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جوري
09-27-2012, 02:36 PM
Freedom of Speech - Double Standards?

Dr Amjid Muhammad


Last Updated on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:30 Please help us run Islam21c and its' projects for the next 12 months. Donate to our Just Giving page.

In other words there is a fine balance between the freedom of speech and the freedom to offend. Freedom of speech is curtailed if it dishonours unjustifiably or if it can cause harm to the wider public. The Muslim would argue that the west, when it applies this principle to Islam, does so with an element of prejudice. It fails to consider the unjustifiable attack on the reputation of the Prophet Muhammad, or the public disorder that such expressions can lead to. In a world which is increasingly resembling a global village, the later must surely come into consideration.
Embassies are razed, diplomats are lynched, protesters have marched with unbridled aggression from east to west. The Islamic world and the West once again finds itself at loggerheads arising from two conflicting principles, the right of 'freedom of speech' against the right to 'defend one's honour'. What ensues is a repetitive discourse occurs between the two.


The argument a Liberal-Secular puts forward is that he can say what he wants without the Muslim having the right to be offended. He will then further propose that Muslims should be mature enough to handle such insults. The Muslims would argue that it is well understood that the freedom of speech is not absolute. Exceptions have always been made against blasphemy. Why then, the Muslim would argue, that these exceptions do not apply when Islam or its Prophet are in question?


The right to freedom of expression has been articulated both in the UN’s Universal declaration of Humans Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), however it is well understood that this concept is not absolute. The ICCPR states that restrictions are imposed to "respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "for the protection of national security or of public order...". Even within the United States, the most liberal in terms of freedom of expression due to its Constitution's First amendment, defamation and censorship laws exist.


In other words there is a fine balance between the freedom of speech and the freedom to offend. Freedom of speech is curtailed if it dishonours unjustifiably or if it can cause harm to the wider public. The Muslim would argue that the west, when it applies this principle to Islam, does so with an element of prejudice. It fails to consider the unjustifiable attack on the reputation of the Prophet Muhammad, or the public disorder that such expressions can lead to. In a world which is increasingly resembling a global village, the later must surely come into consideration.


There are many examples which highlight the inconsistency in which the freedom of speech is applied in the west, which implies an underlying prejudice against Islam and Muslims.


The Holocaust perpetrated against the Jews is a dark page in human history. Muslims sympathize with the many innocent lives that were lost during the Nazi era. Nevertheless Holocaust deniers do exist. These Holocaust deniers are not given the freedom to express themselves across 17 European nations in which it is considered a crime. The EU further advocates an optional maximum term of three years in jail to all member nations for denying or grossly trivialising crimes such as the Holocaust. The Muslim will ask why is the balance here towards suppression and not expression? What makes denial of the holocaust a crime while insulting a Prophet of God is not?


Staying in Europe, in 2007 a Swiss court convicted Doğu Perinçek, a Turkish politician, of racial discrimination because he denied the Armenian Genocide. In his defence he argued that he had a right to freedom of expression and added, "I have not denied genocide because there was no genocide". It is a crime in Switzerland to deny the Armenian Genocide and this was also the case in France until recently. Muslims see only duplicity in this.


We just have to look at events over the last week to further strengthen the case of prejudice against Muslims.

In the UK, an advert showing a pregnant nun having ice-cream was banned because according to The Advertising Standards Authority, “it mocked Roman Catholic beliefs”. The Muslim will ask why its ok to mock Islamic beliefs but not Roman Catholic ones?


Again in the UK, a Muslim teenager was charged with “sending a grossly offensive communication”. The teenager posted on facebook, “all soldiers should die and go to hell" two days after 6 British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. The judged ruled that the comments were "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory" and understandably so. The Muslim however will ask why "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory" comments against Islam go punished while a Muslim is punished when Western sentiments are offended?


The French take the cake though. In the country where the cartoons demeaning the Prophet are considered acceptable, protesting against these cartoons is not. Interior Minister Manuel Valls said, "There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up”. We are not even allowed to express our objections via peaceful and recognized democratic avenues?


Even in Australia, Senator Cory Bernardi was forced to resign as Tony Abbot’s personal parliamentary secretary because of his perceived homophobic comments; but when he called for banning the burqah or an end to multiculturalism, his leader or party did not see the need to censure him.


It seems, at least from a Muslims point of view, that if a value in question is closer to Western culture, the balance between the freedom of speech and its curtailment shifts towards the latter while in the case of an Islamic value such as the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, the opposite holds true. This inconsistent and perhaps even biased application of this value only compounds the hurt Muslims feel when Islam or any of its symbols are demeaned. This perspective towards understanding the reaction of Muslims towards recent events has long been overlooked.


Virtuous speech is not speech itself, but the impact it has on oneself and others. This is why freedom of speech has its boundaries defined in law. Perhaps it’s time for the West to be equal in its interpretation of this principle and to legislate against mocking Islam and its Prophet, at least for the sake of a more harmonious global village.

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White Rose
09-27-2012, 06:05 PM
Western standards are mostly an illusion. It tells the society that they have rights and whatever, but the standards are actually used to bend the people to its will.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 07:31 PM
Originally Posted by ارجمند
Western standards are mostly an illusion. It tells the society that they have rights and whatever, but the standards are actually used to bend the people to its will.
Today I watched a program about the parliamentary systems in the U.S, vs. Europe, vs. parts of Europe say between England and Holland for instance.. the system in England is set up so that after all the votes are in practically 70% of those who had voted get no representation whatsoever.
Thus I am confused about the bravado with which they would like to impose their so-called democratic system on the rest of the world..

Did Allah swt intend for us free humans to enter into slavery in one form or another? slaves to institutions, to systems that don't represent us, to those who would deny our talents save for what they desire to get out of us in terms of work to put into the pockets of a handful while the rest of us are in the mill of life with no pleasure, joy, pride in our work and talent, or does he intend for us to have what he dignified us with and that we become slaves only to him our sustainer?

I am so disappointed with everything, and really quite sad- this is the world we've created because we think we can do better than Allah!

:w:
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Independent
09-27-2012, 08:16 PM
Originally Posted by منوة الخيال
the system in England is set up so that after all the votes are in practically 70% of those who had voted get no representation whatsoever.
You are misinformed. In fact the current Government of the UK is a coalition (Conservatives/Liberal Democrats) which obtained 59.1% of the vote. In countries which have a Proportional Representative system (PR) the Government is always a majority vote.

You are also misunderstanding the main benefit of a democratic system. A democracy doesn't guarantee good government, but it does guarantee a change of government. All governments go bad eventually. There are no exceptions. At least in a democracy, you get to kick them out when they do.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 08:20 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
You are misinformed. In fact the current Government of the UK is a coalition (Conservatives/Liberal Democrats) which obtained 59.1% of the vote. In countries which have a Proportional Representative system (PR) the Government is always a majority vote.

You are also misunderstanding the main benefit of a democratic system. A democracy doesn't guarantee good government, but it does guarantee a change of government. All governments go bad eventually. There are no exceptions. At least in a democracy, you get to kick them out when they do.
Given that professors in the field broke it down with their own stats, I'd say you're the one misinformed. However, you are correct that democrazy doesn't guarantee a good govt. question the west enjoys so much imposing its very poor standards on the rest of the world, or why folks are happy with 'All govt. going bad eventually'
When you 'kick' someone out believe it or not you're only changing faces not forms of governance!

best,
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Independent
09-27-2012, 08:29 PM
Originally Posted by منوة الخيال
Given that professors in the field broke it down with their own stats, I'd say you're the one misinformed
No, you are wrong. In the UK it would be theoretically possible for a Government to be formed on as little as 30% of the popular vote (because the UK has a first past the post system). Nevertheless, the current Government did indeed receive 59.1%.

You should place more value on the ability to remove governments democratically. The other method is by violent revolution.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 08:33 PM
we're talking about the representative parties of the Parliament that which remains after the votes. Do some research on how it is done, compared to Holland/ or Turkey or Israel. You'll have a better understanding. I don't enjoy discussions based on personal opinions over those with facts!
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جوري
09-27-2012, 08:36 PM
Also as per The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
— Frederick Douglass
Br. ABZ always has that in his siggy and certainly very true words they're!
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Independent
09-27-2012, 08:40 PM
Originally Posted by منوة الخيال
we're talking about the representative parties of the Parliament that which remains after the votes.
Because the UK has a first past the post system, the number of MPs will not usually correlate exactly to their percentage of the popular vote. However, in this case, the Government did nevertheless receive 59.1% of the votes cast.

In countries that operate a PR system (such Ireland, where I live) the government is always based on a majority vote.

There are pros and cons to both systems.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 08:51 PM
I wonder why that it is so big deal to Europe that denay Holocaust of Jews is crime. Is it also crime to denay that Stalin murdered over 20 million? Or is it crime to denay genocide of Palestinians?

World War II took only from 1939 to 1945, genocide of Palestinians have continued over 60 years.

Seems here is double standars - others murder is more important matter than those other people.
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Independent
09-27-2012, 09:33 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
I wonder why that it is so big deal to Europe that denay Holocaust of Jews is crime.
Personally I am not in favour of Holocaust denial laws and we don’t have them here in Ireland. But I’ll give you my opinion. Why exactly has the Holocaust been singled out for special legal protection and is this an example of Islamophobia?

The first thing to consider is that most Europeans would regard the Holocaust as the single worst event in history, or certainly one of the worst. This is enough to place it top of the agenda. You are in Finland yourself so I imagine you know this.

But more importantly, the kind of views that led to the Holocaust (ie Jewish conspiracy theories) are still thriving today. For that reason people fear that the same events have the potential to happen again. Therefore it is vital that the real history of events is correctly remembered.

In other words, these laws aren’t just made to prevent people taking offense. They are there in an attempt to reduce the chance of a repeat performance. That makes the Holocaust different from most of the other subjects that people are still ‘free’ to say what they want about, such as commenting about Christianity or Islam. Holocaust Denial isn’t just an issue of free speech. It’s about stopping the nightmare from returning.

The laws were originally made with home-grown, right-wing, white extremists in mind. Today, some Islamic groups are now also open to prosecution by this legislation. Nevertheless, if you look at the history and timing of this legislation, it’s clear it was originally designed for Neo-Nazi targets, not Islamic groups.

When you think about it, it’s pretty ironic if we now criticise Germany for making this law. Many other countries make it illegal for their own citizens to criticise their Government. Yet when it comes to the biggest issue of all, Germany have made it illegal not to. We should respect this, shouldn’t we?
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جوري
09-27-2012, 09:37 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
But more importantly, the kind of views that led to the Holocaust (ie Jewish conspiracy theories) are still thriving today. For that reason people fear that the same events have the potential to happen again. Therefore it is vital that the real history of events is correctly remembered.
Aren't they and haven't they happened over and over again and since? I don't see laws against denying the srebrenica genocide amongst a host of others and precisely for the reason that Muslim blood isn't considered of worth compared to Zionist blood.
There's no desire for realism at all here and the language used to cover what's really going on is unraveling, at least to the common man if those who make the laws and impose them believe in their success merely by descending down to word play and florid speech they've failed miserably!

best,
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 09:39 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
You are misinformed. In fact the current Government of the UK is a coalition (Conservatives/Liberal Democrats) which obtained 59.1% of the vote. In countries which have a Proportional Representative system (PR) the Government is always a majority vote.

You are also misunderstanding the main benefit of a democratic system. A democracy doesn't guarantee good government, but it does guarantee a change of government. All governments go bad eventually. There are no exceptions. At least in a democracy, you get to kick them out when they do.
That's how it's supposed to work - but in reality, it doesn't work that way. You know that. Stop playing advocate for stupid causes.

Shariah will rule properly, and people will prosper. We just need khalipha back, and insha-Allah the time is getting closer now.

Scimi
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Independent
09-27-2012, 09:40 PM
Originally Posted by منوة الخيال
Aren't they and haven't they happened over and over again and since?
Germany can't make laws for Serbia.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 09:41 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
Germany can't make laws for Serbia.
Holocaust denial laws aren't just German laws!
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 09:42 PM
germany charges 8% religion tax on all catholics. If they dont pay - they are not counted as catholics and are denied communion and a Christian burial...

A WHOPPING 8%... extortion. Democratic? I hardly think so.

Scimi
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جوري
09-27-2012, 09:42 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
Stop playing advocate for stupid causes
He didn't make a case let alone a strong one for his stupid cause. I think he needs to sit down and learn how the system works before discussing it, but I don't have all day to waste explaining to folks things that they have no desire to learn.

:w:
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Independent
09-27-2012, 09:45 PM
Originally Posted by منوة الخيال
He didn't make a case let alone a strong one for his stupid caus
What cause? I'm just describing the result of a UK election.
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 09:45 PM
@ sis Bluebeel - Ditto :)
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جوري
09-27-2012, 09:47 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
What cause? I'm just describing the result of a UK election.
because you don't know what the hell you're talking about!

best,
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 09:50 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
What cause? I'm just describing the result of a UK election.
Ah heck. I live in the Uk and stopped voting 10 yrs ago. What a sham. Grayface killed it for me, then Blair stuck the nails in the coffin and that was that.

Now, I've lost all faith in the British government. And their foreign policy stinks just as bad as USA's... as for their home policies? If you live here, then you know that this country's government has neglected it's people BIGTIME, and the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The peeps in impoverished ghettos are jail bound due to absolutely no interest from the govt. And much much more... i don't know how you could stick up for the british govt the way you have - it's just not a very smart thing to do on this forum. Peeps would run you red with info that will leave you gasping for air in a short minute buddy.

Scimi
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Independent
09-27-2012, 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
That's how it's supposed to work - but in reality, it doesn't work that way
Why do you say this? In the UK (where you live I think) you have regularly seen governments get voted out after people felt they had lost their way, broken promises, etc. Because the government changes reasonably frequently, it's much harder to build up power structures (eg give all key positions to supporters etc).

I believe that all governments eventually trend towards corruption, even if they start well.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 09:55 PM
Yes, Europeans made kind of law because people in Europe in general and specially in Germany felt shame. I have friends in Germany and about Holocaust they just can´t talk as they still shame it too much. Any kind of Nazi symbol cause them panic attack. Better not talk with them kind of matters. :nervous:

Yet it has nothing with freedom of speech.

In my country has also law about freedom of speech. It says that any kind of insult against group of people is hate crime. "Group of people" means here also religions. If anyone writes here hate against Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Jews etc hate article in public media (also means internet) it is crime. Kind of video like about prophet Muhammad couldn´t published without charge to court in here.

Thanks to our laws about freedom of speech. You other westerners should teach something about them.

Seems our law is quite similar what Islam teach: think before you speak and be quiet if you haven´t nothing more to say than insults!
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 10:06 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
Why do you say this? In the UK (where you live I think) you have regularly seen governments get voted out after people felt they had lost their way, broken promises, etc. Because the government changes reasonably frequently, it's much harder to build up power structures (eg give all key positions to supporters etc).

I believe that all governments eventually trend towards corruption, even if they start well.
,

Any man who seeks power is unworthy of it. In Islam, a leader is chosen by the people - and that leader must not want the position. This ensures that he is not a power crazed egotistical idiot. People deserve better. Our Khaliphate was engineered to fall by the Brits who partenered with the Saudi family and created sectarian wars in the region in order to curb any opposition to the Saudi's - they did this by recruiting the Wahhabi's who were a long time affiliate of the Sudairi tribe thru marriage. They then went and bought down the Khaliphate in Turkey. And though they promised the Arabs that the khaliphate would be re-established Makkah - that didnt happen. That was back in 1933...

The Sauds are a tyrant rulership, but no worse than the British govt who is able to blame shift its policies to the previous govt in standing.

Understand one thing, when it comes to exo-politics, you have a lot to learn.

If you cannot understand what I am saying here then I am wasting my time with you.

As for the govt changing reasonable frequently? You think that's a good thing the way the Brits go about it? As soon as a govt is elected - their policies are on the back burner and they never deliver their promises. Tey continuously fail and the pre-election build up is a game of secondary schoolboy disses in parliamant. The most profane wins... that's a mob mentality, not a govenrment,

Scimi
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Independent
09-27-2012, 10:07 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
In my country has also law about freedom of speech. It says that any kind of insult against group of people is hate crime
I might be in favour of a law restricting hate speech, although it's always hard to get the definitions. But as for Holocaust Denial (which is not quite the same thing) I'm not so sure, although as I say I sympathise with why Germany has done this.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 10:15 PM
They shame. They still shame as Germans now in majority are not Nazis. Shame becomes because they as well us didn´t stop Nazists when they made those crimes against humanity but closed they eyes.

As well we all close our eyes today when zionists murder people every day in Palestine. Fighting against it is fighting for humanity. If you don´t fight for it, one day you too feel deep shame.
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Independent
09-27-2012, 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
Any man who seeks power is unworthy of it. In Islam, a leader is chosen by the people - and that leader must not want the position
Apologies, these posts are overlapping a little. I've seen you post before about the Caliphate and I am interested to hear more about your views and how common you think they are. Perhaps you could point me to another thread, i think this may have been discussed before?

As for only choosing leaders who didn't want the position, I wonder how often that happens in real life?

But as i say, without a system like democracy, which has an in-built mechanism for removing governments past their sell-by-date, then what you get is violence. Leaders like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad have provided stable and long-lasting governments. But in the end, it takes a violent revolution to get rid of them.
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Scimitar
09-27-2012, 10:30 PM
Originally Posted by Independent
Apologies, these posts are overlapping a little. I've seen you post before about the Caliphate and I am interested to hear more about your views and how common you think they are. Perhaps you could point me to another thread, i think this may have been discussed before?

As for only choosing leaders who didn't want the position, I wonder how often that happens in real life?

But as i say, without a system like democracy, which has an in-built mechanism for removing governments past their sell-by-date, then what you get is violence. Leaders like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad have provided stable and long-lasting governments. But in the end, it takes a violent revolution to get rid of them.
True democracy started with Islam. Our Khaliphate is exemplar of the true democratic system which should govern a country. Unfortunately we don't have one anymore.

But it will come back, and when it does, the world and it's sister will wish they were Muslims living in the Muslim lands.

As for only choosing leaders who didn't want the position, I wonder how often that happens in real life?
These days :D not happening at all.

But as i say, without a system like democracy, which has an in-built mechanism for removing governments past their sell-by-date, then what you get is violence. Leaders like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad have provided stable and long-lasting governments. But in the end, it takes a violent revolution to get rid of them.
True, but does that excuse the previous governments inability to govern? How about those who step in - why can't they hold a previous government accountable for its crimes against its peoples? i tell you why - because the next govt plans the same thing.

Ig you follow politics, especially british politics - you will realise that it doesn't matter if its labour or tories who win it - they've got exactly the same agenda on the cards - they just choose their words very carefully to make it appear as if their agendas are different.

Foreign policy hasn't changed for the better, its gotten worse with each new replacement govt.

Add to that the fact that we're still in a recession, we only had releif from the recession in 1993 for a period of 12 years before we hit it again. Its a farce man.

The very system is corrupted because the government cannot be held on trial. That itself is a fail.

In Islamic Shariah law, the khaliph can be tried in a court of law. That's how a system should run.

I can only name a handful of politicians in the British govt who have been jailed in the past 25 yrs, for crimes that are crazy...

... But hey, the didn't ever hold Blair accountable for the murder of millions of innocents did they? I mean - who cares right? So you see, when the govt systems in place make you lose your humanity due to their propagation of war, you have no excuse - and are left with only one option. defend the very govt that made a monster out of your humanity. What else do you have left, right?

Scimi
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 10:32 PM
You like dictators as democratic elections whose get 110% of votes?

:p

Same in your country too?
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Independent
09-27-2012, 10:36 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
You like dictators as democratic elections whose get 110% of votes?
I didn't say i liked them, I said they were stable and long-lasting (because they didn't have free and fair elections). Some people argue against democracy because they like 'strong' governments. I like democracy because it produces (relatively) weak governments.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 10:44 PM
Stable democracy? You maybe aren´t from North Ireland?

:p
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Independent
09-27-2012, 10:51 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
Stable democracy? You maybe aren´t from North Ireland?
I'm in the south. But I think you are slightly misreading me. I'm saying that people sometimes criticise democracy because they think it produces unstable governments, governments that don't last etc. I remember after the 1st Gulf War, some people would brag that the leaders of the west, Bush and Major, were gone but Saddam had outlasted them. This is of course a great description of what's good about democracy, not what's bad about it.
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Independent
09-27-2012, 10:57 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
In Islamic Shariah law, the khaliph can be tried in a court of law. That's how a system should run
I think this one is for another thread, it's just too big. Please send me any links or books you recommend.

But I will say one thing right at the start, and that is that I don't believe any government, any leader, can behave, or did behave, in this perfect way you describe. It doesn't matter if the rules came from Allah or God or wherever, people make their own interpretations. people are simply not capable of this perfection. That's why a 'weak' government, or at least one that doesn't try to last forever, is more desirable.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 11:00 PM
Then you may accept that only British can create stable democracy to Northern Irelend? It is not occupied Ireland? Ok.

If governments are unstable, then people whose believe themselves of course try they best. Saddam Hussein is not example here as invasion of US army.

Read even a little near history, boy!
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Independent
09-27-2012, 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
Then you may accept that only British can create stable democracy to Northern Irelend? It is not occupied Ireland? Ok.

If governments are unstable, then people whose believe themselves of course try they best. Saddam Hussein is not example here as invasion of US army.

Read even a little near history, boy!
I am assuming English is not your first language so I don't mean to criticise, but I actually can't understand what you're saying here.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 11:13 PM
I know.

Truth is so difficult to swallow. It is much easy talk about reality of other nations and they reality than own, right?
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Independent
09-27-2012, 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
I know.

Truth is so difficult to swallow.
I mean I literally cannot understand your English.
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Independent
09-27-2012, 11:23 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
Then you may accept that only British can create stable democracy to Northern Irelend? It is not occupied Ireland? Ok.

If governments are unstable, then people whose believe themselves of course try they best. Saddam Hussein is not example here as invasion of US army.
It's possible that you meant this: 'Then you believe that only the British can create a stable democracy in Northern Ireland? Aren't the British occupying NI?' - if so the answer is no, clearly the Republic of Ireland could provide a stable government too.

I can't make any sense of the next sentence. As for Saddam, if you mean to say he was removed by invasion, not a revolution, then you are talking about the second gulf war - I said the first.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 11:23 PM
Sorry my bad English. Hopely my sisters and brothers here understand me better.

:statisfie
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Independent
09-27-2012, 11:26 PM
Originally Posted by sister harb
Sorry my bad English
No worries, I can assure you it's a lot better than my Finnish.

Apologies, i can't discuss any further for now, I have to go offline.
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sister herb
09-27-2012, 11:34 PM
Normally people stop to understand when they read something they don´t want to read.

During first Gulf War I listened Radio Iraq until USA messed they freedom of speech, then listened how USA made victory as murdered hundred of thousands Iraqi civilians for the name of freedom.

Freedom is expencive thing. Many have to die for it.

Also your right to believe that only you can determine what is freedom of speech.
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