing.

From :

Panelists weigh in on cartoon controversy
Some express need for broader democracy; others say free speech is necessarily limited
By sameer khetan
February 21, 2006

Six local Islamic figures gathered Saturday for a panel to address the recent controversy over the Danish cartoons that negatively depict the Islamic prophet Muhammad

The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sponsored the event, which took place in Houston Hall.

The discussion -- held in a town-hall style and followed by an audience Q & A -- covered a variety of topics, focusing largely on the alleged marginalization of minorities in Western media and culture.

"We need to analyze what democracy means and to recognize and represent not just the majorities but the growing minorities as well," Philadelphia CAIR vice-chairman Sofia Memon said. "In view of this, we need to ask how to broaden our democracy instead of narrow it."

During their introductory speeches, several panelists denounced the cartoons as slanderous while discussing limitations on free speech.

"People have every right to give an opinion on something," Rachel Lawton, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, said. "You cross the line when you threaten, intimidate or harass, and that is when free speech is limited."

CAIR board member Mazhar Rishi agreed.

"The right to free speech is not absolute," Rishi said. "It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other" religious figure.

Audience members praised the panel as productive and important.

"In terms of spreading awareness and understanding of events like the cartoon controversy, this panel was a great step," Philadelphia Piece Action Director Phyllis Gilbert said.

"Overall the event ... was very informative," College and Wharton sophomore Samir Malik said. "That Islam must respect the freedom of others to express what they feel while simultaneously condemning the slander about the [Prophet Muhammad] was right on key."

Despite the widespread outrage the cartoons have caused among some groups, panelists and audience members agreed that there is a role for dialogue and tolerance in rebuilding burned bridges.

"We as Americans must show tolerance to all faiths," Rishi said. "Whether we are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or any other religion we must spread ideals of faith and love because that is what our faiths tell us to do."


Oh yeah, Rishi? I'd say otherwise. And if you guys would like to say otherwise as well, here is, as always CAIR's contact info:

Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003

Tel: 202-488-8787
Fax: 202-488-0833


Pastorius said...

The more powerful an institution is as a force in a society, the more that institution needs to be open to criticism.

The most powerful forces in a society are probably

1) government,
2) religion
3) media

Not necessarily in that order

We ought to be able to criticize these institutions in a completely unrestrained manner. Any restraint could easily be abused by these institutions in order to create a tyranny.

Dag said...

If we don't openly exercize our freedoms in democracies, then what freedoms do we actually have? That would be the illusion of freedom.

I call on all people to exercise your right to assemble and to speak freely by joining us at McDonald's on Thursday evening from 7-9:00 pm to meet your fellow community members and to talk openly about your concerns regarding Islam and dhimmitude.

We in vancouver, Canada will do so at Main and Terminal sts. tomorrow, Thursday evening. This will be our fifth meeting. We are free, and we know it and so do you.

If you wish to meet others, and if you will do so publicly, let people know where you will be and how they will know you. We wear blue scarves. You'll see us. You'll know who we are. We are free people.

Krishna109 said...

Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten (the newspaper that first published the cartoons), makes some goods points in an article entitled: "Why I Published Those Cartoons":

"This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work "The Open Society and Its Enemies," insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations.

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult."

"As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak. The regime accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda, just as some Muslims are labeling 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper anti-Islamic.

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants." More here

John Sobieski said...

This is all part of a plan to 'soften up the opposition.' You can just see the proposed legislation at the state and national level. It's going to be a lot harder to get that crap through in the US, but Canada and Europe, and parts of Austrlia (Queensland) they have already passed laws criminalizing mocking Islam.

The plan is to include other religions of course and trying to make them allies, but it's a trap. Given the ignorance of supposed Christian scholars, they will have no shortage of allies. Funny how the envangelicals, for the most part, get Islam right and all the other conventional branches of Christianity like Episopal, Presby., Anglican, etc. are complete dhimmis and idiots.

Krishna109 said...

Good post. It is important to alert people to CAIR.

"The right to free speech is not absolute," Rishi said. "It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other" religious figure."

This is an interesting quote. But--its his opinion, and only his opinion.

In the U.S:
1- Congress makes laws
2- The ulimate interpretation of the law is up to the Supreme Court-- not Rishi! (He has a right to his opinion. He has a right to express his opinion. But, of course, he's just another "armchair philosopher").

So far, the way the law has been interpreted, his views are not supported by the law. Hopefully he will not sway many people.

Btw, FYI: there's a very good group that people should know about called Anti-CAIR:

Epaminondas said...


No sweat.... let's erase 9:29 from the Quran, and then examine the Hadiths carefully

It's intolerably offensive to those of other religions, or no religion. I will help them rip the pages from every Quran in the USA and then help them burn all copies of the cartoons.

That's my offer.

Kiddo said...

Yeah, I know about anti-CAIR. I just assumed that they were already on this one. But seeing as CAIR has become pretty much the "go to group" for muslim opinions as far as the mainstream media is concerned in the US, I see this as an important issue. Until CAIR is undermined and discredited in the eyes of the public and the media, they are still a force to be reckoned with and any statements by their spokespeople remain dangerous, IMO. They need to be outed as the main US Taqiyya Factory (other than the House of Saud and their other puppets) before I'll be at ease with them.

Epa--actually, at CAIR's site you can sign up to be sent a free quran if you need any new ones to rip up. They're like the Mormons, they're sending them out for free, baby!

But for now, how about my quran toilet paper, Epa??

Kiddo said...

Epa--actually, maybe I should grab that sura instead. I sent you 5: something or other. Hmmm.....

Avi Green said...

CAIR is certainly trying to be clever. By including the Jewish, Christian, and Hindu (Buddhist?) faiths in their speech, they hope to achieve better support that way. Exactly why we've got to be wary of their true intentions.

So-called lobby groups like CAIR shouldn't be recognized as legitimate, most certainly not if they support terrorist organizations like the Hamas. It's quite likely that they support the al Qaida as well, another reason why they should'nt be recognized.

Epaminondas said...

Pim sorry..swamped out..fiscal month's end..that's tmw .. I will email you if not over the weekend by monday about that black dress ...

Epaminondas said...

avi - actually I would favor CAIR getting as much exposure as possible. Let them get sadddled with the idea that they are legit

Just like Hamza sooner or later they would run back to the Quran and Hadiths and say, 'well what do you want from us? That's only what the quran says'

Add THAT, sports fans, is the magic moment. It will occur in the millions of minds of muslims who must either accept the quran as is, or QUESTION. Who cannot countenance what they see and hear from salafi freakazoid imams RIGHT HERE in the USA, and are internally shaking their heads, and shaking in their beds about speaking out.

They are out there, and the rubber band is getting tighter and tighter as it stretches towards a moral decision.

Mark said...

That's where CAIR is absolutely wrong. Freedom of expression is nothing if not absolute. You either have it, or you don't. If you don't, then censorship is imposed. Then you don't have it anymore. Voila CAIR! Voila!

Kiddo said...

mark, that's what I wrote to them pretty much. But until I manage to get Ibrahim Hooper photoshopped as a nun, I may not mail them again....

Speaking of Epa..there's a dream of mine that you could bring to reality...HAHAHA! And what about my dress exactly? Hmm?