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Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy

Musilm countries have taken offense as Jyllands-Posten, a major Danish newspaper, published cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammed as fundamentalist.

The Danish Prime Minister, Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he could not tell newspapers what to print - or what not to. Catallarchy points out the European Hypocrisy:

Incidentally, if the muslims were clever (which I suspect they are not) they would fight back against the forces of European “freedom of the press” and “freedom of speech” by publishing cartoons denying the Holocaust. ("Holocaust denial is currently a crime in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Switzerland.")

It is not allowed to buy/sell Nazi "memorabilia", Muslim girls cannot wear head scarves in public schools in France and so on. I normally do not engage in moral equivalence, but in this case, charge of hypocrisy is right on spot.

Let me point out clearly that I condemn the death threats received against the cartoonists and journalists. My point of highlighting the European hypocrisy here is make a case for a true freedom of speech and against making an exception for the Jews.


Publishing those cartoons may have violated a Danish law:


You might be interested to know that the Danish Criminal Code has similar provisions for causing offence to a religious community. Section 140 of the DCC reads: "Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months."

Section 142 of the Norwegian Penal Code has similar provisions.



That's not a valid argument at all because there's a difference between a factual truth and a religious truth. A factual truth (e.g. the Holocaust) can be scientifically proven. To deny the Holocaust is therefore a lie, not an opinion.
A religious truth (e.g. "Jesus Christ is the Son of God") cannot be scientifically proven. Believers must therefore accept that others deny it. So even though most Christians will feel insulted if someone says that Christ is NOT God, they must accept that others voice this different opinion.


Fair enough.

But, let me point out that there is no ban on headscarves in Denmark. It is not a crime to deny the Holocaust in Denmark. It is not a crime to buy or sell nazi memorabilia in Denmark. The Nazi party is allowed to exist in Denmark.

It is, however, a crime to burn or deface a Bible or a Koran.

We have taken a great deal of criticism about this from other European countries over the years, since the more restrictive laws among our neighbors have led to Denmark playing host to some very loathsome creatures, who could use Denmark as a base from which to spread their views. Over all, though, the consensus has been that it is preferable to allow such things, all things considered. Our Nazis are vile, but happily both ridiculous and utterly marginalized.

So, the "clever" tactic described above is not likely to be very effective in Denmark, at least.


It's not the subject matter of the cartoons, but the reaction to it which is the bigger issue here. Publishing holocaust denial cartoons might generate a legal response, but wouldn't ignite the furor or calls for retributive violence (and actual violence) we've seen in this case.

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