January 25, 2009

Ranting up the wrong street

When we begin talking about freedom of speech and expression, it is necessary to pick out the strand of radical Islamist fundamentalism but it is important to do this in a context that recognizes the concurrent existence of radical Christian, Hindu and Jewish fundamentalisms. There are enough instances of the impact these have had in recent years on writers and artists; say, for the sake of an argument, you have been out of the loop: less than a minute on google gave me this, this, and this.

Which is why I am taken aback by Christopher Hitchens' enthusiastic but lopsided article in Vanity Fair where he refuses to acknowledge anything but Islamic extremism. Is he being deliberately ignorant or obtusely ignorant? And what is this refusal if not an irresponsible indulgence in demagoguery?

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