Testing Free Speech In America

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Article/book #: 12378
Title: Testing Free Speech In America
By: M. Shahid Alam  
Published in: Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN)
Date of issue: Saturday, 1 January 2005
Topic(s) addressed:


»I was thankful for the space opened up by the left and Islamic media on the internet. However, even this limited room for the exercise of free speech did not come without a cost. Over the past three years, some Americans have sought to silence me in a variety of ways that has in-cluded hate e-mails, spoofed e-mails that sent out scurrilous anti-Semitic screeds claiming to originate from me, massive spams, and, not least, pressures on Northeastern University to fire me. I have weathered these attacks, and survived the last – thanks in large measure to that wonderful institution that still works, academic freedom. These attacks were resumed starting December 30, 2004, after several hate websites began posting selected paragraphs from an article, “Amer-ica and Islam, Seeking Parallels,” that had appeared on Counterpunch and Dissidentvoice over the previous days. [1] The article made several points. Indeed, much of it was dedicated to castigating Muslims for their political failure to resist, in their own countries, the surrogate tyrannies that have mangled their lives. Indeed, in rhetorical flourish, I blamed the attacks of 9-11 on this Muslim failure. That should have made many right-wing Americans happy; but this did not interest the attackers. In-stead, they focused on my description of 9-11 as part of a global Islamic insurgency against imperialism, and, hence, its similarity with the American war of independence. This is what appears to have ‘provoked’ their orchestrated attacks – many of them death threats – against me. In addition, I gather from the e-mails cc’d to me that the attackers have also been calling on Northeastern to have me fired.«

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