Rafed English

The Freedom of Expression in the West: From Slogan to Reality

Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"

Before describing the viewpoint of Islam regarding the freedom of expression, it is fitting to take a glance at the condition of freedom of expression in the West. The truth of the matter is that freedom of expression in the West is merely a slogan. Its claimants have never practically accepted it as an obligation and they do not.

Like many other slogans, this slogan is only a means to put pressures on countries that are not ready to abject surrender themselves to the capricious desires and unreasonable demands of the World Arrogance. If there is an issue, which is incongruous with their interests, there is no mention of freedom of expression. Of course, in a bid to deceive public opinion, they usually attempt to surreptitiously and clandestinely create these restrictions, not imposing them in a conspicuous and lucid manner. There are a lot of relevant instances. We will cite here two or three cases as examples.

I have personally a piece of reliable information that sometime in the past, the representative of the Supreme Leader (A-yatulla-h al-‘Uz?ma- Sayyid ‘Ali- Kha-mene’i-) in London had submitted a news item to the newspapers for publication. Although he was ready to pay the necessary amount, none of the newspapers was ready to publish it.

The pretext was that the news item was related to a speech of the Supreme Leader, which was not concordant with the British policy. After much effort, and many mediations and recommendations, one newspaper was finally willing to publish the news item. After its publication, the newspaper was immediately prosecuted. This is while they are regularly propagating to us that Britain is one of the most liberal countries with respect to the freedom of the press.

Another example is related to Mr. Roger Garaudy, the famous contemporary French researcher and thinker. He is considered one of the luminaries of France in this era. He is a philosopher as well as a historian who has written and published numerous books many of which have been translated into different languages.

He recently wrote a book in which he proved as substantiated by evidence and documents that the massacre of millions of Jews during the Second World War in Germany and some other countries is a sheer lie. 28 The nature of the case was that if there is a controversy on this claim of Mr. Garaudy, another person or persons could present counter documents and evidence proving its inaccuracy. But the way they dealt with Mr. Garaudy in France, the “bastion of freedom”, was that they prohibited his book, summoned him in court, tried him, and convicted him to pay heavy fine.

More interesting was that a German publisher who translated into German and published his book was forced to sell his publishing company. Thereafter, the said publishing company was totally effaced and omitted from the list of German publishers. As if it did not exist at all; that it has no external existence. The crime they accused Professor Garaudy of was that he has offended the Jews throughout the world.

This is while the publication of a book such as The Satanic Verses is not prohibited not to mention the fact that it won literary award and was translated into tens of languages. The British government is also spending thousands of pounds daily for the security of the book’s writer; for Iran and some Muslim countries they set the abolition of the religious edict [fatwa-] against Salman Rushdie as the prerequisite for the improvement of diplomatic relations with Britain.

Notes :

28. In his book, Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne (The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy), Garaudy questions the holocaust as a historical fact and as a valid basis for the usurpation of Palestine, including Jerusalem, by European Jewry with no links to the land, and at best dubious historical claims to it. [Trans.]

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