Meeting short take #2: Tolerance towards intolerance

I made it to the meeting. I hate transcontinental flights, but this one wasn't too bad. Because I've been busy putting the final touches on a talk I have to give, I only have time for a couple of short takes. First, there's this spot-on article addressing the controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed:
In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others. The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe's supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules...

On Friday the State Department found it appropriate to intervene. It blasted the publication of the cartoons as unacceptable incitement to religious hatred. It is a peculiar moment when the government of the United States, which likes to see itself as the home of free speech, suggests to European journalists what not to print.
Indeed. I've often criticized laws against Holocaust denial in some countries in Europe on the basis of their infringement on free speech, even though the speech that is criminalized by them is speech I find particularly odious and despicable. A couple of times, I've even been a bit smug about our First Amendment, which presumably makes it more difficult for the U.S. government to engage in such restrictions of free speech. Sadly, it would appear that our own government does not wish even to try to live up to the values of the First Amendment.


  1. Based on an NPR interview this morning, it appears that some of the cartoons ciruclated among muslims in the Middle East included some that were never published by the Danish newspaper. The NPR reporter interviewed a muslim activist in Denmark who sent letters including the unpublished cartoons to various people in the Middle East. The activist admitted doing it with some rationalization that I couldn't follow.

  2. That is true. I heard the same interview, and noted how the interviewee avoided answering the question when it was pointed out that there were more cartoons in the pamphlet than were published in Denmark. I have to go and don't have time to find the links right now, but these additional cartoons included an image of Mohammed with a pig face, an image of Mohammed with Devil's horns with an accusation of pedophilia, and an image of Mohammed praying, with a dog mounting him from behind.

    Wait, here's the link. (I know it's Michelle Malkin, whom I detest, but it does include links to the origins of the fake cartoons.)


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