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Muslims and Islamophobia ( 21 Oct 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Blasphemous film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and the freedom of speech: Tahir Gora speaks to Munir Sami

  

Full Text of the Video Transcript

Transcript and Translation from Urdu by: New Age Islam Edit Desk

22 October 2012

Tahir Gora: Tahir Gora is here for an informal discussion on Ravel TV. The topic we are going to discuss today has already been discussed earlier in our studios. This is undoubtedly a burning issue and we are going to have a no holds barred discussion in its context. The topic is the freedom of expression. The context of the talks is the film titled Innocence of Muslims whose trailers we just watched. We could not see the entire film as it is not available but we’ll have an open discussion in its context.  The guest we have invited here is a very popular personality. He comes to our studios from time to time and today again we requested him to come to our studios. His participation in the debate is important because he has been the director of International Pen, Canada chapter and as you know working for the freedom of expression is a tough task. He is also a poet, columnist, a writer and an activist. He is Munir Sami. We’ll take a break and when we return we shall start our discussion with Mr Sami.

Welcome back, viewers. Thank you very much Mr Munir Sami for coming over to the studios as we give you this trouble again and again. You have the right to express your opinion on the issues we raise as you are an authority on them. And today’s topic is Freedom of Expression for which you have been running an unending struggle. The context of today’s discussion is the film titled Innocence of Muslims. This has sparked off the debate as to what freedom of expression, blasphemy and insult of religion is. And the world is looking for the borders. Please tell us what freedom of expression is.

Munir Sami: We have two written examples. One is the Constitution of America because America is dragged into it time and again. It was the first amendment in the American constitution. It had made it very clear that they have interlinked two freedoms; one was the freedom of religion. One could choose whatever religion one would wish and the other one was the freedom of expression to every citizen. People do not understand this. It was in 1776. So you can see it is a very old issue. It was not made the basis ever before that. After that Article 19 of the Human Rights charter of the UNO has it clearly written that every man will enjoy the right to religion and right to freedom of expression. He will not face any limitations on the ways and media to express or enjoy it. There will not be any conditions put on it. These are unconditional freedoms.

Tahir Gora: The Human Rights chapter of Canada here also mentions it.

Munir Sami: Yes, it has incorporated the same. As you have mentioned the Human rights chapter (of Canada), I should remind you that we have the extremist factions here who raise the issues often. These issues are raised in the Human Rights Commissions of Canada time and again and every time the decision goes in favor of freedom of expression as there is no barrier on it. In fact, there is a very little barrier.  We can move the discussion further as demands are made that there should be limitation on it. The question is should limitation be imposed or not. And if yes, how.

Tahir Gora: We shall discuss on whether there should be any limitation. As a test case, we shall watch the trailers of Innocence of Muslims. You managed to watch the trailer. I too watched it. What do you think? Could they pass under the freedom of expression or can they be categorized under hate crime?

Munir Sami: Look, whoever has made the film, has done it under the freedom of expression of the US and he thinks that he has the right to do it. Those who are looking for hate in it are obviously other people. We can’t say if he has made a hate film. He has definitely made a bad film. Examples of such bad pieces of art can be found in the past as well. In the US, there are at least ten films against Jesus Christ in the past. Presently a play titled The book of Mormon is being played in Bradway, New York that rubbishes Mormon religion. The play insults Jesus Christ in many ways. But the play is being staged unabated. It has won the Tony Award. So they are making pieces of art, bad or good like the Book of Mormon. Obviously, it is an excellent piece of art. So, someone produces a good piece of art and someone else produces a bad piece of art. This man has produced a bad piece of art. However, he has used his right. I think if there is hate in it, I or you can see or the Muslims as a whole can perceive it and we are doing that. I do not think it is my personal opinion. It is definitely a below standard, very vulgar and a bad film. Pornographic and vulgar films like this one are made every day here. Those who do not want to see them do not see them. In the streets of Canada, you can find shops of pornographic films. You can see people entering and coming out of them sheepishly. Those who do not want to watch them ignore them and walk past.

Tahir Gora: There are two problems that are running simultaneously. One is of freedom of expression and the other is of hate literature. There is a third issue of insult of religion. Do you see insult of religion from a different point of view or do you see it as freedom of expression or hate crime?

Munir Sami: Well, there are two points. I do not recognize the insult of religion, whatever be the religion. The problem here is when the Muslims are concerned we become over sensitive and alarmed.  But the insult of any religion is an insult. We can give you an example. In Pakistan, the Ahmadi’s are insulted constantly. I have already told you that it is written in the application form for passport “call the founder of Ahmadiyyas a liar”. Isn’t it? So we are insulting them. What Obama said on the issue in the UNO is I think the most remarkable point. He said that those who are demanding that we should condemn the insult of Islam should be expected to condemn the insult of every religion. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. So, what do you mean by the insult of religions? If you want to escape the insult of religion, how can you with thousands of religions around.

Tahir Gora: You referred to the speech of Obama. On one occasion, he said in the UNO that by insult of religion you should not mean only the insult of Islam rather you should also be worried about the insult of all other religions. But before that when the trailer appeared and the US ambassador Raff was killed in Libya were Obama and Hillary condemning the film?

Munir Sami: He did not condemn the film. He has said that the film is vulgar. The film is such as could hurt the religious sentiments of some people because they think it is hurting their sentiments. So, he said that it could hurt the sentiments but he did not say that he was condemning the film. He could not say it at all. He does not have the authority to do that. The President of the US does not have the authority to stop a piece of art even if it is a bad piece.  He simply said that he couldn’t do anything in this regard. He just requested not to resort to violence against a bad thing. If you did not like it morally I too did not like it. Obama said that his religion (Christianity) was insulted every day.

Tahir Gora: With reference to Obama’s speech in which he said that it (the film) could hurt the sentiments of some people, it is the fourth point in our discussion today. A section in the media in America criticized and is still criticizing Obama saying that he is turning against the freedom of expression. What do you have to say on this?

Munir Sami: Well, from the point of view it can be inferred that the president of the US gives a statement that has an underlying meaning that the president of the US is trying to stop something. He has surrendered saying that he couldn’t do anything given the freedom enshrined in our constitution. He can only say that this does not sound good or that sounds bad. Many things are said about our prophet Jesus Christ. I am a Christian; the majority in the US is Christians. Many things are done against them. But we can’t do anything about it. So, the issue of insult of religion is a matter of heart. In other words, I may insult you, you may insult my faith. Everyone is insulting each other’s religion.

Tahir Gora: You raised a very important issue. Regarding the insult of religion some critics are also of the view that when the prophet of Islam said to the people that the religion they had been following was false and the religion he had brought for them was right one it was an insult of the other religion. But the fact is that the prophet had only exercised his right to freedom of expression. He was absolutely right there. In the same way, if someone exercises his right today what would be your reaction?

Munir Sami: Every prophet invalidates his preceding faith. We did not invalidate some religions, rather moved them forward. But you say that he was using his right to freedom of speech. He was being tortured and harassed. What was his reaction to that? Was he retaliating with the sword or getting those who insulted him slaughtered? There was a serious discussion when Shibli Nomani said that those committing blasphemy against the prophet could not be killed. It has been discussed.

Tahir Gora: You have said that something very important. We will discuss it further. We go for a break, viewers. Please stay with us.

Welcom back viewers! Munir sahib, you have raised very important points. We can say that when a religion rejects another religion it is called blasphemy against the particular religion. But on the other hand it is freedom of expression and not blasphemy. In this regard Hussain Abesh has written an article in which I liked a sentence very much. He writes, “Blasphemy is an indispensable human right. Without the right to engage in blasphemy, there can be no freedom of inquiry, expression, conscience or religion. Do you agree with that?

Munir Sami: It says that insulting a religion is the fundamental right of every man and without it freedom of expression freedom of writing or art cannot be enjoyed. This is something great philosophers have already said. The issues go on and the struggle against it also continues. Whenever someone tries to suppress someone’s expression, the poets, the philosophers and writers come forward and make a shield against him. Faiz has famously said,

Mata-e-lauh-o-qalam chin gayi to kya gham hai

And this has been going on for ages. Some people struggle against it continuously and even lay down their lives. They lay down their lives in Pakistan, in other parts of the world. Well, this not done in our country alone. It is not only the Muslims who are insulting the religion.

Tahir Gora: When we utter the words ‘insult to religion’ we feel that it is a very unsavoury act and on the other hand we see that the holy prophet (PBUH) did this a very decent way and used his freedom of expression when he said that what you are doing is wrong and the religion he had brought for them was right for them.  You spoke on the perspective that we recognize religions believing in the unity of God like Christianity and Judaism but analyzing minutely we can accept and respect Torah and Gospel saying that they have been tampered with and accept them as our religious legacy but we can’t accept the religious groups like Christians and Jews. What could be the reason?

Munir Sami: You raised a very important point. We say that we can’t insult you because we respect Torah, the Psalms and the Bible but will not respect any other religion, any other outlook.

Tahir Gora: Will not respect Hinduism?

Munir Sami: We have a very important example in this connection. A few days ago a conference was held in front of the American consulate. Some group had organized it. They were distributing pamphlets that said that only people belonging to monotheist religions should join the conference. It was so unfortunate. It suggested that polytheists like Hindus, Buddhists and other pagans were barred from the conference. They had no right to participate in the meeting. So the issue of insult of religion became irrelevant here. It happened in Canada. Can’t we see this? Are we blind to the reality?

Tahir Gora:  When you mentioned the pamphlet, I should remind you that while they were harping on the unity of God, they were also linking the alleged film with an American Jew. They said that they made the film. The pamphlet had one sentence, “Jews purpose does served”. On the one hand they invited them (monotheists) and on the other hand rejected them showing an attitude of hatred, knowing full well that the person making the film was not a Jew. What a paradox?

Munir Sami: This is a very big paradox as when in Canada; whenever Muslims get into trouble they hold on to the Jews. When the issue of the implementation of Shariah laws was raging in Canada and the Muslims were advocating the implementation of Shariah laws they were going hand in hand with the Jews. So, any demand based on falsehood is not just. You spoke of the Jews and I spoke of the Hindus but these people do not recognize their own folk. For example there is a big association of Muslims and it is very popular among them and gives more importance than us people. They think that we have landed from some other planet and say bizarre things. The association said that if someone wanted to watch the movie he had the right to do so under the freedom of expression.

Tahir Gora: Perhaps Karen Kairn said this.

Munir Sami: I did not want to name them but you did. Now the well wishers of Karen Kairn like ISNA and KCNA said this. It’s all based on falsehood. For instance, in your country Mr Suharwardi filed a suit against the cartoonist who drew a cartoon s of prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was a much talked about case. He took it to the Human Rights Commission. It is still in people’s mind that they drove him away. He had to drop the case. And after he dropped his case he said that he realized it now that the freedom of expression was very sanctimonious in Canada and that’s why he was withdrawing his case. So, gentleman, why did not you realize it before filing a case? Mr Suhrawardi who claims to be associated with a big Islamic Council ---- Supreme Islamic Council of Canada is saying this. He is a Muslim. Don’t Muslims understand what their own man is saying?

Tahir Gora: It’s certainly a good sign if like Karen Kairn Mr Suhrawardi speaks broadmindedly based on rationality and truth. It will in fact benefit us. I want to draw your attention towards the statement of a minister of France who while inaugurating a mosque said that if Muslims did not respect freedom of expression and resorted to violence they would drive the Muslims out of France.

Munir Sami: Look, the same thing is coming to the fore. The freedom of expression and freedom of religion are interlinked. We say whatever we like during our speeches in mosques here. Have you ever heard that the government of Canada has arrested an imam of a mosque? Similarly, we abuse Jews every day. In the verses of the Quran ‘fansurna ala qaumil kafireen’ is said constantly. Isn’t it? All our prayers end with ‘fansurna ala qaumil kafireen’ (give victory over the infidels).  Has anyone ever asked you what are you doing, brother? So on the one hand you are constantly using the freedom of expression and freedom of religion and as a result the number of mosques is increasing in Canada and in Europe. You are not looking at it from an ethical point of view. Aren’t they allowing you to build mosques under the freedom of religion?

Tahir Gora: I would like to take the discussion further with reference to the demonstration in Toronto with the focus on three or four groups among the Muslims who accuse each other of blasphemy. We see that a dominant group among the Shias organized the demonstration though ahle sunnah people also participated in it. They unanimously said that they should protest. But the point is that on the one side, they were shouting slogans that they were united but we should not forget the fact that the Shiites who have been enjoying the freedom of speech for centuries and they do not recognize some sahabis (companions) of the Prophet (PBUH). It is their right and they produce testimony in favour of their beliefs.

Similarly, those who are Ahmadis their exegesis is based on the Islamic Shariah. They are also enjoying their right to freedom of expression though they consider it blasphemy. And you said that they are using their freedom of expression. So, how is it possible that we can be united overnight by forgetting such grave differences?

Munir Sami: Is it not based on falsehood? The entire story is based on falsehood. They were talking of the Jewish conspiracy and now you mentioned the Iranians. The question is why Iran was helping the meeting? Why wasn’t Saudi Arabia supporting it? They are actually trying to show Shia-Sunny unity. In Pakistan, Shias are killed every day. Why any Sunny group doesn’t assemble in front of the Pakistani consulate and say ‘we are against the slaughter of Shias’?

Tahir Gora: You are raising serious points. We go for a break and will resume our talks after we come back. Viewers, please stay with us.

Welcome back, viewers. Mr Munir we resume the talks from where we left. You have raised an important point. The way Shias are facing ethnic cleansing in Pakistan, why don’t Shias protest in front of Saudi consulate, Pakistani consulate or in Toronto or Washington consulates. What is the reason?

Munir Sami: I put this question before Iran. I ask this question again and again and I do not get an answer. The Iranian government which is the biggest Shia government, the so-called Islamic state based on Shia principles. Why doesn’t it call the Pakistani ambassador and give them a rejoinder asking why they are killing their folk and threaten them to break ties with them. Why don’t they break all ties with them? Isn’t it all a drama? You are telling a lie, aren’t you? Your people are getting killed and you are not protesting.

Tahir Gora:  In the rally in Toronto you are talking about the main speakers were saying again and again that Shia-Sunni divide  (which is a centuries old problem) was not any problem at all. It was a conspiracy of the Jews, of the Americans. It was a divide caused by them. What is that?

Munir Sami: Geopolitics has come into the play. It’s all hypocrisy and when you demand your right on the basis of hypocrisy the world will know that you are lying. The lie will appear on your forehead. Whoever says that there is no Shia-Sunni divide is the greatest liar and God’s curse is on him. They are shamelessly telling a lie every day. In Pakistan Shias are killed every day, Ahmadis are killed, Christians are killed. Why don’t they stand by their side? Go and do all this in front of the American consulate here and say, “O Americans, you continue to give aid to Pakistan and violence is unleashed against those sects. We request you to come and help us.’ But they do not do it and call it a Jewish conspiracy. They know that the American government can’t do anything about the freedom of expression even if it is filled with filth and vulgarity. But we do not go and protest because we do not want to in the first place.

Tahir Gora: Is it possible to suppress the right to speech as the Muslims are trying and as the IOC is trying to get a bill passed which can stop such acts against Islam or any other religions.

Munir Sami: They had tried to do it earlier and failed. They will fail again. It’s not a joke. The petition was given but the president of the UNO Human Rights Council said,’ what are you talking about. It’s a resolved issue’. I do not know which country he represented. Now Saudi Arabia is going to be out of it. Pakistan is not in it. It is a group of 40-44 countries. Obviously these countries are not in their control. Second point is that even if theoretically you got a resolution passed how it will be implemented. You demand that these things should be criminalized.

These nincompoops do not see that in the countries the freedom of expression is strong; there exist hate crime laws too.  I had put up a challenge but nobody seems to respond.  I have challenged them that if the film has given you so much trouble, insulting your prophet (PBUH), it is indeed a bad thing. I also feel hurt as I feel that my prophet has been insulted because after all it is a matter of faith. But why did not anyone in America knocked at the door of the courts and say, ‘well, this person has committed blasphemy on such and such lines and that’s why we want to file a case.  It’s not that you are not heard in these countries.

Recently, in America, someone wrote a play on the Mormons. Mormons are a sect in Christianity whose men keep long beard and women keep long hair. They are not allowed to trim their hair. So, another group among them was born. And a man from the opposing group cut off the beard of the religious head of the Mormon and the hair of his wife. The man was sentenced to 15-20 years imprisonment. Now can you prove that by doing that (staging the play) I was personally targeted or people were so much provoked to resort to violence that they came to burn my house?  The filmmaker will go and file a suit saying that he just did what he did and they have come to kill me. They are committing hate crime, not me.

Tahir Gora: You are right. You gave a very good example which can help understand the whole context but we should also understand that on the other hand we demand that it should be declared hate crime but nobody can prove it as such. However, observers say that hate crimes are those that cause danger to the lives of the members of a particular community. In this incident, there is only insult. There is no danger to the life of anyone. If there is danger to the life, it is because they themselves are provoking each other and killing each other. They can say ‘we are not involved.’

Munir Sami: I have a point. First if it is a hate (crime) in Canada, in entire Europe and in America, wherever these demonstrations are being held, all have hate crime laws. I advised someone that the world’s wealthiest  Muslim country Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries should collectively establish a Anti Hate Crime and Anti Islam hate crime Fund and put hundred million dollars in it and then file an ideal suit in Canada and in America. We will use the best lawyers in the US. The lawyers here are ever ready to accept money. Pay them $400-500 according to their demand. We shall file a case through them and pursue the case up to the Supreme Court. We will challenge it and see if it can be done or not. But nobody is coming forward.

One question is being raised. Why is not all this demonstrations and violent protests being held in Saudi Arabia? It is happening in Pakistan but this time no noticeable demonstration is being held in Iran. You have seen that they are good at gathering millions on Fridays. But this time they did not do that. Why did not they do it in Saudi Arabia? Because the right to freedom of speech does not exist there in the first place.

Tahir Gora: You are right. If it is really a hate crime, they should collect money. It is a different matter what the courts will adjudge if it was a hate crime or freedom of expression. But can’t people who are committing hate crimes against other religions sued?

Munir Sami: Of course, they can be. I am saying the same thing. If the Ahmadis live here, provoke anyone to go and demolish an Ahmadi mosque here. Go and incite someone to kill an Ahmadi Maulana. Why do not they do that? They can’t do that here because they are afraid here. In those countries they do not have the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion. All the work is done on the basis of falsehood. They do not protect other religions; do not take those insulting other religions to task. How can they expect other s to respect their religion?

Tahir Gora: Unfortunately, they themselves are committing hate crimes.

Munir Sami: They commit it every day.

Tahir Gora: You have raised an important issue. There is no concept of Freedom of expression in Pakistan or other Islamic countries.

Munir Sami: It is not there because the world admits that we have lived under the empirical system for centuries. Even Britain would give us some freedom, freedom of writing, reading etc but since the time we attained freedom, we could not understand what freedom of expression is. Somehow this tradition could not take root here. I can ask you why there are no strong journalists’ bodies in Pakistan. The journalists’ associations there are almost defunct.  In recent times, almost twenty journalists have been killed. It has become the norm there that journalists are not jailed; they are killed because if they put them behind the bars, the world will know. So what they do, they kill them outright. Why does not it happen in Pakistan that five thousand journalists and lawyers take to the streets and assert their freedom of expression? Freedom of writing against the Taliban, against the government, against the army. Do you see anyone coming forward?

Tahir Gora: Unfortunately I do not see this happening.

Munir Sami: if we do not see it how can we understand what freedom of expression is because we have spoilt our psyche.

Tahir Gora: What you said is very important. However, it’s time for a break. Viewers please stay with us.

Welcome back, viewers! Munir sahib you have tried to help us understand the issue from different perspectives. I had said that on the one hand there was the issue of freedom of expression and on the other there was the issue of the insult of religion. When we demand that the law of insult of religion be passed, we forget that we are also insulting other religions. When other religions are insulted we say that Islam is exercising the freedom of expression. It rejects others and there is nothing wrong in it. In this context when we take the discussion forward, we touched a point and we will discuss it in detail and that is the sentiments of other s are hurt by a film or by some cartoons or even by Salman Rushdie’s novel. Muslims are 1.6 billion but we forget that on the other side there are 3.6 billion people. What can be done so that the sentiments of 1.6 billion people are not hurt?

Munir Sami: The selfishness and self interest comes into it. We think of our own convenience. We do not want to give others their rights or respect. One important point has remained un-discussed. If you give permission, I would like to speak.

Tahir Gora: Of course.

Munir Sami: When I talk to the people about the freedom of expression they say that you speak in favour of freedom of expression but the crime of Holocaust denial is not discussed. You can’t discuss Holocaust denial. In America Holocaust denial is not a crime. People should know this.

Tahir Gora: It is a crime in France and Germany.

Munir Sami: We will discuss it her etoo. The Jews complain that the first amendment in American constitution regarding the freedom of expression did not allow the Holocaust denial to be a crime. And even after knowing this people hit out at America saying that it supports the Jews. It is a very important point in terms of Holocaust denial.

Tahir Gora: Perhaps it is not a crime in Canada too.

Munir Sami: It cannot be anywhere. Take it to Hate crime. Keep criticizing Holocaust in America. No one will arrest you. Again someone says there is no communist party in America but they do not allow the communists to speak. They do not know that there is communist party in New York and they themselves admit that earlier there were limitations on them but over the years laws are getting better for them in the last thirty or forty years. Actually we have closed our eyes. We do not want to see the truth and want to spread falsehood. Media has come under our control. We tell lies.

Now we talk of France and Germany. Why is Holocaust denial a crime? It is a historical fact that millions of Jews had been killed brutally. Now if someone says that six million had been killed, I cannot count. My point is even if you killed fifty people and the history has the record, then it has happened. When they arrest someone who had taken part in the Holocaust, they have all the evidence against him. OK, if you do not accept that it was one lakh (hundred thousand), or two lakh or six lakh but you will admit that there was carnage, ethnic cleansing? But they do not understand it. What help are you getting from these laws?

 Look when the ethnic carnage was being perpetrated in Bosnia, America did the bombing in Bosnia. Through the NATO. Muslim countries forget these happenings. Serbians were killed and through them the state of Muslims has come into existence. Muslims forget all these. People from Bosnia are found here. How did they get to here? Here in Canada, there are many mosques of the Bosnians.

Hatred against the Jews had always been in Europe because extremist Christians consider them Christ-killers. White races are indeed the problem. It has given birth to anti-Semitism. Jews are subjected to anti-Semitism even today. Millions of the communities who took part in the world wars were killed. So they thought that the spirit is present within us and it can emerge anytime and the Holocaust denial could be an expression of it so they declared it a crime.  They are sitting on it due to their own sense of guilt and prevent their community from this crime harshly. And we are exploiting it. And Muslims benefit from the laws of human rights that the Jews have formed.

Tahir Gora: Unfortunately, we cannot understand the difference between opinion and truth. Freedom of expression is for opinion. If you present facts in a wrong way, may be no one will say anything to you but you will make an ass of yourself and may be in Germany you will even be booked under the law.

Munir Sami: I told someone that in Canada often news is published about the sign of swastika drawn on the graves of Jews or the graves demolished. Has anyone shown me that the grave of a Muslim has been overturned? Here our graves are situated adjacent to the Christian graveyards. In Pakistan we do not allow Ahmadis to be buried in our graveyards.

Tahir Gora: How then can we dare to talk about blasphemy?

Munir Sami: We are all liars. I am saying this straightforwardly. Whatever will be based on falsehood will not be accepted as Iqbal has said that the nest that will be built on a weak branch will not last long. They talk of Iqbal but do not listen to him.

Tahir Gora: He has said many wise things.

Munir Sami: Yes he has said some nice things and sometimes we find something useful in his poetry in the same way as the mullah goes about exhibiting his wares. He was also using his freedom of expression when he said;

Sare jahan se achcha Hindustan hamara

Nanak ne jis dharti par wahdat ka geet gaya,

mera watan wahi hai. mera watan wahi hai.

 

Now go and sue Allama Iqbal for calling Nanak the prophet of unity of God. It is a reality.

Tahir Gora: On the one hand we want to file a case for blasphemy and on the other hand we want an end to blasphemy. They can’t decide what to do?

Munir Sami: Because they are illiterates.

Tahir Gora: This is unfortunate.

Munir Sami: Look, I had said that we cry ourselves hoarse that we are the journalists of freedom. We fight for them. But actually they are not doing anything. They are dependent on some Gora or Munir Sami. They write in English which no one reads. But when it is published in Urdu, they fall into trouble. People do programmes on the TV sitting here. You are talking to me and so I am replying to you. Is speaking against others blasphemy? If you say this the anchor will disconnect you. It is injustice. If you sit in this media you cannot speak the truth and if you speak the truth this media will not remain kind to you.

Tahir Gora: One important point that I would like to touch again and that is the hurting of sentiments. I came across one more example. A bill is going to be passed in France that will allow the Gays and Lesbians to be called parents. The columns of parents from all the forms in France are being removed. Obviously the church of France is reacting but it has shown a very mild reaction. They have just said that it is not good, it is an injustice, it is wrong. It is an interesting development in France that only parents will remain there, not mother and father. So blasphemy is happening there on such a large scale and they are accepting it.

Munir Sami: Look, values have completely changed. I have written a column recently which may be published tomorrow or the day after. In the article I have mentioned the report published by the Statistics Canada that has shown how values have changed.  Gay marriages are on the rise and unmarried couples are living together. Single families are on the rise here. Muslims are watching these developments and the Christians are also making a hue and cry over them but no one can form laws. They have accepted that human rights are above everything. Freedom of expression is the greatest right for co-existence.

Tahir Gora: You raised two important points. Our programme comes to an end here. I would like to sum it up. They have decided that the human rights are the greatest right and the human rights are determined by the expression of truth.

Munir Sami: You had said that the Prophet (PBUH) was using the freedom of expression.

Tahir Gora: He (PBUH) used it and used it fully. The full text of the Holy Quran is a specimen of the freedom of expression. On many occasions, the Quran does not recognize other points of view. So this is a right and this is the right the Prophet (PBUH) recognized and France is following this right.

Munir Sami: The world is following it.

Tahir Gora: And we are saying that we should bring a bill at any cost that could put limitations on it but it does not seem possible, perhaps.

Munir Sami: Those who think it is possible live in a fool’s paradise.

Tahir Gora: You said the concluding sentence beautifully and viewers, thank you very much for being with us.

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/muslims-and-islamophobia/new-age-islam-edit-desk/blasphemous-film-‘innocence-of-muslims’-and-the-freedom-of-speech--tahir-gora-speaks-to-munir-sami/d/9069

 

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