Letter to the Editor

Making sense of religious extremism and an abuse of free speech

Regarding the Sept. 13 front-page article “Chaos at U.S. Consulate in Libya”:

The violence in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere is a tragic example of religious extremism. It is clearly aimed at blocking the United States’ efforts to help others achieve the freedoms that Americans hold so dear but which many of these others are not yet prepared to accept.

Nonetheless, one of those freedoms — the freedom of speech guarded by the First Amendment — might have been severely abused by some extremists of our own. And whether or not the viral video cited by some as a cause for this particular “chaos” was directly involved, this crisis is a clear test of our fears about “shouting fire in a crowded theater.”

Those responsible for that video are guilty of shouting “fire” in a world that should have the freedoms articulated in our First Amendment. And they should be held responsible for what they have done.

John R. Harney, New Carrollton

The Sept. 12 editorial on the death of Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens described as “a despicable piece of bigotry” a film that purportedly depicts Muslims as “immoral and violent.” Funny, but as I read the details of the embassy attacks those two words came to mind.

Dan O’Day, Alexandria

Slugging it out on the campaign trail and in debates is the American way. Publicly undermining the president of our nation, in the midst of tragedy and crisis is not, and never has been, the American way. At this critical time, the world does not need to hear two conflicting U.S. voices.

Priscilla K. Kirby, Oakton

 
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