Have we Take Freedom of Speech too Far?


Faria Mardhani wrote a column titled Have we Taken Freedom of Speech too Far? This was published shortly after an ad was displayed across subways in New York City, stating “in any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad” in 2012.

In this piece Mardhani uses a passionate and declarative tone. She begins the piece by clarifying the meaning of the ad. In using the format of bullet points, she quickly draws her reader to her main points about the meaning of the ad.

She strongly states that the ad implies that:

  1. The battle for Israel is a war against all Muslims.
  2. All Muslims are savages.
  3. All Muslims are anti-Israel.
  4. The term Jihad can loosely be defined as the Palestinian perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

By aligning the reader’s viewpoints with her understanding of the ad, she is able to state her points more effectively. The author also refrains from the use of anecdotes and emotional stories, trying to use facts to prevent the reader from getting the impression that the author is not fair-minded in her analysis of this issue.

Mardhani employs logos by starting the discussion with the ill generalizations made by the creators of the ad. She clarifies that Jihad is not simply a Holy War and that true Islam does not promote violence. She completely obstructs the credibility of the creators of the ad by stating “They clearly lack accurate information about Islam and are hoping to prevent others from obtaining it with these ads.”

Later, when addressing to obvious question of the First Amendment, Mardhani states that America is a democracy first and needs to protect its citizens. The author also cites history saying that in the past Jews, the Japanese, African-Americans, and homosexuals have been targeted by hate speech that has gone unregulated by the government. She went on to say that now Muslim-Americans are being added to the list of individuals persecuted against in America. By asking the reader if this is the tradition we want to carry on in America, she appeals to the reader’s emotions.

Faria Mardhani ends this piece with the strong statement that if the United States continues to fail to regulate hate speech, it will be doing injustice to its current title of a democracy. This strong ending forces the reader to contemplate whether freedom of speech is more important than protecting democracy and equality for all Americans. Effective rhetorical analysis skills were used in to composition of this column.


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