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Letter: Other side of the conversation — illegal in Canada?

Like the term racist, “Islamophobe” is used largely to kill discussion by demonizing the messenger, who perhaps evokes uncomfortable truths, and thus conveniently diverts attention away from the message.

The Telegram failed to present an analysis of the anti-Islamic posters removed by Memorial University educrats. It is frightening when a university becomes a censor of politically incorrect truths.

As free speech advocates rightfully argue, hate speech should be countered not with censorship, but with more speech.

I’d analyze all five points made on the poster, if not for the 700-word maximum here. Take No. 1: “Pretend to be a refugee in order to gain access to your chosen country.” Don’t some migrants do this?

Columnist Martha Muzychka erroneously notes in “Hate speech is not free speech” (The Telegram, Oct. 19): “if your opinions limit the rights of others, then we have to think about what freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression really mean.”

Opinions do not limit rights. Only laws do that. Hate is a subjective term, which makes that mantra a troubling one. As free speech advocates rightfully argue, hate speech should be countered not with censorship, but with more speech. Point-by-point counter-argumentation (debate!) regarding the now-censored posters should have been MUN’s response.

Is Islam really a religion of peace? Over 100 verses in the Qur’an seem to indicate it isn’t. How quickly we have forgotten the Islamic massacre of free speech in Paris! Were MUN educrats critical of those Charlie Hebdo cartoonists? Perhaps. But Je suis Charlie…

Contrary to multiculti-ideology, all cultures are not equal, regarding the basic human right of free speech. Islamic theocracies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar come to mind. Should that not be discussed or should discussion be closed because it might be hurtful? Democracy demands a citizenry with backbone!

“So it’s disheartening to be confronted with the fact that some people don’t welcome other cultures and religions, and regard them as a threat,” notes Pam Frampton in her Oct. 11 Telegram column. Well, for me, it is disheartening some people welcome other cultures and religions without first determining if they might be compatible with democracy and its prime cornerstones, freedom of speech and vigorous debate. Let us not forget that prior to the Age of Reason, blasphemy was punishable by torture and death in Europe’s Age of the Inquisition. Does Canada wish to revert to that dark period? Didn’t it just get rid of its own outdated blasphemy laws?

Rather than proclaim Islamophobia, perhaps it would be better to carefully analyze the posters. Are there not many Muslims who seek “Islamic domination of the West”? Is that not ISIS’ goal? Why bury that truth in the murky chorus of “hate speech”? Are there many Muslims who don’t seek that domination? If so, then they need to come to the table of conversation. Openness should be encouraged, not censorship. “Hate speech” laws push opinions underground and thus prevent openness. Suppression produces festering, which can produce explosion.

The posters state: “Open your eyes. Look around.” Would it be better for them to state: “Close your eyes. Don’t look around.”?

“They’ve prompted a good deal of debate about freedom of speech vs. hate literature, and that’s a conversation worth having,” rightfully notes Frampton. “Freedom of speech is something we hold dear, but it isn’t absolute. There are limits. This isn’t the United States, it’s Canada, and the laws are different.”

And indeed, as an American, I fear one day I might be prohibited from visiting Newfoundland because I’ve been openly critical of that which needs to be criticized. Who determines what the limits should be and what their political motives are?

In the U.S., free speech is not absolute either. Speech that calls for violence, and will likely result in imminent violence, is not protected. But that poster would certainly be protected! And it appears it should also be protected via Canada’s Charter of Rights.

“Libertarians may see limits as chains on thought. In reality, they are sensible checks and balances at keeping a civil society,” notes Muzychka. Well, as a libertarian, I would have to ask, who gets to define “sensible” and “civil” and act as Chief Sensibility and Civility Censor?

 

G. Tod Slone, editor
The American Dissident
Barnstable, Mass.
todslone@hotmail.com

 

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