The Reality Behind the “Free Speech” Argument
by ESAM AL-AMIN
"....So when someone is keenly aware of another’s value system and what hot button issues are likely to generate widespread outrage, such deliberate acts should be called for what they actually are: the highest form of fomenting incitement and hatred.
But how could the U.S. deal with free speech and art that incite and tear apart human relations without violating its most cherished principle?
One of the limitations in the United States constitutional law to freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment is the “fighting words” doctrine. In a 1942 famous Supreme Court case, the unanimous ruling held that “insulting or fighting words, are those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” Applying such a principle can easily lead to the balance needed between the inviolability of the principle of freedom of speech and the narrow exception where such speech results in a serious massive injury that would rupture harmony and peace within communities, cultures, and countries.
Yet what about the practice of freedom of speech in the West?.....
What these examples and many others illustrate is that the protection of the constitutional freedoms of speech, expression, and association are used selectively in the U.S. on the basis of political judgments. American officials, public intellectuals, and opinion makers revel in invoking the first amendment as an inviolable principle when Islam or its sacred symbols are attacked, and then find rationalizations and loopholes when American Muslims engage in objectionable free speech activities. However, this double standard is not lost on the majority of people in the Muslim world and across the globe...."