Al-Khoirot Institute of Islamic Studies, Malang, ID. WA: 0822-2667-4747


The Limits of Freedom

The Limits of Freedom

Eversince the cartoon controversy sparks a furore in the Muslim world, I resist the tempation to comment on that matter as I intend to dedicate, and therefore confine, this page only for talking on human interest, universal values and sort of reflection note on my self, local culture and tradition: the weakness and strong side of it and how we can start a new beginning from there. Besides, I regularly write on political issues in print media op-ed columns. So, I think I have had enough of them.

But as the controversy refuses to dissipate, and so many misunderstanding on the part of the Western people regarding this issue–you can see their “colorful” commentaries scattered in blogoworld as well as here–I try to explain a bit about the freedom of speech and attitude.

I’ve written in previous posting that the controversy was nothing to do with freedom of expression. Yet, as they insist that it is very much related with it, let me explain that even the freedom of expression has its own limitation or else you’ll end up being a criminal. Let me explain it by using their own criteria of freedom of press and expression.

According to Section 266B Danish Penal Code,

“Any person who publicly or with the intention of dissemination to a wide circle of people makes a statement or imparts other information threatening, insulting or degrading a group of persons on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation, shall be liable to a fine, simple detention or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.”

Section 140 said,

“Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months.”

The two sections of Danish Penal Code above is crystal clear as to when your freedom ends. I 100 percent agree with it and everyone must give his/her nod of the universal values the penal code carries.

But then why Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, behaves “helplessly” when some Muslims community asked him to apologize regarding the issue on the ground that his country very much support freedom of expression to the fullest that he can do nothing much about it? He could have easily referred the matter to his own country judiciary as a good gesture to Muslim world.

In the meanwhile, the same newspaper, according to report in the Guardian, UK, has refused a series of cartoons against Jesus some three years ago because they were deemed to be offensive.

Why the difference? You tell me.

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