Limits on Freedom

RECEIVED Mon., May 4, 2015

Dear Editor,
    While I strongly condemn the Garland shooting, I do wonder if freedom of speech means ridiculing a religious figure revered by more than a billion people.
    Prophet Muhammad, throughout his life, showed kindness to those who maligned him. His neighbors threw dust at him as he prayed, but he never retaliated. If Muslims care about the honor of the Prophet, then we should never insult him by resorting to violence.
    At the same time, we should also condemn events that exist only to mock other people’s faith. Following the Charlie Hebdo incident, Pope Francis also said that freedom of expression has its limits – especially concerning religion. The Pope went as far as to compare insulting religious figures to insulting someone’s mother.
    I urge the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the organization that sponsored the Prophet Muhammad caricatures contest, to engage in civil discourse instead of enticing people against one another. I also urge Muslims to show fortitude and patience when they face insults, as commanded by the Quran (3:187).
Nadia Ahmad
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