Monday, February 27, 2006

Freedom of Speech Bows Down and Stands Up

I've got two stories about the cartoon kerfuffle I'm hooking together.

The first from the Conservative Voice - Cartoon protesters defy rally ban

Thousands of Muslims defied a ban on rallies Friday in Pakistan's capital, joining protesters across the country in condemning the Prophet Muhammad cartoons printed by some Western newspapers.

by John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune, February 8, 2006
The demonstrations after midday prayers also gave angry clerics a platform to criticize President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and his government's close relations with the United States.

"America is the killer of humanity, and we will keep raising our voice against it, and its supporter (Musharraf)," said Maulana Fazal-ur Rahman, a cleric and opposition leader who led the Islamabad protest, which drew 2,000 people.

He said protests would also be held on March 3, a day before the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to Pakistan.
A prominent Malaysian newspaper that published a cartoon about the dispute avoided punishment by offering an apology that was accepted by the government Friday. The New Straits Times on Monday printed the Non Sequitur strip, which showed an artist sitting on a chair on a street with a sign saying: "Caricatures of Muhammad While You Wait!"

Although the picture didn't show Muhammad, Muslim groups said it mocked Islam, and the government asked the newspaper to give reasons why it should not be punished. The newspaper published an apology on its front page Friday.

"Obviously, we misjudged how different people would react" to the cartoon, it said.


And this story from International edition - The End of Tolerance -

March 6, 2006 issue - The world has long looked upon the Dutch as the very model of a modern, multicultural society. Open and liberal, the tiny seagoing nation that invented the globalized economy in the 1600s prided itself on a history of taking in all comers, be they Indonesian or Turkish, African or Chinese.

How different things look today. Dutch borders have been virtually shut. New immigration is down to a trickle. The great cosmopolitan port city of Rotterdam just published a code of conduct requiring Dutch be spoken in public. Parliament recently legislated a countrywide ban on wearing the burqa in public. And listen to a prominent Dutch establishment figure describe the new Dutch Way with immigrants. "We demand a new social contract," says Jan Wolter Wabeke, High Court Judge in The Hague. "We no longer accept that people don't learn our language, we require that they send their daughters to school, and we demand they stop bringing in young brides from the desert and locking them up in third-floor apartments."
This helps explain Europe's unusually robust reaction to the cartoon crisis, which continued last week with riots in Nigeria and Pakistan that have left over 100 dead. There were apologies, to be sure, for causing offense after a small Danish paper published a dozen cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. But on one point European leaders were united and bluntly clear: they would not tolerate any limits on European newspapers' rights to publish. "Freedom of speech is not up for negotiation," declared Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, summing up a consensus that has only grown stronger as the cries of outrage from the Muslim world grow louder.

prying1 sez: - This rioting over cartoons has only damaged the image of Islam, Muslums and Arabs in particular. While some bow before the rioters and criminals and concede their freedom of speech others are ready to hammer those who would limit freedom of speech. Is there a happy medium? I don't see it. For a group in one country to demand another country control it's press is reprehensible. Those who really end up being punished are those of the group that have settled in the second country.

Is what Holland is doing right? At this point in time I can see no alternative. If they do not stand firm, show they mean business and hold strong to that which they deem dear to them it will certainly be carried away by those who don't understand or appreciate it.

Hat tip to Rosemead Times for blogging about The Dutch story.
Hat tip to On Tap for the lead to the John Cole cartoon
Hat tip to John Cole for being talented and standing firm!
Technorati Tags - -
- -