Muslims challenge Obama on free speech

2012-09-26 11:01

New York - Muslim leaders demanded international action to stop religious insults in a challenge to US President Barack Obama's defence of freedom of expression at the UN General Assembly.

Obama made a strong condemnation of "violence and intolerance" in his speech at the UN headquarters on Tuesday. He said world leaders had a duty to speak out against the deadly attacks on Americans in the past two weeks caused by an anti-Islam film made in the United States.

But Muslim kings and presidents and other heads of state said Western nations must clamp down on "Islamophobia" following the storm over the film which mocks the Prophet Muhammad.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, said the film was another "ugly face" of religious defamation.

Yudhoyono quoted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as saying that "everyone must observe morality and public order" and commented: "Freedom of expression is therefore not absolute."

He called for "an international instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs".

'Silent observers'

King Abdullah II of Jordan, a close US ally, spoke out against the film and the violence it sparked.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari condemned what he called the "incitement of hate" against Muslims and demanded United Nations action.

"Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalise such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression," he told the assembly.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai condemned "the depravity of fanatics" who made the Innocence of Muslims film which set off the storm.

"The menace of Islamophobia is a worrying phenomenon that threatens peace and co-existence," he added in his address to the General Assembly.

Obama said he could not ban the video, reportedly made by Egyptian Copts, because of the US Constitution which protects the right to free speech.

New start in relations

"As president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so," Obama told leaders at the UN summit.

"The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded - the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully," he added.

Obama has sought a new start in relations with the Muslim world during his first term, but the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where US troops will remain for more than a year have been hard to shake off.

Stewart Patrick, a specialist on international institutions for the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, said the film furore had "exposed a huge fault line regarding the balance between free speech, which obviously is healthier in the United States, and the defamation of religion, which is really a red line for many people".

But beyond the question of freedom of speech, some Muslim leaders also say the United States has still not gone far enough to balance its relations with Muslim nations.

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi said despite anti-US demonstrations in Cairo that US support for his country and others that have seen Arab Spring revolutions could be a chance for a mutual show of respect.

'Hate and worry'

Over the past four decades, "Egyptian people see the blood of the Palestinians being shed. And they see that the US administrations were biased against the interests of the Palestinians. So a sort of hate and sort of a worry rise out of that in Egypt and in the area," Morsi said in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS television this week.

"The demonstrations were an expression of a high level of anger and a rejection of what is happening," added Morsi. "And the US embassy represents the symbol of America as a people and government."

Obama's efforts, said the Egyptian leader, were "the opportunity to take these worries, or this hate, out of the way and to build a new relationship based on respect, communication".

  • whites.mustunite - 2012-09-26 11:44

    We demand international action to end suicide bombings, forced marriage, stoning of people, jihadism, beheading etc etc.....

      scebberish.umfazi - 2012-09-26 12:32

      We also demantd the right to fight our wars the way they should be fought, same terms as offered by the muslims, no more consideration for so called innocent civilians, there is no such thing. No more pinpoint bombing and apologies for missing the target. Annihilate the enemy, with whatever means you have available, make sure they cant breed another terrosist group anytime soon. Ask Japan and Germany what they think about going to war again if you feel this method does not work!

  • ambauli - 2012-09-26 11:46

    How is it possible to preach peace and love yet threaten violence at contradictory opinions?

  • konfab - 2012-09-26 11:53

    People killing each other over the demands made by their imaginary friends. 2012 Earth will be remembered for this in history...

  • stephen.scott.376043 - 2012-09-26 11:55

    Perhaps we should stop people making jokes about Santa Clause and the tooth fairy, there's a few around who still believe in them.

      scebberish.umfazi - 2012-09-26 12:53

      What, you saying Santa doesnt exist? I am off to the UN to protest about you, you infidel you. I am going to steal and break your toys and paste the video on Youtube! Wait till my sister hears what you said, she will take her belt to you ;)

  • lmarx2 - 2012-09-26 11:58

    Before the Muslim community gets themselves up in arms - why don't they protest & make a noise about the terrible things their extremists are doing. Nobody is ever going 2 show them respect until they speak out about it! Regardless of a movie, book or cartoon - NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT to harm another person. That shows no backbone and definately a very immature way of handling things. Quite honestly the argument is infutile.

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-27 06:10

      100% correct. The only thing their childish behaviour shows is their own insecurity in their religion. When the religion of peace starts acting like their name, we will believe them – until then, to me it’s the religion of war, murder, blood… you know… the religion of submission. I have NOTHING against Muslim or Islam… but their violent behaviour leaves much to be desired. If you want respect – earn it!

  • bbooyse - 2012-09-26 12:02

    ...Yet it's illegal to build churches in the middle east, the blashemy and apostasy laws are almost exclusivly used on religious minorities and people have little to no free speech or freedom of religion.

  • gareth.nefdt - 2012-09-26 12:02

    Not one of the Muslim leaders condemn the violent acts... Only the movie, makes one think

  • scebberish.umfazi - 2012-09-26 12:14

    Muslims kill murder and maime non-muslims. Non-muslims make jokes about muslims. Gee Man, these non-muslims are really bad people, right! We really should follow the muslim example, this I can totally agree with.

      Brownbear - 2012-09-26 13:38

      before you target the muslim.Look at your own wonderful South Africa. 1. Rape babies and children 2. Rape your own mother 3. Lady from PTA sleeps with dog 4. Farm Murders 4. Killing of parents 5. house breaking and much more . Clean up your own county first !

      zaatheist - 2012-09-26 14:37

      Brownbear Dumbbo! South Africa has nothing to do with the appalling behaviour and daily atrocities committed by Muslims in every country where there is a sizeable Muslim population. Religion of peace? My @$$"

  • tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-26 12:27

    Is this the same free speech advocate that put Bradley Manning in solitary confinement? Interesting.

      roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-09-26 19:26

      Free speech does not extend to the military were the person is in a role of intelligence gathering. Stealing documents of a classified nature and having them published amounts to treason. In an earlier time Manning would have faced a firing squad a long time ago.

  • pdevillet.patrik - 2012-09-26 14:20

    how people follow dark age imaginary friend and rules in the 21 century is beyond comprehension.what is the problem with being free?we are hurdling to space in a piece of rock with limited resources on board and some people are fighting about who's got have the bigger one, pathetic!shame on you.future generations will forsake you for your stupidity when resources run out.freedom from religions.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-09-26 14:30

    Doesn't matter what anyone says or discusses here, actions speak louder than words. Islamic nations have represented their faith accurately. They have sent the message that they have the right to take a life as revenge. It no longer matters how 'peaceful' Islam was intended to be.

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-26 14:44

    One only hears from Faizal, Fidel and his Muslim buddies expressing outrage when Amerika or Israel is mentioned. Never a peep out of then about the appalling atrocities committed by his fellow believers against innocent people in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Mali, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria and everywhere else these are significant Muslim populations. It is quite obvious to me than Islam has declared war on the rest of humanity.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-26 14:54

      That's the thing, you always see Americans protesting and condemning the wars. I think a survey conducted showed that 58% of Americans think that it should never have happened. On the other side, you see entire middle eastern nations and their leaders calling for the eradication of "every American

  • zaks2217 - 2012-09-26 16:52

    Some of the comments on here are laughable and void of intellect. Don't use this as a platform to air out your extremist views. The facts are known to those who have knowledge, not conspiracy theories you hear from ur buddies. Honestly the feaces that comes out of some of ur mouths is shocking. Where do you learn such rubbish?? Some of you knowingly spew factually incorrect info to confuse people which is disgraceful.

      zaatheist - 2012-09-26 19:36

      PAH! Pathetic. Why not attempt to respond to the points made and correct inaccuracies. You can't. Right? You guys are just cowards at heart.

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-26 21:08

      Our Father in Heaven, dear God. Please help this athiest. Don't make his words and actions take him further away from you. Please show him mercy and open his heart so that he may come to realise how silly he is. Amen.

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-27 06:19

      Extremist views???? Where are the extremist views Zaks? seriously, grow up. Nothing is said here that’s a lie - you just can’t handle the truth. If any of the comments here are wrong a false tell us about it or educate us - but don’t call us racist or extremists for telling things like they are. Tell us Zaks, Is it the religion of peace or the religion of submission?

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-27 10:35

      Hajis don't have balls, only a big inferiority complex.

  • cvh23 - 2012-09-26 19:28

    I wrote an interesting article on politics, economics and trends. Please read comment and share

  • There is the Lamb - 2012-09-27 00:02

    A question to Muslims Will you continue to reject the 1600 year record of God to mankind, as revealed through all of the prophets and witnesses of that record, to instead follow the 23 year 7th century record, of a single "prophet" that had no fulfilled prophecy, that never performed a single miracle, and that not a single person ever heard Gabriel or Allah's voice give a "revelation" to? A man that was a murdering, pillaging, plundering, prisoner raping thief, as revealed through Islam's own books. Do you believe that is the kind of man God would send, to nullify His prior 1600 year record through all of the prophets, apostles and witnesses, that was closed 500 years before Mohammed was born? Would God send a man to present a message that is the exact opposite of the Gospel? A man that led his followers in the rituals of the Arabian Jinn religion and Star Family worship? Taken from

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-27 10:02

      What are you even talking about. Muslims don't reject any of the previous records or prophets. Islam is a confirmation of all of those records. That's what I mean by void of intellect. U don't know what islam is u think it some pagan religion who abuses women. This websites you get ur stuff from are deliberatly put there to misguide you. If you want to know Islam approach an islamic scholar.

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-27 10:13

      There are many miracles that were performed. He (pbuh) split the moon into two as a baby for instance. His prophecy not fulfilled? Look around you. The world is embracing Islam. Muhammad (pbuh) moved not only armies, legislations. Empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one third of the then known world, and more than that, he moved the altars, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls. Philosopher, orator, Apostle, Legislator, conqueror of ideas, Restorer of Rational beliefs.. The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one Spiritual empire. That is our Prophet Muhammamed (pbuh).

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-27 10:19

      The christian monks at the time even pledged allegiance to him as the one who Jesus spoke about that will come after him and that he is the one we should follow.

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-27 10:27

      So muslims believe in the bible, the torah and the psalms of David (pbuh) All of them are divine revelation. We believe in all the prophets of god as well. We do not reject this. By rejecting any of these tenets one cannot be a muslim. The truth will always be slamdered, if you are wise enough, I invite you to embrace the truth and leave the falsehood that has been created by man. The Quran is untouched and unaltered and will always be protected by the Almighty. We commit it to memory, the entire book without a single vowel out of place. That is a miracle you can witness till the day of Judgement

      zaks2217 - 2012-09-27 10:55

      In fact why don't we meet and discuss this in person because this misleading info u getting about Islam is unacceptable. Email me if you want to learn about Islam

  • kafantaris2 - 2012-09-27 05:44

    The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself are both utopian, and both over 200 years old. But unlike other utopias, the one our forefathers embraced works. It has an ingenious mechanism to revitalize its institutions: Freedom of speech. As John Stuart Mill explained, when a society allows its citizens to question its government, its values and its most sacred beliefs, the examination finds errors and things for improvement. But even when no correction at all is needed, the challenge in itself works miracles -- it forces us to defend them. If things prove fine after such "stress test," we learn that we are on the right track. Merely knowing this wipes away uncertainty and replaces it with life and vigor. Such is the hidden benefit of open debate -- and the reason why institutions elsewhere stagnate and die. And no one rushes to save them because people have forgotten long before why they are there in the first place. This is the grave danger John Mill warned us about. The fathers of this country gave heed to his words. Perhaps the fathers of new democracies should do the same.

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-27 06:26

      To some Muslims we (Infidels/non-Muslims) are descendants of apes and pigs, we are inferior to them and we have humiliated them by standing up fighting back and building first-world-countries far beyond any of their own despite all the oil wealth. They are enraged at the reality of all this. They are living impoverished, illiterate and ignorant. Perfect marks for the Mosques to fill them up with the usual scapegoat excuse to explain away their miserable lives. When Islam allows its faithful to question its dogma, only then do these poor people have a chance at a decent life, otherwise all of us are in grave danger of their "Jihad".

  • pages:
  • 1