Muhammad cartoons: freedom of expression has its limits, according to Justin Trudeau - The Canadian
Tuesday, November 24

Muhammad cartoons: freedom of expression has its limits, according to Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister Justin trudeau does not endorse his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who maintains that terrorism or not, we must continue to be able to caricature the religious fact, including the Muslim prophet Mohammed. According to Trudeau, there is no point in doing things that unnecessarily hurt others.

The holding these days of the trial of the pimps of the attack against Charlie Hebdo was the pretext in France to publish again the cartoons of Muhammad which had shocked and urged the terrorists to act in 2015. Some believe that this gesture is at the origin of the knife attacks which have multiplied in France during the last few weeks. The beheading of teacher Samuel Paty also occurred after he showed caricatures of the prophet to his students.

All this brought Emmanuel Macron to say that France will not renounce “caricatures, drawings”. But Justin Trudeau is definitely not on his side.

Asked again on Friday on this subject, Mr. Trudeau first argued that he would “always defend freedom of expression”. “But freedom of expression is not without limits,” added the Prime Minister. We don’t have the right, for example, to cry “fire” in a crowded cinema; there are always limits. In a pluralistic, diverse and respectful society like ours, we must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience enormous discrimination. ”

According to Mr. Trudeau, freedom of expression must be exercised with “respect for others” and with the concern “not to injure in an arbitrary or unnecessary manner”.

The Prime Minister adds that the intention of the caricature, however good it may be, is not necessarily relevant in the debate. “It’s a matter of respect, not to seek to dehumanize or deliberately hurt. There is always an extremely important debate, a sensitive debate to be had on possible exceptions on issues where we do not want to hurt, but often the intention is less important and the fact can still hurt, so in a society based on respect each other and listening and learning, let’s have these complex conversations responsibly. ”

Earlier this week, the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, made similar remarks, arguing that “the freedom to express our thoughts is not the freedom to create divisions on purpose. [et de] the clothes ».

The conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who still has not made himself available for questioning by reporters, only released one video this week. “Another Islamist attack, another attack on our values ​​and our freedom,” he said. If France is attacked, all democracies are attacked. I want to express my solidarity with the French allies. Terrorists will not make us bow. Here in Canada we will fight to create a country proud of its principles, its openness and its freedom of expression. ”


  • Leslie Benjamini

    Does that include derogatory statements against Jews? Or just Muslims? Because Trudeau you don’t seem to have the same strength of conviction when it comes to Jews.

    • Deborah Nicholas

      Great point. But the derogatory statements, satire and criticism should be reserved for the religious ideology, e.g. Christianiy, Islam etc not the follower. Unless, if course, the follower has just hacked someone’s head off for exercising their freedom of speech rights in a secular democracy.

    • Alex De Soto

      Do you really want to continue along these lines?
      How about derogatory comments against women? Blacks?
      Once you make “feelings” part of your law, you open the can of worms. Either everyone can find something to be offended about and the only medicine is to shup up forever, or you need to let any idiot talk as much as they want about anything and then your feelings are your problem.
      You can’t sit on the fence for long in the age of modern technology.
      Too much noise.

  • The Learner

    Is it wise to make fun of the prophet? Probably not. Is it necessary? Probably not. Does it deeply offend people? Yes.
    Should it therefore be forbidden? Definitely not. If offending people will be the red line of free speech, than everybody will demand restrictions on what offends them. End of free speech.

    • Alana Luft

      ^This. Although I can definitely see Trudeau’s point, it sounds much like an excuse for 1st degree murder. We must encourage anti-fragility and mutual respect, but a thick red line should be drawn at any physical violence, regardless of the source or the motive.

    • Abù 'l-Walid ibn Rushd

      Occasionally, it is both wise and necessary to make fun of the prophet. Whenever your government either outlaws making fun of the prophet or fails to provide equal protection of the laws to those who are victims of criminal acts for having made fun of the prophet, then it is your civic duty to make fun of the prophet in solidarity with those victims.

      Trudeau professes concern for “communities and populations who still experience enormous discrimination.“ Historically, it has always been the offensive who have suffered the most enormous discrimination of all. Victims of discrimination are always targeted by those who consider them to be offensive.

      Stand up for the rights to be offensive!

    • Anna Thorsten

      Except the reality is that in many Muslim majority countries respect for others religious or indeed atheist views are not tolerated, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh the most glaring examples.

  • Irfan Ali Shah

    Very good comments by Canadian PM he won the hurts of 1.5 billion Muslims every thing has certain Limits. In today’s global world no any human should be Target on the basis of religion, race, Colour but every body should respect others religious personalities and may not damage religious places like Church, Temple or Mosque then we can live a peaceful world

    • Basil Farano

      With all due respect, no one should be the target of violence, especially causing death because of a cartoon. People have the right to believe anything they like so long as they do not impose those beliefs on others. People especially do not have the right to commit violent acts simply because they are offended. I believe the concern over radical reaction of beheading and murder of innocent people trump your concern over being a “target” of extremely intelligent political comedy.

    • Patrick May

      The limits are on what people are allowed to do in response to feeling offended. Those limits do not include beheadings.

      All ideas, including religious ideas, are up for discussion in a society that embraces freedom of expression and other Enlightenment values. If you are willing to respond with violence to criticism of your religion, or even simple depictions of your prophet, you are the one who has no place in civil society.

      Je suis Charlie.

    • Nick Reid

      Indeed, then it would be a perfect world. We only need the thought police to achieve it. What a beautiful wonderful world in total peace we would then have!

    • Deborah Nicholas

      As an atheist and antitheist religion DEEPLY offends me. All of them, especially Islam. So I want them all abolished – now please, so my feelings aren’t hurt. But I don’t think that’s going to happen somehow, so I’ll just have to live with it. I won’t, however, be hacking anybody’s head off as a result because I’m a reasonable, law abiding person. And while I agree that no PERSON should be targeted, the religious IDEOLOGY can be and must be: Religious people have the right to believe in their fairy-god in the sky, and I’ve got the right to criticise that ‘god’. And I definitely WILL NOT be respecting any religious dogma any time soon – they’re all just so, well, DOGMATIC.

    • rainman

      muslims need to develop some sense hunour it was just a cartoon laugh at it , what is life with out sense of humour is Islam so fragile that a cartoon will challenge the greatness of that Allmighty

    • John

      If he can be offended on behalf of Islam I will allow myself to be offended on behalf of half the Planets population (women) who don’t want to be subjugated by Islam.

  • Morten Pedersen

    The argument against posting the cartoons should not be fear. Nor should it be some warped misconceptions about respect.
    The only argument against posting the cartoons that I can think of is that we only criticize those we most deeply care about because deep down we wanna see them do well in this life. I do not see any signs that the Allahu Akbar segment has earned our well-meaning criticism. They have not deserved the slightest bit of positive attention if you ask me. A criminal with an idiotic ideology is still only a criminal and criminals belong in jail or at the business end of capital punishment.
    And if they act as agents and provocateurs on behalf of foreign powers, then that is also what they are – and we should also take the proper consequences and precautions in this scenario and expel diplomats and citizens as is to be expected; but also declare war if that is the only way forward. How else can we perserve the slightest bit of self-respect? – And how can you expect us to respect non-criminal Muslims if we don’t even have our self-respect? So let’s start there.

  • shoheb makrani

    While I agree that freedom of expression should have some limits and the laws should be clear about it but the violent act of terrorism, like what happened in France, can not be allowed in any civilized society by any person in the name of religion.

  • Les MacLean

    As an atheist and a what seesm to be a minority I am deeply offended that freedom to criticize any character in history who represents todays’ Theocratic or Authoritarian rule is blasphemy against humanity!

  • Bhupinder Liddar

    Freedom of speech and expression is paramount in western culture. Alas Trudeau is concerned about votes and radical intolerant Muslims are trying to change the fabric of western society. Bravo President Macron!

  • Franco Bau

    The French history teacher did try to have a responsible conversation on free speech and he was decapitated. It’s our Prime Minister that is being irresponsible and naive about the matter. Macron is absolutely right in this matter.

  • Tomas Booth

    If Trudeau is so sincere in his expression, then why doesn’t he condemn the Book of Mormon Broadway play? It is significantly more sacrilegious and explicit in its offensiveness. Fortunately, the LDS people understand violence is not the proper response and choose to engage in dialogue instead.

  • Henry Sporn

    Trudeau misses the point. Mowt people instinctively do what he argues for already, ie, they know to withhold speech that might offend somebody. However, free-speech laws are specifically in support of those who don’t withhold offensive speech. There is no right not to be offended. There is, and should continue to be, free speech as has been the tradition in Western countries since the 19th century. Further, cartoons of the prophet don’t bring hate upon Muslims; if anything, it’s the reaction by extremists that does that. Nor do the Mohammed cartoons incite. It’s true they may provoke a reaction, but that’s hardly the same thing.

  • Maria Mehmood

    Prime Minister Trudeau’s remarks regarding freedom of speech are vital to a diverse society prospering as anything without limits is harmful. In order for a society to blossom and grow, everybody needs to play their part in ensuring that the peace of the society isn’t disrupted. There is no justification for violence and the motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is “Love for all, hatred for none”. At the same time, religious figures of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and followers of all other faiths need to be respected by society as a whole, in order to ensure that all members of a society have the right to a respected and welcomed place in that society.

    • James Lawrence

      As an atheist I feel zero need to respect yours or anybody else’s religious figures. I don’t have the right to engage in any hate speech against any individual, nor do I want to, because of their religious affiliation. I sure as hell don’t have to respect any religion (ideology) though. Just as communists or fascists, can’t expect us to respect their figures, ideas, or symbols. Society will prosper just fine

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