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Free speech - without it maintaining freedom is impossbile
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 16, 2008

In an op-ed found in the Toronto Star, Haroon Siddiqui defends Canada's hate-speech laws by declaring "Free Speech Cannot be an Excuse For Hate".

Of course free speech isn't an excuse for hate. Nor is free speech an apologist for hate. And free speech certainly doesn't condone hate.

However, it doesn't prohibit its expression.

But if you read the op-ed, Siddiqui considers free speech to be the threat to freedom, not prohibiting it.

The specifics of the case make the point.
One staple of anti-Semitism has been that Jews have taken over the world, or are about to. Now Muslims are being accused of the same.

That Muslims pose a dire demographic and ideological threat to the West was the hypothesis of a 4,800-word article, The Future Belongs to Islam, in Maclean's magazine in October 2006. Its reverberations are still being felt.

Last month, the Ontario Human Rights Commission called it "Islamophobic." This month, the British Columbia commission held a week-long hearing. And the federal commission is weighing a report from its investigators.

The commissions are responding to petitions filed by a Muslim group that argued the article constituted hate and that Maclean's refused an adequate counter-response.
What Saddiqui and others are arguing is that differences of opinion are no longer to be allowed to be argued in public forums if one side or the other, for whatever arbitrary reason - in this case declaring an article Muslims find offensive to be Islamophobic - views the opinion as "hate speech."

Instead of arguing against the premise of the article or presenting an alternate premise and defending it, the hate-speechers prefer to muzzle the offenders through government coercion. Apparently the "right not to be offended" has become more important than that of free speech. Feelings are now more important than ideas.

Says Saddiqui:
But freedom of speech is not absolute. "Except for the U.S., virtually every Western democracy has laws against hate," notes Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. "Our anti-hate laws are probably the most underused."
He's correct - freedom of speech isn't absolute and no one has argued it is. The US has acknowledged, for centuries, that an incitement to violence isn't covered by that right (violence being factual evidence of such incitement).

But our right to free speech does include, expressly and specifically, political speech which doesn't incite violence. It specifically includes the right to hold and express an opinion without fear of censure. It accepts the fact that the opinions, premises or dissent may be controversial (and, in fact, considered by some to be hateful). But it trusts that the ability to openly express those ideas in a free and open forum and argue them completely with those holding opposing views will be sufficient for a free people to determine their validity or lack thereof.

Frankly, without such a right and its free exercise, it is impossible to maintain freedom.

What Saddiqui would instead do is let government arbitrarily decide what is or isn't acceptable political speech and give government permission to quell that which it determines to be "hate-speech". That's because he doesn't trust the public to make the correct decisions about the ideas expressed (i.e. come to the same conclusion as he has), so he prefers that the ideas aren't expressed at all.

Giving government that power seemingly doesn't bother Saddiqui, who apparently and naively believes that government will always make a wise decision. But when such a determination must be based in arbitrary opinions of what does or doesn't constitute "hate-speech", unilaterally giving government such power both theoretically and practically gives it the power to control all speech.

With government as the sole determiner of what is or isn't hate-speech, it wouldn't at all be a stretch to see today's "islamaphobia" turn into tomorrow's "governmentaphobia".

After all, we all know that government is benevolent and only wants what is best for you. So it obviously can't condone or allow "hate-speech" which would turn its citizens against its enlightened programs.

Can it Mr. Saddiqui?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

After all, we all know that government is benevolent and only wants what is best for you. So it obviously can’t condone or allow "hate-speech" which would turn its citizens against its enlightened programs.

Can it Mr. Saddiqui?
You act like Mr. Siddiqui is doing something besides waging "soft jihad" using the idiotic laws of the West (in this case, the unfree country of Canada)to further his cause.

His only goal is to create and codify an atmosphere where criticism of Islam/Muslims is verboten.

But he illustrates the point wonderfully - Canada doesn’t have free speech, so this scum (yes Mr. Saddiqui, I am using "hate" speech!) uses the laws to deprive others of their freedoms.

He’s no more than a suicide-barrister
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Don’t count on Mr. Siddiqui to have a negative view of government power.

He is an editorialist for the Toronto Star. This means something special because the Toronto Star is bound by a covenant called the "Atkinson Principles".

What this means is that their editorial position must adhere to these principles, and by extension, the written opinions of Mr. Siddiqui.

Here’s the link;
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
I’m hurt by Haroon Siddiqui denial of my free speech.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Another blogger with harsh words for Haroon Siddiqui.
Dear Mr. Siddiqui
Written By: Paul L
When Muslims go on about hate speech, it always strikes me as profoundly hypocritical. By that standard something like 10% of the Quran is hate speech—constant ranting against the wickedness of Jews, Christians and general disbelievers and how they should be punished.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Mr. Saddiqui and his friends at CAIR have it wrong. Incitement is a direct, deliberate call to violence. For example the rancher who catches men he suspects of stealing his cattle and yells, "Let’s string him up, boys!" The people who spurred the violent act are guilty of inciting violence. It is the radical extremist rhetoric of CAIR and their "incitement alerts" that constitute incitement to violence. If muslims are enraged by criticism of islam, we should haul them into court and hold them accountable for their actions.

Osama Bin Laden may have been right when he said, "Democracy is un-islamic." In a free society, we even have the right to insult.

If a muslim insults or questions Christianity, is that incitement? Am I permitted to retaliate with violence? No. There are thousands of Jewish jokes, mostly told by Jews. No one riots. So, what makes islam a separate case? Are their followers lacking in self control, so sensitive that they cannot accept freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

The United States of America is neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran. If muslims want to live under sharia law, they should move to Saudi Arabia or Iran. No one is keeping them here.
Written By: arch
URL: http://

That’s the point.

They want to live under

And this is how they get it by increments
Written By: shark
URL: http://
What is interesting about this whole case, is that "The Future Belongs to Islam" might actually be true. Merely reporting on demographic trends is hate speech?

This lawsuit against Maclean’s magazine is therefore rather sinister. It seems they want to suppress factual reporting on these demographic trends by using "hate speech" laws.
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
What is interesting about this whole case, is that "The Future Belongs to Islam" might actually be true. Merely reporting on demographic trends is hate speech?
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
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