Freedom of speech is in itself ambiguous: the right that promises an individual’s freedom to express his thoughts and desires without fear, may not be recognized as absolute and at times, can be in the veto of public interests if freedom of speech is not rightfully exercised. A speaker’s corner is such a place that guarantees absolute freedom of speech in the form of debates and group discussions. It is an open-air public speaking arena that allows anyone to hail, criticize, or assert an opinion on any person or position. However the speaker’s corner is lately a breeding ground for hate speech; the once ‘Free Speech Zone’ for everyone is now used as a tool for Sharia after a mob of Jihadis attack Hatun Tash, a Christian scholar, who apparently addressed the adversities written in Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad at the speaker’s corner.
The angry mob was forcibly removed by the British Police after inciting violence at the peaceful speaker who also spoke with a Muslim colleague at the debate on the magical effect, the word Inshallah generates. When the Jihadis started disrupting the peaceful sermon and called her obscene names, Hatun held the holy Quran and a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad titled, Cry Baby Muhammad depicting Muhammad as a cry baby who cannot be admonished. That is when one of the jihadis stormed towards her and hit her on the face. The irony is Islam, the religion of peace and tolerance, becomes perplexed and intolerant at the sight of Prophet Mohammad getting criticized. Islam, the torchbearer of truth, forgets that to criticize a fundamental idea is not a cardinal sin.
After the video of Hatun getting assaulted goes viral on social media, Islamists from all over the world, pour hate-mongering comments on her, applauding the fact that she rightfully deserved to be slapped across the face for disrespecting Prophet Muhammad. A section of Muslims did condemn the act, provided their teacher would never do so, but probably never looked deeper into what their teacher professed. Prophet Muhammad urged his disciples to beat their wives until their skin turned green (Quran 4:34 Sahih al-Bukhari 5825). If mocked, the disciples would eventually kill their wives, let alone a Christian woman heckled in the public sphere for showing a cartoon. The question is: Is Islam becoming religiously intolerant with each passing day? Will Islam ever accept the good from the bad, and make reforms amidst rigorous Islamic corrupt practices?