And This Is Why the First Amendment Is a Good Thing ™

One more thing to be grateful for
if you live in a country with freedom of speech:

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) — An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger on Thursday for insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced him to four years in jail over his writings on the Internet.

One of Suleiman’s articles said that al-Azhar in Cairo, one of the most prominent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, was promoting extreme ideas. Another article, headlined “The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it”, accused Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005.

He has also described some of the companions of the Muslim prophet Mohammad as “terrorists”, and has likened Mubarak to dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt.

“I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence,” said lawyer Nizar Habib, who attended the trial as a member of the public.

Point duh-one: freedom of speech is not there to protect popular speech. It’s for unpopular speech.

Point duh-two: an idea that needs legislative protection from criticism is one that can’t stand on its own. I’m sorry Mr. Habib doesn’t like the fact that Suleiman aired Egypt’s dirty laundry in public (any more than I like it when an American makes the US look bad in the eyes of the world), but frankly, the way to deal with this is to fix the problem, not shoot the messenger.

And if there needs to be a law against criticism of Islam, doesn’t that pretty much mean that there’s no rational reason to believe in Islam? What kind of god needs to be protected, like an endangered species?

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