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Intercept: A Quiz for the West's Great Free Speech Advocates and Supporters of Anjem Choudary's Arrest

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 08/07/2015 - 11:05

Article by Glen Greenwald for the Intercept

As we all know ever since the inspiring parade in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo attack, “free speech” is a cherished and sacred right in the west even for the most provocative and controversial views (of course, if “free speech” does not allow expression of the most provocative and controversial views, then, by definition, it does not exist). But yesterday in the UK, the British-born Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary, who has a long history of spouting noxious views, was arrested on charges of “inviting support” for ISIS based on statements he made in “individual lectures which were subsequently published online.”

This arrest has predictably produced the odd spectacle of those who just months ago were parading around as free speech crusaders now cheering the arrest of someone for ideas he expressed in a lecture. That simply shows what was obvious all along: that for many participants, the Charlie Hebdo “free speech” orgies were all about celebrating and demanding protection for ideas that they like (ones that castigate Islam and anger Muslims), not actual principles of free speech (having the Paris march led by scores of world leaders who frequently imprison those with unpopular views was the perfect symbol).

Indeed, many of the west’s most vocal self-proclaimed free speech champions are perfectly happy to see ideas criminalized as long as the ideas are the ones they hate, expressed by those they regard as adversaries (beyond Choudary, just look at all the prosecutions for free speech they tolerate from their own governments when directed at the marginalized and disliked). Worse, they love to invent terminology to justify why their side’s views are totally appropriate and legal, but the other side’s views are criminal and beyond what “free speech” includes.

- Read more at The Intercept