Friday, February 03, 2006

Islam against freedom of speech

The whole blogosphere has been abuzz about the uproar caused by the publication of cartoons by a Danish newspaper portraying the Prophet Mohammed in what many Muslims considered to be offensive and sacrilegious. Indeed, the protest has escalated to violence, with Palestinian gunmen shutting down the offices of the European Union in Gaza demanding an apology from French, Norwegian, and German newspapers that reprinted the cartoons in solidarity with the Danes and threatening to blow up churches if they don't get it. I hadn't planned on commenting on this whole thing, because it's more political an issue than what I usually address here.

Then a couple of days ago I got this e-mail from someone identifying himself as Majed Jarrar. I have no idea where he got my e-mail address from or why on earth he thought I would be sympathetic to him, but apparently he must have mass e-mailed a bunch of bloggers. A Google search reveals that he posts at a blog, Words from Iraq, and appears to have a blog of his own, Me Vs. MysEIF. The message was both in English and Arabic, and this is what it said:
Dear all,

The attached document is a letter to the minister of foreign affairs in Denmark, regarding what the Danish newspaper "Jyllands Posten" had published on September 30th, 2005, showing 12 caricatures ridiculing the prophet Mohammad last messenger of God -May prayers be upon Him-. The caricatures were part of a contest made by the same newspaper to show the funniest cartoons that show the prophet Mohammad. One caricature showed the prophet wearing a turban-shaped bomb and other caricatures showed him in horrendous positions. This is a very humiliating act toward every Muslim on the globe.

This petition is very important because it's an attack against one-fifth of the population of the world (est. 1,300,000,000 Muslims in the world today), and it's important because it breaks the code of ethics of the International World Federation Council of Media and Media-People, which explicitly prohibits any action or behavior that might raise the risk of discrimination against any group of people based on their religion, sex or any social differences. This is exactly what the Danish newspaper had done with that unacceptable hideous action.

This is an attack against Islam and the Muslim population of the world, this is also an attack against Christianity and Judaism; Mohammad after all brought a message from the same one God who sent the massage to Jesus and Mosses, prophets of God may peace be upon them. This is also an attack against anyone who wants to live in a world free of discrimination; who amongst us accepts to see their religion being insulted in public media?

Please, help your Muslim brothers and sisters around the world saving the dignity of this religion; help us stop the discrimination against any peoples around the globe.

You may send the attached document to the email of the Danish ministry of foreign affairs at um@um.dk

It would be very appreciated if you help spreading the message around as much as you can.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Peace.

The letter itself said:
To: _Dr. Per Stig Mller, Minister of the foreign affairs of the Denmark

Your Excellency,

We have reviewed what some of the news agencies dealt with concerning the Danish news agency Jyllands-Posten had published, which I believe it to be a heinous mistake and dreadful deviation from the path of justice, reverence and equality. The said agency published 12 cartoon caricatures on the 30th of September, 2005, ridiculing The Messenger Mohammed. One of these cartoons pictures Allah's Messenger (prayers be upon him), wearing a turban that resembles a bomb wrapped around his head. What a pathetic projection! The news and the cartoons were horrifying and extremely disturbing to us.

We believe all Muslims who read, viewed or learned about this news were equally saddened, disappointed and disturbed. All criticized such work and felt awful and dismayed about it. Similarly, I do believe that all sane and wise people would feel the same about it.

The contemporary world is witnessing today great much confusion all over. Innocent blood is being shed. Innocent lives are being harvested by oppression and transgression. We are in utmost need to spread peace, justice and love all over the world. We need to call for the respect and reverence of all Divine and heavenly Messages and Scriptures. By doing so, we would be able to preserve the divine messages and demonstrate love, appreciation and reverence to the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, the Almighty to this world.

We would further help to preserve the souls, honor and belongings of all mankind all-over-the-world. We would further demonstrate the respect and honor of the human rights all over the world.

The claim of Jyllands-Posten newspaper that they allow, promote and practice freedom-of-speech, by publishing cartoons ridiculing Mohammed the Prophet of Islam, is a non-convincing claim. All worlds' constitutions and international organizations insist on and demand to respect all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, the Almighty. Moreover, they confirm the necessity to respect the Divine Messages, respect others and do not attack the privacy, dignity and honor and principles of others.

In the International World Federation Council of media and press people, it is stated:
  • Media people must be alert of risks that may arise as a result of prejudice and discrimination implied by the media. The Council would exert every possible effort to avoid being involved in such calls, which are based on prejudice and religion, sex or other social differences discrimination.
  • A media man may commit a dangerous professional deviation such as: claiming other's work, ill-interpretation of facts, false accusations of others, condemning others for no basis, accusing others with their integrity and honor for no sound basis or accepting bribes to either publish or prevent the publishing of specific materials.
  • A noteworthy media-person should believe that it is their duty to give an honest attention to the aforementioned items and through the general framework of the law in each country.
Therefore, we also base our opinion and/or statements herein on an honest and sound media proclamation requesting the Danish newspaper to apologize for what they did. The proclamations states: "The media person would exert every possible effort to correct, modify any published information that he/she noticed that they are inaccurate and/or harmful to others."

Undoubtedly, what the Danish newspaper; Jyllands-Posten published is harmful not only for more than two hundred thousand Danish citizen, but also to more than one-billion-three-hundred-million Muslims along with others who are fair and just people. All these hurt people honor, respect and love Mohammed the Prophet. This action will continue to hurt and harm all Muslims so long we live on this earth. Denmark, if does not deal with this problem on a fair ground, will also continue to be a source of harm and convulsion to many Muslims. This is because of the mentality of some Danish individuals who are anti-prophets, messengers and divine messages.

We would like to remind also with the decree which the Human Rights Agency in the United Nations adopted on the 12th of April, 2005. This decree insisted on the ban of distortions and vicious attacks against religions and especially Islam; which had been strongly attacked during the last few years.

Finally, we would like to inform you that all Muslims will certainly stop their commercial business dealing with Denmark until the Danish Government openly and officially apologize for the shameful attack to the person of Allah's Messenger -may prayers be upon Him- by Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Alright. This Majed Jarrar guy got my attention. I had never seen the actual cartoons; so I went looking for them. They weren't hard to find. Michelle Malkin, as much as I normally detest her, has posted them, as has fellow RINO The Commissar (whom I do like). Looking at these cartoons, what do I think? Most of the cartoons are surprisingly mild, actually, way milder than I had expected, given the uproar. True, a couple are rather tasteless and bordering on racist, but none of them are beyond the pale or any worse than many cartoons that Christians or Jews might consider sacrilegious or than many of the tirades against atheists that we can easily find in the press and on the Internet.

My first reaction was to respond with an e-mail telling Mr. Jarrar to grow a thicker skin. The price of freedom is that sometimes there will be people who will criticize or insult your most cherished beliefs. Deal with it.

Then I thought a little more and composed this:
Dear Mr. Jarrar:

I received your e-mail requesting my support in sending a letter to Denmark's Minister of Foreign affairs asking him to pressure Jyllands-Posten to apologize. I regret to inform you that I cannot and will not comply, nor do I support your effort. I understand that the cartoons offended you and your fellow Muslims. However, perhaps the single most important right in a democracy is the right to freedom of speech. It is from this right that nearly all of our other rights flow. Most of the cartoons that Jyllands-Posten published in September were, in fact, rather mild. A minority of them could be considered somewhat offensive or borderline racist.

I would perhaps have more sympathy for you if you and your fellow Muslims were not trying to pressure the Danish government to demand an apology from the editors of Jyllands-Posten and to pressure the French, German, and Norwegian governments to censor or punish the newspapers in those countries that recently republished the cartoons as an act of solidarity. Such an action reveals a profound misunderstanding of the nature of a free nation. In such nations, the government is intentionally severely limited in its abilities to punish or otherwise limit its citizens' exercise of free speech, and its media outlets are not controlled by the state. Also, even though it is within the purview of your right to free speech, I also think that the boycott of Danish goods being threatened by you and your fellow Muslims is misguided and counterproductive. It will only harden the attitudes of Europeans to you. Nonetheless, if that is the way you wish to register your displeasure, it is your right as free speech. Unfortunately, I've learned some of your fellow Muslims are petitioning the U.N. for a resolution banning "contempt of religious beliefs" for member nations. Such a resolution is incompatible with our First Amendment; and I cannot support it, either. In fact, I oppose such a resolution as vigorously as I oppose any threat to free speech here in the U.S. I fully support the refusal of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's Prime Minister, to capitulate to your demands and the threats of more radical Muslims.

There is little doubt that the cartoons published by the Jyllands-Posten were a deliberate attempt to be provocative. Annoyance at such antics is the price we pay for freedom. The editors wanted a reaction from you, and you and your fellow Muslims sure delivered, in the process seemingly confirming the very stereotypes that some of the cartoons portrayed. Consider this: I personally am highly angered and offended by, for example, the recent anti-Semitic remarks and denial of the Holocaust by the President of Iran, one of your fellow Muslims, as well as his calling a conference to question the historicity of the Holocaust. I consider his speech every bit as hateful and ignorant as you no doubt consider the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Even so, I would not support an effort to to suppress his speech through actions by governments and the U.N.. The same is true of noted Holocaust denier David Irving, whose trial for Holocaust denial I cannot support and whose imprisonment I view as wrong. Free speech means little if it doesn't mean freedom for people with offensive views to express them. Protest, yes. Counter the offending speech with speech of my own, yes. Try to have the govenrment or U.N. suppress that speech? Never! Threaten violence, as Palestinians did when they took over the E.U. office in Gaza the other day? Absolutely not!

Tolerating views that no one finds offensive is easy; tolerating views that deeply offend is not. Consequently, I strongly oppose your effort to impose your beliefs (that Mohammed should not be portayed in pictures or mocked) on those who do not share your religion. I also can't help but note a whiff of hypocrisy here. Unlike the media in Denmark, France, Germany, and Norway, the media in many Muslim nations in the Middle East are state controlled, and many of these state-controlled media outlets run vile and anti-Semitic programming, treating as true conspiracy-laden anti-Jewish propaganda, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Holocaust denial, and the Blood Libel (see also here and here). You do realize, do you not, that, if your fellow Muslims succeed in persuading the U.N. to ban misrepresentations, criticisms, and mockery of religions, certain Muslim countries would certainly be among the absolute worst offenders in that respect. They would either have to stop broadcasting such hate-filled anti-Jewish propaganda or be subject to sanctions.

Be very careful what you wish for; you may get it and not like the consequences.

I understand that your religion teaches you that these images published in Denmark are sacrilegious. So were Piss Christ and an image of the Virgin Mary made of elephant dung sacrilegious to many Christians, who protested vigorously but did not threaten violence (although sadly, in the latter case, some did try to have then New York Mayor Rudy Guliani remove the image from the Brooklyn Museum). We even have toys that many Christians would consider blasphemous, such as Answer Me Jesus (a pink statue of Jesus that functions like a Magic Eight Ball, two of whose answers are, "I'll have to ask my Dad" and "I died for this?"); cartoons like God-Man, The Superhero With Omnipotent Powers; art exhibits that are intentionally sacrilegious to Catholics; and parodies that range from mild to truly offensive, sampling of which can be found in Ads That Shouldn't Have Jesus In Them. At the risk of offending you, my advice to you is: Grow a thicker skin. Not everyone follows the Muslim faith, and some even hold it in contempt, just as many Muslims clearly hold the Jewish and Christian faiths in contempt. If your faith is so threatened by a bunch of snotty cartoonists thumbing their noses at your Prophet that you feel compelled to try to pressure governments to punish the cartoonists and ban criticism of religion, then I have a hard time not concluding that it is not particularly strong. A person's religious beliefs should be no more protected from criticism or ridicule than a person's political beliefs, and there is no "right" to be free from speech that offends you.

Sincerely

Orac
I forwarded the above response to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

23 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 2/03/2006 8:05 AM, Blogger The Real Hull said...

Free speech must be absolute otherwise it is not truely free.

 

At 2/03/2006 9:05 AM, Anonymous TheProbe said...

Orac outdid a win for the Steelers at the Super Bowl.That letter is perfect, and I must heartily commend you for your grasp of the First Amendment.

Iran is going to be a major problem very soon. Their leader makes Saddam look stable. Bush will regret Iraq because of him one day.

As for the comment by the real hull...many years ago when I was an undergrad, my poli sci professor was a fellow named Leo Pfeffer, the man most often demonized by the political evangelical right wingNUTS as the inventor of the term "Secular Humanism." Prof. P was also a Constitutional litigator, and many of the Church-State cases of that error bear his imprimatur. One of our privileges was to be invited to accompany him to SCOTUS arguments, thus allowing us to experience history in the making.

One trip ended with lunch in the restaurant reserved for Justices and court staff. We were invitees of Douglas and Black. Black was a 1st A absolutisit, where no law meant no law, period. Prof. P. introduced me to him as someone who was even more of an absolutist than he was. We had a wonderful lunch time discussion of why I thought he was wrong. Sadly, camcorders had not been invented as yet.

 

At 2/03/2006 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Islam is where Christianity was when they burned witches - the time of the Inquisition.

 

At 2/03/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger decrepitoldfool said...

"the code of ethics of the International World Federation Council of Media and Media-People, which explicitly prohibits any action or behavior that might raise the risk of discrimination against any group of people based on their religion, sex or any social differences."

Even when the 'social difference' in question is terrorism? Muslims should be going after people who saw journalists' heads off and brag about it, or people who threaten cartoonists. THAT'S what increases the risk of discrimination by making all Muslims look bad.

 

At 2/03/2006 12:28 PM, Blogger Ali said...

Well said, sir.

 

At 2/03/2006 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your general stance. The only change I would want to make to your letter is to make it clear that, whilst you defend the right of Jyllands-Posten to behave like idiots, you do in fact think that they are idiots.

Denouncing (some adherents of) Islam for terrorism and oppression of women is one thing. But doing so in a way which makes it perfectly obvious that no-one will have their mind changed by your words (or pictures) is another. And the tenet of Islam that says that the Prophet should not be pictured, is harmless to everyone else, and not therefore a admirable subject on which to exercise one's freedom of speech.

Jyllands-Posten had no serious point to make. They invented the competition to make themselves feel edgy and brave and important in the world. Their action should be deplored, albeit not suppressed. I hope their circulation goes down through the action of Danes exercising their free choice not to spend money on such a rag.

 

At 2/03/2006 2:08 PM, Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Manan Ahmed at Cliopatria notes (as others have as well, but he does it so well) that there's actually a tradition of images of the Prophet in Islamic societies; That doesn't mean that most Muslims don't think images of the Prophet are blasphemous, but it does make it hard to take it entirely seriously. It's not the image itself; it's the tone of the image which is offensive. I'm quite sure (without even looking) that there have been other cartoon images of Muhammed (Anyone got a copy of Gonick's Cartoon History on hand?) which have not provoked such outrage.

What makes these images interesting is that they graphically depict the debate over the "nature of Islam" which Muslims mostly don't want to admit is going on. Now, as a Jew, I know that it's not a lot of fun to have your fundamental nature debated by outsiders, but in this case it's not an abstraction but serious social, cultural and legal policy which is at stake. It has to be an open debate if it's going to be meaningful.

 

At 2/03/2006 2:17 PM, Blogger rockmother said...

I applaud you!

 

At 2/03/2006 5:55 PM, Blogger Muslim Unity said...

Free speech is supposed to respect people's feelings.
It is not absolute. If it was we would have terrorists all around the world preaching hate and ways to kill people.

 

At 2/03/2006 6:12 PM, Blogger JM O'Donnell said...

Well that was certainly very well written, though I'm not sure if the intended audience is really going to pay that much attention.

 

At 2/04/2006 12:36 AM, Anonymous Trance said...

To the anonymous poster who claimed this: "Jyllands-Posten had no serious point to make. "

No. The reason for the competition was because a guy writing a children's book could not find an artist willing to draw Mohammed (even respectfully) because of the very REAL fear of getting killed. Remember Theo Van Gogh? Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders have basically had to give up their freedom to live normally. This was not just some publicity stunt and it was truly brave on the editor's part, given what has happened in the Netherlands and to Salman Rushdie. You don't find it brave, given what has happened in neighboring countries? Even if one doesn't agree with it, I would think that person could still recognize it took at least some guts on the part of the editor.

The point was that in the West people still have a right to not be obedient to religious dictates--if someone wants to write a children's book with Mohammed's image, they're allowed. Period.

 

At 2/04/2006 12:41 AM, Anonymous Trance said...

Oh, by the way Orac,

GREAT POST!!!

I've always thought Denmark was one of the best countries in Europe when it came to doing the right thing. No country is perfect, of course, but to me the Danes are up there on the righteousness scale. And not in a preening, I'm-so-good-look-at-me way, but in a modest way. I wonder how many other world leaders would be willing to stick to their principles like Rasmussen.

 

At 2/04/2006 3:22 AM, Blogger Brent McKee said...

Not much to say about the letter; I think you're right and you represent a responsible moderate viewpoint. One question though. How do you think that Christians (particularly Fundementalists but also more moderate Christians) react if a newspaper in Pakistan or Jordan published cartoons depicting Jesus as the pilot of a bomber dropping bombs on women and children (no men in the picture)? I can certainly understand why the Islamic world isn't exactly happy with the newspaper in Denmark or the media outlets that have continued to publish them. That said, this would have been a minor thing if the Islamic world hadn't reacted as though the cartoons were going to collapse the entire faith all by themselves.

 

At 2/04/2006 6:22 AM, Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

First of all, good letter Orac.

A few comments (of course)

Free speech must be absolute otherwise it is not truely free.

As has been debated here ande elsewhere before, many European countries (Denmark included) don't have absolute free speech, so that is not really a good argument in this case.
Instead it should be said that those drawings fall well into the perameters of free speech in Denmark.

I've always thought Denmark was one of the best countries in Europe when it came to doing the right thing. No country is perfect, of course, but to me the Danes are up there on the righteousness scale. And not in a preening, I'm-so-good-look-at-me way, but in a modest way.

Denmark is a blatantly racist country, in which quite a few laws have been passed in recent years that targets immigrants, and the children of immigrants, in an attempt to get them to move.

Denmark (like several other long-time EU countries) also puts severe limits on the free mobility in Europe, by making it hard for people from the new EU countries to get work in Denmark, and limiting their work permit to one year.

Denmark is a country in which 15% of the population voted for a far-right, anti-immigrant party at the last election, and where the government depends on the same party to stay in power.

That is the whole problem with these drawings - standing alone they are pretty inoffensive, but as part of the political debate in Denmark, they were a (very succeful) attempt from Jyllands-Posten to create a political situation. However, not even Jyllands-Posten expected it to spill outside the Danish borders, and the fact that they have turned into this international incident is crazy.
There have been some speculation of this being cause by other governments trying to make use of this as a distraction from local problems.

I wonder how many other world leaders would be willing to stick to their principles like Rasmussen.

What the hell was Rasmussen supposed to do? He couldn't do anything else than what he has done - there are not legal options at all for him to have done otherwise.
What he should have done though, was taking that first meeting with the Muslim ambassadeurs, and explained it to them in person, rather than refusing to meet them - that is diplomatic heavy-handedness at it's worst.

Before someone wants to start saying that I am painting a too negative picture of Denmark, let me first of all say that Denmark is doing a lot of good, and have done so for decades. However, it is not a very welcoming country for immigrants, especially not when they come from Muslim countries.

 

At 2/04/2006 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some time ago you posted the following (incomplete) sentence: .....I try to be very careful not to make fun of the religious underpinnings of ID.

Can you give me some advice on how to write on religious topics such as Mohamed cartoons and ID without lapsing into parody, lampoon, sarcasm, irony and, well, trope in general. You're a medical man, so tell me. Should I seek professional help, or just merge into the silent majority and let the terminally rabid inherit the earth?

 

At 2/04/2006 9:25 AM, Blogger S8 said...

First of all, a nitpick: the Chris Ofili picture of the Virgin Mary was never intended as blasphemous. Ofili used elephant dung because in some African cultures (he is of African heritage), elephant dung is considered useful and desirable (it also looks quite beautiful the way he uses it, dried, glossed and iridescent); he collaged pictures cut from porn magazines because the Virgin Mary is supposed to represent all women, inlcuding porn models.
The intention of Ofili's painting was in fact quite reverent; the reaction of people like Guliani showed Pharisee-like ignorance and intolerance. Much like the reaction of Middle-Eastern Muslims to these cartoons. They aren't at all reverent, and were intended to be offensive. But the mullahs decided to whip up some more anti-Western hysteria and told the sheep how the West was once again trying to destroy Islam.
Gah. I'm outraged at the whole stupidy of the affair.

 

At 2/04/2006 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Free speech must be absolute otherwise it is not truely free."

Now replace "free" with "respect" and "free speech" with "respect for the prophet" and say that again. What did it sound like? What makes you so sure that your dogma is better than someone else's dogma?

 

At 2/04/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Oh, f*cking hell - now this is turning really serious. The Danish embassy in Syria has been burned to the ground (presumably along with the Chilian and Swedish embassy which were in the same building).

More here.

 

At 2/04/2006 12:18 PM, Anonymous Trance said...

"Denmark is a blatantly racist country, in which quite a few laws have been passed in recent years that targets immigrants, and the children of immigrants, in an attempt to get them to move."

What, the laws that say a man can't bring over a foreign wife unless she is of a certain age? Part of the argument for that was that these women, often cousins of the men, are oppressed in said marriages and that the men don't have to assimilate. The law was to encourage assimilation. If they don't want to assimilate, why should they stay? To be tolerant, should the Danes allow polygamy, ban pork, and insist their women be covered? Danes just happen to be most *racist* against Muslims, as opposed to say east Asians? This was basically the only continental Western European country that was not massively racist against Jews, but they've developed this racism against Muslims just because of innate badness? The Van Gogh murder, 9-11, and various demands for Denmark to change its culture should have developed absolutely no concern?

"Denmark is a country in which 15% of the population voted for a far-right, anti-immigrant party at the last election". Yeah, and in many/most other European countries with the multi-party system, far worse parties than the Danish Folk Party get much higher percentages. If the UK and U.S. had systems similar to Denmark, I would imagine there would be far right parties in those countries too that would get some percent of the vote too, quite possibly 15%, and our Muslims in the U.S. are generally quite assimilated. What Western European countries with the multi-party system, no stringent bans on parties, and at least 2% immigrant doesn't have far-right parties? And that's just the West were talking about. Like I said originally, no country is perfect.

"What the hell was Rasmussen supposed to do? He couldn't do anything else than what he has done - there are not legal options at all for him to have done otherwise."

Where did I say he had legal options? What he did was defend the legal system and Danish norms. "What the hell" he could have done that would have been less honorable is what Clinton and the EU and the UN did--condemn the paper, intimidate the editor and artists, etc. He could have done like the UK government tried to do when there were complaints of racism against Muslims there--try to stiffen the hate speech laws. But he didn't, at economic cost to his country and at threats to him and his fellow countrymen.

Why should he have met with dignitaries from countries such as Saudi Arabia, biggest hypocrite of them all? The issue was simple--in Denmark, there is press freedom and the government does not interfere, for any group. Why waste a day or more listening to people call you and your country racist over cartoons when they can't seem to condemn terrorism, and when some of them actively support it?

I can sympathize with moderate Muslims who might have been offended by some of the cartoons, but they would be the sort who would write letters and boycott the newspaper, not make death threats and demand Denmark change for them. The countries and groups making an issue of this are ignoring the plank in their eye for the splinter in the West's.

 

At 2/04/2006 1:02 PM, Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Yeah, and in many/most other European countries with the multi-party system, far worse parties than the Danish Folk Party get much higher percentages.

They are worse, so it's ok?
And need I remind you, that even Le Pen doesn't want to have anything to do with Pia Kærsgaard. Dansk Folkeparti is worse than most other right-winged parties in Europe, and what's worse, they are extremely influencial in Danish politics - something which can't be said of those other parties.

What, the laws that say a man can't bring over a foreign wife unless she is of a certain age? Part of the argument for that was that these women, often cousins of the men, are oppressed in said marriages and that the men don't have to assimilate. The law was to encourage assimilation.

The law was officially created to stop forced marriages, though there are already laws that makes it possible to break up a marriage that was forced (these laws have never been used, which shows how big a problem this obviously is).
And the law doesn't only target men, it targets all people who are not Danish citizens, and who are under 25 - I know of several people who moved to the US or other countries, so they could get married.

I also spoke about laws that allows people to get deported if they commit crimes, even after they have become Danish citizens, or even if they have lived in Denmark their entire life.

If they don't want to assimilate, why should they stay?

Nice to see you are not even pretending that you want foreigners in Denmark. Most use the word integrated for a very good reason - integrated means something very different from assimilated.
Borgs assimilate, groups of people integrate.

To be tolerant, should the Danes allow polygamy, ban pork, and insist their women be covered?

No. That's not what tolerance is about. What Danes should, however is learning not to judge people by their skin, nationailty, religion or name. Instead they hould judge them by whom they are, and what they do.

Danes just happen to be most *racist* against Muslims, as opposed to say east Asians? This was basically the only continental Western European country that was not massively racist against Jews, but they've developed this racism against Muslims just because of innate badness? The Van Gogh murder, 9-11, and various demands for Denmark to change its culture should have developed absolutely no concern?

You show an unawareness of Danish history if you really believe that Danes were not massively racist against Jews - they were. However, they saw past that racism, and did heroic deeds to save the Danish Jews from being killed.
And racism against Muslims have been massive long before 9-11. Think of Karen Jespersen's suggestion of keeping refugees onm isolated islands - she was the Minister responsible for refugess for Christ sake.
Also, what makes you believe that there isn't a lot of racism against East-Asians? Or East-Europeans?

Your rosy look of how good Denmark is, shows to me that you haven't really spent a lot of time speaking with foreigners in Denmark.
Across the board, they would tell you that your perception of the tolerance and goodness of Danes are not reflected in the reality they meet in everyday life.

 

At 2/04/2006 4:56 PM, Anonymous Trance said...

"They are worse, so it's ok?"

As I noted originally, no country is perfect. I was speaking RELATIVELY. If it was just a topic on "the flaws of Denmark", then it would be irrelevant what other countries do.

"Nice to see you are not even pretending that you want foreigners in Denmark."

That's not what I said and you know it. "IF they don't want to assimilate..." I was talking about people not accepting basic norms of the society which they have chosen, as is the topic of this post. What, precisely, is the difference between assimilate and integrate?

We can sit here all day and give anecdotes of foreigners in Denmark--I know two American blacks who live there because they claim it's racism free. Big deal. No country is not gpoing to have problems, but my whole point was, in my opinion, relatively speaking, Denmark is much better on average.

"You show an unawareness of Danish history if you really believe that Danes were not massively racist against Jews - they were. "

Funny, I learned that the reason Danes saved the Jews is because they saw the Jews as their neighbors--I've even heard multiple Danes say that is why it wasn't that heroic an act, because it was just like saving a family member.

 

At 2/04/2006 5:07 PM, Anonymous Trance said...

Jewish history in Denmark
http://www.acjna.org/article_view.asp?article_id=120

 

At 2/08/2006 10:43 PM, Anonymous Sly Robbie said...

Sir, you did not have to go to all the trouble of looking for the cartoons on Michelle's wonderful site. You could well have directed the Muslim Moonbat to look no further than the Arab press, where the cartoones were published *during Ramadan* some 5 months ago!

Yes... they *themselves* published the 'toons!

note here: http://freedomforegyptians.blogspot.com/2006/02/cartoons-were-published-five-months.html

and here:
http://egyptiansandmonkey.blogspot.com/2006/02/boycott-egypt.html

The Islamobarbarians are discriminating against themselves by not torching Egyptian embassies throughout the mideast. Damn hypocrites.

/Robbie

 

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