By Paul BelienFriday, February 3, 2006
I do not believe in red lines, and I do not believe that anything should be above the freedom of human expression. I know that most arabs and Muslims would disagree with me on this point, but this is not what bothers me, what bothers me is that most Europeans don't realize that they also disagree with me.
Europeans think that freedom of speech is guaranteed in Europe, and that they are defending it against Islamic pressure. This is a view that is widely propagated and defended by groups from across the political spectrum. Reality, however, presents us Muslims living in Europe with another experience. Muslims and others in Europe can not say everything they often want to say and they risk being arrested and prosecuted if they do. Muslims and other religious people can not express their disgust from homosexuality and clearly state that they believe it's a sickness and a deviation without being persecuted for being homophobic.
Mr Jahjah certainly has a point here. Not only Muslims are not allowed to voice all their opinions. Only last week the French parliamentarian Christian Vanneste was sentenced in court to a heavy fine because he had stated that "homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity" and that "heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality." Earlier last month a majority in the European Parliament called for sanctions against Poland and the Baltic states because their governments are said to be "homophobic." In the Netherlands access to certain jobs in the civil service is effectively denied to anyone religious (be it Christian or Muslim) who refuses to participate in concluding same-sex marriages. and the EU wants to force doctors to perform abortions and euthanasia because, it says, the right to conscientious objection is not "unlimited."
a Moroccan sent us a note this morning about the Danish cartoon affair:
This kind of things won't really be bad for the islam because when something is good right and honest it will go on no matter what, even if they keep fighting it more and more. I think that Muslim people gave to that event more than it should. They could just ignore that kind of thing because it's not really official first and second because it's said by a country that has all kind of bad things (homosexuality/living without any goal in life and afterlife). But I'm happy that this kind of thing happened after all because that will just let people hear and know more about who is mohammed and what did he did to humanity and that he offered his life to serve allah. He was completly saint and that's the same for all people that believe in him and follow his road. Life for them is only a station that we have to wait in it a bit till going to the other side and go on.Yesterday, a Turkish Muslim wrote us:
I am Muslim and proud of being muslim. Holly Mohammed is one side; and We never never use any bad word against to Holly Jesus Christ. Because of We accept him as a Holly prophet too. So Please look at the Denmark. They shows that Mohammed married many times. This not true. One thing is true and all the world knows that a man can marry with a man in Denmark, Holland and Norway. They lost their heart and mind.
In their remarks these Muslims (whether they are representative for the majority of Muslims is another matter) are putting their finger on what the american theologian George Weigel calls "Europe's problem." Europe is dying because it has lost the cult at the heart of its culture. as a result "a venerable culture is being effaced by a vacuous secularism" (Niall Ferguson) while at the same time the religious vacuum left by the demise, or suicide, of Christianity is being filled by another religion ‚�� with religious prohibitions, such as the taboo on depicting Muhammad, that are totally alien to Western civilization.
americans watch in amazement at what is happening in Europe today, but Western civilization, with its freedom of expression, has long died on the Eastern side of the atlantic. One of the few freedoms left in Western Europe was the freedom to mock religion. Now that this freedom is under attack from Muslim fanatics we realize that this is not the first barrier that needs defending against totalitarians, but in fact the last remaining one. The other barriers have all been abandoned ‚�� without a fight.
In contemporary Germany homeschooling Baptists lose parental authority over their children and are jailed on the basis of a bill introduced by adolf Hitler in 1938. In the Netherlands Reader's Digest's "European of the Year" ayaan Hirsi ali wants all religious schools abolished and demands the defunding of a Calvinist party because this party does not put forward women candidates for election. In Finland the government is toying with the idea to no longer issue permits for private schools. In Belgium the country's largest party was effectively banne by the Supreme Court in November 2004 for publishing texts which, though the court admitted they were not necessarily untrue, were said to have been published with "an intention to contribute to a campaign of hatred."
We are all Danes now, defending the right to satire. But the right of parents to educate their own children according to their own beliefs has long disappeared. So has the right to elect the politicians one wants and the right to tell truths when the government has decided that you are telling them with a wrong "intention." and gone also is the right not to have to participate in actions that are against one's conscience.
In america people are free to say and think whatever they like, however offensive this may be to others. In Europe this right no longer exists. as Mr Jahjah says:
People in Europe are not allowed to do a free historical examination of the Second World War and the holocaust and freely express an opinion on it that is different than the dominating dogmatic line. any attempt to have deviant historical examination of the holocaust will earn you the title of revisionist, anti-Semite and a jail sentence.
He continues with an anti-Jewish diatribe, before concluding:
Yes arabs and Muslims are uptight when you touch their religious and national symbols, but Europe had made of political correctness and the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion and is even more uptight when you touch that. Europeans might not respect their flags, and they might laugh with Jesus and Mary but if you touch their new religious symbols, they will bombard you with indignation and persecute you in the best European inquisition tradition.
I am for the absolute freedom of speech everywhere, and that's why I call upon every free sole among arabs to use the Danish flag as a substitute for toilet paper. To illustrate every wall with graffiti making fun of everything Europe holds as holy: dancing rabbis on the carcasses of Palestinian children, hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg's approval stamp, and aids spreading fagots. Let us defend the absolute freedom of speech altogether, wouldn't that be a noble cause?
Mr Jahjah's attacks on the Jews are repulsive. He is a Muslim radical, whom we quoted during last November's riots in France as saying:
"We [Muslim youths in Europe] reject integration when it leads to assimilation. I don't believe in a host country. We are at home here and whatever we consider our culture to be also belongs to our chosen country. I'm in my country, not the country of the [Westerners]."
But he asks a question one should ponder: Is it possible to defend freedom of speech if one does not restore "absolute freedom of speech altogether?" as the great 20th century american journalist H.L. Mencken (who by the way was very critical of religion) said:
"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
Europe failed to stop oppression at the beginning. French and German Google are censored to exclude american white supremacist websites such as american Renaissance(look here for a comparison between google.com, google.fr and google.de). The Belgian revisionist Siegfried Verbeke has spent time in jail in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, where he is now awaiting trial for denying Hitler's crimes. How consistent is this when the same judicial authorities are applying Hitler's laws to jail Christian parents? Mr Jahjah would call it hypocrisy.