Originally Published in The Oshkosh Northwestern.
Freedom of speech is understood to be a fundamental right and mutual respect of religious beliefs and figures is also a trait of civilized societies. One should not come at the expense of the other. A French newspaper’s crass attempt to highlight their freedom of speech seriously undermines interfaith relations. While violent protests in Islamic countries are contrary to the teachings of forbearance and tolerance practiced by Prophet Muhammad and deserve condemnation, fanning flames of hatred by assaulting esteemed religious figures is equally appalling. Freedom of speech should be accompanied by a sense of responsibility, not devoid of it entirely. We ought to be building bridges rather than burning them.