What is most disturbing is that Muslim threats to free speech are working.
Amongst all the talk about the trashy "Innocence of Muslims" video in the USA,in England Channel 4 pulled the programme "Atheism:the Untold Story" because they were concerned about Muslim reaction to the programme.
This programme was made by a reputable historian,Tom Holland,who bent over backwards to be fair and objective,and was a scholarly piece of research which rightly questioned the textual origins of the Quran and the fact or not of Muhammad residing in Mecca.
The censorship goes further:I tried to watch a copy of the programme on You Tube and someone had hacked into it and voiced over a rant about the glories of Islam.Fortunately I was able to view the video on this site.
There are arguments for and against whether "Innocence of Muslims" should be allowed to be shown,but there can be no argument that Western ideals of free speech and democracy insist that "Athesim:The Untold Story" should be shown.
I think that activism by a few extremist Muslim groups may well be successful in effectively censoring what we read and view about religion in the West.
The UK has freedom of speech? And, if they do, was it the government that forced the tv station to pull the program?
Excellent question Susan. Did the government censor it, or was it just a group of cowards at Channel 4? I recall the late Christopher Hitchens making an excellent point about the Danish cartoons that caused an uproar with the followers of the Prophet (piss be upon him). Not once, ever, did you see those cartoons displayed or published by the primary media outlets in the US. Not on MSNBC, FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS, PBS, Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, etc. And why? The US government didn't ban the publication of them. It was the managers, cowering in their corporate rat holes, who made the decision to bend over and appease the crazies. And now, they're being appeased again.
Turns out I was right. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/sep/11/channel-4-cancels-scree...
Oh, and the title of the film is "Islam: The Untold Story."
Apologies for the typo error in the heading.
"The Life of Brian" was voted by the English public as their favourite humorous film ever,and it upset a lot of Christians but did not lead to death threats against the Monty Python team!
No large commercial organisation,it seems,will publish anything critical about Islam for fear of reprisals,both commercial and personal.It is a salutary lesson to show that violence,or the threat thereof,pays.
Now I see that Ban Ki-noon is suggesting the introduction of laws/rules to limit free speech when it comes to matters of religion.
Voltaire would be turning in his grave....
According to an article by Channel 4, all that was pulled was a preview showing. It says, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9535854/Channel-4-can... , that it will still be broadcast Thursday night (Sept. 27?), and can be seen on line -- though it doesn't explain how. "The documentary is due to be repeated late on Thursday night and can be viewed online." I'd be interested in seeing it. I detest what some call the heckler's veto -- that by causing trouble, opponents can cause cancellation of an event. It only works when sponsors, or police, cave in to threats.
What has happened in Muslim countries is what always happens where anti-religious viewpoints are suppressed: the public thinks of any dissent as unusual—they believe it is wicked and eccentric. In the United States we have de facto censorship of anti-religious views. No politician could hope to be elected in the US without professing a deep and profound religion in his life.
The fact is that there has always been scepticism and dissent from the accepted view. In time the countries of the Middle East may come to tolerate dissent. We should promote that as best we can—through example and through words.
If anyone outside of the UK wants to watch it, here's the link that I found. http://www.mrctv.org/videos/islam-untold-story The thing that pisses off the Muslims, is the complete lack of evidence for the explosion of the Arab conquest in the 7th century having anything to do with Islam. What the "broohaa" is all about is the historian, Tim Holland, stating there is no evidence of an "Islamic" religion when the Arabs began their conquest. And, what really pisses off the followers of Mohammed, is that when they started this conquest, they were rejecting Christianity, and following - hold your breath - Judaism.