The problem with this ought to be obvious: who decides what constitutes “malicious” criticism? Islamic spokesmen in non-Muslim countries routinely characterize any and every criticism of Islam, including any accurate depiction of the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism, as malicious. It is a central element of their playbook: characterize anyone who dares to speak the truth about these matters as driven by hate, as a profiteer, a liar, etc. etc. etc. They know that if they take that stance consistently — and they are nothing if not consistent in this — then they will be able to bamboozle many of the naive and unwary and turn them away from the truth and the truth-tellers.
But they also take this stance because they believe it. The idea that all critics of jihad and Islamic supremacism are evil people driven by hatred is also simply a Qur’anic principle — which is a chief reason why Islamic spokesmen in the West so consistently take this line. The Qur’an assumes that anyone who opposes or rejects Islam is evil, malicious, and motivated by greed or envy or both. There is no notion of the dignity of the human person as regards the unbeliever, or any idea of the free conscience operating in good faith in rejecting Islam.
And so the problem with this court decision in India is that Muslims will use it to characterize any and all criticism of Islam as malicious, and to get it censored as a result.
“Islam Can be Criticised, But Not Maliciously: HC,” from OutlookIndia, January 6 (thanks to Natassia):
Islam or any other religion can be criticised, but a malicious criticism aimed at promoting communal hatred and painting the whole community as villainous is not permissible, Bombay High Court held today.
Refusing to interpret Quranic verses, Court however advised that verses must be “correlated”, and historical background must be kept in mind when interpreting.
I am all for that. The unfortunate truth of this, however, is that contrary to what this court clearly believes, and contrary to popular belief, the “historical background” of the various Qur’anic teachings on jihad don’t mitigate, but rather reinforce, Islamic doctrines involving violence against and the subjugation of unbelievers.
A full bench of the High Court upheld the ban on ‘Islam – A concept of Political World Invasion By Muslims’, written by advocate R V Bhasin. Bhasin had challenged the ban, saying that it violated right to freedom of speech.
The book was banned in state government in 2007, on the ground that it contained derogatory remarks about Islam and prophet Mohammad and insulted Muslim sentiments….
All right, but you’ll notice that this article at least doesn’t say anything about the book being banned because it contained false information about Islam or Muhammad. Islamic advocacy groups like CAIR have not hesitated to protest in the U.S. against material about Islam that was perfectly true, but which contained material they didn’t like. See, for example, here.