Freedom of speech cannot accommodate a double standard. Freedom=Freedom

There were protests yesterday here at the American consulate. The demands are from Muslim Canadians, demanding we, as a society, ‘DO’ something about this amateur anti-Islamic film that has been made mocking their prophet, Muhammad. They’re being asked by their religious leader to ‘rise up against inaction.’ What they want is a double standard that says we can have freedom of speech, as long as it doesn’t go anywhere near anything they believe in. These are Canadians, people living here under the graces of freedom, where they can do anything they want with their lives, people who should know what is worth fighting for.

Freedom of speech means - sometimes you're not going like what someone else says - and that's ok.

Canada has always been the kind of country you can come to and not be assimilated into some kind of apple pie philosophy. There are hundreds of ethnic pockets in this country where you can live and work speaking your native language, wearing traditional clothing, eating traditional food and praying to traditional Gods. We have fought wars and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives just to have the privilege to live a life of freedom and peace here.

This film was made by one disgruntled, lowly, amateur film maker, born in Egypt and failing in American society. If Muslims showed up to conduct a public vigil in respect of lives lost during the protests because of this stupid film, they would gain the world’s respect. This is a time for the Muslim community to shine; they can show the world they are deeply against this type of response to the voice of one marginalized (and possibly mentally ill) Egyptian-American. They can show the world they have a plan to get this rage and criminality of their people under control, they can show the world they have passed a grade school mentality and are ready to show up on the world stage with a plan for peace, despite the fact that not everyone is Muslim.

The only reason we should keep archaic religions alive is if they are serving a positive purpose in this world. Religion, if nothing else, should give us a sense of inner peace, tolerance, belonging and most importantly - humility. It appears something has gone terribly wrong in the delivery of that message in the Muslim world. If I were Muslim, I would be very, very sad about that.

I have the good fortune of many Muslim friends in my life, and I know this voice of protest does not even come close to reflect the thoughts and beliefs of the majority of Muslims, a culture that takes education and community very seriously, a culture that has warmed my soul numerous times. The predicament today is that to the rest of the world, it’s not looking so good over there. This is the type of behaviour armies leave for battle over. How many lives need to be lost due to a childish rage against one person’s bad sense of humour?

As a human race, we can do better than this.



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