... in the state of Denmark. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) There's a real struggle here - between the non-negotiable right of people to write or portray what they think or believe, and the refusal of some religious fanatics to allow them. Here are some of the cartoons depicting Mohammed that have caused so many Islamists to go nuts. I see nothing wrong with them. Yes, they're blasphemous to strict Muslims. So what? Free countries do not ban blasphemy. Compared to the real blasphemy of extremist Muslims murdering innocent civilians, these cartoons are pitifully tame. The Danish government so far has refused to get involved, but has made unnervingly soothing noises to appease extremist Muslims. The BBC, meanwhile, gives space to Muslim intolerance, including this classic quote from a Jordanian paper:
"Nobody has the right to ask us to respect "freedom of expression" when the matter concerns our Prophet and the Prophet of all humanity, and the essence of our religious belief. They cannot cry "democracy and human rights" when the matters concerns us, us alone, while they ignore democracy and human rights when someone talks about the Jews, their religion and beliefs, or what is called the Holocaust."
Er, yes, we do have a right to ask Muslims in the West to respect freedom of expression, especially about religion. It's called Western civilization. Maybe not in Jordan. But in the free world, blasphemy is not a crime. In the free world, you are also free to be an anti-Semite. Meanwhile, Gazans are rioting and there's an effective boycott of Danish goods in the Muslim world - that seems to be having a real impact. Now, Bill Clinton intervenes to say that the major problem in Europe is rising anti-Islamic prejudice. How many times has Clinton decried Islamist intolerance of Jews, gays, women and freedom of speech? Has he raised his voice to condemn the hanging of gay teenagers in Iran? Not that I've noticed. Here's his appalling quote:
"None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions ... there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark ... these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam."
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