Free speech is our first line of defense against theocratic fascists - Brooklyn Paper

Free speech is our first line of defense against theocratic fascists

Radical Islam is the topic of our age, but some self-professed moderate Muslims are more infuriated with critics than with the scum committing such appalling crimes against humanity.

Last week’s “Sound Off to the Editor” featured three pages of letters sounding off against this column — sincere thanks to everyone who read and responded — that revealed the Islamo-zealotry in local circles seeking to sedate free speech and potentially imperil our other constitutional freedoms, without which all that we cherish and hold dear would cease to matter or exist.

Freedom of speech, our right to say what we mean peacefully without fear of reprisal or having it bastardized as hate speech, is the most important institution of American society, and likely a reason why 729,995 people were naturalized as U.S. citizens last year. Some of course hailed from the oppressive Muslim world, where a continued aggression on free expression is the law of the land.

It turns out the community quick to cry “Islamophobia” is slow to practice tolerance:

• Indonesia and Pakistan — the first- and second-most populous Muslim nations, respectively — employ primitive blasphemy laws without basis in the Koran to muffle detractors.

• Saudi courts toss reformists, activists, and writers in jail or sentence them to death on trumped-up charges of “sowing discord,” “inciting public opinion,” and “reducing the government’s prestige,” according to Human Rights Watch.

• Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza arrest, abuse, and criminally charge journalists and activists for peaceful criticism of their leaders — the suppression violating both ruling parties’ recent enrollment in international treaties protecting self-expression.

Conversely, the majority of governments in the Judeo–Christian world safeguard the civil liberties of even fanatics yearning to dismantle our time-honored principles.

Freedom of speech is a ferocious battlefield soaked with the blood of heroes who continue to die so it can live. It is the cornerstone of Western civilization, and essential to our advancement, progress, and well-being.

It is also our first line of defense against theocratic fascists wanting to rob us of our unalienable right to speak against injustice and barbarity — freely.

Follow me on Twitter @BritShavana

Read Shavana Abruzzo’s column every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail here at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com.

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