This is a great talk from American Islamic scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf on issues surrounding global communication and Islam. He spoke after the YouTube video portraying the Prophet Mohammed caused so much offense in the Muslim world last year.

He makes some great points. First, he describes how Islamic scholars sometimes limit freedom of speech by labeling anything they disagree with as an insult to the prophet. He mentioned his own experience in which Islamic scholars said he needed to make public repentance for defending someone who had insulted the prophet. Yusuf said:

That certainly wasn’t my intention. But, I was pointing out a nuance. Well, we’re living in a world where nuance is no longer in our vocabularies. We are in the cartoon world of black and white. It’s not even color cartoons.

Fantastic point that could apply to some Islamic scholars as well as many segments of American society. In my opinion, Islamophobia and Islamic extremism are essentially two sides of the same coin.

He then goes on to discuss freedom of speech with some nuance. Yusuf discusses Holocaust denial laws, the confusion between the support for free speech vs. support for the specific speech, and the shifting perspectives on protection of reputation. Give it a listen.