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Monday, November 07, 2005

When The Monster Under The Bed Is Real

Most times, the monster under the bed is a fiction of our imaginations. When it is not, the last thing a sane person does is put down a plate of raw meat every night in the theory that the monster will be satisfied and so we can sleep peacefully all night. Europe has created their monster under their bed, and there is a huge question about whether they have the will to drive it out and whether they understand how to drive it out.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a Dane who has been watching the immigrant ghettos in your own country become more and more violent places. Imagine that you keep reading stories about violence. Imagine, if you will, that you believe that the average citizen is helpless to evade those who act to intimidate:
In a computer forum that i often check out, there was a thread on whether people had been harassed by Perkere - and to my surprise it was FLOODED with bad experiences and people who were angry at them - more than 85% of the posters.
Most of them have either been harassed or robbed by perkere as young as their early teens, or know someone who has. They ALL know people who are afraid of perkere and avoid where those live or are.
Imagine, if you will, that you live in a nation in which printing critical remarks about a religious figure can provoke threats of extermination:
So the biggest newspaper in Denmark, the Conservative Jyllandsposten, did what it should do: listed recent cases of people being afraid of offending islam:
* A stand up comedian who declared that he "...didn't dare taking the piss on the koran on TV"
* that most western European translators of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book insisted on being anonymous, and now...
* ..this case about artists not daring to draw muhammed.
* The Tate Museum in London withdrawing a piece of art
* The murder of Van Gogh
* The attempt on the life of Salman Rushdies Norwegian publisher, 12 years ago
* that there is currently three plays with sarcasm and blame pointed towards the American president but none towards Islam.

Then they made their own "draw muhammed": They invited no less than 40 professional newspaper cartoonists to draw muhammed! This ought to bode well for creativity, huh? Showing those up tight muslims how we do stuff here in Denmark, huh? A victory for creative freedom of expression, right?

Not exactly.
...an imam named Raed Hlayhel gave an acid-filled interview to the very newspaper who brought the muhammed-pictures but also offered him to state his opinions. After having refused to shake hands with the female photographer as well as not offering his guests refreshments because he himself is observing Ramadan, thus violating basic Danish customs, he spread his bile:

"I am not against irony, sarcasm and humor, as long as it doesn't concern the prophet"
"Must we accept this just because we live in a democratic country"?
"I live in a democratic country, and i use my freedom of speech, and i say that i will not tolerate this!"
"If this is democracy, we disagree with democracy"
"In the moment that the law permits JP and others to ridicule my prophet and religion, then i happily leave Denmark" (if only he would...It does already so perhaps he should begin packing!)
"Can't You understand? You humiliate us and call it freedom of speech, and that i therefore should accept it! But i won't. Have You no respect for us?"

Speaking of respect, the newspaper received a bunch of treats, with or without bombs included, and a protest was held - 3000 angry muslims on the march.
And now, of course, you are watching the reports of what is happening in France. So you write a post arguing against freedom of religion:
Freedom of religion is a nonsense catch-phrase, it doesn't distinguish between religions, it doesn't examine what the individual religions is about, what they instruct their followers to do or how to live or treat other human beings. That freedom of religion violates democracy and is completely incompatible with it is not even the most important thing, the most important things is that it sets the minority above the majority!
Of course i would argue that the one religion we should outlaw or curb is Islam as opposed to Christianity or religion in general. This is because the principles of Christianity is deeply ingrained in the way we built our society, in our behavior and values, but also because we have learned to combine Christianity with modernity: religion does not rule out moving society forward, we tend to put faith inside our hearts where it belongs as opposed to on the outside for show, which is exactly the way Jesus wanted it himself. (at least we do here up north in Scandinavia) Christianity is simply too well functioning already to allow to screw that up by restricting it or giving way to a far more different religion like Islam.
Secondly we need to look at what these other religions actually contain and whether we will tolerate that content - judging by the polls, the large majority has already made up their mind that we do not want to tolerate the content of Islam in our countries... (see the post "our politicians and us") Religion is not a tool, but the followers of it is. A tool which no shapers of societies can overlook.
Of course, if religious tolerance is interpreted to allow a minority to silence the majority, one would think this way. And this is why I think the 1930's are happening all over again in Europe. Socialism has so undercut the idea of any real freedom that even those arguing vociferously against political correctness and for freedom of speech, as Enough! does, do not believe that it can work.

What will happen is that the smaller northern countries will reform themselves and enforce their own standards - drive out the monster under the bed. The larger, more diverse countries will keep putting dishes of hamburger out. This is not a religious conflict. It is a cultural conflict.

A free society is a society in which the individual must confront criticism of his or her own beliefs and accept the consequence of his or her own actions. There is no right not to be criticized or offended in a free society. And a free society does not shape the people - instead the people shape the society. It is this idea which has been lost, if it ever existed, in most of Europe, and it is the lack of this idea that is endangering most of these countries.

I've read this post a few times. It;s hard to know what to say, in such a small space, save the following:

Unless we are prepared to offer EQUAL opportunities and EQUAL protection to all, we might as well kiss our respective asses goodbye.

We have to change the model- Muslims are NOT more equal- anywhere.
That is the basic American proposition, as supported by the Supreme Court, and going right back to Jefferson's writings. A Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a pagan and an atheist must all be equal under the law. It is inevitable that we will disagree with each other. But a willingness to be offended is the price of freedom and peace.

This is not - as you have covered - the European consensus. All over Europe laws exist under which people can be prosecuted for offending others. That cannot and will not work.
While this story has some mild interest to those interested in things french, I think you are missing a much more significant and important story in the Cheerleader brawl/sex scandal taking place in Tampa.

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