The opinions expressed by students do not represent the views of Ramallah Friends School (FBS) and Friends United Meeting.
Speech

1.Muhammad cartoons by the Danish newspaper caused a huge controversy. Which is more important: freedom of speech or freedom of religion? Was an apology necessary? – Students (Ontario, Canada)

A person's freedom ends when another person's freedom starts. I believe that both the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion are important. All people should have the right to pray and follow the religion they want. People also have the right to express their opinions and present their points of view. However, they should respect other religions and other points of view. I believe that the Danish newspaper represented a point of view that was disrespectful towards the Islamic religion. I think freedom of speech in this case crossed the limits of respect. Furthermore, it interfered with the freedom of religion for all the Muslims around the world. Finally, I believe an apology was necessary because the cartoons were impolite towards Muslims.
By Lena

Your freedom of speech stops when you hurt someone with your opinion. I think that everyone has the right to say what they want, but there are red lines that they can't pass through, like religion. Religion is thoughts, values and things that people have practiced every day for thousands of years. So, I think no one has the right to say, write, or draw something against the things they believe in, such as Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, the one that bring the Islam on earth (as the Moslems believe). Mohammad is not a singer or actor, as would normally be drawn in newspaper. In this case, there should be no freedom of speech, as there are millions of people who believe in such things as that it’s inappropriate to draw Mohammad.

I believe that the one that drew Mohammad’s picture owes an apology to the millions of Moslems that he hurt.
By Lama

"My freedom ends when other people’s freedom starts." Freedom of speech is very important; I do agree with that. But when freedom starts to be very disrespectful, we need to know that it is not freedom of speech because it is disrespectful and very harming to Muslims all over the world. An apology was very important, and these pictures should not be found anymore.
By Samer

In modern societies, people are raised and learn to have freedom of speech. Nevertheless, your freedom ends when other people’s freedom starts. I accept as true that we should respect other religions, and shouldn’t talk bad about them, since all religions have the same source, which is God. An apology was very necessary. I am sure that a lot of people were hurt, but I am positive that a lot of children wondered about those pictures when they saw them. Those pictures gave children a bad picture of the Islamic religion.
By Nicole

First, I would like to say that both are important. Freedom of speech is very important for people to live the life that they like and prefer without fear. Freedom of religion is a main thing in our life because everybody needs to do his religious activities to feel better and to accomplish what god asks us to do. Both of them are very important for everyone in society.
By Ahmad

I believe that God brought us to this planet. Religion is what God wants us to follow. In religion we should respect others in everything. Moslems have their own freedom of religion and no one should make fun of it. In my opinion, the Danish Newspaper shouldn't post these cartoon pictures. There is freedom of speech but not in this way. Religion is something bigger and higher than speech, so an apology was necessary.
By Nihad

When the Danish newspapers printed the pictures I think that they had the right to because Denmark is a democratic country and they have rights to speak about anything. In my opinion, the freedom of something comes by the people themselves Like when Denmark said that the country will have freedom of speech, Muslims agreed. Maybe the cartoons were harsh, but they shouldn’t have made a big deal out of it because Christians didn’t complain when Islams say that they’re atheists and war makers and do not apologize. I think a small apology might be necessary because in Islam, Mohammed mustn’t have a face to be expressed like us Christians.
By Hagop



1.What subjects are you forbidden to talk about in public? – Stefan, Nicolas, and Victoria (MALTA)

I think that because of lack of power of the Palestinian government, people can talk about anything in newspapers, public, and on TV. Some people who don’t support the government’s political beliefs go on TV and criticize the government. Others support the government and respond to the people who criticize the rulers. Freedom of speech is not that terrible in Palestine, and it's somehow kind of good. For sure, a person can't go and start swearing in public or on TV, but he can talk about politics, and people can choose to listen to him or not.
By Amro

We are not forbidden to talk here. We can talk about our opinions and share it with others. Sometimes it's dangerous to talk about other politic parties or something like that. Sometimes it's dangerous to talk about another religion because that can lead to many fights. So there are a few things that we are not allowed to talk about or it's dangerous to talk about.
By Nihad

The subjects which I’m forbidden to talk about in public are my family relationships and sex.
By Hikmat

1.Would you feel safe speaking out against your government? – Bill Reilly Michigan, USA) – what school?

First of all, I am lucky to be living in a real democratic country, with more freedoms than any person, in any other Arabic country. Living in a democratic country like Palestine gives me the right of free speech—the freedom to express my opinions. As a proof to what I’m saying, you can watch our media and see for yourself the variety of positions people have in opposition to the government. In the history of Palestine, nothing has ever happened to anyone who spoke out against the government. So surely, I feel safe to speak openly and freely about my opinions of the government.
By Pillar

Freedom of speech is a great right that most Palestinians have. Speaking out against my government is something I'm not forbidden to do. Many people write in the newspaper against the government these days and no one stops them. Many people in other countries are forbidden to talk about their government in the streets, and if a coup caught them they would be punished. In Palestine talking about the government is something you're free to do whenever and wherever you want.
By Yasmeen

I don't feel safe speaking out against my government. My government consists of a party. This party has its own followers. I'm not afraid of the leaders of the government, but I'm afraid of the followers. Among the followers are a number of younkers who have not yet fully grown up and proven themselves to be a positive member of the society. One of these younkers may cause me harm if I say something about the government, so I'm afraid of the followers only.
By Abbas

Yes, in Palestine I can criticize our government in public, in school, in the streets, and everywhere. Palestinians have been very critical of the previous government (led by Fateh), especially against corruption and lack of transparency in distributing resources. With this government (lead by Hamas), people have also been critical because the government wants to dictate its agenda on all Palestinians.

Despite the fact that we can criticize our government, I think we still need to have a more organized voice, as children and adolescents. We deserve to be able to discuss more things that affect us, such as a role in changing laws and policies with regards to finding political solutions, social and health programs for young people and more freedom and support in organizing ourselves to serve our own people in Palestine.
By Taleen

Yes, I feel safe but I would not want to speak against it no matter how this government was, because in the end, this is my government and I can’t go against it.
By Omar


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