Reporters Without Borders has been fighting for more than 25 years so that people
are not prevented from saying "two plus two equals four," as George Orwell put it
in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Fortunately, freedom has heroes who resist at all cost.
For a week, Washington D.C. was home. I led a handful of college students here to observe the U.S. presidential elections and cover the event as cub reporters. For the first few days we camped out in a hotel blocks from the White House and braved Hurricane Sandy.
Should circumstances affect the limits of protected speech? Does the fact that New York at the time was under a state of emergency with an already devastated population, warrant a different set of rules?
But of course they do! Everybody knows that there are 3rd Party candidates running for President. But where can you learn about them? How do you know their names, their platforms and who they are? You cannot!
In a shocking affront to democracy and freedom of speech, Greek prosecutors have ordered the immediate arrest of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis. This comes after the publication of the so-called "Lagarde List," containing the names of 1,991 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.
By now, it seems that everyone has heard of the Russian female punk collective Pussy Riot. Yet the band's prosecution is but an episode in Russia's ongoing misuse of antiextremism laws directed against dissenting voices.
We can stand aghast at the savagery of shooting Malala. Or we can avenge this act in the way that civilized people should --- moving forcefully and urgently to bring the powerful weapon of education to girls.
There is no evidence that restricting speech prohibits intolerance, and, in fact, evidence shows that prohibitions on so-called blasphemous speech actually increases intolerance and leads to a wide-range of human rights abuses.
It should not come as a surprise that some of these voices against free speech arise out of higher education. Yet the great irony in this is that our colleges should be places where people live the reality of the potential that is unleashed by free expression.
In his famous letter to the first Jewish synagogue in America, George Washington wrote that the United States government grants "to bigotry no sanction." But because our government does grant to all its citizens freedom of speech, it protects the rights of Pamela Geller.
This is a lesson for the whole world, and Muslims must use this guidance to collectively exhibit a mature response to such terrible acts. Let us join hands to uphold the peaceful teachings of Islam and the Quran.
Muslims should not be so quick to complain when others demonstrate their lack of respect for Islam if they fail to make any real progress towards understanding the societal norms of other nations, in this instance the complexity of free speech rights and traditions in the United States.
What we say, do, and eat has global implications, and on these three major security frontiers we must do better: religious, food and climate security. Each of us has a role to play, and each of us is capable of making a difference.
Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton rebels against the reduction of The Satanic Verses to an insult to Islam. I agree. But modern liberal democracies, freedom of thought and expression are impossible without the right to offend.