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12 September 2010



I'm surprised you're so dismissive. I don't think facebook campaigners are saying to get rid of the first amendment; merely to oppose this pastor and the act. Nobody ever said Terry Jones didn't have a constitutional right to it (better than the most but not all Park51 opponents who conceded the likewise point)

Ed abd al ghafur


So essentially you would defend the right of Terry Jones to burn the Qur'an as an expression of free speech in the name of protecting American freedom? And you are saying that such a defense doesn't pose a problem for you as a Muslim?

Even I was to grant validity to that position, it requires acknowledging that its obvious, and requires some sort of justification. Muslims abroad aren't all crazy extremists either and merely protesting the burning, to me, isn't irrational.

If we look at the history of the first ammendment in this country we see that there have always restrictions for particular kinds of free speech, and these restrictions weren't seen to be obstructions against liberty. So framing the Qur'an burning in terms, of well, we can't oppose it, otherwise we oppose the 1st ammendment is false.

The question is why? Why could such exceptions be tolerated without compromising liberty. I think the reason is that it was understood that the 1st ammendment has a telos that was not hindered by those expressions.

I would some nuanced understanding from you on this issue Haroon given the tensions between Islam and the enlightenment liberalism that underpins much of the constitution.

Haroon Moghul

Salam Ed,

Of course, I didn't say that Muslims abroad are crazy extremists, I wrote this precisely to say (and have said) the opposite -- most don't care enough to go out into the streets and burn flags and effigies, which is itself, in the case of Afghanistan (which is the only place we are hearing about where protests are taking place), inseparable from the larger context of war, foreign occupation and the nasty situation Afghanistan continues to exist in.

And no, actually, it doesn't bother me. The man is a fringe pastor with a penchant for kooky ideas, who can hardly speak English coherently. Constitutionally speaking, he has the right to do so; in terms of developing a social contract that makes it socially taboo (as opposed to making it illegal) to burn the Qur'an, well, I would argue based on present circumstance it already exists. Even considering how unpopular Islam and Muslims are, most Americans recoiled at the idea of a book burning. It didn't take place.

The way to develop a social taboo around such an egregiously insensitive act is not through protesting, whether on Facebook or elsewhere, it's through humanizing Muslims, educating about Islam and establishing a respect both for the religion and the religious which becomes part of a common social bond (inshallah).

Lastly, I didn't say protesting the burning was irrational. I said that protesting the burning by burning effigies and burning American flags is irrational. Or, at least, remarkably hypocritical.

Sufism World


I agree with you that 9/11 was a terrorist plot, but what I totally disagree with you is on who actually was behind it. No Muslims was behind this terrorist plot and yet no real evidence is provided by the US. Yes - we all can be bombarded with false information giving the illusion that Muslims in Afghanistan were responsible. Well, since 9/11 and all the wars that we have seen, has yet not convinced me that Muslims were behind it, unless you have that crucial information to convince me.

Now moving on to this Pasture and his attempt to attack me personally and my faith. Well, firstly this duck is wrong, wrong in believing Muslims where behind it. Having a foundations which are false, any building erected above this type of foundation is totally going to collapse. So, criticising the response of Muslims to this Pastures claims, in fact is agreeing that you accept Muslims where the cause of 9/11.


I am no constitutional lawyer, but there are some limits to free speech, including the famous issue of whether one could yell fire in a crowded building. Correct me if I am wrong please, but I think it was held that that was inappropriate because of the consequent harm. Thats how at least I read it, which may be a bit too broadly. So one could argue that if there was harm to result from the burning, its not constitutionally protected. Also, hate speech can serve as a limit maybe to free speech...

Regardless, I agree with you, Haroon, that a burning or potential burning is unfortunate, but in the end we have sufficient confidence in God, in the truth of Islam, and in the protection God affords to his Qur'an, that burning a mushaf shouldnt phase us from the higher goals and priorities that we have.

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