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Free speech aside, paper wrong to grant forum to bigotry

March 15, 2009
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RE "ISLAM and freedom of speech" (ListenOp, March 8): Geert Wilders's right to free speech gives him the right to be offensive. This right should not be confused with the right to a privileged forum for one's views in the editorial pages of a major newspaper.

The Globe did a disservice to civil discourse in broadcasting Wilders's intellectually dishonest and bigoted message. Would you give such a platform to someone who branded all Christians as irredeemably racist for the history of the Southern church, or all Japanese as inveterate fascists for the atrocities of World War II? Yet you find it intellectually defensible to publish Wilders's description of all Muslims, without qualification, as practitioners of a "totalitarian ideology," and of Islam as a non-religion.

A bigot certainly has the right to hurl insults into the public space; but a prudent and fair newspaper should know better than to perpetuate and amplify the lie.

Mohammed Asmal
Jamaica Plain

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