The Danish Cartoon, Take 2

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Danish Cartoon, Take 2

Yesterday, someone from the blog Muslim Unity left a comment to my post about the Danish cartoon and the violent protests that have occurred in recent days. I don't agree with most of the views expressed on that blog, but I certainly welcome this blogger's comment.

Blogs are perhaps the epitome of free expression. They cover a wide spectrum of issues and opinions. Blogs are not subject to the kind of self-censorship that sometimes occurs in broadcast news or newspapers for fear of pissing off an advertiser.

In his comment to my Wednesday post, the blogger at Muslim Unity (MU) tersely declared, "You will never understand our religion." It was a cynical, self-defeating conclusion. But as I read this MU post, I took some solace in realizing that there was at least one point on which we agreed -- the right of Muslims to dress in a way that reflects their faith and values. The MU blogger had written:
What freedom are the French talking about? Girls are not allowed to wear the Hijab in (French) schools? What type of freedom is this.
I thought the French government's ban on the Hijab was unnecessary and unfair. I don't understand why a woman would want to wear the Hijab, but it's not important for me to understand it. I can respect someone else's rights without wanting to exercise those rights in the same way.

Whether or not I ever fully understand Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or other religions, I can still recognize the fundamental rights their adherents have, including the right to express their religious beliefs -- even if those beliefs offend others. Likewise, I recognize the rights that people have to express themselves in ways that may offend adherents of these religions.

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