Is there a single Muslim majority nation in this world where freedom of conscience and expression exists? That is not a rhetorical question. I’d really like to know. The answer appears to be no.
As chaos and violence continue over an obscure movie in the Islamic world, Islamic respect for freedom of expression continues to show itself in new and innovative ways.
The regime of Iran, which since the days of ayatollah Khomeini has maintained a bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head for writing the “offensive” book “the Satanic Verses”, has good news for any murderer that can lay hands on Rushdie: the bounty was just raised. As for why now, here is the explanation:
“If the imam[Khomeini]’s order was carried out, the further insults in the form of caricatures, articles and films would not have taken place. The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order.”
So too bad we didn’t get him, if we had, this movie would not have been produced.
But if you think that Iran is a theocracy with extremist views and not representative of the Islamic world as a whole, you are sadly mistaken. The prime minister of Turkey, a US ally and the only Muslim majority member of NATO, now wants “Islamophobia” to be recognized as a crime against humanity, and has this to say about how it should be dealt with:
“When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law.”
And we also get this gem:
“Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others start. You can say anything about your thoughts and beliefs, but you will have to stop when you are at the border of others’ freedoms.”
Stop! You are at the border of MY freedoms!
And again, this is about as “moderate” and secular an Islamic nation as you are going to find. If this is the attitude in Turkey toward freedom of expression, then this fundamental human right likely doesn’t exist anywhere in Muslim majority nations.