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Free speech has liberals tongue-tied
The Australian ^ | 8th February 2006 | Janet Albrechtsen

Posted on 02/07/2006 12:21:02 PM PST

The Danish cartoon controversy shows that the joke is on progressive democrats around the world

WHILE some say Muslims just can't take a joke, it turns out the joke is on us. Across large swaths of the Middle East and in the West, the report card on free speech contains more F-words than the dialogue in Team America: World Police.

When a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons of the prophet Mohammed to test whether multi-cultural Denmark was committed to freedom of expression, much of the Arab and Muslim world went feral at the very idea of free speech and an independent press. No surprise there. Any excuse for a fatwa against the West sums up the hysteria sweeping the Middle East.

In the West, we've also flunked the free speech test for our feeble defence of those values. The West's recreational appeasement of cultures diametrically opposed to Western values got us into this mess. So it turns out the newspaper had a point.

Scandinavian countries are often held up as the bellwethers of progress. In this case, it's more a case of Denmark pointing out where progress has gone awry. To understand the slow surrender of Western values, consider how this fracas over free speech began.

Back in September, celebrated Danish author Kaare Bluitgen was planning to write a children's book about the prophet Mohammed. But, alas, no illustrators were willing to draw the prophet for fear of offending Muslims, who believe that depicting Mohammed is blasphemous.

On this point another article not on this site for bandwidth reasons revealed hundreds of Illustrations of Mohammed since the early middle ages until the 1800s none of which Muslims for 12 centuries objected to. And among these were a dozen or more images of Mohammed were drawn by Muslims in the first few centuries of Muslimism and of these images at least one of them was in an illuminated Koran of which copies were made an distributed to mosques where they were used and read. So it must be noted that the current extraction of Muslim extremists do not follow at all the writings and beliefs of their fundamentalists fathers, but instead follow more extreme fables and traditions that have been made up in the last 50 years.

So the editor of Jyllands-Posten threw down the gauntlet to test whether Denmark was committed to free speech. (I think they are rewriting history trying to en-noble an act and wrap the issue around the constitution must as evangelists attempt to wrap their corrupt acts with scripture) As part of an article on self-censorship, they invited dozens of artists to draw a cartoon of Mohammed. Twelve responded.

And the rest, as they say, is history. A frenzy of bomb threats, boycotts, fatwas and flag burning. Jihadists in the UK declared holy war. Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked and burned. Cheesed off at the cameras moving from Iraq to neighbouring Muslim countries, the media savvy supporters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr went on a hunger strike in central Baghdad to show their disgust over the cartoons.

And in an especially neat twist, leaders in Arab and Muslim countries began ululating about human rights. In this case, the right not to be offended. But pointing the finger at Western insults, while you go in for state and judicially sanctioned Bible burning, eye-gouging, maiming, flogging and the execution of children is not a convincing look.

Muslim hypocrisy aside, the reaction of many in the West to the Danish cartoons is also short of the mark. While newspapers across Europe reprinted the cartoons in a show of support for free speech, the response by many Europeans has been decidedly Europeany - one tentative step forward and two sissy steps back in defending Western values. In France, when a Paris newspaper reprinted the cartoon, the editor was promptly sacked.

And the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has taken a strong stance in defending democracy and freedom of expression, is not receiving much support from the Euro-elites.

Back in December Franco Frattini, vice-president of the European Commission said: "I fully respect the freedom of speech, but, excuse me, one should avoid making any statement like this, which only arouses and incites to the growing radicalisation." In the past few days, it's been good to see other European leaders - even Frattini - firming up on free speech. But his criticism of the cartoons as "imprudent" is making headlines in Muslim countries. Along with comments by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, who also criticised the cartoons because "freedom of expression ... has its limits".

It's a bad sign when the cafe set of Europe echoes the Arab street on free speech. A survey by the Khaleej Times in the United Arab Emirates found that most people believed that "freedom of expression is one thing, but it should not be confused with acts of inciting feelings, which is what happened in Denmark".

If inciting feelings has become the new benchmark for free speech, we only have ourselves to blame for that misunderstanding. So many of the incursions on free speech in the West are driven by a well-meaning desire to create a world free of offence. (Read this as political correctness created the world over by the left, whose poster child is feminism, abortion, and homosexuality all of which have been given super citizenship in each culture and the Muslims are now fighting for that super citizenship as well and the European Union, and Canada have been close to granting them that right.) A universal nanny state where all is peace and love, and never a cross word is spoken.

It's an impossible dream. Indeed, it's a nightmare. People invariably differ and it is debate and difference of opinion that drives progress.

We have already gone way too far in restricting free speech in an effort to protect people from offence. (At the expense of everyone else) Tony Blair's religious hate bill is aimed at protecting Muslim sensibilities. And last week, it was only watered down because the British Prime Minister failed to hang around to vote in the House of Commons. By a single-vote margin, the bill is now free of key clauses that sought to outlaw "abusive and insulting" behaviour inciting religious hatred. But under Blair's bill, these silly cartoons could have been deemed an act of religious hatred.

Closer to home, Victoria's religious vilification laws (These were passed in Autralia as similar measures were passed in Canada) are working in ways that make the place look like an Islamic state-in-waiting. Recall the two Christian pastors hauled into a Victorian court and threatened with jail time for daring to criticise Islam. Publish these cartoons south of the Murray in Victoristan and you too might be charged with religious vilification. It's a state overflowing with rights. But freedoms - such as free speech (For the common citizens) - are thin on the ground.

If freedom of speech means anything, it means the right to offend the sensibilities of others. (To be able to freely preach the Gospel of sin righteousness and the judgment) Standing up for the right to express namby-pamby, inoffensive opinions is the easy part. It's defending the confronting, offensive and insulting stuff that tests our commitment to free speech.

That commitment is looking rather threadbare in Australia, given that only Queensland's Courier-Mail has published the cartoons. And why have the commentators, lawyers and artistes, who were so loud in condemning sedition laws as an incursion on satirical free speech, gone mute?
Because these liberal forces the world over hate with all their heart souls mind and strength God, the church, and the bible and therefore they hate any law right freedom or privilege that is drawn from these and they hate western culture because it is drawn from God the church and the bible. For the last century they worshipped communism and with the falling of the Berlin wall and the break up of the Soviet Union their god has crashed and burned. So these moved on into the green party and the environmental movement and their cornerstone for becoming the dominant power in the earth the Kyoto Treaty was halted and now has become rejected by most western nations and seen for what it was so this now has crashed and burned. It must be recognized that these people so hate God, the church and the bible they will hand all of Europe and western civilization over to the Muslims for them to kill burn and pillage (reminiscent of a Stalinist purge) in order to cleanse the world of God the church and the bible.

The Australian says publishing these cartoons will add nothing to the debate. But if 12 silly cartoons are enough to spark the hysterical over-reaction by Muslims, then this is a confrontation we need to have. Not publishing the cartoons adds to the debate by suggesting we will walk on eggshells in appeasing Muslim sensibilities. The spontaneous reaction across the Middle East has morphed into planned intimidation of the West and its values. And it seems to be working. Those opposed to free speech are learning that the louder they shout, the faster we surrender.
Ultimately this is building the war cry in Muslims to destroy all of Europe and all of its people. And make no mistake this is what this is all about. The bombing in Spain that flipped its government to be pro muslim and to naturalize over 1 million illegal Muslim immigrants that are now at the same time all EU citizens, the riots in France, and now this the appeasement that is sought is super citizenship. And behind the scenes a liberal forth column is at work to help their Muslim gods to come into power these is the spirit of this age this is the spirit of the antichrist at work dramatically at work and dramatically created the stage upon which he shall appear so naturally all constitutions that guarantee rights of citizens particularly freedom of speech freedom of press freedom of assembly freedom of worship must perish and must be removed. This is not a political fight this is a spiritual fight that begins with a backslidden church that for at least 40 years now has not preached the gospel to its own generation and we see the results of this while some preach a relatively new doctrine of spiritual warfare fighting principalities and powers from a prayer closet. We see little evidence of this in scripture, the Gospels, and Epistles or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Instead what we see is the warfare the spiritual warfare is fought in Scripture, the Gospels and Acts with boots on the ground. We see actual believers (Christ himself and the Apostles and others) fighting the good fight of faith, and displacing these principalities and powers with the preaching of the gospel and demonstration of the Spirit.

When we're talking about ideas - and religion is, after all, just an idea - the touchstone of free speech should be that old nursery rhyme: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me".

Laws need to protect us from violence, but not from hurt feelings. By all means, apologise for the offence caused to Muslims by the 12 cartoons, but not for their publication. The former is good manners. The latter is free speech.