Living in the Middle East, I've had many discussions with fundamentalists and Islamists about freedom of speech. They have often claimed that freedom of speech in the West is a myth because denying the Holocaust took place is illegal.

Is that really the case in the West?

  • 7
    "The West" is too broad; it includes too many jurisdictions. The laws enacting and limiting the freedom of speech are very different in, for example, the USA, Germany and the UK. Please limit it to one country.
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 16, 2015 at 22:49
  • 7
    Some countries have explicit laws: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial
    – ChrisW
    Feb 16, 2015 at 22:53
  • 8
    How is this "too broad"? That wikipedia link above basically answers the question. 16 out of 50 European countries and no countries outside of Europe (excluding Israel) have such a law. None of the English speaking countries (USA, UK, Australia, Ireland), being major representatives of "the West" have such a law as well...
    – sashkello
    Feb 16, 2015 at 23:04
  • 5
    Although it seems too broad, I think there's a good reason for that with this question. Many Islamists make the same mistake by calling many countries the same thing (West). Ofcourse, the West does the same thing by calling many countries the Middle-East, which is only slightly better. In this dialogue, it's appropriate to be broad.
    – Mast
    Feb 17, 2015 at 11:17
  • 5
    It is illegal in Germany. However, based on their history, German's consider anyone denying the holocaust to be a first rate asshole and putting them into jail as a public service, cleaning up the environment. It doesn't actually count as "speech" in the mind of a German, so it is no restriction on "free speech".
    – gnasher729
    Feb 17, 2015 at 17:20


Browse other questions tagged .