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Monday, February 06, 2006 

Thanks for All the Help, CAIR

From Volokh, the Council on American-Islamic Relations "reiterate[s] the Muslim community's strong belief that the controversy is not an issue of free speech, but is instead based on concerns over hate speech and incitement."

Prof. Volokh sums things up nicely...
I'm glad that CAIR doesn't belong to the camp that believes in street violence as a means of suppressing political and religious expression it find offensive. I'm not glad that it belongs to the camp that believes in governmental suppression -- fines? prison? -- of political and religious expression it finds offensive.
The whole idea of hate speech is just absurd to me. It lets any offended party take a form of speech, label it as being "hateful", and then criminalize it. I'm a firm believer that more speech is always better than less speech. Even if someone says something that deeply offends me, I'm not going to support restrictions on that or banning it. In fact, I'm glad that I know how they truly feel. If these cartoons are offensive, then these Muslim protesters should just boycott these newspapers. That's a mature, peaceful way to show that you do not approve of their message.

CAIR's "they shouldn't be able to say that" position is not helping this situation at all. They've shown that their commitment to civil liberties ends when they're faced with speech that they don't like. Prof. Volokh closes with...
CAIR describes itself as "America's largest Muslim civil liberties group." Too bad that its view of civil liberties is so cramped as to fail to recognize the liberty of speech involved here.

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