The value of free speech demonstrated once again

That letting everyone have their say on any matter of public importance is so evident as the best way to manage differences within a community was never better seen than in the last few days. There are some who, for example, think Australia’s Mufti ought to be sacked or censured for this:

mufti statement on paris

If you can read what he says, you can see which side he is on. Why shouldn’t he be on his own side. He mourns the loss of innocent lives rather than condemning the attacks. Such is as it is. What is important is for us to understand what he believes. His plain speaking has set everything straight. Whether the knowledge we have has any practical value is something else again, but at least we know.

Or take Waleed Aly and his own reaction. All you need is love, apparently:

“If you are a member of Parliament or a has-been member of Parliament [who do you suppose he means by this?] preaching hate [and who’s doing that?] at a time when what we actually need is more love — you are helping ISIL. They have told us that. [Who is “they” and when did they say it?] If you are a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here [and who has said that?] or basically them saying the same thing — you are helping ISIL.

It’s our fault and not theirs. They may have been savages but they were provoked, and if we condemn their actions, we are playing into their hands. But the value in hearing it is that you start to understand who and what we are up against. They do not condemn these attacks in anything more than a perfunctory way, since they see themselves as more sinned against than sinning. You may not think so, and I may not think so, but they think so, and that’s what letting them say their piece allows us to understand.

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