The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States forbids any law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and yet conservatives have spent centuries trying to do exactly that. Freedom of speech or of the press refer to the same thing—the ability voice beliefs or ideas, however unpopular, without fear of punishment for speaking up. As a governmental right, it was a slowly-won one that lies at the heart of democracy. The right to speak up is no more and no less than the right to think freely without arrest or prosecution. Haught surveys the history of censorship from suppressing heterodoxy and nonconfirmity to sexual censorship up through our present day era of religion-driven murder for saying or doing the "wrong" things.
To have a better understanding of the psyche of Al-Qaeda we need to understand the ideology, personality and political strategy of the organization's leaders as well as their followers. Their vision of Islam was not limited to a few countries--it was to be implemented across the whole world according to God's wish as expressed in the Quran, and they were determined to make that wish a reality. They dreamed of world domination.
Although radical Islam is spreading, not much is known in Western countries about the Koran, and there seems to be an unwillingness to have a closer look at the book. Yet without this, informed discussion is impossible, and what debate does take place is no more than an exchange of opinion and ignorance. Amongst other things, the Koran is said to call for holy war and to sanction domestic violence. But when asked about this, Muslims and Western apologists flatly deny this. They maintain that the Koran does not preach violence, only compassion and justice (and one should well ask whose justice)--yet the Koran does not support their claims. One cannot rebut them without precise quotes. I have gone through the Koran and precisely referenced some very disturbing passages to bring these issues out into the open and to stimulate much-needed discussion, issues raised which need to be addressed openly and publicly, in the West and in Muslim countries alike.