Does Freedom of Expression Violate Sanctity?

  • Fri Apr 19th 2013

Is the freedom of expression an all-encompassing one? Or does it have certain caveats? Scholars and advocates gathered at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio to present their perspectives on sanctity and the freedom of speech.

Peter Haas, Chair of the Dept. of Religious Studies, CWRU said, "I think it is very hard publicly in the US to talk about religions honestly and openly."

Religion and sacred beliefs have often been the target of free speech.

Lately, cartoon depictions and an inflammatory film about the Prophet Muhammed have inflamed tensions across the world.

Zeki Saritoprak, an associate professor in Islamic Studies, presented this views on sanctity from an Islamic theological perspective.

"Both the Torah, which was indicated by a Jewish scholar, and the Quran we found that these divine texts are emphasizing the importance of communication but good communication rather than insulting and slandering others," explained Saritoprak.

Scott Alexander, Director of Catholic- Muslim studies at the Catholic Theological Union, addressed religious freedom in the US and its aspirational qualities.

He noted that while the freedom to express should not infringe on others' belief systems, that is often not the case in reality.

From Australia Prof. Desmund Cahill talked about the emergence of a new multi-religious society connecting his experiences with the other speakers.

The speakers articulated the tenuous connection between religious beliefs and the right to express one's thoughts freely. There is a fine line between the two, where both parties are respectful of the other.

Fatih Sahin, Anisha Menezes, Ebru News

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