About Freedom Of Expression
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
From a February 4, 2006 editorial in the New York Post (hat tip to Jason over at Liberty and Culture):
"Bushies Betray Free SpeechFrom the February 3, 2006 edition of Der Spiegel Online:
"...Even as European and Asian leaders appealed for calm and understanding in the wake of escalating violence, the State Department yesterday came out foursquare in support of the demonstrators — and condemned the 'offensive' cartoons.
"'These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,' said department spokesman Kurtis Cooper. 'We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility.'
"He'd have done better to call instead for respect for freedom of the press, rather than kowtow to rampaging mobs attempting to intimidate newspapers worldwide.
"We don't doubt that many Muslims consider the caricatures, originally published in a Danish newspaper and later reprinted by other European papers in a show of free-press solidarity, offensive; Islamic law prohibits any physical portrayal of Mohammed.
"But the 12 images in question [The images are here] — one showed the prophet wearing a bomb for a turban — are pretty benign, particularly when compared to the anti-American and anti-Jewish tripe that regularly appears in Arab-language news media.
"As Roger Koeppel, editor of the German paper Die Welt, noted: 'When Syrian television showed drama documentaries in prime time depicting rabbis as cannibals, the imams were silent.'
"Someone in the administration must have considered this a perfect opportunity to score some sensitivity points by sending a pointed reminder that the United States is waging war against terrorism, not the religion of Islam.
"[T]he State Department has, in effect, endorsed terrorism by expressing sympathy for the motives behind the current onslaught...."
"Democracy in a CartoonIn London, cartoon protesters carried signs which read "Learn the lesson from 9/11" and "Behead those who insult Islam." If the West backs down on upholding freedom of speech because the exercise of that freedom is blasphemous to Muslims, shari'a law will be on its way to tacit application in our society. Is that where the West wants to go?
By Ibn Warraq
Best-selling author and Muslim dissident Ibn Warraq argues that freedom of expression is our western heritage and we must defend it against attacks from totalitarian societies. If the west does not stand in solidarity with the Danish, he argues, then the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest.
"...The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom -- freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?
"A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.
"Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.
"This raises another more general problem: the inability of the West to defend itself intellectually and culturally. Be proud, do not apologize. Do we have to go on apologizing for the sins our fathers?...
"On the world stage, should we really apologize for Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe? Mozart, Beethoven and Bach? Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Breughel, Ter Borch? Galileo, Huygens, Copernicus, Newton and Darwin? Penicillin and computers? The Olympic Games and Football? Human rights and parliamentary democracy? The west is the source of the liberating ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights and cultural freedom. It is the west that has raised the status of women, fought against slavery, defended freedom of enquiry, expression and conscience....
"Freedom of expression is our western heritage and we must defend it or it will die from totalitarian attacks. It is also much needed in the Islamic world. By defending our values, we are teaching the Islamic world a valuable lesson, we are helping them by submitting their cherished traditions to Enlightenment values."
Born in 1946 in India and raised in Pakistan, Ibn Warraq was educated in Koran schools in Pakistan and later in England. He currently lives in the United States and writes under the pseudonym Ibn Warraq, a pen name traditionally used by dissidents in Islam. He is the author of the best- seller "Why I am Not a Muslim" and the editor of "The Origins of the Koran" and "The Quest for the Historical Muhammad."
This item appeared last summer and did not receive much coverage in the media:
"Sculpture banned from the Venice BiennaleOn June 23, 2005, Hugh Fitzgerald of Dhimmi Watch had this to say about the above news item:
"A sculpture by German artist Gregor Schneider was banned from the 51st Venice Biennale because the event’s organisers said it might be offensive to Muslims. The sculpture was a 15-metre-high cube covered in black fabric modelled after the Ka’ba in Mecca and was set to be displayed in St. Mark’s Square. A spokesman for the Venetian arts authority said there was a danger that Muslims would feel provoked by the work, heightening the risk of the city being vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Schneider insisted that the artwork was not meant as a provocation. He said he wanted to symbolise a connection between European and Arab cultures. The organisers tried to place the sculpture at another site, but finally decided not to display it at all. Instead, Schneider showed a video explaining his failed attempt."
"Statues, like paintings of any living creature, are forbidden in Islam....Now back to the offensive cartoons. Felis over at Democracy Frontline recently posted the following information:
"For in Islam, the pre-Islamic or non-Islamic artifacts are of no interest, no valuable. They can be destroyed, they should be destroyed. The tens of thousands of Hindu temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders, a partial list of which was compiled by Sita Ram Goel, are perhaps the best-known example....
"The greatest destruction of art works in human history is that wrought by Muslim conquerors on the non-Muslim lands and peoples they invaded, conquered, and subjugated.
"What will happen in Europe if it is islamized? If there are already people removing statues, however banal those statues may be, from art expositions now, what will happen in 10 years? In 20 years? Already statues have been vandalized or destroyed by Muslims -- in the Piazza del Popolo, and in a church in northern France (a statue of Mary and Jesus). Muslims have been recorded discussing their plans to destroy a celebrated fresco in Bologna that depicted Muhammad in Hell. What else is happening, and is being suppressed from us by worried European governments...?"
"Drawing cartoons with the controversial Musulman 'prophet' Muhammad is not a new activity. Have no illusions about the sudden religious Muslim sensitivity. The Muslim powerbrokers are proceeding just one step further to gain full protection of the European law. If they win now nobody will be able to criticize Islam as a religious or political doctrine. Nothing happens in the Muslim world spontaneously. There is always some sinister group of people who plan, pay expenses press buttons and unleash their hounds when the time is ripe.Good question.
"Well before the Danish cartoonists, who probably by now wished to be somewhere safe in Israel, various artists depicted Muhammad probably thousands of times. Initially it was the Persian and Turkish Muslim artists. Muhammand was depicted also by Western artists before....
"Why wasn’t the Muslim fury released then (apart from some mild whining from Islam on Line)?..."