One of the principal tactics of those who would stifle free speech is to characterize all speech they disagree with as ‘Hate Speech’. The obvious problem with this form of censorship is that those who make ‘Hate Speech’ claims typically set themselves up as both judge and jury. Just how arbitrary these attempts at speech policing are can be seen by looking at the set of utterances below.
Would you agree that if I made the following totally unacceptable statements about Muslims I would be guilty of ‘Hate Speech’? 1) Muslims are the worst kind of animals 2) Be merciful to one another but be hard towards Muslims 3) Muslims are perverse 4) Strike terror into the hearts of Muslims and strike off their heads and fingertips 5) Fight the Muslims who are near to you 6) When Muslims make mischief against you murder and crucify them
You would have to agree that these statements fall well within any definition of ‘Hate Speech’ and would land anyone who make them in deep legal trouble in many parts of the world. They will also be met with cries of ‘Islamophobia’! What about if these statements are used against non-Muslims? Would it still be ‘hate speech’? If not, why not? The fact is that these exact statements can be found in the Qur’an directed against those who reject Allah and his ‘prophet’. (Full Qur’anic verses below)
The fact that many of those flinging accusations of ‘Hate Speech’ around will tie themselves in knots to absolve the Qur’an of guilt in this area perfectly illustrates the facietiousness of modern attempts at censorship. It should, at the very least, alert us to the fact that issues and questions (e.g. ‘Does the Qur’an teach hatred against non-Muslims?’) should be dealt with honestly and in open debate instead of being shut up with spurious accusations and attempts at censorship.
My book ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Examining the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’ is one attempt to face the ‘censors’ head on by interactiong with the bigger questions of the relationship between Islam and violence committed in its name.
The Qur’anic verses on which the statements above are based are the following: 1) Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve (8:55) 2) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (48:29); 3) And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah… Allah (Himself) fights against them. How perverse are they! (9:30) 4) I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them (8:12) 5) O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness (9:123) 6) The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides (5:33)