L’islam, entre discours de haine et liberté d’expression

Mohsen Kadivar, homme religieux iranien, affirme que les exécution d’apostats doivent cesser, mais que les insultes contre la religions doivent être considérées comme des crimes

Tout d’abord, il doit y avoir une séparation en l’islam basé sur les principes du Coran et les traditions du prophète, et l’islam de la sharia. Dans le premier, la liberté d’expression et de religion ont été reconnues. Dans le second, des limitations importantes sont imposées à cette liberté.

I. Les restrictions à la liberté d’expression dans la sharia

Dans l’islam de la sharia, un non-croyant sera exécuté. Les insultes et le manque de respect pour les croyances religieuses sont passibles de peine de mort. Certains juristes placent la responsabilité auprès de la population qui reconnaît et applique ces deux points. Dans ce courant de l’islam, les sanctions telles que Ta’zir et l’adhérence de force aux obligations religieuses ainsi que l’abstinence par rapport aux interdits religieux sont appliquées. Mettre en avant toute autre forme de religion et de pensée, même d’autres courants islamiques, comme des pensées spirituelles et philosophiques d’auteurs musulmans, sont considérées mauvaises et donc interdites. La même chose est vraie de la publicité de livres et d’autres produits culturels, qui sont de toute façon publiés.

II. Le droit à la liberté d’expression en islam

L’islam est basée sur les principes du Coran et les traditions du prophète et de sa famille authentiques. Ces derniers adhèrent aux principes suivants:

  1. Même si l’islam se considère comme la religion de droit divin, la diversité et le pluralisme religieux et de pensée sont acceptés, que ceux-ci soient vrais ou faux, blasphématoires, polythéistes, athées ou autres, comme des réalités de ce monde. L’interprétation est laissée au jour du jugement dernier.
  2. Les gens sont libres de choisir leur croyance et leur religion et personne ne peut être forcé d’accepter ou de nier une croyance.
  3. Personne ne peut être puni pour sa croyance religieuse, quelque qu’elle soit. Un crime doit être associé à une action et pas à une croyance ou une foi quelconque.
  4. Personne ne doit être puni pour avoir changé de religion ou pour s’être éloigné de l’islam. Les punitions comme l’exécution pour motif de non-croyance sont contraires à l’islam.
  5. Personne ne peut être forcé d’observer les préceptes islamiques et de se retenir de faire ce qui est interdit par la foi.
  6. La critique des croyances religieuses sont ancrées dans l’islam libre qui ne contient de punition ni dans cette vie ni dans l’autre.
  7. Les insultes, la dérision et la moquerie de croyances religieuses est injuste et constitue une violation de la dignité et de l’intégrité de ses croyants. D’après le Coran, l’insulte de pensées athées est aussi interdite.

III. L’insulte religieuse comme discours haineux

D’après l’Article 20 de la déclaration des droits civils et politiques, «toute prise de position incitant à la haine religieuse, raciale ou nationale, qui constitue une incitation à la discrimination, l’hostilité ou la violence est interdite par la loi.» Insulter des croyances religieuses constitue un cas de «discours de haine» qui affecte les croyants et doit être considéré comme un crime. Ceux qui ont commis des crimes devront être poursuivis devant un tribunal en présence d’un jury. Sans aucun doute, punir ces crimes ne suppose pas une exécution à mort.

Un consensus international s’accorde sur le fait que les «discours de haine» doivent être interdits par la loi et que ces interdictions priment sur le droit à la liberté d’expression. Le cas des États-Unis est unique au sein des pays développés dans la mesure ou la loi stipule que les discours haineux sont incompatibles avec la liberté d’expression. Au Royaume-Uni, par exemple, des principes protègent certaines catégories de personnes de discours de haine. Ces principes interdisent la communication haineuse, menaçante, abusive ou insultante qui vise une personne sur base de sa religion. Les sanctions contre les discours de haine incluent des amendes, des peines d’emprisonnement, ou les deux. L’absence de limite entre la critique, d’une part, et l’insulte et la moquerie de croyances religieuses, d’autre part, venant d’athées agressifs a conduit, et continuera de conduire, à des heurts violents de la part de croyants radicaux et conservateurs.

Le prérequis pour un monde sain est le respect mutuel entre êtres humains. Il n’est pas possible d’insulter et de ridiculiser les croyances (le livre sain et le prophète) d’un quart de la population mondiale sans avoir à en supporter les conséquences sous forme de réactions violentes et extrêmes de la part de fervents adhérents à cette croyance.

Afin d’assainir la rivalité entre croyance et insultes faites à la religion, des lignes doivent être tracées entre critique et insulte. Ces limites dépendent de la location et du degré de maturité culturelle. Dans les pays sous développés, beaucoup de critiques sont vécues comme des insultes. Il nous faut donc poser des limites, ce qui demande des recherches théoriques et du travail de terrain. Néanmoins, un monde dynamique et mature ne peut être atteint qu’avec respect envers les valeurs de la liberté d’expression et des croyances religieuses.

Si un croyant traditionnel n’a pas le droit d’imposer ses vues sur la religion, alors un athée n’a pas non plus le droit d’imposer sa vision comme une norme universelle. Tout comme nous avons une déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, nous devons également nous doter d’une déclaration universelle des devoirs et des responsabilités envers les pensées religieuses et anti-religieuses, sous forme d’une convention sur l’élimination de toute forme de violence, d’insulte ou de discours haineux.

Tout autant que l’exécution de punitions pour insulte à la religion doit être annulée, l’insulte et la moquerie de croyances religieuses par des athées et des non-croyants doit être officiellement reconnue comme un crime. Les croyants et les athées doivent reconnaître le droit à la critique, qui bénéficie les deux camps. Une compétition saine basée sur le respect mutuel est la seule conduite défendable entre musulmans et adeptes d’autres religions et courants de pensées.

IV. Trois principes

Il nous semble que les trois principes ci-dessous sont, d’une part, les prérequis au «respect du croyant et pas de la croyance» et, d’autre part, les conditions préalables tant de la croyance islamique, que de la liberté d’expression:

    1. La liberté de critiquer les croyances religieuses
    2. L’interdiction d’insulter des croyances religieuses et athées sous forme de discours haineux.
    3. L’annulation de tous les châtiments contre l’apostasie, et en particulier la peine de mort.

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Commentaires (19)

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  1. Mr Kadivar can pray for freedom to criticise religious beliefs, particularly those of Islam, until he’s blue in the face, but that will never happen in Islam. There are two reasons: there are more Muslims who take every single word in the Koran to be the pure truth than in any other religion. Secondly, Islam is a totalitarian (‘holistic’, as Muslims themselves like to say) religion that regulates every aspect of life. Since the Koran denounces unbelievers and Muslims, many of whom attend prayers five times a day, are taught a narrative of victimisation by their imams, i.e. that followers of other religions are out to get them, and also that there is only one true religion, i.e. the one that rules every aspect of their lives, it is highly unlikely that Muslims will ever be able to accept criticism of their religion.

  2. « Surely we can ban non-Muslims from visiting selected cities, without people playing the ‘hate speech’ card. »

    My question is why would anyone do that? Wouldn’t that be the same if you say « surely we can ban Muslims to go into selected states, without people playing the « hate speech » card? » or « Surely we can ban Muslims to work some selected job (or whatever selected) without people playing the « hate speech » card? » . For me freedom in its every form (in speech or something else) doesn’t have compromise. However there are obvious speeches of hate such are ones used by Hitler (I know this is most common used one) where you openly call for murdering, violence, ignorance and any other element which would contribute to misery and suffering of someone. Those speeches are usually without any proof or based on messed up ideologies or misused religious views… and sometimes insanity.

  3. The sole difference between free speech and hate speech is whether the person stating their ideals is trying to implement or force their ideologies on other.
    Any religion Islam, Christianity or Hinduism are a set of beliefs that are followed often by the masses. They work perfectly fine when in a homogeneous environment but conflict when introduced and practiced in a diverse environment.
    This is especially true for international cities and the Internet. There is always a clash of ideas and beliefs and thus conflict which could result in hatred.
    Rather than changing how everyone thinks we should open up to other perspectives and try understand where the other person is coming from.
    Free speech changes completely when the person speaking is trying to change the way you think and convince you that he/she is right regardless of everything else.
    Therefore the sole line between hate speech and free speech is whether you are trying to state your point or trying to make others change theirs and follow yours.

  4. Intresting.

  5. I think that the expression of religious criticism can be named as hate speech, however it depends on the perspective. As a person receiving the criticism of the religion they follow it would be considered hate speech, but in contrast, the individual delivering the criticism about a religion is freedom of expression. The expressing individual has all rights to deliver criticism, but in these days due to certain “criticisms” that we’ve encountered such as violence, an eye over criticizing religion should be emphasized. As an act of disrespecting a religion, such as burning the Qur’an in ground zero, leads to violent acts as the extremists have been angered. Therefor, society should be aware of the publicity they use when performing such a criticism as it can cause damage to the society that did not express their opinions. Perhaps free speech in reference to religious topics should be permitted to be expressed in areas where people share the same opinion, or inside their own walls in order to prevent violence

  6. It seems odd that a muslim cleric is proposing banning publication of the Quran. Regarding his three principles:

    « 2. The prohibition of insulting religious and atheistic beliefs as hate speech. »

    If he reads the Quran, he will notice that it goes out of its way to insult unbelievers/atheists/polytheists – referring to the people themselves, as well as their beliefs. It also says that the perfect god has selected them to be tortured for eternity.

    As you cannot have an omnipotent god that is not responsible for what happens in the universe, and you cannot have a perfect god whose actions should be disapproved of by its followers, then the only logical conclusion I can draw from that statement is that, from an Islamic perspective, unbelievers deserve to be tortured – and not just for a while, but forever.

    If that isn’t hate speech, I don’t know what is.

    The Bible would also be banned, as would quoting from many texts in the Bible, Quran and possibly others.

    Half my extended family is muslim – I’m well aware of how unpleasant it is to be abused in the street by strangers. However, there are plenty of ways of dealing with this, without resorting to suppression of basic freedom.

    You have an absolute right to hate me because of my religious or political affiliations, and to express that hatred. It is how you behave when expressing that hatred that should determine whether you are breaking the law or not.

  7. ‘5) if you are muslim you cannot enter this place’

    You mean if I stated that ‘Non-muslims cannot enter Mecca’, this would be counted as ‘hate speech’?

    How on earth can that be hate speech? I find that incomprehensible.

    Surely we can ban non-Muslims from visiting selected cities, without people playing the ‘hate speech’ card.

  8. in prior comment appeared a emoticon i didn’t put in !
    In any case I apologize for that.

  9. I think that a « hate » speech is something like:
    1) if you are muslim you are a bad guy
    2) if you are muslim you are stupid
    3) if you are muslim you deserve prison or death
    4) if you are muslim you cannot have this job
    5) if you are muslim you cannot enter this place
    6) if you are muslim you cannot speech
    These are expression of judgements for which religion (or other beliefs) is not relevant ( a man can bad or stupid regardless of religion), or simple denial of human rigths because of religious belief, or reputing having or not a beliefs make a man guilty of a crime ( not of a sin !), or discriminating (allowing or not allowing to do something ) because of beliefs.
    These expressions should be allowed.
    On the other side:
    1) I think god doesn’t exists
    2) I don’t think jesus christ ever existed
    3) I think that on friday you can eat meat
    4) I think women are badly treated (in a sociological sense ) by catholic church
    5) I think that religious men shouldn’t run a country
    6) I don’t think that religious schools should ave money from the governement
    7) I think abortion should be permitted
    8) I don’t think women should wear niqab
    7) Religion is the opium of peoples
    are expressions allowed, because we can discuss these themes on logical and\or empirical grounds tryng to persuade each other .
    There a third category of expressions making fun of religious themes; the acceptability of this expressions varies
    in western countries too; I think that would be wise to abstain from using these expressions for religions that are not the ours. It is not a freedom issue, it is a wisdom issue.
    If we could agree on this , we had made a big progress.
    (sorry for the bad english)

    • By your definition of the criteria for hate speech, I believe that both the Bible and the Quran qualify on points 1 to 3, and possibly some of the others as well, in their description of those who do not believe in Islam or the god of the Old Testament.

  10. Although ‘hate speech’ brings upon society several problems I think the main concern in this topic is who draws the line between ‘hate speech’ and ‘freedom of speech’ this is because perceptions vary from cultures and religion. What some may consider hate speech others may simply take it as freedom of speech- their right to express their opinions.

    Expressing opinions about other religious beliefs of course should not be punishable by execution if we abide by ‘Universal Human Rights’ and whether it can be considered a crime in the eyes of the law should take into consideration points such as:

    – government actors promoting a ‘hate speech’ is the first concern due to the ability to influence masses.

    – a ‘hate speech’ repeated by a group within a community- against a particular religion or belief- can become embedded within that group and violence towards people following a religion can become a normalised act.

  11. ‘ According to the Qur’an, insulting atheistic beliefs is also prohibited’

    May I ask where?

  12. Of the three points listed above, the second seems to be a deliberately vague caveat upon the first, and the third, which has nothing to do with the first two, shouldn’t even need to be stated.

    The key line seems to me to be: « It is not possible to insult and ridicule the beliefs i.e. the holy book and the prophet, of one-fourth of the world population without having to bear the consequences of the violent and extremist reactions of some conservative adherents to that faith. » The implication is that the fault lies with those who mock, not with those who murder. I wonder if that rather pointed last sentence would be classed as criticism or insult?

    • I don’t understand what you mean when you say « The implication is that the fault lies with those who mock, not with those who murder. »

      I believe that freedom of speech should not be threatened by radicals from Islam or any other religion for that matter. By this phrase it seems as if you are stating freedom of speech is compromised by radicals and extremists, therefore, we should watch what we say.

      Who gets to decide what for one person is a mere opinion for another person is an insult?

      Different perceptions of opinions can cause misunderstanding between ‘hate speech’ and ‘freedom of speech’ Again, who draws the line between what is correct to say and considered your right to free speech and what should be condemn as ‘hate speech’?

  13. ‘Just as the execution and punishment of an apostate should be annulled, the insult and mockery of religion by atheists and non-believers should be officially recognised as a crime. ‘

    And what should be the punishment?

  14. ‘ Though Islam considers itself the rightful divine religion, it has accepted the diversity and plurality of religions and thoughts, regardless of truth or false, even blasphemy, polytheism and atheism as a reality in this world. It has therefore left the qualification of their truthiness to be determined on the Day of Judgment.’

    Really? Does Islam accept that child pornography is a reality in this world, and therefore left it alone until the Day of Judgement?

    By the way, there will be no Day of Judgement. That is something somebody made up.

    And I will say that until somebody produces evidence that it was not made up.

  15. What is ‘insulting religious beliefs’?

    Why should be people be allowed to criticise political beliefs, but not religious beliefs?

    If somebody believes that the Earth will end in May 2012, because a Holy Guru said it would unless he was given 5 million dollars, why are we not allowed to criticise such a belief as irrational?

  16. Sounds reasonable at first sight, but it’s easy to spot that sneaky « second principle » which is of course the point of the whole debate. Those with a totalitarian bent have no compunction about labelling any criticism of their behaviour as an « insult ». It is precisely this term that is used everywhere to stifle criticism and to whip up the fury of the baying mob. It is a weasel word which can be invoked at every opportunity to shut down discussion.

    On the contrary, the right to mock or insult the ideas of others is a vital component of the right to freedom of expression.

  17. Votre commentaire est en attente de modération.

    I do not understand the difference between free speech and hate speech. Is it that hate speech is free speech intended to generate hate in others? If so surely those who hear or read free speech have the right to accept or reject it. What is the point? I for instance reject the piss Christ but acknowledge the right of the artist and gallery to act as they have otherwise I would not truly believe in the freedom I advocate. On the other hand employees of the gallery where the work is or was have perhaps been wrongly denied their freedom. I do not know the answer to that.

    • You look for the different evidence. In the hate speech case you have to prove that someone wish to use « speech » to start hate. And it happens. Can we hate people who are believers of some religion? It is absurd, but we can use « religion » to start hate.

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Le Débat Sur La Liberté d'Expression est un projet de recherche du Programme Dahrendorf pour l'étude de la liberté au Collège St Anthony, Université d'Oxford.

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