Friday, February 13, 2009

Freedom of Speech

Geert Wilders holds extremly unpleasant views with which I disagree fundamentally and which many people will find very offensive.

He has produced a film which links various verses of the Qur'an with various terrorist outrages in an attempt to unfairly tarnish the Muslim faith as a whole with a belief in terrorism.

Unfortunately the Government appears to believe that because they find his views unacceptable and/or offensive, or they fear that some people may find it so, they have stopped him from entering the UK.

Strangely though they have not banned the film itself.

In my view freedom of speech is only worth having if one supports it for people one most strongly disagrees with.

The line we should draw, in my view, is when it comes to actual incitement to violence. If a film actually incites violence, or someone speaking at the showing of a film actually incites violence, then they should feel the full weight of the law.

However, offensive as it is, the film does not incite violence at all.

You can see it here and judge for yourself.

Please do let me know, if after watching the film, you have been incited to violence.

There was a very good debate on newsnight about this last night which you can see here. Maajid Nawas of the moderate Muslim Quillam Foundation argues the liberal case very effectively alongside Christian writer Rev Jay Smith.

As Maajid argues, I want to be able to hear arguments I disagree with, have the opportunity to argue against them, and have enough confidence in my arguments that they will prevail.

I do not want or need Government Ministers to decide what arguments I am capable of judging sensibly. I can decide that for myself, thanks very much.

(Oh - and Keith Vaz is an idiot.)

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