In the West, we know and appreciate our rights, especially our freedom of expression. It's our right to communicate any opinion publicly without censorship or restraint by the government. Our Founders knew it was the basis of every free society.
But in Islamic countries this right cannot and will not ever materialize ... and Saudi Arabia proves it.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and often considered the home of Islam. It is the quintessential example of an Islamic state, ruled by Islamic Sharia law. And freedom of speech there is unequivocally haram (forbidden). Islam's attitude toward free speech is the antithesis of that in the West. Is that just opinion? Nope ... all supported by the Quran and Hadiths, and with unpleasant consequences.
"In Islam it is the Creator of human beings Allah Ø³Ø¨ØØ§Ù†Ù‡ ÙˆØªØ¹Ø§Ù„Ù‰ who gave the right of speech to people and defined the limits on what is acceptable and unacceptable speech."
"The Messenger of Allah ØµÙ„Ù‰ Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø¹Ù„ÙŠÙ‡ ÙˆØ³Ù„Ù… said: 'Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good (khair) or remain silent.'" (Agreed upon. Narrated by Abu Hurayra.)
"Khair in this Hadith means Islam or what Islam approves of." (Hizb ut-Tahrir, "American Campaign to Suppress Islam," p. 23.)
Islam's main objection to free speech: the criticism of Islam or 'blasphemy'. Islam's definition of blasphemy is criticism, of any kind, of Allah or his prophet Muhammad.
Punishment for blasphemy:
" If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city [Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while."
"They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed. (Haleem)"
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement."
"Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah?"
Abdullah bin Ubai (bin Salul) - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for making "evil" statements about Muhammad's family.
Abu Afak - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for making negative remarks about Muhammad and Islam.
Kaâ€™b bin Ashraf - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this man for writing inflammatory poetry about Muhammad and Muslim women.
Asma Bint Marwan - Muhammad asked his followers to kill this woman for composing inflammatory poetry about Islam and Muslims.
This is how the Saudis rule their kingdom of peace and tolerance. Their current intolerance: Raif Badawi (pictured above), arrested in 2012, sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in 2013. That increased to 1,000 lashes, 10 years and a fine in 2014. All this for blasphemy against Islam.
Imagine if we had such draconian laws, how many would be prosecuted in the US for insulting Christianity (with the Left's war on Christians)? We don't have enough room in our prisons ... or in the case of a Middle Eastern punishment for this 'crime' ... we don't have enough chopping blocks.
For those of us who understand what Islam preaches, there is no room for free expression, and therefore freedom, within Islam's draconian dictates. And if these Islamic laws are respected and adhered to by the appeasers in our midst, liberty will be a lost and elusive dream.
Freedom will always be anathema to Islamic doctrine, therefore vigilance requires: shalom through strength.
Audrey Russo is host of the weekly REELTalk Radio Show based in New York City. Her articles on the Middle East, national security, terrorism and cultural issues have been published widely. Audrey is also an active member of the NYC performing arts community as a singer and actor.