Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Muslims stand up for Standard...

...in a way.

11 Canadian Muslim intellectuals, to be precise. And they didn't exactly stand up for the Western Standard specifically, but they did say that the extreme reactions from some segments of the Muslim population should in no way reflect on the views of Muslims in general.

You can read the whole opinion piece here.

The juicy conclusion runs:
Today, the religious right and autocracies in the so-called Islamic world are united in their call for passing legislation to make any discussion on religion a criminal offence.

This, at a time when many writers in Jordan, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan are rotting in jails, facing charges of apostasy and blasphemy.

We call on Canadian politicians and intellectuals to stand up for freedom of expression.

Our democratic values, including free speech, should not be compromised under the garb of fighting hate.

To fight Islamophobia and racism, we do not need to sacrifice free speech and debate.
That's right: stand up for freedom of expression, and the freedom to criticize even our holiest of holies, whatever they may be.

8 Comments:

Blogger BBS said...

Thanks for the link, I missed that one today. Kudos to the 11 for speaking out.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Shameer Ravji said...

I'm a muslim and I love the magazine. I'm also a founding subscriber. The magazine did the right thing by publishing the cartoons.

11:24 PM  
Blogger mostlyfree said...

I think a united stand by Muslims against something like what the Standard did would do a great deal more to build Islamophobia than any cartoons could.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Star column is an encouraging sign that we can all agree on one thing; the despots running much of the muslim world have used this crisis to move attention away from their own failings. However, the muslim intellectuals who wrote this piece then come to the conclusion that the West is at fault because it doesn't do enough to speak out against these power abusers. Wrong. The West finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place. Attempts to bring peace and democracy to the middle east are opposed on multiple levels. Standing aside to let Iran do whatever it chooses is not an option. Hands off or interfere, the West will be wrong. This is down to a complete lack of leadership in the muslim world. The intellectuals write to the Star AFTER the riots are over, and conclude with the usual swipe that it's at least half the fault of the West. No, it's the fault of people like this who choose to enjoy the peace and security of our land, but make little meaningful effort to change the course of history in their homelands. Despots can be overthrown by external invasion or internal revolution. These poseurs don't seem to support either avenue.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Omar Soliman said...

"...stand up for freedom of expression, and the freedom to criticize even our holiest of holies, whatever they may be."

With the utmost respect to libertarians everywhere, this kind of thought has no place in the conservative tradition. I have written a rebuttal to the Western Standard and have looked into a distinct conservative response to this issue based on the ideals of classical conservatism espoused by the likes of Burke. You can view this response at http://individual.utoronto.ca/soliman

I am a Muslim, and I am also a conservative--and I've been a partisan Canadian Conservative for many years. I'd like to think that the conservative philosophy has not yet fully drained itself from the element of conservation. Your quote above makes you sound much more in tune with the likes of JS Mill and Locke--a very different tradition altogether.

To be a conservative is not to be an uncompromising believer in free markets and individual liberty. To do this would be to undermine a rich and complex philosophy that, at its core, involves a preservation for all the institutions and traditions of our ancestors--Christian traditions, Muslim traditions, and so on.

9:52 PM  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Hey Omar -

I haven't had a chance to read your response on your blog, but I have it up in a tab on my browser, so it's on my to-read list. I did, however, want to quickly comment on a thing or two that you wrote.

I have no doubt that the conservative tradition does not include the kind of Millian freedom of expression that I do make reference to. I think this is a shame, and a strike against the conservative philosophy. We *ought* to be free to say most anything we'd like, and the more holy our sacred cows, the better it is to criticize them (even through "offensive" satirical cartoons, or through other methods that appear to show little respect for the sacred cows in question).

At any rate, conservative does not equal Conservative. And the Conservative Party has no overarching ideology. Instead, it has a set of somewhat-related policies linked loosely around some slight commitment to the market, and a somewhat grudging respect for liberty in general. It is these policies, as well as interest groups (ideological or otherwise) that try to pull it in one direction or another. There are libertarians like me, and so cons like some other people.

For my part, I'm doing my best to pull the party in the direction of liberty. It sounds like you are doing something different. So it goes, I guess. Hopefully you'll change your mind, Omar. But maybe you won't.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Clinton P. Desveaux said...

I agree, stand up for Western Standard, Western Standard could play a very important role in the future by pulling the public on the side of liberty

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Omar Soliman said...

Fair enough Peter. I should say that I am very much a fan of your efforts. I am just beginning my own investigation of libertarianism, and I must say that I find many aspects of the movement very appealing. {In fact, if you could direct me to some preferred readings that would be great!)

I am very eager to question, however, whether this evolution in conservatism is simply an exercise in its own undoing. The blatant contempt for religious institutions (and any reasonable emphasis of public morality) that I have seen amongst some libertarians is disheartening to say the least. I guess you could say I am more sympathetic to Narveson's social contract theory of morality. After all, human rights and individual liberties are nothing but a shorthand category for deep-rooted moral intuitions, principles, and standards.

Do we represent nothing more than the philosophical progeny of John Stuart Mill, whose teaching replaced ordinary civic morality long ago, to the effect that we are all free to do whatever we like as long as it doesn’t harm someone else or impede their freedom? I'm not so sure Peter. As a capital-C Conservative, I'd like to feel that our movement does indeed represent something larger than the sum of its individual fault lines--and I know that the efforts of folks like yourself are helping greatly in this regard.

Anyhow, I see the workings of a neat intellectual debate brewing here. I am sure we will pick up on this conversation at the Summer Liberty Seminar--for which I plan to attend. I'll also be there at the Windsor Liberty Seminar next weekend...

Keep in touch. Look forward to meeting you soon.

11:26 PM  

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