THE inability to hear ideas you disagree with without being ‘triggered’ shows emotional immaturity. Free speech is being promoted around the globe with certain constrictions.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2015, Americans are at the top of the list who tolerate free speech as long as it does not violate their national interests. In the Middle East, most countries have a religious ideology. The Gulf countries also promote free speech provided that it does not go against their moral and ethical obligations or national interests.

The Saudi government incarcerated a scholar a few days ago because he spoke against national policies in his Friday sermon. India calls itself a secular state, yet it takes offence if anyone criticises the caste system.

Pakistan too promotes free speech and her media is perhaps the freest in the region, nay all of Asia. However, Pakistan’s sole raison d´être is Islamic ideology. The state or the people do not tolerate those who go against the Shariat.

What is accepted in the West as total freedom sometimes degrades and defames moral obligations, particularly of the Muslims.

Muhammad Tahir Baloch

Naushahro Feroze

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018

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