This was submitted to the PEI paper, The Guardian, by a dear old friend of mine now living in Windso:

There are limits to freedom of speech

By Sobia Ali
Windsor, Ont.

Editor:

As an alumnus of UPEI and a Muslim I was very upset and offended to hear
that the UPEI newspaper, The Cadre, had published the hateful and
Islamophobic picture of our Prophet Muhammad.

Of course I support and defend freedom of speech, however, all freedom of
speech comes with responsibilities and limits.

In Canada, the spreading of hate toward any minority group is illegal.
Papers do not publish pictures with racist depictions of various minorities
be they ethnic or otherwise. Then why is it acceptable to depict
Islamophobic pictures? Why is it acceptable to spread hate about Muslims?
For Muslims around the world the picture originally published in a Danish
newspaper does just this. It spreads hate by perpetuating a disgusting and
offensive stereotype about Muslims.

If Ray Keating, the editor of The Cadre, and many more so-called journalists
like him, want to be able to print whatever they want and whenever they want
then why do they not have pictures or prose depicting Black, Jewish,
Chinese, or Aboriginal people in a negative and stereotypical manner? Why do
they not print sexist pictures of women? Is this not their right? Do they
see this as offensive? Yet, to publish the same hateful material about
Muslims is seen as a freedom of speech issue. To not be able to spread hate
about Muslims is seen as censorship.

Many people seem to be having difficulty understanding why Muslims are
offended by this picture. Is it such a difficult concept to understand that
racist propaganda is offensive? Christians living in the western world may
not take offence to various depictions of Jesus whether they are respectful
or not. That is their prerogative. However, for Muslims this is not the
case.We do not feel the same way about religion as most Christians do. Even
the least religious Muslim would never dream of insulting the Prophet, a man
whom Muslims in this world not only look up to, but also try to emulate.
Perhaps, and unfortunately, this is something only a Muslim can understand.
Finally, as an alumnus of UPEI and a Muslim, I would like to thank Wade
MacLauchlan, president of UPEI, for removing this issue of The Cadre from
the campus.

Advertisements