YouTube Removes Atheist's Slide Show of Quotes from the Koran:

Nick Gisburne put up a slide show of Koran quotes — intended by him to illustrate the Koran's violent or intolerant teachings — on YouTube. He had done the same as to the Bible before, but the Koran quotes drew the ire of some readers. YouTube (owned by Google) then took the video down "due to its inappropriate nature," and his account was disabled and all videos deleted because of his "repeated attempts to upload inappropriate videos." The video has resurfaced; watch it yourself to see what is "inappropriate" other than the viewpoint it expresses, with supporting evidence. If it's taken down, you can also get it (albeit in a less convenient format) directly from Nick Gisburne's site.

As I have noted before, I think selected quotations from holy works don't tell us that much about the nature of the religion today. Modern Christianity and 1600s Christianity use pretty much the same holy works; the difference in militance between the two stems not from the words as such, but from the way Christians understand those words. Nonetheless, surely quoting such phrases is an appropriate form of debate, just as arguing that those quotes are metaphorical, taken out of context, no longer viewed as currently binding divine commands, and so on is an appropriate form of debate. And quoting such phrases is an especially appropriate form of debate against those who generally take a "fundamentalist" — which is to say relatively literalist — approach to religion, and against those who praise a holy work (being the Bible, the Koran, or whatever else) as a great guide to life rather than praising certain aspects of the work or praising the traditions that have grown up around the work.

YouTube is a private company that is entitled to choose what it carries; and while using YouTube is a convenient way to effectively get your views out, you can certainly get them out even without YouTube. Nonetheless, consumers are also entitled to criticize YouTube and other media organizations — organizations that make a living off our vibrant marketplace of ideas — for refusing to carry certain important viewpoints because some find those viewpoints offensive.

And if it is true that YouTube does not apply the same rules to criticism of Christianity (as opposed to simply not having gotten any complaints about such condemnation), or to criticisms of religion generally (but framed in a way that seems to evoke evangelical Christianity), then it seems to me that YouTube's taking down criticism of Islam merits still more condemnation. At least that should be the view of those of us who believe that criticism of Islam is at least as "appropriate" an argument in reasoned public debate as is criticism of Christianity.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.