Is hate speech a form of free speech?

This image causes one to think, doesn't it? None of us ever want to be associated with or condone hate speech. Interesting thought in light of the events in Libya this week. My Cincinnati blogging and facebook friend Brian pointed me to a post by Dr Robert Cargill titled "On Faith, Freedom of Expression, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Statement in Response to the Protests in Egypt and Libya". I thought that he made several great points and suggest that you read his article. Here is an excerpt:

I understand the Egyptian government’s frustration. Unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood’s proposed solution only exacerbates the underlying problem that is quickly coming to the forefront in Egypt and around the world:
“We denounce abuse of all Messengers of God, Prophets and Apostles, and condemn this heinous crime. We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions.”
The solution proposed by the Muslim Brotherhood is the prohibition of criticism (which they define as “assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions”) of all religions. However, categorizing criticism of any religion as “abuse” and as “heinous crimes” is not a viable solution in a free society. In fact, it would only serve to resurrect the totalitarian suppression of freedom of thought and expression that they experienced under Hosni Mubarak.

All individuals – both those who express faith in various deities and those choosing to adhere to no religion – should have the freedom to debate, criticize, and yes, joke and satirize all forms of ideology, including economic, political, and yes, religious. ... Simply put, truly free citizens of any state should have the freedom to practice and profess the religion of their choice, but should not have the power to criminalize those who do not profess their religious faith.


  1. I cannot condone hate speech, but one man's hate speech can be another man's legitimate criticism. Who is to be the judge of where the line is to be drawn. If free speech is not the freedom to criticize the things we disagree with then it is difficult to see what it means. I could argue under the proposed Egyptian law that the Koran is hate speech because it criticizes Christianity. I have not seen the video involved and do not want to endorse it, but criminalizing to things we disagree with is no solution.

  2. Mitch Albom wrote this in response to this week's anti-American violence in the Middle East.

    It makes sense.

    Sadly, there's nothing new about irrational hatred. Whether it's as blatant as this violence or a subtle as snubbing a cashier at the supermarket because she's the wrong color, it's the devil's work behind it.

  3. Thanks for the comments Mike and crownring. This excerpt from the Albom article speaks to the insanity:

    "To use this shoddy propaganda as justification for violence against Americans abroad is as indefensible as using a single hateful lesson taught at a Middle Eastern madrassa to justify attacking Arab embassies here."


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