My dear friend and Christian brother @rogertankm wrote an interesting comment on Star online, Malaysia’s newspaper today. I think it is timely and insightful. Hopefully it will help to defuse the escalating tensions between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia and elsewhere.
Sunday September 19, 2010
Too much of a good thing
By ROGER TAN
If we adopt a free for all, which includes the right to indulge in hate speech or a right to foment and incite hatred and violence, our beloved country will be torn apart in no time.
MANY of us have heard of the infamous Pastor Terry Jones – the bewhiskered preacher from the diminutive Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, in the United States who had threatened to hold “International Burn A Quran Day” on Sept 11. He subsequently backed down after worldwide condemnation against him.
This included our Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, who called the act of burning the holy book of Muslims a “heinous crime”.
US President Barack Obama warned that this could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American or European cities, adding that it would be a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda.
As a Christian, I am ashamed by what Jones tried to do, especially when it came from a man of God.
But why were the US authorities, including the President, powerless to stop him from carrying out his threat?
The answer lies in Jones’ right to freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.