Financial Express print this

No absulate freedom of expression


THE defenders of the offending cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (SM) published in a newspaper of one European country and then reprinted in several, including government leaders and others in some western countries, say that this was part of the freedom of expression enjoyed in their societies.
But can we accept the perverse idea that freedom of expression includes something so irrational like mocking at the Prophet of one of the world's greatest religions having more than a billion followers. They have offended these vast number of people who regard their Prophet highly as a messenger of the Almighty, call Him Allah or God. Do they know that Islam does not permit criticism of other prophets? What is the democratic value if you do not respect the other parties? The Prophet of Islam is highly respected by even learned non-followers belonging to other faiths who have studied the Quran with reference to the context and do not interpret it out of context.
One understands that freedom of expression is a worthwhile value. It should mean the freedom to protest all injustices, wrongs and unethical behaviour. Freedom of expression ought to mean the upholding of the truth and revealing of the truth. In such cases, freedom of expression is fully justified. But how can we maintain that freedom of expression should include all kinds of immoral behaviour? If it were so, then the horrifying crazy acts of individuals like, open pornographic displays, could also be legitimised as part of freedom of expression and to be in the public interest.
That there are rightful curbs practised against excesses committed in the name of freedom of expression only go to show that no freedom is absolute. Thus, mocking at the Prophet of Islam cannot be regarded as anything promoting any positive value apart from the negatives of inciting religious hatreds and intolerance. The instigation represents nothing but the lowliest feeling of some individuals. My taste does not permit me to regard it as anything falling under freedom of expression.
Nazneen Rahman
Gulshan, Dhaka