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Senior Contributor

Free speech


Molly Norris’s cause should be taken up by all free people – not least the President of the United States. Obama could have explained that human beings control their own reactions to things. If Muslims chose yet again to riot and murder because of Terry Jones or Molly Norris, that would be a choice they would be making out of an unlimited array of other choices. Instead, Western authorities have fallen into the Islamic supremacists' trap and are starting to behave in just the way they want them to: thinking that they must not do certain things, because if they do, there will be violence from Muslims. Yet that violence is in every case solely the responsibility of the perpetrator, not of anyone else.

Obama could have said that the idea that Molly Norris would have to give up her career and live in hiding because of cartoons is unconscionable. He could have told the Islamic world that cartoons depicting Muhammad did not harm Muslims, and that the willingness of some Muslims to commit murder over such depictions was the only thing that made people care to draw Muhammad in the first place.

Obama could also have said that to threaten people with death because of cartoons was destructive to free speech and hence to free societies — and as such, it was something that the U.S. would do everything it could to resist. He could have announced that Molly Norris and others who were threatened for exercising their freedom of speech would be given full round-the-clock protection — and that if violent protests and riots over cartoons broke out in areas where American troops were deployed, those troops would put down those riots and protect the innocent to the fullest possible extent.

Apparently when Muslims behave with violent irrationality, Obama thinks that it is entirely the responsibility of non-Muslims to clean up the mess they make. In these dark days we don’t have any leaders who will stand up for the freedom of expression, explaining its importance as a bulwark against tyranny. Molly Norris, wherever she is, and the embattled free people of the United States, deserve better.

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Re: Free speech

A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.  - Robert Frost