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From Mustafa Akyol at New York Times:

The scarcity of intellectual freedom under self-described Islamic states has received criticism from many corners, from Islamophobic conservatives to Muslim liberals. In response, the authorities who censor books or ban blogs usually shrug. They typically think that freedom of speech is a Western invention to which they don’t have to subscribe. In Malaysia, the government brazenly condemns “liberalism” and “human rights-ism.”

These censors like to think that by protecting believers from dangerous ideas they are doing a great favor to Muslim societies. They are doing the opposite. Their thought-policing only helps enfeeble and intellectually impoverish Muslims: When Muslim minds aren’t challenged by “dangerous” ideas they cannot develop the sophistication needed to articulate their own.

I first realized this limitation about two decades ago when Richard Dawkins’s books “The Selfish Gene” and “The Blind Watchmaker” were first published here in Turkey. The books presented an aggressively atheist interpretation of evolution. As a faithful Muslim and an aspiring writer, I wanted to write a rebuttal. As I started to do research, I realized that all of the reasoned arguments against Dr. Dawkins and other “new atheists” had been written by Western Christians. Since they lived in open societies where religion could be freely criticized, Western Christians had developed an intellectual tradition of apologetics. In Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries suffering under the yoke of censorship, however, Muslims hadn’t tried to counter the atheists. The government solved that the problem for them — by banning atheist books, if not also punishing atheists. More.

Fat lot of good banning Dawkins will do. That only makes someone that Westerners wish would just shut up into some kind of a hero.

Oh, you don’t believe me? See Dawkins vs. the Flying Horse.

Why is he a threat anywhere, except to his own reputation?

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I disagree somewhat. Dawkins books and books of evolutionists generally present an ideology which is opposed to democracy and freedom of opinion. It is perfectly possible for countries to become fascist states on account of the influence of evolution theory, a clique of intellectuals taking control. Of course one must first establish the freedom of opinion in law, and then allow the books in. But as freedom of opinion is not established, then it hardly makes sense to promulgate books which are ideologically opposed to freedom of opinion. mohammadnursyamsu
I am oppopsed to human rights-ism ass its purpose is to invent human rights over gods rights for man and mans contracts on ruling ourselves. Anyways. We do nOT have freedom of speech but only the tools, given by our forefathers, to defend our freedom of speech. Canada and america do not have freedom today anymore then Muslim places. its just different subjects, degrees, punishments. the muslim rulers are being like our rulers and our mobs. They would laugh at our freedom claim. They would be right. Robert Byers
The censors simply don't care that in doing as they do, they are crippling the intellectual capacity of the people they profess to protect. This is not unique to Islam. No censoring regime ever cares that they are intellectually crippling their people. Such regimes, in spite of all their propaganda about being more advanced than their opposing viewpoints, place very little value on the intellect. They don't worry about answering internal voices via logic, because internal dissenters can simply be shot, and don't have any real plan for answering external disagreements by logic, because they intend to overcome that resistance by violence as well. EvilSnack

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