I’m all for free speech; nothing is more sacred. However, does my right to free speech give me the freedom to address people as, “Hey, you f***ing a**h***!” whenever it pleases me? Where does free speech cross the line into an insult, defamation or bullying? It’s not OK for anyone to call a black person nigger (not even Negro, which is a scientific term equivalent to Caucasian) yet people deem it OK to do that which is considered a major and massive insult to Muslims under the guise of free speech. No one who is moral uses nigger anymore in a casual or insulting way because we know it is a massive insult to black people. And, we know this because of history and what the black community tells us is offensive to them. Shouldn’t Muslims have the right to tell us what is offensive to them? And, should that not be enough for us to say we will never do that? This is not to say that the people who attacked the Texas event had the right to do what they tried to do, but I think the lesson here should be that we, as so called civilized people, should heed the words of those that are insulted by our words, actions and thoughts. No self-respecting Christian would stand by and take someone insulting Jesus; free speech or not. So, if people want to be treated with dignity then we should treat others with the dignity that we demand for ourselves, shouldn’t we? This is not to say that we legislate free speech, but the organizers and the participants of the Texas event have a lot to reflect on. How would Christians react if Muslim societies held a contest to see who can best draw a man sodomizing Jesus in the most brutal and degrading manner? This too should be protected under free speech laws, no? In a moral society it should be enough in both cases for organizers to stop the events, when Muslims and Christians, respectively, say please don’t because that is insulting and degrading our religious beliefs.

Yes, free speech is very important and may be the most fundamental of all human rights other than right to our own lives. However, when does free speech cross the line into assault, defamation, or bullying, all of which are at least immoral, if not illegal? I am not religious in any manner, but I respect everyone’s right to believe and practice their own philosophical (including religious) beliefs. And, I believe in treating people with dignity — until they prove themselves otherwise — and expect others to treat me with that same dignity. As a moral person, this includes acknowledging another person’s beliefs as something that which is sacred to them and acting accordingly. This does not prevent anyone from challenging other people’s beliefs in a rational manner, but, as moral and honorable people, it does mean that we don’t go out of our way to degrade, insult, assault and demean other people’s beliefs like the organizers and participants in the Texas event.

Jast to be clear, in my opinion, free speech becomes an assault, insult, defamation or bullying when the recipient of someone’s free speech feels that it is AND can back up their claim within the confines of their philosophical system. Specifically, in the case of Islam, it is both written and taught that any depiction of Mohamed is an affront to Allah or their version of God, and is a massive insult. This should be more than enough for the rest of us to NEVER attempt to recreate the image of Mohamed in any way, shape or form.

Similar to anyone falsely shouting “Fire!” in a theater is prosecuted, despite free speech rights, it is my belief that if the Muslim community were to sue the organizers and participants of the Texas event for defamation they should win. It is appalling and disappointing that the organizers and participants in the Texas event couldn’t think beyond the tip of their nose and would go out of their way to hold this contest. Once again, this event shows how little people actually think and how far we have to go before we can actually achieve a Just, fair and moral society.

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