"Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!"...
“We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression. We think it is an offense against our rights,” [said Ismail Mohamed, a religious scholar.] “The West has to understand the ideology of the people.”
Even during the protests, some stone throwers stressed that the clash was not Muslim against Christian. Instead, they suggested that the traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted with Western individualism and secularism....
Some commentators said they regretted that the violence here and around the region had overshadowed the underlying argument against the offensive video.ADDED: We're not that far from criminalizing blasphemy in the United States, though it seems obvious to educated Americans today that these laws are unconstitutional. Here's a quick summary of the history of blasphemy law in the U.S. And here's the 1952 case Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson where the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that banned showing "sacrilegious" movies. New York's highest court had interpreted the statute to mean "that no religion, as that word is understood by the ordinary, reasonable person, shall be treated with contempt, mockery, scorn and ridicule." The U.S. Supreme Court said:
[T]he state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them which is sufficient to justify prior restraints upon the expression of those views. It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches, or motion pictures.My point is: it took a Supreme Court case as recently as 1952, to establish that principle in our country, with its rich free-speech tradition. Lawyers even saw fit at that time to argue that movies shouldn't get free-speech protection at all because "their production, distribution, and exhibition is a large-scale business conducted for private profit."
Oh, wait, the President of the United States today argues that corporations don't have free-speech rights, and many Americans, including highly educated lawyers, are saying the Constitution should be amended to delete those rights.
Let's not be so quick to assume the man with the "Shut Up America" sign is thoroughly alien. The threats to free speech lie within. They always have.