The mayor of Eindhoven has forbidden 7 imams to speak at an islamic conference in a mosque in his city. Reason: these 7 foreigners have given hate speeches against minorities (eg, gays and jews). Their visa will be cancelled by the Dutch authorities. The chairman of the organising islamic foundation Waqf wants to go to court as he objects to this breach of “religious freedom” as he refers to this issue. Sources: DutchNews, NU.nl, Omroep Brabant.
This is an interesting (legal) debate: is a right of freedom (eg, expression, gathering, religion, speech) a legal excuse to express hatred towards other human beings? To be entirely clear, in my view it is not. And not even for that group that often allows themselves that same privilege: politicians.
Defining hate speeches isn’t aways easy. Geert Wilders still has a law suit against him for a public victory speech in which he asked his followers whether they want more or less Moroccans in The Netherlands (eg, DutchNews, NL Times, NOS). In my view, there was/is no hatred at all in that speech. His party is against mosques and against islam. If his party is allowed by law then that same law should also allow him enough leeway to express his party’s views. Abusing the law to keep him quiet is unacceptable and – worse – counter productive.
In case of Donald Trump things are different. His public speeches do express contempt – if not hatred – towards many minorities in the USA. While his hate speeches seem to be welcome in “politically correct” USA, he is no longer welcome abroad. There is even a popular petition to block Donald Trump from accessing the UK (petition, BBC, CNN, NYT, WSJ). Chancellor (ie, Finance Minister) George Osborne criticised Mr Trump’s comments but rejected calls for him to be banned from the UK. Remarkably, there appears to be no law suit against Mr Trump for his hate speeches (Quora).
To extend religious freedom from practicing religion towards practicing hatred is wrong and should never be tolerated. Any religion is about Love and not about Hatred. In case of doubt about the extent of our freedom of religion then we only need to look at the reciprocity concept: Are we allowed to build Christian churches in the home countries of the people complaining? We should never let such people abuse our laws for their questionable purposes.
Moreover, it has become entirely normal in Western media to ridiculise or insult Jesus, a prophet in both Christianity and Islam. Applying reciprocity has had terrible consequences (eg, assassination attempts on Kurt Westergaard, Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris).
Our tolerance for the rights of minorities and their views, and especially religious ones, is the core of our Western European culture. However, these rights should never be allowed to use against us by people who do not even believe in these rights and only abuse these rights to promote their minority views. Reciprocity should be leading in such dilemmas.
To worship Allah, God or Yahweh for the enduring love for His people – in a church or mosque – is the key of religious freedom. Nothing else matters.
So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters