In 1945 Europe emerged from the harshest truth of xenophobia and most countries affected by the racist principles of Nazism vowed to take the route of freedom of speech, faith and belief as part of their “Never Again” tenet. The United States has freedom of speech written into its amendments, as a basic human right, but within the small print is a rider that freedom of speech does not include incitement to hatred.
Never in their wildest nightmares did those who fought hard to achieve freedom of speech believe it could be turned on its head to deny democracy rather than defend it.
When does freedom of speech cross the line to incitement of hatred? When this democratic right is taken for granted to destroy the very society that it was supposed to protect.
When freedom of speech becomes a one way street in which all opposing traffic is in dire danger from the onslaught of traffic forcing all others out, then it is not freedom, it bears no resemblance to liberty and it threatens our very way of life.
When entire peoples find it an essential part of their culture to denigrate and ridicule other religions in a most base, crass and cruel manner yet refuse to accept even the mildest of criticism in the form of satirical cartoons or videos without violence and terror in return, freedom of speech is compromised.
When immigrants forcibly change the moral tenets and religious leanings of their host country imposing their way of life upon rather than choosing to honour the traditions of their host country, that is not freedom of speech nor does it come close to the credo of liberty most host countries enjoy.
When immigrants determinedly lobby to change the traditional religious teachings of schools and celebration of religious festivals of others because it offends their beliefs, whose freedom is protected?
When immigrants use their religion to plot the downfall of the host democratic governments, it is not freedom of speech, democracy itself is in clear and present danger.
We in the West, the free world, created the ideal of free speech to protect and ensure the rights of all following periods of slavery, racism, homophobia and xenophobia, to ensure that history does not repeat itself yet it is that very determination to accept and enable all who come through our doors that is fast eroding the democratic process and the rights of all.
Freedom of speech is a two way street otherwise it simply provides the tools for tyranny and terror as we have seen over the last weeks in response to an inane, puerile, amateur video mocking Mohammed. Flags are burned, Imams encourage adherents to riot in streets over the world and the most heinous incitement of all, American Embassies are attacked and a fine upstanding diplomat who worked hard to understand the society his government sent him to serve is raped and murdered for daring to belong to America – the big devil.
Freedom of speech? No. A vile theocratic demonisation of liberty.