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Viewpoints: Anti-Islam Film and Self-censorship

Author: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
September 20, 2012
BBC

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The appearance on YouTube of an anti-Islam film produced in the US has sparked protests and attacks across parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in which more than 28 people have died.

The furore has prompted debate about balancing freedom of speech with freedom of religion.

Should self-censorship and regulation be imposed in order to appease the sensitivities of religious groups?

A selection of analysts give their views:

Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, US Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Islamist.

I am a Muslim. I am a Westerner. I see no contradictions in being both.

We reached this stage of our history by ending the control of the Catholic Church on what could and could not be said or written in public. So-called heretics were killed at the stake to help secure freedom of religion, thought, and expression. These freedoms are sacrosanct to me.

It is this history of Christian Protestant bravery that led to the creation of pluralist and secular societies in the West, allowing for the first time in history for Muslims and Jews to settle there in large numbers - we were free to practise our religions freely. The barbarity of pogroms, witch-hunting, and burning heretics ended.

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