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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hate him less now?

The U.S. Constitution says a Qur’an burning *event* by Rev. Terry Jones is as much a right as a mosque near Ground Zero. The real sign is here, and raises the issue: Can you abuse freedom of speech? Is this even a free speech issue?

Every single day, somewhere somebody does something in their little corner of the world that gets noticed by someone. Even if it happens online, people think they’re in their own little world with this illusion of privacy shielding them from a scornful web.

The more extreme or incendiary the act (read: puppy girl) though, the wider the audience and the more intense the righteous indignation... on Digg nation. It’s not just a matter of saying that the news media should ignore these stories so they’ll go away either. Yes, me mentioning it promotes it even further.

There are too many sites out there however that are more than happy to run these items because it equates to more traffic for them. Sex may sell, but as far as keyword linkbaiting goes? “American religious extremism” seems to be doing okay too. Picking on a religion is risky though, even if it’s just a cartoon. The results can range from apathy to death threats.

Would Muslims tolerate a non-believer hugging the Qur’an as a sign of religious tolerance, or would it be viewed as mocking? That tolerance is not the same as acceptance per se leads me to think that anything short of turning to Islam completely would be unacceptable for extremists on their side.

The bigger issue though is the ever present Catch-22 at work with *stories* like this: While shining a light on certain activities is intended to prevent them in the future, it’s these very reactions that only serve to spread the message people wished would go away.

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