Universal rights anyone?

Sami Moubayed on Aisha and ‘double standards’.

The book has so far appeared in Serbia, with a provoking illustration of Aisha on the cover (in Islam it is forbidden to portray the wives of the Prophet, known as the “Mothers of Believers”).

The fact that something is ‘forbidden in Islam’ doesn’t mean that it is forbidden in general, and in fact for the rest of us it is not forbidden to portray the wives of the Prophet, nor is it ‘provoking’ to do so. This seems to be widely misunderstood – but the fact is, the laws and rules and taboos of Islam are not binding on everyone in the world. We are allowed to ignore them.

It is equally startling how people like Sherry Jones would wish to add insult to injury, and bad feelings, with her book on Aisha.

No, actually, it is startling how uninformed Sami Moubayed is about the subject of his article; that is exactly what Sherry Jones does not wish to do. He might have found that out before saying that about her – especially since saying that could, in this ludicrous situation, put her in increased danger.

I cite the example of David Irving…Irving showed that Hitler was a rational, intelligent leader and human being whose main motivation was to increase the prosperity of Germany…By the 1980s, Irving was banned from entering Austria…He defied the ban and tried to go but was arrested in Austria. In court he tried to change discourse, but Austrian authorities did not believe him and at the time of writing he still languishes in jail.

No he doesn’t. He was released a few months into his sentence.

It is a funny world with funny double standards indeed. To make things easier for everybody – especially the oversensitive millions in all faiths – it is safe to say that critical issues such as the Holocaust and Islam become red lines that should not be crossed. In saying that, we can assume that Jones, Benedict and Irving all committed mistakes.

No. Not comparable. For the forty millionth time: Holocaust-denial is not comparable to (say) writing a novel about Aisha. That’s not to say that Holocaust-denial should be illegal, it is just to say that the funny double standards are not double standards. (The right double standard would be, for instance, to deny that a massacre happened at Srebrenica.)

Offending others for the sake of free speech should not be tolerated.

Yes it should. If not offending others becomes the criterion for free speech, as many have pointed out, there will be no free speech at all. That would not be a minor crimp, it would be obliteration.

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