The filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that some blame for the Middle East riots, was taken into custody. Is this the end of the First Amendment as we know it?
A YouTube clip is not the cause of but the pretext for the Muslim riots around the world. And now it’s also the pretext for forcing the West by force to show Islam a “respect” it does not deserve:
Muslim leaders have vowed to discuss the offensive video from their U.N. platforms (at the UN General Assembly this week), sowing concern among free-speech activists ofÂ a fresh push toward an international law that would criminalize blasphemy...
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon …Â surprised â€“ and disappointed â€“ many free-speech activists by suggesting limitations to freedom of speech when it’s “used to provoke or humiliate.”
“We are living through a period of unease. We are also seeing incidents of intolerance and hatred that are then exploited by others,” Ban told the 193-member General Assembly at the gathering’s opening last week. “…We all need to speak up in favor of mutual respect and understanding of the values and beliefs of others.” …
For years, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a 57-member bloc of countries that seeks to protect Muslim interests around the world, has proposed a resolution criminalizing the defamation of religion.Â
Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has reiterated his demand from the United Nations and other international organisations to come up with an effective legislation against all kinds of anti-Islam acts…
”We would go to the UN and OIC and get a law passed to stop anti-Islam activities, including blasphemy, forever,” the News Agencies quoted Ashraf, as saying…
He said President Asif Ali Zardari would raise the blasphemy issue in the UN General Assembly.
And from the new head of the OIC:
“…we will not just grin and bear it when Islam’s prophet is insulted,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told party members at the weekend.
“The protests in the Muslim world must be measured, andÂ the West should show a determined stance against Islamophobia.”
And from Egypt, now led by the Muslim Brotherhood:
Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi saidÂ the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its valuesÂ …
Egypt’s president and other Muslim leaders should demand the U.N. criminalize contempt of religionÂ after the release of an anti-Islamic film and cartoons which demonstrate growing racism, said the leader of the biggest ultra-orthodox Islamist party.
…the Salafist Nour Party … ranks as the second-largest party in parliament and plays a formidable force in Egypt’s new politics.Â
Get the impression the film and the protests are being used as a weapon against the West?
Barack Obama is playing into the hands of the bigots and enemies of free speech by repeatedly condemning the video they claim is the cause for their anti-Western and specifically anti-American fury:
President Obama will address “the recent unrest in the Muslim world” in his speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, the White House is saying…
“As he has in recent days,Â the President will make it clear that we reject the views in this video, while also underscoring that violence is never acceptable,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a memo on Obama’s upcoming U.N. speech.
Pat Condell takes a different view – and puts it far more rudely and abrasively than I’d endorse. But it’s important not to cave in on free speech and stifle criticism of Islam: