Blame Denmark

So the UN rapporteur explains what’s going on and whose fault it is. His report is apparently not available in English yet; this rather right-wing blog translates from the excerpts Politiken and Jyllands-Posten published.

Finally, the Danish government’s first reaction – rejecting to take an official position on the nature and publication of the cartoons while referring to Freedom of Speech as well as rejecting to meet with the ambassadors from the Moslem countries – is symptomatic not only for the political trivialisation of Islamophobia but also, due to its consequences, to the central role those politically responsible have for the national extent and the international consequences in the shape of demonstrations and expressions of Islamophobia…Judicially, the Danish government ought therefore, especially considering its international obligations, to have, respecting Freedom of Speech, taken a position not only on the consequences of the caricatures for its community of 200.000 Moslems but also for the protection of peace and order.

So it’s the Danish government’s fault. It should have met with the ambassadors from ‘the Moslem countries’ and – what? Agreed to arrest, prosecute and punish the cartoonists and editors? Pass new laws banning prophet-mocking? Sworn a great oath that no Dane would ever make a joke about anything to do with Islam from now until the ending of the world?

Their uncompromising defense of a Freedom of Speech without limits or restrictions is not in accordance with the international rules which are based on a necessary balance between Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion, especially to combat calls for racial and religious hatred, and which all the member countries of UN have decided are the basic rules for Human Rights. This attitude shows an alarming lack of sensitivity and understanding of the religious conviction and deep emotions of the groups of society in question.

There it is again. Just what Frattini talked about: the ‘very real problem’ of balancing ‘two fundamental freedoms, the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion’. The idea that freedom of religion requires silencing people who would mock or dissent from a particular religion – thus making freedom of religion itself a joke, and a very unfunny one at that, and making freedom of expression an empty phrase. The freedom of religion does not require the ‘freedom’ never to hear anything one might find irritating or disconcerting. That is not the meaning of freedom. That has never been the meaning of freedom. Translating it to that is a shortcut to theocratic tyranny. It takes considerable gall to name censorship and tyranny and silencing ‘freedom’. The idea that religious conviction and ‘deep emotions’ should determine which speech can be free is also not a very good idea.

There are more extensive excerpts here.

More later.

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