Nine years ago and after amost fifty thousand views, comments keep coming in on this video, more pertinent today than ever.
When the Islamic extremists burned down the Danish embassy in 2006 because of a cartoon, I expected the American press would respond with a plethora of cartoons lampooning Muhammad. I expected to see the dancing Muhammads on Saturday Night Live, and Jesus and Muhammad doing stand-up routines on Leno and Letterman. But they were all strangely quiet, at least at first.
In response to the many acts of violence because of a Danish cartoon about Muhammad, I produced a demonstration of the right to free speech where the Koran, the Bible, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and United States flag are destroyed by fire.
The video has been sent to various emails within the governments of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and to various Muslim associations within and without the United States. It is also posted on youtube.com and various other video sites.
Here is the transcript:
What you are about to witness is a demonstration of our right as human beings to free and unhindered political speech. It is offered for educational purposes so that everyone may clearly understand.
If we love our country, our hearts warm at the sight of our flag, because it represents everything that our nation stands for, and the brave soldiers and sailors who have died defending it. When a flag becomes old and tattered we may burn it. But there are some who would burn the flag to express their frustration at the policies of the administration currently in power. In my country we are proud that we have that right even if it angers us when our flag is set ablaze. Here is such a flag.
Our government is founded on the principals embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Here is a copy. For two-hundred and thirty years we have celebrated that the freedom that we enjoy is not granted to us by any earthly King, or government, but instead belongs to us as a birthright, because we are created human beings. There are those who want to destroy our form of government and its founding documents but even if this were accomplished, it is impossible to destroy the freedoms and rights that belong to all men.
It is the right of a man to worship God as he sees fit, or not to worship. He may speak freely about this, and meet with others in order to do so. Here in my left hand is a Bible containing the Old Testament of the Jews and the New Testament of Jesus Christ, in my right hand a copy of the Koran, the writings of Muhammad. Both claim to be the exclusive Word of God. I have the freedom to believe one or the other, to believe both or not to believe. I may destroy them if I wish but if I do so, will not God still be God? Will not God’s will prevail?
If we are to live at peace we must be sensitive to feelings of others. Nevertheless, those who would attempt to repress free speech with violent force must be opposed by still greater force. All humans have a right to be heard, to speak, to create, to demonstrate, to seek God in their own way, without being afraid. I call upon all the free people of the world to unite against those who would destroy this right.