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Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Monday February 06, 2006 21:08author by Kevin Wingfield - Socialist Workers Partyauthor email info at swp dot ieauthor phone (01) 8722682 Report this post to the editors

SWP statement on anti Islamic cartoons

Socialists condemn unequivocally the publication of racist cartoons designed to demean Muslims.

If newspaper had asserted their freedom to print images that compared Jewish people to rats, there would have been an outrage.
Or if images were presented of Nelson Mandela in thick lips and other racist stereotypes there would be equal outrage.
But in a totally spurious assertion of liberal values major newspapers in Europe have re-printed racist cartoons in the name of freedom of speech.
The current hysteria about the Muslim population has nothing to do with free speech. Instead we are witnessing a carefully orchestrated campaign to present Muslims as outsiders from Western society.
There is no absolute right to free speech. No one, for example, defends the right of paedophiles to advocate child abuse. Few people think it is a good idea to deliberately shout Fire in a manner that might cause a stampede among crowds.
The call for free speech was, and is, a legitimate demand to create a space where people can express themselves without fear of sanction from authorities. But it was never about whipping up a hate speech that can only serve to stimulate violent attacks on minority groups.
The Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten, that published the twelve cartoons on Mohammad, supports the right wing government headed by Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen.
This government includes a rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim party.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the same paper was infamous for its support for Italian fascism and German Nazis. In 1933, it argued for dictatorship in Denmark.
This particular context reveals that publication of the cartoon was a deliberate provocation.
It fits neatly with the racist agenda that underlies a whole epoch that is characterised by the War on Terror.
Ever since September 11th, the imperialist powers have encouraged islamophobia to cover their new ambitions to expand by conquest. Deprived of an enemy in the communist block, Islam was caricatured and attacked so that it could be turned into a substitute scapegoat to unite populations around Western values.
Part of this construction meant portraying Western society as a haven for liberal discussion and debate in contrast to the supposed fanaticism of Islam.
This binary opposition was false from the very start. The very same Western liberals who rush so actively to defend free speech are silent when a trade unionist gets sacked for wearing a union badge.
The Independent Group of newspapers which now champions its freedom to insult Muslims, censored one its own reporters when she made critical comments on the Irish Ferries dispute. Freedom for these hypocrites extends only to their supposed right to insult and demean oppressed groups rather than the right to challenge the right of capitalists to own ideas and modes of expression.
Just as Bush tries to wrap his discredited war in the name of democracy, the liberal imperialists now try to target Muslims in the name of free speech. Liberalism here is supposed to be a badge of intelligence that is contrasted with unthinking, fanatical Muslim masses.
The parading of Christianity or Western civilisation as innately more superior to other societies is disgusting.
The level of freedom in any society is not dictated by particular religious texts but by histories of struggles and the particular conditions under which they develop. Muslim society in 10th century Spain was much freer than Christian civilisation at the time. But that did not make Islam as a religion superior to Christianity.
Socialists are for the right to subject every idea including religious ideas to critical scrutiny. We are for the right to debate the existence or non-existence of God. We defend the idea of a separation of Church and state.
The record of the SWP in standing up to fundamentalist groups like Youth Defence in the past is second to none.
But when it comes to a fight between a deadly form of imperialism that masks its racism with talk of free speech, we know where we stand: with the oppressed: against the racists.
Today as the US and its deadly watchdog, prepare for new attacks on Iran, we need to be even clearer on this issue.

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author by luxemburgpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 21:39Report this post to the editors

This statement gives an SWP analysis of the problem regarding the cartoons, free speech etc. but nowhere does it make clear the precise SWP position on the issue. The criticism of those who defend the publication of the offensive cartoons implies that the SWP favour censorship or banning of these, without explicitly saying so, but the reference to SWPs defence of the right to criticise religions implies the opposite.

Could Kevin clarify: Does the SWP favour the banning of the cartoons or does the SWP defend the right of papers to publish the cartoons even if these are offensive etc?

Personally, I think the cartoons are offensive to believers and were published by some (though not all) papers simply to have a go at Muslims and to incite trouble but I dont believe in bannning such actions. People have a right to criticise and even ridicule religions (Marx often did so, as Kevin will know) even if believers find it offensive.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 21:49Report this post to the editors

are the swp with the homo-phobic, misogynistic, anti-semitic islamo-fascists?

or will they stand with women, gays, secular muslims and socialists in defence of freedom and against islamic fundamentalist fascism?

author by Davepublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:03Report this post to the editors

I think its clear that the newspapers publishing these cartoons are doing so as a deliberate islamophobic provocation, not as a criticism of religion or as a defence of free speech. The contradiction of tabloid newspapers 'defending free speech' is surely obvious to everyone.
It is also clear that the publication of the images has angered and offended the majority of the world's muslims, not only fundamentalists. Muslims consider the images in question to be of the same scale of insult and degrading stereotype as images of jews as long nosed craven moneylenders or of black people as monkeys.
In this context we obviously do not support the publication of the cartoons any more than we support the publication of anti-semitic or racist stereotypes.
There are much more positive and intellectually honourable ways to criticise the muslim religion then to lump all of its followers into one undifferentiated mass of semi-human mass murderers as the cartoons do.
Socialists in our tradition have written extensively on Islam and other religions. I'll post a few links later on.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:15Report this post to the editors

why are the swp defending islam? if a cartoon was published making fun of christ would the swp be protesting? no way! if the catholic church wanted women to wear the hijab would the swp be defending it? no way?

why the love in with islam?

all religions should be mocked!

mohommad was a pedophile who took a 9 yr old wife. he was really in to young women. many of his followers gave their young daughters to him as wives. (2 of the first 4 caliphs who succeeded him had given him daughters, a 3rd, ali, was his son in law AND his 1st cousin!) he also had numerous concubine slaves which he raped (if the swp want to object to that then tell me how a slave gives consent). the pedophile prophet was indeed a lecherous old rapist.

the above is accepted history.

now what are you going to do? set your muslim members at me? will lindsay germain issue a fatwa against me? does she wear a hijab?

author by Davepublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:18Report this post to the editors

Chris harmans long and detailed 'the prophet and the proletariat' is at this link

By the way the Iranian socialist Elahey Povey is speaking at the swp's marxism conference ( matrch 3rd to 5th) on, among other things 'Women, workers and the Islamic Republic'. She is a good speaker and an experienced activist and I would encourage people interested in debating the issues to come along and put questions to her.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:31Report this post to the editors

does she support the wearing of the hijab? is she prepared to criticise islam as foolish superstition?

i truly wonder. i'm washing my hair that night so i'll miss her meeting.

if her talk was hosted by an organistion that stood up for womens and gay rights aginst religious fanaticism i would attend.

author by hashishinpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:39Report this post to the editors

As supposed revolutionaries, should not be trying to break muslim workers from their religion rather than encouraging it. Where's your marxism now?
It appears yet again the Irish SWP are just towing the line from across the water, where the mother party opportunisticly (surprise, surprise with the swp) sees a chance of some political gains from the muslim community.

The misery of Islam

author by luxemburgpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:40Report this post to the editors

Dave makes a fair point re anti-semitic/racist cartoons but he's still avoiding the key question. He says 'In this context we obviously do not support the publication of the cartoons' but what does this really mean? Does Dave and the SWP believe the cartoons should be banned or do they believe that the papers have the right to publish these cartoons even if these are highly offensive to muslims?

author by Kevin Wingfield - SWPpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 22:45Report this post to the editors

Pat, you dont get it, do you? This is not a gentlemanly debate on the rights and wrongs of religion. Were being softened up for an invasion of Iran. The spin is The mad mullahs are getting nukes. The publication and re-publication of these cartoons are part of a conscious attempt to demonise all the Islamic world. The myth that the West is a tolerant place reluctantly having to take up arms and reconquer these fanatical and intolerant people is part of the ideological preparation.
For Pat, Luxemburg and anyone who is interested I try to be absolutely clear:
1) The SWP will not defend the so-called right of reactionary papers to launch racist insults against Moslems to enflame war fever.
The question of censorship is completely beside the point. Do you really think Western governments will stop their media spouting anti-Islamic rhetoric?
2) The SWP stands for gay rights (Do you really think the right wing tabloids and the Independent group, who are shouting so loudly about freedom of the press and the supposed intolerance of Islam, give a damn for the rights of gays?).
The guns are being aimed. Fallujah yesterday, Tehran tomorrow. Thats why we stand with the protestors against these cartoons.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Feb 06, 2006 23:01Report this post to the editors

you dont get it. all religion is nonsense and should be mocked.

if papers published an offensive cartoon of christ would the swp join with youth defence in p[rotests?

if the ctholic church demanded that women wear the hijab would the swp have demos in supportof it?

islam as a religion is hostile to womens and gay rights. it is part of mainstream islamic thinking that adulterous women and gays should be stoned to death.

if you are defending islam then you are against womens rights and gay rights.

this has nothing to do with invading iran it has everything to do with the swp sucking up to islam. whatever disagreements i had with the swp in the past i always knew that they would take a stand agaist religious obscurantism. now, since the hijab affair,that is no longer the case.

author by Localistpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 01:15Report this post to the editors

>> Were being softened up for an invasion of Iran. The spin is The mad mullahs are getting nukes. The publication and re-publication of these cartoons are part of a conscious attempt to demonise all the Islamic world.

Do you honestly think the US could afford to invade Iran? At least when they invaded Iraq they had some class of support in Iraq. America is up to its eyeballs in debth and Bushs popularity is through the floor. I'd give the Rebulicans at least another generation before they'll try a war on the scale of Iraq again. And Blair will not be fooled into invading another country - fool me once...

Also, this issue is not big in the American press, which usually translates into the average American being completely oblivious - although Foxnews will show anything that isn't Iraq.

author by Localistpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 01:40Report this post to the editors

>>If newspaper had asserted their freedom to print images that compared Jewish people to rats, there would have been an outrage.

Its funny you should say that because Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a cartoon which represented Isreal as a Rat on September of last year. Feel outraged? Another cartoon depicts an old man and a young man - representing the 20th and 21th century, and what looks like a troll with a star of david and the inscription "The Disease of the Century".

author by Just another socialitepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 01:53Report this post to the editors


I tried to make this post under the following thread: "When Freedom of Expression becomes a Weapon" but I keep getting an interal error message so I'm having to post it hear instead. not sure what the problem is. anyway, here goes -

BTW, Jyllands-Posten is a _center_ right paper - center right as in FF, FG, Labour, PDs, most Irish voters, New Labour, British Conservatives, most British voters, and indeed the vast majority of governments in Europe and indeed most European voters.

>> Probably because they are living under dictatorships propped up by our governments and paradoxically this is the only place they can express themselves politically.

Is Iran propped up by western government? How much freedom do people in general have there, and whos responsibility is that? The only intelligent solution for Iran is if the rest of us ignore it and allow the people there the opportunity to establish democracy themselves in their own time - in the same way that our ancestors had that opportunity. But when it comes to my society, then I do believe in arguing against practices and beliefs that offend my idea of freedom. For example, I would not be an atheist today if people in Ireland hadn't been brave enough to mock Christianity. This mockery exposed the shear stupidity of christianity for me. And I hope to return the favour by helping to expose all the other bullshit that blinds us morally. I believe that all religion is bad because it does not allow people to establish morality for themselves, but rather offers mad rewards as a prize for being a good person. South Park once dedicated an episode to ripping the Mormon faith to pieces. But the moral was that all religions are mad in their own little way - Islam being no exception. But how free do westerns feel when it comes to exposing this fact to Muslims in our society? Not very free. Liberal film maker Van Gogh was murder for trying to expose the treatment of women under Islam in a film inspired by Dutch liberal politician, and former muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Recently, all of Italys main political parties pleaded for the film to be shown on their state TV channel in the interest of "artistic freedom and freedom of expression". As usual this was met by protests, death treats and the Islamic Council of Turin called for the broadcast to be cancelled. The letter, signed by two imams, said the content of the film was "detrimental to Islamic traditions and customs". I only hope so...

>>I havent heard many Irish Muslims calling on Christians or atheists to change their way of life intheir own home country, so why do we insist on trying to ram our values down their throats?

Many women are seeking refugee status in our country in order to escape female genial mutilation. Female circumcision is not obligatory under Islam, but it is described as being "honourable". The Makromah Hadeeth states that "Circumcision is a commendable act for men and is an honourable thing for women". Pity the poor girls involved aren't asked if they'd like to be honourable or not. But check this cracker out:

"Female Circumcision From Islamic Perspective

"However, female circumcision may be an honourable act done for men who may feel annoyed with the extra part of the clitoris when having sex with the uncircumcised female. In such a case, it takes the same legal ruling of beautifying, applying perfume, shaving pubic hair and other acts required by natural disposition."

How do you fight such idiotic opinions without attacking it full on? I'm sick of our wishy washy "lets not offend anyone" society. This kind of mentality causes real suffering and it must be opposed.

>>As for immigration I think they have no particular wish to be here and would prefer to be in their own home countries if only we would stop interfering.

Bollocks. My uncle emigrated to America not because of British occupation, but because he wanted to make money. And this is the primary reason why people migrate to this country, like it or not - Capitalism not freedom! Hundreds of thousands of eastern Europeans do not need to travel thousands of miles to find freedom here not that I feel particularly free in this capitalist infested society of ours. When Irish people migrated to US cities we were the poorest of the poor, yet in the last US election Irish Americans were more likely to vote for Bush than Kerry. The fact is, immigration is in the best interests of capitalism as it sustains the Western population and ensures that there will be plenty of exploiters in the future. And trust me, capitalism isnt going anywhere fast.

>>Dont forget that we were living under a Catholic theocracy until not so long ago, and didn't give the vote or equal rights to women until even more recently (some would justifiably argue that they still don't).

Men and women have it too good in our society today. We are all lazy, and there is no way on earth that we honestly earn all our possessions. I watched a feminist last year on the BBC complaining that women make up only 2% of corporate board rooms. What a weird attitude! Personally I think women should be proud of this statistic as it highlights that they are less likely to exploit that men. But then again women here do consume some amount of shite - from make-up, to handbags, to frilly cushions and we all know who ends up making this cap.

>> You don't need to measure things on a geological timescale to realise that we're not very far ahead of them in terms of development.

Were behind them morally in many respects when you consider our consumption of goods produced by the poor. But that doesnt mean given half a chance that theyd swap places with us.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 09:03Report this post to the editors

I work with muslims, and we were talking about the cartoons and the riots and protests over lunch yesterday. Firstly, I think the riots and protests have to do with a whole load of other stuff, which the "pro free speech" corporate/state media have glossed over.

Denmark, for starters, is a card waving member of NATO and Bush's war-terrorism coalition, aiming it's efforts principly towards the Middle East and other oil stretegic areas. That Arabs and Muslims hadn't thought of boycotting these war-profiteers before strikes me as bizaar. But hey, better late than never!

The printing and reprinting of these cartoons does nothing to spur on the debate within islam and arab countries about women's rights, freedom of expression, terrorism, and so on. The only good that I can see which would come of it -- like the Paris riots earlier this winter -- is that in some way the rioting might compel us to look at the wider picture for once.

author by Atheistpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:55Report this post to the editors

Much as I depise organised religions (and a healthy dose of blasphemy is generally a good thing), there is no excuse for a right wing rag trying to provoke Muslims with crude daubs portraying them as mad, sinister, hook-nosed, shifty, exotics with sticks of dynamite protruding from their turbans. In fact, their portrayal is quite similar to the cartoons that stirred up anti semitism against the Jews in the European press in the 1930s. People from a Muslim background are pissed off enough over Palestine and Iraq and this is just another kick in the face.

author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:26Report this post to the editors

I note that the SWP statement does not defend or even mention the two newspaper editors arrested in Jordon on charges of blasphemy after their papers had republished the cartoons. Should we hold our breath? Or is that another example of 'islamophobia'

The journalists face charges including "publishing anything that conflicts with the ... values of the Arab and Islamic nation,"

If convicted, both face up to three months imprisonment

IMHO this is a crisis manufactured by 'fundamentalists' on both sides - quite what is progressive about cheering on one side or the other I don't know.

Related Link:
author by iosafpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:46Report this post to the editors

and in light of Eoin's statement and his history as an activist, I'd like to tell you that the NATO base of the Italians has been attacked in Herat, Afghanistan, for the reason that a small contigent of Norwegians are stationed there, and in the ensuing stand-off spanish troops were called to assist and the death-toll is presently at one Afghani.

author by raypublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 13:06Report this post to the editors

Racist filth that's what this is about - Paki Bashing . Would you expect a rightwing newspaper to launch an attack on Muslims any other way ? They can't come out openly as racists so they do it as an exercise in free speech .
Thirty years ago Ireland was a virtual theocracy . At the same time the British army was interning , murdering , and supporting orange pogroms against the catholic community in the north . If back then a Briitish owned newspaper had published a cartoon depicting the pope , the Virgin Mary and Saint Patrick having an orgy with knuckle-dragging men in balaclavas standing in the background applauding, would Irish socialists and libertarians have tried to justify that ?

author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 13:26Report this post to the editors

Ray have you actually seen the cartoons this is all about because it doesn't sound like you have. All 12 are midway down the article linked below.

In comparison with cartoons the British press _did_ actually carry at the time they are really quite mild. And far from calling for the banning of such cartoons the Irish left actually republished them in order to show the racist attitudes of the British press towards people in Ireland. Incidentally this seems to be what the Jordanian editors I mention above were doing.

Related Link:
author by raypublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 13:45Report this post to the editors

And I wouldn't object to them being published for those benign purposes Joe . What the Danish newspaper was doing wasn't about freedom of the press though . It was the opposite - a provacation to whip-up the sort of reaction that would justify a clampdown on freedom of expression . That's how the right-wing in cahoots with the state operates .

author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 14:02Report this post to the editors

Ray of course it was a provocation - thats why I wrote "IMHO this is a crisis manufactured by 'fundamentalists' on both sides - quite what is progressive about cheering on one side or the other I don't know"

But some of the response is also a provocation, parading around London with placards calling for beheadings for instance is obviously designed to stoke things up. Is it really the role of the left to join in - as the SWP has done? Or is the role of the left to point out what is going on and argue against the 'calsh of civilisations' nonsence in which 'we' must choose a side.

Should we support state bans on things which might insult religions? In that case do we even support the jailing of the two Jordanian editors? Or do we say we might not like what the papers are up to but an alternative in which the state could ban cartoons poking fun at religion would be worse. As shown by the jailings of the Jordanians.

author by Apublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 14:19Report this post to the editors

Would you believe there's a story on RTE radio at the moment saying there's an increase in sales of Kerrygold butter in the Middle East as Danish dairy products are being boycotted!

author by redjadepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 15:28Report this post to the editors

The additional irony of these Cartoon Protests is that some of the most violent ones are in countries that have no free speech.

People protesting free speech in countries that have no free speech.

Watching the news of the embassy burnings in Syria I noticed police just standing around watching the crowd torch the building - considering the Syrian regime is about to get economic sanctions imposed on it for probably directing the assassination of Lebanon's PM Rafic Hariri, maybe - just maybe - that's really why the arson occurred. So a secular state allows religious wingnuts to arson.

Calling for 'understanding' and 'tolerance' of the violence of religious wingnuts - when the wingnuts are being used a tools of a nasty brutal regime - seems to be itself a rather shallow understanding what's happening.

Yes, Fundamentalists of all sides are trying to dictate and lessen our freedoms - Fundamentalists both religious and political.

Its a bit funny however that since iosaf posted the offending cartoon a few days ago (on another thread post) I haven't read anyone asking the editorial group to delete the image - why is that? Should we advocate censorship in Denmark but not in this virtual Irish space?

Iosaf posted it not because he hates muslims but because he was showing us what was offensive. Context! Its an important thing.

I found this Marx cartoon at the Shite-Front website (i wont bother mentioning or linking to it) - just because the source of it are Nazis does not make it a less valid opinion. In fact I know a lot of people in Hungary who would agree with its commentary whole-heartedly - and they are not Nazis.

Context is everything.

censorship depending on whose ox gets gored?
censorship depending on whose ox gets gored?

author by Davepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 15:59Report this post to the editors

Here's a link to an eloquent and well argued article by a secular arab. 'Secular Arabs Detest Hypocrisy '
I'd like to say that to oppose one system of oppression does not mean having to support another.
We oppose the islamophobic cartoons as we would any deliberate provocation of a racist or anti-semitic character.
This does not mean we support the Jordanian state's police force, or that we endorse the
positions of radical islamists.
Just ask yourself what's actually happening here. A danish newspaper with far right sympathies publishes islamophobic images which, predictably, anger a lot of muslims, who are already the victims of numerous injustices at the hands of imperialists, western governemnts generally, and the corrupt and bruatl regimes of the middle east.
There is an explosion of anger. More tabloids reprint the offending images, adding more fuel to the fire.
It is clearly a case of prejudice directed against a group because of their belief sytem. It takes place in the context of the ' war on terror' and all that entails in terms of war, invasion, occupation, loss of civil liberties and so on. Remember the primary victims of the war on terror are muslims. Muslims are being demonised, the cartoons are part of that. They are being demonised for a purpose, to prepare the populations of the western world for prolonged war against the middle east.
I come into contact with a lot of refugees from africa who belong to evangelical churches. They are often homophobic and misogynist. That does not mean I would not campaign against their deportation.
Similarly i would not let the reactionary ideas of some muslims blind me to the fact that in this case they are the victims of propaganda, provocation, and prejudice. As a socialist who believes in freedom for all I stand beside them against the warmongers and the imperialist propoganda machine.

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author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 16:06Report this post to the editors

Dave the problem here is that the SWP is being rather unclear about just what it is saying just as it was with the question of the French states ban on the hijab. The statements issued almose seem designed to mislead an islamist into thinking the SWP stand in full agreement with him/her in calling for state bans, jailing of editors (or maybe even beheadings). Much better clarity would be possible - for instance by also demanding the release of the Jordanian editors and the dropping of chages against them. That this is absent leaves a lot of us to make cynical conclusions as to why it is absent.

author by raypublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 16:14Report this post to the editors

Joe , this isnt about freedom of speech its about the next phase in the war on terror : a provocation by a right - wing Danish newspaper designed to incite anti-Muslim sentiment and to soften-up European public opinion for an attack on Iran. A right-wing Iranian paper has responded to the provocation by organizing a cartoon competition to satirize ,in the name of freedom of speech , the Jewish holocaust. How will Israel react to that?

author by Davepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 16:35Report this post to the editors

Joe I'm not quite clear what you're trying to say.
We are against the French state ban on the hijab. as it is not about women's liberation but victimisation of women. The ban gives the police to right to prevent muslim women from attending school. That's hardly going to convince any muslim of the virtues of secularism.
We are also for the right of women not to wear the hijab if they don't wish to. If a group of muslim women were to protest about this we would support them. Socialists of our tradition are involved across the middle east in the opposition movements to the arab dicatorship, secular and islamic.
There's a long thread about this on indymedia somwhere if anyone can dig it up.
As for the Jordanian editors. Well I say drop the charges and release them. I also say drop the charges against the guantamo bay internees.
Its not the state here or in the middle east that are going to challenge the twinned evils of islamophobia and imperialism. Its going have to be an alliance of the majority.

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author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 16:36Report this post to the editors

So Iran is going to be invaded because of the actions back in September of an internationally obscure Danish tabloid? Somehow I really don't think so. I dougbt Saudi papers are printing the cartooons but I can't see the USA going in there to give them a bit of free speech.

Yes of course this is all part of a propaganda battle - but once more there are two sides to this battle - and both sides seek to turn it into a 'clash of civilisations'. The Iranian ruling class are quite threatened by the loss of influence amongst the Iranian people they have suffered in recent years - this sort of 'war with the west' is ideal for them (providing things don't go too far) in getting the masses back in line.

And it is about free speech - unless you think the two Jordanian editors are also in on the Danish 'war on Iran' conspiracy. You might not want it to be also about free speech but that issue has been decided for us by the Jordanian state in a pretty unambiguous manner.

author by Joepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 16:38Report this post to the editors

Your a lot clearer on this then your party is - they should get you to write their statements.

author by Jonahpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 17:22Report this post to the editors

Bit mystified as to the argument that this is not about free speech.

A newspaper published pictures, people object and riots, burnings etc. ensue. The newspaper is threatened and citizens of the country it is published in are threatened.

It's not relevant whether you agree or disagree with the politics of the paper or the cartoonist. Since when did support for free speech become support for the speech of those people we agree with or like.

I think the pictures were offensive, but as someone who believes in freedom of speech and freedom of expression I do not, for a single moment, entertain the idea that the paper did not have a right to publish. It might have been foolish, I might find it morally reprehensible, but I do not believe I have the right to morally dictate what should or should not be in a newspaper, and I certainly don't trust the State enough to do so.

Iranian newspapers are now suggesting they might print cartoons dealing with the Holocaust. While I would be disgusted by any newspaper, Iranian or not, publishing cartoons on the Holocaust, I defend their right to do so.

Supporting the Danish newspaper does not make me anti-Islamic. Supporting the Iranian newspapers disgusting idea to publish Holocaust cartoons does not make me anti-semitic. Both positions are simply supportive of the right to freedom of speech and expression.

author by redjadepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 18:39Report this post to the editors

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them."

more at,,1703500,00.html
. . . . .

Cartoons by Christoffer Zieler

Offensive to Christians or Pagans (or both?)
Offensive to Christians or Pagans (or both?)

author by raypublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 19:31Report this post to the editors

If I can compare it to the invasion of Iraq . Bush said that it was a war for freedom against a dictator . Now, while its true that Saddam was a dictator and Iraq was by no means a free country , thats not what the war was about .People of the left were quick to point that it was a war for oil and global hegemony , because thats what the war was about essentially. In essence the Danish cartoons were about provocation not about freedom of speech .
When Jyllands-Posten - a right-wing anti- immigrant paper which supported the Nazis prior to WW2 and which called for the setting up of a fascist state in Denmark - ran their Be as Offensive to Muslims as you Can competition , they said it was to test out the limits of free speech . I do not believe them - do you?

author by davepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 21:13Report this post to the editors

not surprisingly there's loads on this in the brit socialist worker, just out.

author by davepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 21:18Report this post to the editors

sorry, link should be

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 21:20Report this post to the editors

QUOTE Joe: "So Iran is going to be invaded because of the actions back in September of an internationally obscure Danish tabloid? Somehow I really don't think so."

The tabloid stuff is just part of the campaign to demonise arabs and muslims and make it ok to bomb Iran. The neocons have been trying to work up the necessary public hatred for muslims (similar to the liberal media outrage over the removal of the Buddhist statues by the Taliban, the oppression of women by the Taliban, the execution of homosexuals in Iran [*]) so that when they invade and murder another couple of hundred thousand people in "collateral damage" we'll all know that they were just irrational foreigners that can't laugh at a good joke about their religion while being bombed.

* all horrible acts and fully condemned.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 21:41Report this post to the editors

please remember that your country has given life to some of the best Islamists ever. Once upon a time "Islamist" meant one who studied Islam just as "crusade" meant horrible wars of attrition and great greed played in the name of Occidental religious prejudice. As the Irish Times pointed out, there are images of the prophet at the Chester Beaty library, and he was not the only scholar who collected and translated the literature of Islam. If you want to know what the prophet looked like, go visit the library or read my thread on this
We had the first translation of the rubayat to any european language thanks to an Irish scholar many centuries ago. Anyway, if anyone is interested I've left some quatrains by Jalal al Din Rumi the Mevlana of the Sufi tradition on a blog space which redjade opened for me, where I generally dump poetry and nursery rhymes Europeans grow up with.

There are cultural as well integration, as well plain civilised behaviour issues at stake here, not only for our peers in islamic society or muslim families, but also here in europe. Lets stop being so crude and prejudiced all of us. Iran doesn't speak for "global Islam" anymore than professor Farhad of Trinity College Dublin may speak for the Shah of Iran's regime even though he taught the Shah's children music before his exile. If the USA goes to war with Iran, it will be as much as human disaster as the war on Iraq. Whether danish and norwegian and yesterday spanish flags get burnt ought not come into your objection to that war. The fact that at least 9 protesters have been killed so far for these cartoons ought. When "Newsweek" said a Quran had been flushed down the toilet, only 3 people died in the ensuing riots before the USA said sorry. Please remember the USA has condemned the European response.

Now muslims are in the main just like irish catholics or protestants, they come from a religious culture which is conservative, they grow up neurotic with many hang-ups and then if they sort themselves out they have great sex lives preferring hash to alcohol and you know - that makes a difference. At the moment Ireland is one of the few EU states which is not getting hostility from the angry people out there. Think about that. They're buying our butter. You'll get more free butter vouchers and no doubt about it. = Know which side your bread is buttered on.

read some Rumi -

Related Link:
author by Localistpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 23:07Report this post to the editors

2006 Al Bawaba (

A Holocaust cartoon competition has been launched in one of Iran's leading newspapers in response to criticism over Muslim protests of cartoons picturing the Prophet Muhammad.

The Hamshahri daily Holocaust competition will be a test to see whether or not freedom of expression is a right of the Muslim world as well the west. "Western newspapers published these caricatures, which constitute desecration, under the pretense of freedom of expression," said the newspaper's graphic editor, Farid Mortazawi.

"Let's see if they mean what they say once we publish Holocaust caricatures," he added.

Earlier in the week, the chief Rabbi of France, Joseph Sitruk, condemned the Danish publication of the disparaging images of the Muslim prophet, saying that publications meant to offend peoples religion should be prohibited.

I understand the anger of Muslims. And I understand the anger among religious Muslims at publications like these," Sitruk said.

"Publishing material that hurt peoples religious feelings should be forbidden in Denmark as they are in Syria," he added. However, it should be mentioned that Israeli newspapers have published the Danish cartoons.

Meanwhile, Tehran's Danish embassy was attacked by hundreds of Iranians with firebombs and stones in protest of the Danish cartoons. Security forces were required to use tear gas to subdue the angry demonstrators.

The Austrian Embassy was also the target of a similar attack, according to the AP, when 200 students set fires to the compound and broke windows as a sign of disapproval of the EU, whose presidency is currently held by Austria. Denmark eu

The EU, as a result, issued a reminder to 18 Arab and Muslim countries that they are under treaty obligations to protect foreign embassies.

Across the world, thousands have voiced their anger over the cartoons, many in a violent fashion. Several people have already been killed as a result.

Bush urges Saudi Arabia to ease tensions

In response to the growing violence, US President George W. Bush urged the Saudi administration to do what it could to ease tensions over the cartoon scandal.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington responded with a public appeal for religious tolerance despite the distasteful cartoons.

So too, leading Muslim Brotherhood religious cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi condemned the violent reactions to the cartoons.

"The acts of destruction carried out by a minority of people in capitals around the world are unacceptable as a response to what European newspaper published. We never called on people to burn cars. We call on you to show the fury in an intelligent way as to avoid unthinkable damage," he said on Al Jazeera.

He also called for "sanctions on countries that published the cartoons in their newspapers."

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 23:07Report this post to the editors

I l[...] went to Shiraz and met Islamic Marxist women, dressed head to foot in heavy woollen chadors, who told me that no truth could come from the mouth of a western doll. Four years later those same women surrounded the American embassy in Tehran, and the world really was never the same again.

Related Link:,,1703933,00.html
author by Irish Atheistpublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 23:54Report this post to the editors

>>please remember that your country has given life to some of the best Islamists ever.

Islam = Ignorance
Christianity = Ignorance

author by l'ouverturepublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 00:14Report this post to the editors

*Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons*

*Gwladys Fouch
Monday February 6, 2006*

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons
of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout
the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it
has emerged today.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on
the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series
of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to

Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens
Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy
the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an
outcry. Therefore, I will not use them."

The illustrator said: "I see the cartoons as an innocent joke, of the
type that my Christian grandfather would enjoy."

"I showed them to a few pastors and they thought they were funny."

But the Jyllands-Posten editor in question, Mr Kaiser, said that the
case was "ridiculous to bring forward now. It has nothing to do with the
Muhammad cartoons.

"In the Muhammad drawings case, we asked the illustrators to do it. I
did not ask for these cartoons. That's the difference," he said.

"The illustrator thought his cartoons were funny. I did not think so. It
would offend some readers, not much but some."

The decision smacks of "double-standards", said Ahmed Akkari, spokesman
for the Danish-based European Committee for Prophet Honouring, the
umbrella group that represents 27 Muslim organisations that are
campaigning for a full apology from Jyllands-Posten.

"How can Jyllands-Posten distinguish the two cases? Surely they must
understand," Mr Akkari added.

Meanwhile, the editor of a Malaysian newspaper resigned over the weekend
after printing one of the Muhammad cartoons that have unleashed a storm
of protest across the Islamic world.

Malaysia's Sunday Tribune, based in the remote state of Sarawak, on
Borneo island, ran one of the Danish cartoons on Saturday. It is unclear
which one of the 12 drawings was reprinted.

Printed on page 12 of the paper, the cartoon illustrated an article
about the lack of impact of the controversy in Malaysia, a country with
a majority Muslim population.

The newspaper apologised and expressed "profound regret over the
unauthorised publication", in a front page statement on Sunday.

"Our internal inquiry revealed that the editor on duty, who was
responsible for the same publication, had done it all alone by himself
without authority in compliance with the prescribed procedures as
required for such news," the statement said.

The editor, who has not been named, regretted his mistake, apologised
and tendered his resignation, according to the statement.

author by steveocallpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 01:55Report this post to the editors

This statement on behalf of the swp is revealing of their attitudes to basic civil liberties, surely their is no clearer example of the right to free speech than we have seen in recent publication of cartoons denigrating Muhummad.
The right to question a particular worldview, no matter how strongly held by the believers, is the essence of free speech and to suggest that news outlets should self-censor or be censored when criticising religeons means that you are inherently anti-free speech, or rather that you believe free speech is acceptable as long as other's views are not questioned. Qute a different conception of free speech to that of the enlighnment ( I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it...etc.)
Whats the official swp position on the film 'The Last Temptation of Christ', the late late show when Graham Norton spoofed the crusifiction; or any other time a western (read evil) church felt it was insulted by commentators?
Re the comparisons between shouting fire, insulting nelson mandela or jews because of their race and advocating child rape, these are all qualatively different forms of speech and are rightly excluded from protection ( criticising race cannot be compared to criticising religeon, one is irrational racism the other is a clash of ideas). The writer either fundamentally misunderstands the concept or is deliberately clouding the issue.
Finally (and i apologise for the length of this tirade) disputing the right of a particular organ to comment on this issue because it has in the past advocated dictatorship is a little rich given the swp presumably advocates a dictatorship (of the proletariat).

author by Lorcanpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 02:47Report this post to the editors

I>>n the 1920s and 1930s, the same paper was infamous for its support for Italian fascism and German Nazis. In 1933, it argued for dictatorship in Denmark.
>>This particular context reveals that publication of the cartoon was a deliberate provocation.

No it doesn't. Your taking about 75 years ago. Thats like claiming that because the average German 60 years supported fascism that this suggests that most do today also.

>>But when it comes to a fight between a deadly form of imperialism that masks its racism with talk of free speech, we know where we stand: with the oppressed: against the racists.

What has racism got to do with it? There are tens of millions of Black Chrustians and tens of millions of White Muslims. This article really is a pain to read.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:49Report this post to the editors

Your "Germany like newspapers" analogy doesn't work. A newspaper is an institution, where a select number of board members and editors pass on power to like-minded apprentices over years and years. Structurally newspapers are no different from how they were 100 years ago. Germany, and German society, on the other hand, has come a long way from what it was back then (not enough though by half, but that's another matter).

The word "racist" can be used to mean discrimination based on creed as well as colour.

author by CWI - Committee for a Workers' Internationalpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:46Report this post to the editors

The angry worldwide Muslim protests against the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad in various European newspapers have shown again the enormous anger provoked amongst Muslims by Bushs "war on terror" and the invasion of Iraq. However the issue that has sparked off these protests and their character has renewed discussion about a war of civilisations or of cultures. These developments are a sharp warning of the divisive tensions can develop in the absence of a strong socialist workers movement offering a class alternative.

Millions of Muslims, embittered by the western imperialist powers policies, have seen these cartoons as the latest in a long series of provocations and aggressive acts, not least the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the toleration of Israels settling of more and more Palestinian land in the West Bank. In a number of Arab countries the protests have taken on at least a partial anti-imperialist character, although it appears that the Syrian regime has, for its own interests, used the protests to give a warning to the west and at the same time reassert its interests in the Lebanon. In European countries, including Britain, there is also a groundswell of resentment amongst Muslims against a perceived increase in anti-Islamic feelings, greater police surveillance and harassment.

In Denmark, where the cartoons were first provocatively published in a right wing paper, many Muslims feel threatened by a series of special tough anti-immigrant laws have been passed since 2001 by the Rasmussen government. This government, which depends upon support from the far right Danish Peoples Party, has banned immigrants under the age of 24 from marrying and also taken the right to exclude from Denmark the husbands or wives of Danes who are not citizens of an EU country. At the same time the Danish government is one of the strongest supporters of Bushs policies and has sent troops to Iraq.

Faced with what they see as a continuous campaign of vilification in the media and increasing harassment many Muslims have protested against the publication of these cartoons. The fact that it has been mainly right wing journals which have republished them is seen as confirmation that there is a deeper right wing political agenda.

However the character of some of these protests, coming after a series of terrorist attacks on western civilian targets, has reinforced the tendency of deepening divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims in a number of countries. In Britain the extremely sectarian religious placards threatening "death" to non-Muslims carried on the small February 3 protest in London can deepen racial and religious divisions as well as providing the government with arguments to justify its authoritarian and anti-terror laws. This is in a situation where already there are European wide pressures and tensions produced by the transfer of jobs and forced migration resulting from the effects of capitalist globalisation and the bosses ongoing neo-liberal offensive.

From all sides opportunists, religious sectarians and racists have jumped in to exploit the situation. In Arab countries right wing Islamic religious leaders are taking the opportunity to reinforce their claim to be leading the opposition to imperialism and also strengthen their grip on society. The official attempts to calm down the situation may have an effect in the days ahead but the underlying tensions will not be removed by soothing words and appeals to reason.

What has been absent in the last few days has been a powerful socialist voice that can independently intervene in this situation and prevent its exploitation by religious sectarians or racists. Unfortunately this is not surprising given todays political weakness of the workers movement in many countries. But, unless the workers movement internationally can offer a way out, the next period of social crisis could see societies being torn by a myriad of divisions involving religious, ethnic and national conflicts.

What then should be the socialist response to the current wave of protests and the attempt of conservative and some right wing Christian political leaders to claim that they are defending free speech?

Firstly socialists stand completely opposed to the oppression based on religion, race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation and socialists support the right of the oppressed to defend themselves. We work to build a united movement of working people to fight oppression, capitalism and start to create a socialist future.

This means opposing the production of any material that is used to create or deepen religious, ethnic, national or sexual divisions. This includes countering the continuous anti-immigrant racist propaganda or sub-tone that can be seen in parts of the mass media in almost every European country.

At the same time it has always been the workers movement that has been in the forefront of the struggle to win and defend democratic rights, including free expression and the right to vote. While opposing the production of racist or fascist material socialists defend the right to make criticism, even sarcastic criticism. The same cannot be said for the main established religions that have all, at various times, stamped upon the free expression of ideas.

The attempt to say in Europe and the USA that what is developing is a clash of civilisations, between Christianity and Islam, with Christianity representing freedom is completely false. For the majority of their existence the tops of all the established Christian churches were quite happy to be part of the elites running dictatorial societies. As even the Financial Times commented "The Christian west won through to modernity in the teeth of clerical reaction." The millions killed in warfare between different Christian denominations, the Inquisition, slavery, the slaughter of native Americans and the original witch-hunts are just a few of the historic crimes of the leaders of the Christian churches.

But this is not just the case with the Christian churches, leaders of the other main established religions have played a similar roles, whether it be Jewish religious leaders justifying the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland on the grounds that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews or prominent Buddhists being in the forefront of the attacks on Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka.

While the western media make frequent references to Islamic fundamentalists, Islam is not by any means alone in having extreme fundamentalists within its following. Pat Robertson, one of Bushs favourite evangelists, said last month that Ariel Sharons stroke was Gods punishment for withdrawing Israeli settlers from Gaza, last year Robertson had called for the assassination of Venezuelas radical president Hugo Chavez. In India Hindu fundamentalists have repeatedly led attacks on the Muslim minority, like the 1992 destruction of the mosque in Ayodhya or the 2002 Gujarat clashes.

Socialists oppose all racist, religious or sexist attempts to sow divisions, advocate workers action against such attempts and strive to achieve a united struggle of working people against oppression and capitalism.

Socialists defend the rights of both non-believers and believers, regarding faith as a personal issue and see no problem in believers and non-believers struggling alongside each other in the workers movement. On the contrary Socialists strive to unite all working people in common, collective struggle. But, by the same token, seeing faith as a personal issue means that Socialists support the complete separation of church from state, the right to polemicise against religion and oppose the attempts of any religion to dictate to other religions or non-believers.

We defend the democratic rights of all, non-believers and believers, to express their views. This includes the right to produce anti-religious material, whether it is philosophical or satirical. This is why Socialists opposed the attempts of Christian fundamentalists to ban the "Jerry Springer" musical and the 2004 attacks by some Sikhs on the performance of the play Behzti in Birmingham.

Socialists resist all attempts to stigmatise Muslims but at the same time combat the attacks of vicious Islamic reactionaries against gays and the rights of women. Equally we oppose the anti-Semitic material produced under the guise of opposing Israeli policy in many Arab countries. Most of the Islamic states that have protested against the Danish cartoons are dictatorial regimes with brutal histories of oppressing their own populations.

Today, a critical task before the workers movement is to prevent divisions amongst working people blocking and cutting across united struggles. This means opposing repression, defending democratic rights while striving to build a unified movement that can challenge capitalism and fights for a socialist future.

Related Link:
author by feannorpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 13:02Report this post to the editors

If the arguement is that free speech is more important than possible offense to any group or religion, which seems to be what people here are saying. Why then are special provisions given in most european countries to prohibite any questioning of the holocaust? surely this is inhibiting freedom of speech? or have specific provisions outlawing Anti-Semetism? (this being specific and above normal protections given to all citizens).

Consider also the muslim cleric convicted yesterday, for "hate crimes" (making speeches), if you are consistant with ur aurgument this is hypocritical.

Wake up, free speech is a red herring being used as a shield. The cartoons are obviously wrong, they are crude insults striking to the heart of a proud religion, they demonstrate only contempt. The reaction is of course completely out of proportion, but a reaction was inevitable, to publish without considering this is irresponsible.

Surely in a democratic society with all the values we in the west are always treating so precious, one is forgotten, respect for fellow man, and their religion.

author by Joepublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 13:32Report this post to the editors

As it happens I'm not a supporter of laws against holocaust revisionism but all the same the holocaust was not about religion. It included not only Jews who were athiests but also 'Jews' whose parents were athiests and whose grandparents were athiests. The Nazi protocols were not based on religious belief but on blood line.

So the whole comparison with holocaust laws is a red herring. Having bothered to look at the cartoons a more apt comparison would be with the sort of 'star of David = swastika" placards that were to be seen on Palestine marches stewarded by the SWP some years back. Stangely enough I don't remember statements being issued by the SWP calling on these to be banned (or indeed the mentioned placard holders being asked to remove them) but if anything it is a more objectionable use of a religious image to make a political point.

The picture is one example - this one on a banner as part of a SWP organised rally at the Central Bank. Religious belief should be a fair target for criticism although the motives for how and why people do so should also always be open to question. Freedom of religion also having to mean freedom from religion.


author by davepublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 14:02Report this post to the editors

Joe I don't remember reading any statements from anyone about this banner. So you've got your own red herrings I'm afraid.
Secondly though I don't remember everything that happens at the central bank I doubt very much if this rally was organised by the SWP..
If its a palestine march then I presume it was organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
In any case we have no power over what banners people bring on demonstrations, whether we organise them or not.
The images are certainly offensive, distasteful and wrong.
But context is important.
The Palestinians, like people across the middle east, are responding to centuries of aggression and mass murder visited upon them by imperialism.
If the west has kept them in poverty and fear for generations can we really be surprised that they connect their own experience with that of the Jews and others in the second world war. We might disagree but we can hardly be surprised.
There are no such excuses for the publication of Islamophobic images by the billionaire controlled western media.
We can also hardly be so intellectually wrongheaded as to compare the reactionary ideas of people reacting to oppression to the reactionary ideas of those who are its agents.

author by balanced condemnation.publication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 15:08Report this post to the editors

the Tehran daily 'Hamshari' has started a "cartoonist" competition.
And yesterday saw 3 cartoons aimed at insulting the Holocaust and its survivors.

Israel has not republished the "muhumad cartoons".
And rabbis throughout the world have condemned them along with representatives of Ireland's main religious groups, and spokespersons for Ireland's main "left" groupings.

The Holocaust or Shoah is not a solely jewish legacy, and Europeans of many and no religions were sent to the camps.

amongst them many milions of slavs.
amongst them many thousands of masons and minority christians.
amongst them a quarter million spanish republicans.
amongst them countles gays, lesbians, transvestites, bisexuals and other "gender deviants"

And throughout it all, an "islamic" battalion of the SS fought allied to the Nazis.

Please condemn Iran for this.

Iran Embassy: Iran Embassy
Address: 72 Mount Merrion Avenue
Town/City: Blackrock
Co. Dublin

Telephone: + 353 1 288 0252
Fax: + 353 1 283 4246

make your voice heard.
No hate = No hate.

there were many badges, it is our European darkness
there were many badges, it is our European darkness

there were many badges, it is our European darkness.
there were many badges, it is our European darkness.

author by Jonahpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 15:38Report this post to the editors

"When Jyllands-Posten - a right-wing anti- immigrant paper which supported the Nazis prior to WW2 and which called for the setting up of a fascist state in Denmark - ran their Be as Offensive to Muslims as you Can competition , they said it was to test out the limits of free speech . I do not believe them - do you?"

I actually don't care to be honest whether they did or not. Whether it was a genuine attempt to test the limits of free speech or not is, to me, beside the point. I support free speech for racists. I also support it for anti-racists. I support free speech for semites. I support it for anti-semites. I support the right of people to question the Holocaust and I support the right of people to argue against those questioners.

As a republican I support the right of people to call me a thousand and one names under the sun and for Martyn Turner of the Irish Times to depict Irish republicans in a far worse fashion than those cartoons directed against Muslims. It's their right to do so.

What the SWP & Co are arguing is that the State, the STATE, should decide what is and what is not hate speech, what is and what is not suitable for publication of broadcast, what is and is not accpetable in society.

Would anyone else in this country argue that Michael McDowell should have the power to decide what is acceptable or unacceptable to publish in the Irish media and have the gall to masquerade as leftist?

Simply because people have the right to do something does not mean they should. I would argue strongly that it was a foolish and dangerous thing for the Danish paper to publish those cartoons but I wouldn't question their right to do so.

There seems to be a tendency to believe that because one side of the argument is oppressed, discriminated against and abused and the other side is imperialist, the discriminator and the abuser that the former is from a socialist point of view incapable of wrong and the latter incapable of being right. Newsflash, that's bullshit. Being oppressed, or having been the victim of oppression does not give you the right to oppress others. If it did, we'd all be backing the Israelis.

author by Geoffpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 15:58Report this post to the editors

Bands like Deicide, Bathory, etc, have been releasing artwork on their records cover depicting unflattering portraits of Christ, even punk band Crass did the same. Morbid Angel and others have released recordings with unflattering lyrics about Christ. I did not see Opus Dei issue fatwas against these people.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 16:05Report this post to the editors

"In any case we have no power over what banners people bring on demonstrations, whether we organise them or not"

On the other hand you do find time to be concerned about what a tabloid in Denmark prints. Yet not about the jailing of two editors in Jordan. The concern is selective - to say the least.

The point about the role Israel plays is fair enough - indeed it is why I'm opposed to a ban on political criticism of religion even if as in this case the criticism is so crude and offensive to be counter productive.

But in Jordan the power relationship is reversed so where is the SWP defence of the Jordanian editors right to publish?

What I'm suggesting here is that the SWP has taken an opportunistic approach to the whole question of insulting religion over a number of years. By this I mean what gets criticised seems to be determined by which religious groups the mother ship is seeking an alliance with. A statement about Jordan would not be helpful - nor would a statement clearly opposing the imposed wearing of the hijab in Saudi or Iran. When that opportunism also appears to spill over to support for censorship and punishment of those who would insult a religion it is useful to challenge it.

re: Geoff
" I did not see Opus Dei issue fatwas against these people."

Maybe you were not paying attention then. Opus Dei and its ilk certainly picketed films like 'The last temptation of Christ' where they could not get them censored or banned. Until the last decade such a film would not get a public release in Ireland because the state would ban it.

author by Joepublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 16:13Report this post to the editors

Interesting academic paper on censorship at the link. The following quotes from it should give those on the left a pause for thought before appearing to support censorship

"The first film censor, when asked what he knew about film, responded: "Nothing. But I know the Ten Commandments." The second censor saw the need to protect Ireland from foreign ideologies: "anything advocating communism or presenting it in an unduly favourable light gets the knife."
... It is not surprising that prior to Smith some very remarkable films ran into trouble with the censors office; they include The Great Dictator, Dont Look Now, M.A.S.H., Sunday, Bloody Sunday, and Five Easy Pieces."

Related Link:
author by historianspublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 16:46Report this post to the editors

It is hardly surprisng that the SWP support the reactionaries on this issue. Marxists have never beleived in free speech or a free press.

author by Freedom of Speech?publication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 17:15Report this post to the editors

Daily Ireland Editorial

Freedom of speech must apply to all

Editor: Colin OCarroll


The jailing in London yesterday of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza for seven years after he was found guilty of incitement to murder comes as the Danish cartoons cartoons controversy continues to spiral out of control in debating chambers and on the streets.
Abu Hamza defended himself unsuccessfully as it turned out by claiming that his fiery rhetoric was his way of urging Muslims to stand up for themselves and that his preachings never strayed from the teachings of the Koran. We in the west have suffered from a similar problem for a very long time, and in Ireland in particular we can point to recent examples of fundamentalist Christians hiding extreme right-wing hate politics behind a curtain of ambiguous and archaic Old Testament rhetoric.
It was virtually an impossibility for Abu Hamza to get a fair trial in Britain. The hook and the missing eye were a gift for the tabloid press who have delighted for years in splashing those familiar pictures on the front page whenever complex and nuanced political issues involving Islam and the Middle East were in the news and he ended up a pantomime villain. We would do well to remember that those who pressed hardest and loudest for Abu Hamza to be put in the dock are the same people who would justify the illegal and immoral war in Iraq.
Events at the Old Bailey have poured petrol on the fire that erupted in the wake of the publication of those cartoons. Just days ago, BNP leader Nick Griffin walked free from court after being acquitted on charges of inciting racial hatred. The Chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, conceded that Abu Hamza was a controversial figure but rightly pointed out that the conviction of the Muslim preacher and the acquittal of the BNP man have combined to fuel a perception in the Muslim world that its one rule for them and another for us.
Fevered diplomatic activity is going on behind the scenes to take the heat of the violence that has swept the globe after the publication of the cartoons and it is to be hoped that common sense will finally prevail. While theres little doubt that there are acute sensitivities in the Muslim world when it comes to the publishing of images of the prophet Mohammed, there can be no doubting either that there are freedom of speech issues here and that the reaction on the streets has had a chilling effect on the entire profession of journalism, and not just on political cartoonists. Finding an accommodation between the rights of Muslims not to be insulted and the rights of journalists to tell it as they see it is not going to be easy, but such an accommodation must be found and found quickly. In the meantime, those of us who campaigned vigorously against the equally chilling Section 31 might allow ourselves a wry smile as we watch certain elements put their fingers in their lapels, stick out their chests and intone earnestly about the sanctity of media freedom.

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author by NUJ members have to defendpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 18:37Report this post to the editors

Point 2 of the NUJ Code of Conduct which all journalists have to sign up to says

2. journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the Press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship

author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 19:40Report this post to the editors

The bould, brave defenders of "free speech against Islam" have many among their ranks that supported the censorship of republicans. It's as opportunistic and confusing as what is apparently the SWP's approach. Although the NUJ did belatedly take a case to the European Court of Human Rights in 1988 they couldn't find a single journalist to make an individual complaint.... but Brendan O'Connor wasn't around in those days so it's not surprising.

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author by Geoffpublication date Wed Feb 08, 2006 22:40Report this post to the editors

"Maybe you were not paying attention then. Opus Dei and its ilk certainly picketed films like 'The last temptation of Christ' where they could not get them censored or banned. Until the last decade such a film would not get a public release in Ireland because the state would ban it."

Exactly-they picketed said film. Issuing a fatwa is usually taken as a sentence of death. I have very little time for Opus Dei, but at least they picketed, meaning 'peacefully protested'. This has not been the case in Muslim countries. As regards the banning of films, that too appears to be in the past, unlike the unruly swathes of the Ummah, what with their burning embassies and what not. Disgusting. My otherwise natural sympathies with the Islamic world are begining to take a nose dive these last few days.

The cartoons themselves are tacky, stupid, and crap. However, the dignified thing for the Islamic protestors to do would be ignore them, or, like their counterparts in Opus Dei, picket the offices of Jyllands Posten peacefully. However, this section of the Ummah appear to be unable to do that (I say 'sectiuon' because I am asuming the majorety of Muslims have beter thhings to be doing than burning down embassies).

As for boycotting Danish produce, well, I'm speechless. A private newspaper does something stupid, yet the country it is from gets the blame. The Islamic Ummah needs to get a hold of itself, they're shooting themselves in the foot here. Idiots

author by accountantpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 13:19Report this post to the editors

5 months after a danish newspaper comissions 12 cartoons of not particularly good standard, the images have been reprinted in France, Germany, Austria, the USA, Spain, Hungary, Nederlands, New Zealand, Canada and beyond. & they don't get reprinted for free. It is most ironic, that the cartoonists who like their state are subject to death threats most probably signed away reproduction rights to "Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten". Their "work" which is directly linked to the destruction of European diplomatic missions probably only paid their rent for a few days. Carsten Juste the editor of "Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten" has in the end turned out to be quite a commercial newspaper business man, apart from a bomb threat which cleared his offices on January 31 neither he nor his workers have been much affected. And to top it all, the Danish state will not expect him to pay for the damages, instead the states of Syria, Lebanon and Iran will be sued for compensation to rebuild their embassies.

Time to wonder are the cartoonists in a union.

author by Someonepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 13:45Report this post to the editors

Mocking a religion from a power center that is situated outside of it has nothing to do with freedom of expression, but more with colonialism and imperialism. Criticism against the Catholic Church is done from within, from communities traditionally catholic, which is a totally different story. Criticism against Judaism is also taken quietly from within. Criticism against Israel has nothing to do with criticism against Judaism (even if zionists love mixing it up and feeding it to us, we know money buys everything). Israel and daddy America and its allies are simply a monstruous marderous machine who use religion to cover up their political and economical misdeeds, of a different nature (have you seen a militant zionist stuffing herself with sausages and bacon? I have, nothing to do with Jewish religion I'm afraid). If you ask a Jewish person where is s/he from, s/he'll reply s/he's Jewish, after that, if you keep digging, s/he might add s/he is also American, or Brittish, or Argentinian... I have never come across something like that from a Muslim. The media and politicians in Britain, i.e., complain that muslims are not integrated or whatever, yet no one wonders about a people who identify their religion as if it were a nationality and put it ahead their sense of belonging to the country were they live (unless it is Israel, that self proclaimed state in 1948 through the expulsion and murder of the natives, of Western make, of course).

author by avi15publication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 15:00Report this post to the editors

Apparently, Ann Summers' New Range of Sex Toys can also bring the mad mullahs out howling: one of their new dolls is called 'Mustafa Shag'. An appropriate name you might think but it seems that mustafa was one of the names of the esteemed prophet, PEACE BE UPON HIM. Oh Yeah.

For the article from the British Independent, see below:

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author by raypublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 15:07Report this post to the editors

You wrote :
"What the SWP & Co are arguing is that the State, the STATE, should decide what is and what is not hate speech, what is and what is not suitable for publication of broadcast, what is and is not accpetable in society. Jonah the republican"

I cant speak for the swp ,but at no time have I argued this. On the contrary , I have argued that the publication of these cartoons is a state - approved conspiracy - a provocation in the style of the Dreyfus scandal , the Zinoviev letters and the publication of the Protocals of the Elders of Zion .
You are a republican . Every year orangemen insist on their absolute right to march down the Garvaghy Road - the queens highway as they put it. .They always insist that they are doing this , not as a provocation or to insult catholics , but to assert their freedom . Will you be joining them this year?

author by raypublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 15:15Report this post to the editors

I was going to cut the bit out about 'Jonah the republican' at the end of the quote above , but clicked the publish button by mistake. No offence intended .

author by Joepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 17:51Report this post to the editors

From wikipedia

Several editors were fired for their decision, or even their intention,to re-publish the cartoons, most prominently the managing director of France Soir, Jacques Lefranc

Three of the cartoons were reprinted in the Jordanian weekly newspaper al-Shihan. The editor, Momani, was fired, and the publisher withdrew the newspaper from circulation. Momani issued a public apology, was arrested and charged with insulting religion

Several of the cartoons were reprinted in the Jordanian newspaper al-Mehwar. The editor Hisham Khalidi was also arrested and charged with insulting religion. Both charges were dropped two days later.

Al-Hurreya newspaper in Yemen was closed down after publishing some images. Owner/Editor Abdul-Karim Sabra was arrested.

In Malaysia, Lester Melanyi, an editor of the Sarawak Tribune resigned from his post for allowing the reprinting of a cartoon. The chief editor was summoned to the Internal Security Ministry.

In South Africa, a Muslim organization obtained an interdict from the Johannesburg High Court against several South African newspapers, preventing them from publishing the cartoons.

Incidentally despite the weird sexual fantasies expressed by some in these threads the 'worst' cartoon is considered to be "Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, with a lit fuse and the Islamic creed written on the bomb." There are no orgies, blowjobs or scatological ones.

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author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 18:55Report this post to the editors

"Jyllands-Posten in no circumstances will publish Holocaust cartoons from an Iranian newspaper"

Although the SWP decision to publish a statement that /only/ attacks the Islamophobe provocations is a distortion, so too is your (Joe) insistence that this is simply and only about Free Speech. As pointed out above about Section31 there was a long period during which democratically elected representatives were denied free speech in Ireland and it's probably safe to say that a large number of people orating from the free speech soapbox today were throwing rotten tomatoes at it then. Jyllands-Posten's statement and behaviour makes it pretty plain that this is a simple incitement to hatred of muslims and it comes at a time when this suits the purposes of the neocons very nicely. Uncritical one-sided defence of "free speech" doesn't make very much sense in that context.

It would be possible for "Western society" to maintain a viable position by insisting on the right of the newspapers to publish the cartoons but also to condemn them with mass demonstrations, media hysteria, boycotts of the newspaper and all the other usual crap that gets thrown up around a trite "moral" issue.
Instead we're getting chest-beating about the virtues of Western society, free speech (even if Herri Batsuna is banned, protestors are tortured and murdered by the police, indymedia servers are arbitrarily seized etc).
If the SWP statement is to be criticised for a lack of balance then so to is what appears to be your position.

Related Link:,,1706374,00.html
author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 19:26Report this post to the editors

In an ideal world a powerful audience would simply allow something like this to be published but peer to peer amplification would be denied to it. Ie no recommends pushing it up but disgust with this kind of baiting pushing it down. These cartoons in the hands of powerful undemocratic interests are the reason why indymedia is needed.

I far more agree with R. Isible than the twin fundamentalisms of Dave SWP and Joe Anarchist.

It's complicated and especially complicated (and unnerving) in a context where two muslim states have just been on the recieving ends of hostile invasions and are suffering whatever anyone says - hostile unwanted occupations.

author by iosafpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 20:05Report this post to the editors

as i wrote a week ago "circumspecit = look around we have indymedia because western media failed".

But I'd qualify it with a caveat, whereas the election of Hizbollah and Hamas can be rationalised and understood, and must be seen as more democratic and accountable processes than we call "elections" here, the Iranian regime elected last August has not yet been properly understood in the West. I personally can deal with the idea of both Lebanese and Palestine political developments and hope that people on the left and in progressive quarters do not fall short of working to understand why they were elected. But Iran is something else.

Meanwhile the European union has evacuated its observers from the West bank. ["The Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron (TIPH) observer mission was deployed in 1994 after a Jewish settler massacred 29 Palestinians at the city's hotly contested holy site. About 60 foreign observers, including five Swiss, fled Hebron on Wednesday after some 300 Palestinian protestors overpowered the police and stormed the TIPH building. The crowd was venting its anger over the Mohammed cartoons affair. TIPH's mandate is to observe and report on tensions between Palestinians and a small group of Jewish settlers in the city."] reports from Hebron suggest an uneasy calm this evening, whilst locals there absorb the olive branch of recognition offered them by Putin speaking in Madrid earlier today.

"We" can help or fuck up completely the levant.
Iran is not the levant, and now must be seen by all of us,
cartoons or not, as a foe. I don't know how that is going to betaken on board by the pacifists at their widest, especially if the US moves to invade. But we need to ponder it.

author by Dave - swppublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 20:26Report this post to the editors

Its obvious that extremists on both sides are being boosted by the continuing and escalating cartoon crisis.
The arrest of the Jordanian editors has nothing to do with 'insulting religion' i'm sure but with shoring up support for a despised dictatorship.
The minority of terror supporting radical islamists, like those at the danish embassy in London the other day, have nothing to offer the majority of muslims. The hundreds of millions of oppressed muslims will have to join with people all over the world, whose lifestyles and beliefs are different to theirs, if they are to win their freedom. I am certain that many of them realise that. Muslims are thinking, dynamic people, just like christians, atheists, and wiccans. The bigger and more visible the anti war movement is in the west the better chance that more of them will see themselves as a worldwide and diverse movement.
But the extremists I'm currently worried about are the ones who actually have an arsenal of wmd's and are prepared to use it to advance their brute materialism.
and the rise of fundamentalism in the middle east is directly linked to plunder, mass-murder and immiseration visited upon them by liberal democracies.
I think if the left is to have any chance of influencing the mass of muslims who may or may not be under the sway of some or all of the reactionary ideas of fundamentalism we've got to show our solidarity when all muslims are under attack.
You can surely stand beside someone one who has reactionary ideas when they are being attacked by the biggest bullies on the block. The left does that all the time anyway in many kinds of campaigns. I've never been involved in supporting a strike or campaign where somebody doesn't hold racist or homophobic opinions. But sometimes they've been broken from those ideas by the experience of struggle and by patient argument and debate. In any case support the victims of exploitaion and oppression has never meant endorsing their beliefs. I think the biggest challenge the left faces today is building an anti-imperialist movement powerful enough to bring down the empire. Part of doing that has to be being unequivocally opposed to Islamophobia.

btw At this stage I think the worldwide protests are morphing into a half conscious warning to Bush and Blair not to attack Iran. If theirs a tiny cjance that Bush and Blair might be frightened off their invasion plans that would surely be a positive outcome.

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author by Joepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 20:45Report this post to the editors

Hey lads - not only have I at NO point written 'this is only about free speech' right at the start I wrote "IMHO this is a crisis manufactured by 'fundamentalists' on both sides"" and I then repeated this in my second post. So if your gonna play even handed try to also fairly represent my position. You'll also notice me highlighting christain censorship as well and I find the implication that I might think section 31 was OK odd in the extreme.

What I do have a problem with is people who appear to say that because those who first published the cartoons had an agenda this somehow rules out any consideration of free speech. In particular after the arrest of editors and the closure of papers. I also have a problem with the weird exaggerations of the nature of the cartoons.

author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 21:15Report this post to the editors

Sorry about exaggerating your position but the anarchists do frequently exaggerate and distort daves position (larger swp position) it is complicated and what I object to is the pointscoring which relies on simplification.

Now where is keiran allen if there is detente in the air?

'le fond de l'air est rouge/gris/noir/blanc etc, il n'est pas seulement rouge ou seulement noir - ces't impossible et dangereux and so last century dude"

I do think there is an element of the US citizenry being 'punk'd' going on somewhere in all this.

author by Joepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 21:27Report this post to the editors

Well anarchists might but I've already posted "Well done Dave - Your a lot clearer on this then your party is - they should get you to write their statements" .

I think his willingness to seriously discuss the SWP position on indymedia is quite welcome.

some christians aren't that keen on free speech either
some christians aren't that keen on free speech either

author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 21:38Report this post to the editors

'Free Speech' as a concept is in itsself a dangerous simplification in this situation. Fine for Ciceros time where only an amphitheatre could provide amplification to a single voice. Not fine when one Image can be amplified without any democratic agreement in advcance (or democratic control of the process of it being done) around the planet. That is "Freedom to Address the planet using tools of mega-corps". Slightly different. I support the cartoonists but I reckon they regret bigtime handing over copyright to the commercial sphere. Unfortunately though it is a structural feature of writing etc for the commercial press. No freedom for actual writers to restrict the flow of their work they give it up in advance and it is a 'freedom'.

Hope that makes some sense.

author by Joepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 21:51Report this post to the editors

I tend towards the chomskyite absolutist position on free speech - I wouldn't support state bans of fascists (although unlike him I advocate a no platform position). Giving the state, any state the power to decide what can and can not be said is an enormous mistake. Which also means I'm against the current British state action against the muppets with the 'behead those who insult the prophet' placards. As I see it the major problem here is everyone is defining what they think can and can not be said to enforce their preferred political positions.

So I agree that free speech in the modern world is massively complex and tricky - but - its better than the alternatives.

author by eeezellllllkpublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 21:57Report this post to the editors

speech to large numbers needs to be mediated by open democratic processes

sound familiar?


Speech is a human voice. Speech on fox news is technological control.

Freedom speech is too vague a concept to be of use with top down media apparati. Any suggestions for another better 'freedom' to cover what we are trying to talk about?

author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 22:14Report this post to the editors

QUOTE: "Hey lads - not only have I at NO point written 'this is only about free speech' right at the start I wrote "IMHO this is a crisis manufactured by 'fundamentalists' on both sides"" and I then repeated this in my second post."

Reviewing your posts this is indeed true. However, the overall impressions from your posts are that you are more concerned with oppressive behaviour in Islamic countries than with the probably use and effect of this media event to prepare the public for further occupation of the oil fields. You may not mean that, but that's the impression that it gives. The actual phrase you quote above is pretty muted as a criticism of one of the sides in the conflict ... the one that's doing the bombing.

QUOTE: "So if your gonna play even handed try to also fairly represent my position. You'll also notice me highlighting christain censorship as well and I find the implication that I might think section 31 was OK odd in the extreme."

Definitely didn't want to suggest that. Bad phrasing. I was pointing out that there's a whole range of outraged voices condemning the lack of free speech. Most of them I'll warrant are /not/ anarchists that take a "no intervention by the state" approach (which I agree with and am not arguing against). However, unless you're very clear in your statements then your individual nuanced position ends up being lost in the chorus and merely adds to the chorus of muslim bashers and war mongers.

QUOTE: "I also have a problem with the weird exaggerations of the nature of the cartoons."

I only see one person posting a hypothetical example about that above, trying to point out that many of the "free speech against islam" supporters would not take the same absolutist position. The poster could just as well have asked whether you support the publishing of child pornography or snuff movies or any of the other hoary old chestnuts in the free speech debate.

All that said I can see how I may have been misrepresenting you. Apologies.

author by redjadepublication date Thu Feb 09, 2006 22:16Report this post to the editors

Condi Rice was wrong today when she said that Iran and Syria are behind the reaction to the cartoons - but she is right, in a small sense, that the reaction are the prelude to a war of the US/K's making. Burning Embassies in police states don't happen without someone in the govt looking the other way.

Since Bush declared Iran to be Evil™ the US has invaded two of its neighbors and planted troops in most of its other neighbors.

Today, Iran is surrounded - little wonder that it wants Nukes.

Under this context the previous president of Iran (who was in Iranian politics considered to have been the reformer) was voted out and a total wingnut that thrives on creating conflict was elected. An election that holds about has as much legitimacy, by western standards, as Iraq (or Florida). But certainly more democratic than the elections in US-Backed Qatar or Saudi Arabia (which, of course, have none)

There is an element of this where Iran and Syria are doing a bit of pre-emptive work on the West as the UN is about to launch sanctions or worse on both of those countries. I'm willing to bet that speeches were made about this in the massive rallies in Indonesia today.

Beyond any issue of free speech and such, this has become the pre-emptive opening shots of war.

Dave says: 'we've got to show our solidarity when all muslims are under attack.'

No doubt. But let's not be naive in thinking that because gay wiccans are showing their solidarity that there will be much solidarity coming back. War should be opposed because it is war - and war always serves the rich and the powerful.

Iosaf is right, Iran should not be allowed to have Nuclear Power or Bombs (even if it has the legal 'right' to develop it.) Because Nuclear Energy and its waste is not safe for anyone - including future generations that will have to clean up the mess - environmental and genetic.

That statement also goes to the West as well. Look at what Nuclear Power and Weaponry has done to Russia. Forget about Chernobyl for a moment - Russia an eco-disaster.

Riffing off Dave again: 'The bigger and more visible the anti war movement is in the west the better chance that more of them will see themselves as a worldwide and diverse movement.

Sadly, I think one reason we see more extremism now has partly to do with the failure of Western protest movements. The energy that came from the Feb 15th protests has dwindled more and more as the war in Iraq gets worse and worse. From their perspective, I'm sure they look at the Western Left and see no long term solidarity or effectiveness.

The Western Left has failed to make those numbers in the street mean anything concrete to either the 'Arab Street' or in the parliaments of most of those Western democracies. {Dave, I'm not pointing just at the SWP in that regard so please don't take that as a slap}

Riffing off Dave yet again:If there's a tiny chance that Bush and Blair might be frightened off their invasion plans that would surely be a positive outcome.

Folks it would be a big big BIG mistake to do activism based on the assumption of an Iraq-style invasion of Iran - I seriously doubt this will happen, they simply just don't have the cannon-fodder to do it this time.

What is likely to happen is a massive assault (with or without - or with an 'acceptably' misinterpreted UN resolution by the US) using cruise and other missiles obliterating ALL of Iran's heavy industries - except for Oil, of course.

No Westerners will be killed in the coming war with Iran.

The Western Anti-War movement will see these missile strikes as acceptable because 'it could have been worse' and the solidarity that Dave talks about will be less than ever before.

Sorry for being so dreary.

author by i don't need html to make a pointpublication date Fri Feb 10, 2006 13:37Report this post to the editors

Now that emerges that Flemming Rose, culture editor of the Jyllands-Posten has suggested reprinting the Holocaust cartoons of Feb 7th 2006 which were published in the Tehran daily 'Hamshari', it is almost a certainty that those cartoons _will be_ republished in western media in the name of "free speech".

This is utterly unacceptable, and the responsibility lies with the Danish regime of Rasmussen.

Please air your protest.-

121-122 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2
Tel: 00 353 (1)475 6404
Fax: 00 353 (1) 478 4536 ...

Denmark in the UK

Embassy of Denmark
55 Sloane Street
London, SW1X 9SR

Tel: 0044 (0)20 7333 0200
Fax: 0044 (0)20 7333 0270

please read as well for comprehensive background and all statements from the parties involved and the Danish pm's interview these links

Sensibility & Respect = Peace.

author by redjade - {HTML Happy or Happy to have HTML?}publication date Fri Feb 10, 2006 17:20Report this post to the editors

'i don't need html to make a point'
Dude... i wrote up some instructions for ya, check it out...
-- -- --

BILL BENNETT: Let's go beyond cartoons. The other story out of Iran is the story of two young girls who were raped. The girl defended herself and stabbed her attacker. She is now sentenced to be hanged under Islamic law. This isn't a caricature, this isn't a cartoon, this is a peak into the soul of that faith, when it's run through a government. It's a real story and it deserves to be criticized.
JAMES ZOGBY: It's not a peak into Islam, it's a peek into the outrages that take place in contemporary Iran, which is not synonymous with Islam...
BILL BENNETT: It's recognized Islamic theology, it is Islamic theology...
JAMES ZOGBY: The policy of the Catholics during the Inquisition is not synonymous with my church, nor is the policy of the Islamic extremists synonymous with the Prophet Mohammed. Let's be fair and use one standard. I agree, we have a double standard and frankly I think the way this story is cast is the wrong double standard.
BILL BENNETT: Here's the standard. Catholicism is as Catholicism does, Judaism is as Judaism does, and by God Islam is as Islam does and what it's doing right now I wouldn't wanted to associated with.
JAMES ZOGBY: As President Bush has said correctly, hundreds of millions of believing Muslims do not practice these things, did not burn embassies, do not behead people...

James Zogby
founder and president of the Arab American Institute

William Bennett
former US Secretary of Education & Drug Czar
Author of 'Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism'

Go see the video...

Bennett's Moral Finger Wags at the Enemy Within...
Bennett's Moral Finger Wags at the Enemy Within...

author by html neophyte - (all of us may use html check the "html" button.publication date Fri Feb 10, 2006 20:26Report this post to the editors

Sweden has acted and closed a far right website. & not on of us is going to complain.

"I will defend freedom of the press no matter what the circumstances, but I strongly condemn the provocation by SD-Kuriren. It displays a complete lack of respect,"

"It is deplorable that a small group of extremists expose Swedish citizens and Swedish interests to clear danger. Considering the current inflamed atmosphere, I take a very serious view of this. This is a small group without support in our country.

"I apologise that there are a few individuals in Sweden who are so callous and who consciously insult other people's religion.

"I am ashamed that there are extremists in our country who - in the name of freedom of the press - try to exploit those rights we consider so important to offend other people and, in addition, cultivate a conflict where all our energy should now be focused on finding a solution."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Laila Freivalds.
of the Kingdom of Sweden.

last article on sweden

Now ask your neighbours the danish :-
kanner du dig lrad?

author by Tom.Kpublication date Fri Feb 10, 2006 23:35Report this post to the editors

London protests.

Freedom Of Speech?
Freedom Of Speech?

author by jaw jaw jawpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 00:08Report this post to the editors

now am I really suggesting you drop your knicks, rub your glands till arousal, and commit a horrible crime using sex as an agression on a most probably unwilling partner (both bush and blair are married and christian)?

no. quite. so if angry young people use rhetoric which is aimed to shock as in the invalid image before, it ought not really surprise one.

at that protest the only "beyond the pale" action was of one man (probably Mi5) dressed in a very convincing suicide bomber jacket.

To make such trite commentaries "oh look at this photo, ooooo they want to behead us, its ok to provoke them more" is so terribly terribly ignorant of how people protest, and how they exercise their literacy on the poster front. Indeed taking a quick glance over irish protest posters, it seems that these lads put a bit of effort into their statement. and why? Because a commercial newspaper wanted to boost its sales and started a competition "to depict muhumad" and insult muslims in the most offensive way. And you know something? The danish newspaper suceeded, and did insult muslims in a most offensive way, and not only that it managed to sell on its images over 5 months later raking in a huge profit.
Oh if only those lads in the image above could sell their "behead 'em" line on a T-shirt and make some cash.
But fact is, they're in a different league, and no-one is really offended are they? Like is anyone really offended, cut to the quick by a handwritten poster saying "behead 'em"?

n lig sinn i gcothu.

[and well Harney is beyond imagination and simple decency]

author by gay georipublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 03:48author email gaygeori at graffiti dot netReport this post to the editors

Fine piece of genuflection by consent - "the prophet Mohammed" - the phrase should be prefixed by "so-called". Let's not validate this protest bullshit by validating fairy-stories and lies. If the war on terror can be so-called, then so should this charlatan. Has anyone any proof he had a hot line to God?

author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 15:16Report this post to the editors

so called prophet indeed. i do not see how any rational person could see anything holy about him.

he took a 9 yr old wife, 2 of his followers (who later became his successors) also gave him their young daughters as wifes. as well as his wifes he had numerous slave concubines who he raped. if anyone objects to the term rape then tell me how a slave gives free consent.

he was a terrorist and an imperialist an ancient cross between dubya ans osama. he spread his religion at the point of a sword and conquered other countries.

the koran, which was a result of his fevered immagination, identifies the banana as the forbidden fruit! freudian or whaT?

if the swp want the cartoons banned then why dont they demand that the life of brian is banned? that offends a lot of christians. is it only muslims who have the right to be offended?

No gods!

No masters!

CHALLENGE authority!

author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 15:20Report this post to the editors

You are my favourite extremist

author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 15:25Report this post to the editors

when islam & the sharia stops calling for gays & "adulterous" women to be stoned to death then i'll stop mocking islam.

i'm offended by gays being hanged or stoned to death. now thats a reason to be offended.

if thats extermism then i'm proud to be an extemist.

i've spent my entire adult life fighting the power of the catholic mullahs, i'm not going to roll over now for muslim mullahs.

opposing the islamic religious police is not racist.

author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 15:41Report this post to the editors

"so called prophet indeed. i do not see how any rational person could see anything holy about him"

That sentence leads inescapably to the logical conclusion that all muslims who practice their religion are irrational and somehow in a different category or less worthy of defense than those who are 'rational'.

That's a dangerous way to think.

I daresay if majority christian countries were being bombed to rubble in quick succession by a muslim majority superpower at the time a 'life of brian' style film was released all over the world simultaneously by editors within the ambit the muslim superpower then christians would riot and threaten and burn. This whole thing in present global climate is a provocation by right wing editors who want to demonise muslim minorities in their own countries. The embassy burners have fallen for the provocation. I think you have too.

You are blaming the victims of the provocation by lumping all muslims together as irrational.

Your simplicities are very comforting I'm sure but rest assured they are simplicities.

author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 15:48Report this post to the editors

"That sentence leads inescapably to the logical conclusion that all muslims who practice their religion are irrational and somehow in a different category or less worthy of defense than those who are 'rational'."

i mock all religions. i think belief in the supernatural is irrational. fortunately in this country i have the right to say that. in an islamic state i would face death for it.

i particularly think its mad to say the prophet is holy for the reason s i gave.

plenty of popes were warmongers had child brides, even married their sisters! should i deny history in case i upset catholics?

this has nothing to do with bombing of islamic countries.

it has everything to do with democratic rights. are you going to let the islamic religious police decide what can be published?

its strange that you were never upset by the anti semitic cartoons that appear every day in the islamic press.

i would have thought the fact that "adultterous" women and gays face death in islamic states would have been more important to socialists than cartoons upseting muslims.

silly me.

author by iosaf mac d.publication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 19:43Report this post to the editors

allow me the liberty of adressing this directly to you, and not in the usual mode of our exchanges, which have in the last week seen me take on monikers such as a "avoca" and "mansergh" but I promise you no other.

As you know, I and many others on the left are very upset about the cartoons, both the 12 danish ones and the 3 iranian ones. And all through this, I've known that my position upsets you. But the way I see it is this ; if we may create and sustain societies of tolerance and mutual respect for group sensibilities whether those sensibilities be faith or other based, (just for example : the sensibilities of a hindu or child of a transexual) here in europe, and those societies whether at "micro-level" of the "barrio" = neighbourhood or "macro-level" of the state are ones which are made truly richer by the inclusion of migrants and the acceptance of nomadic individuals and the true encouragement of autonomy, free will, liberty, equality, fraternity , {you know my list }
: then we see an effect on those societies connected to our own by those same individuals where the same values are not cherished. That is far better than attempting to influence those societies by corporative specuation or military overt or covert action.

Put very simply, I believe in living in peaceful respect with the very very varied types of people in my "barrio" of Barcelona, and have observed that they in turn communicate the benefits of peace to their "home countries".

I once pointed out in a "sunday papers" article or some other "opinion" piece after the massacre of March 11th in Madrid, that the truest measure of our security is to be found in the nature and tone of phone calls home made from public call centres. And prior to the bloody awful war on iraq which has twisted prejudice globally, I used put the same point regularly by qouting a latin writer Sallust :
"non exercitus neque thesauri praesidia regni sunt verum amici" = "its not the strength of army but the quality of friendships which secures a kingdom" { I use latin as a universal reference, because I nver got esperanto together }
When we live in open and tolerant peace with our fellow citizens of Dublin, Barcelona, London wherever, and in time they will help us stop the execution and criminalisation of minorities in those states you mention. That's why we must give them the space they need to integrate and yet maintian their culture so that they "bring it home".

Finally on a much ligher note -
I thought the burning of the danish embassy went rather well
don't you ;-) ?
n lig sinn i gcothu.


author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 19:57Report this post to the editors

if u and others on the left are upset about the cvartoons then my heart bleeds for you. (is that a miracle?) there arte more serious things you could get upset abot: like the way women and gays are treated in islamic societies.

i am honestlly not interested in finding commom grounds with muslims on these issues because imho there are none. i believe in an open door immigration policy. i also believe in an open door emmigration policy. the few democratic freedoms we have under capitalism are precious. i'm not going to yield any of them to placate muslims. if muslims have a problem with the few freedoms we have then they should emigrate to an islamic country. thats not racist, its secluar democratic socialist common sense.

nothing against the danes so i cannot approve of burnimg their embassy. now why cant someone stir them up against the turks?

author by iosafpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 20:48Report this post to the editors

my joke on "burning the danish embassy" was actually an obique reference to the "no insults" march yesterday in Dublin, where members of the Islamic community peacefully demonstrated their faith, and gratitude to the commercial media of the Irish state for not republishing the cartoons. & Of course they didn't burn the Danish embassy. In fact they comported themselves like gentIemen which predominantly they were. I have left a thread recently on the last time an embassy was burnt in Dublin, a full 42 years after the fact. If you know what week the last embassy in Dublin was burnt, then you can use the archives and find it. (if the oscailt search engine doesn't get it, go to google)

I am aware that your opinions on this matter (and others) have become "entwined" now with many different politically representative viewpoints. When I previously wrote " I and others on the left " I was reaffirming the obvious, this thread (article and comments) were begun and mostly contributed to by the SWP. I have of course before all other articles on this subject in Irish media [either internet based or print form] left my own article and updated assesment with links to previous articles of relevance.

Dear Pat C "& those who sail with her".
next time you go into a kitsch home or club (of the kind one can find globally but especially in ireland) or (find yourself warching re-runs of Fr. Ted) look at the sacred heart with the red light. That's a bleeding heart.
In fact that's the source of your language. There's no latin nor greek bleedin heart. You didn't get bleeding hearts in the celtic canon of literature or pantheon. No bleeding hearts came to us from our contact with Islam or debto judaism. Neither the Dalai Lama nor Marx can be credited with the "bleeding heart".

I can't presume to comment publically on the roots of your language and the obvious irony of your so often expressed [and perhaps vindicated in many contexts] opposition to "religiosity" in any form.

Ah yes. Pat C "& readers".
n lig sinn i gcothu.
The one danish embassy which was visited by "muslim" protesters which didn't get burned is on stephens green. That's history. And the iranian embassy
"heart's bleeding or nay", is still not graffiti tagged, thats the future.

Obviously some people don't understand how hearts bleed.

author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 21:10Report this post to the editors

so i'll have to grafitti the iranian embassy to satisfy u? bad idea at the moment. they are under threat from imperialism. so maybe i could do a life of bryan type grafitit :

" i reject all aspects of the iranian islamic republic except their opposition to imperialism, zionism and U2 music, i welcone the decision of the ayetollah khomeni to rename the street on which stands the british enbassy, boulevard bobby sands (i know you would have liked to burn it down in 1981but you'd had enough hassle ver the US embassy). i suggest u get a sense of humour and have a laff at the prophet, the horny old git.

ps nuclear power is a bad idea. regardless of what the yanks say."

actually theres a funny picture of the muslim march in the IT 2day. theres a marcher with an islam is peace placard and his face his contorted with rage/anger/hate and his fist is clenched in the air. such peace i can do without.

author by iosafpublication date Sat Feb 11, 2006 21:45Report this post to the editors

I think we all understand each other.
For one, I believe that anyone who becomes "hung up" on the "religiosity" thing hampers their intellect when appraising and analysing how the state and its agents (in any geographical position) seeks to use the predominant tendance to some "profession of faith" amongst the global population. = like do you think "the masters" want "no Gods!"?

Thats why I recorded the mafia moment at the pope's funeral when all of them of every religion and none shook hands.

I appreciate that tagging up the Iranian embassy is out of bounds @ the mo.

n lig sinn i gcothu. We've mostly moved beyond mere graffiti as a an means of effecting revolutionary change. & so I'll go on talking tolerance and liberty, and Pat C. will go on reminding us of some of those in plight in the totalitarian regimes of "muslim states". Meanwhile its saturday night, second opportunity for pints and hangover. I'm off out. Coz I get out enough. & always have. If I hadn't have got enough earlier in life, I'd be something and someone else.
Remember that.

"get out more".

have a nice weekend, swp heads, sp heads, sf heads, greenie heads, caf labour heads, imc heads, anarcho-heads, and even the whole irish wannabe establishment.

author by eeekkkkpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:58Report this post to the editors

doesn't mean I make unscientific leaps to labelling and demonising the whole irish population because of it. The old indywatch didn't work eh. You're running out of subtelty.

author by eeekkkkpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:06Report this post to the editors

A lady friend and child attended the protest - (the only irish person to do so) and was treated with respect and some surprise - she said it was loud and angry but entirely peaceful with all speeches calling for moderation and calling for those assembled not to not to be punk'd by those that would punk them and us.

author by redjadepublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:15Report this post to the editors

BBC: On the tape, described as a "secret home video", an unidentified cameraman is heard laughing and urging his colleagues on. It was apparently filmed for fun by a corporal.'

Juan Cole writes...
Video footage of British soldiers kicking and beating Iraqi teenagers has surfaced. I saw it on Aljazeerah. It was taken by a British corporal who appears to have thought the whole thing a hoot. The teenagers had been demonstrating outside the British barracks, apparently. The soldiers landed 41 blows in a minute of tape, and also beat up on a corpse.

Although the British government maintains that the incident is unrepresentative, one can only imagine that tens of thousands of Iraqis have been beaten by foreign troops (US, UK and others) during the past nearly 3 years. There are 15,000 in custody at any one time, and there have been lots of home invasions and repressions of demonstrations and of militia activity.

Since the clannish Iraqis almost all have 24 first cousins who would die to defend their honor, the number of persons deeply affected by the beatings is in the millions. Imperialism requires brutality, but brutality weakens imperialism over the long run.

read more at:

Why would they hate us?
Why would they hate us?

author by iosafpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 15:57Report this post to the editors

you have breached copyright by reproducing that image here.

Furthermore there may be grounds to take legal action against the collective under Irish hate laws. If the image is not removed by an editor, I will facilitate that legal action.

author by Boomspublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 16:16Report this post to the editors

The image as above has been reproduced by wikipedia. It doesnot break copyright. Belows is the link to Wikipedia's article and the legal position behind it.

Related Link:
author by Boomspublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 16:21Report this post to the editors

As for threatening legal action????? What is this? Handbags at dawn? Really, you'll be telling your Ma on us next.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 17:33Report this post to the editors

well i reckon its\ time to start portraying mullahs as pigs, if u can do it to gays, then i'llget to work.

if indy leaves\that upthen they'll have to let my muslim mullah swine up.

author by iosafpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 18:52Report this post to the editors

thus we shouldn't republish the Danish cartoons or the Iranian ones.

its very simple.

no platform.
no platform.

don't be a pig. even if you're old and ugly get out more and find the right person.
don't be a pig. even if you're old and ugly get out more and find the right person.

get out more
get out more

use your brain.
use your brain.

or your mind
or your mind

author by pat cpublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 19:10Report this post to the editors

the danish cartoons have nothing to do with fascism. they are poking fun at the so called prophet muhammed.. he invented islam. just like joe smith invented mormonism.

now theres another polygamous prophet with child brides. hes always been mocked about this. wheres the outrage from you and the swp?

interesting that you dont complain about gays being compared to pigs.

author by Gay Georipublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 20:11Report this post to the editors

Go ahead. Sue Wikipedia while you're at it. I'm sure the Iranian embassy will give you a cheque for your legal fees over there in sunny Spain. HP.

Related Link:
author by redjadepublication date Sun Feb 12, 2006 23:55Report this post to the editors

'I mean, I may understand if somebody wants to boycott the Danish publciation that printed the cartoons. But why boycott Denmark? The Danish people are not responsible for whatever a Danish publication prints. I have been to Denmark and find the people there to be friendly and nice. And I like the pastries. The Danish people may have been only guilty of electing a right-wing government that sent troops to Iraq. But that issue does not seem to anger Muslim/Arab demonstrators who are busy being angry at the cartoons. Angry Arab is often angry at Western and Eastern anger. I often identify with neither. Where do I go? Do they have soy milk on space stations?'

Danish Cartoons (not pastries): 'But the hypocrisy is only increasing, and angering even mesomebody who refused, and still refuses, to be more outraged at the cartoons than I am about poverty, occupation, and oppression. I rank my outrages, and refuse to make reactions to cartoons high on my list. Just as Western media and governments did in the case of Salman Rushdi (and I signed petitions in support of Rushdi and still support the right of artists, writers, poets, and journalists to offend). But Western governments and media (I remember a particularly offensive spectacle in New York City led by the leading poseur, Christopher Hitchens,) took turns in publishing and publicly reading extracts of the Satanic Verses. Just to offend Muslim sensibilities further. These same people would never publicly read, in the name of free speech, racist or anti-Semitic discourse. I would not either. I am not willing in the name of free speech to read aloud extracts of racist or anti-Jewish or anti-anything writings of hate. But that is exactly what those ostensible defenders of freedom of speech do but only in the case of speech that offends Muslims and Islam. Only in that case....'
»go read the whole things, its a great rant...«

•••'The Angry Arab News Service' is a blog by As`ad AbuKhalil.
As`ad is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley. Often on his blog he calls himself an Anarchist. His blog is always worth a read...

author by Dr.Nightdubpublication date Mon Feb 13, 2006 01:27Report this post to the editors

You're letting your hostility to Islam blind you to the bigger picture.

Defending Muslims against western attack does not automatically signal approval for Sharia law. It doesn't matter whether the attack takes the form of US shock-and-awe air strikes or Danish newspaper cartoons that stereotype all Muslims as mad suicide-bombers. To the western audience at which they were aimed, the cartoons serve to demonise Muslims as mediaeval savages who need heavy 21st Century manners put on them and as such they form part of the propaganda element of the "war on terrorism", the same way that refuelling at Shannon represents part of the logistical element.

In the context of a war for oil, barking about freedom of speech or the reprehensible elements of Islam are distractions - they don't carry the same importance in the overall scheme of priorities.

For sure, Islam legitimises horrible practices. So do most major religions - the Catholics gave us the inquisition, the conquistadores and now a Nazi pope, the Protestants' "Save Ulster from Sodomy" lot haven't gone away either you know, Israel spawned Sabra and Chatila and I'm sure if I dug around long enough I could find something on the Buddhists as well (though if the current Dalai Lama is into his 14th reincarnation, you'd imagine that he'd have had some practice at getting his act together).

But you can't go lecturing oppressed people on the nature of the banner under which they resist, even if it's a religious one that you personally dislike. The important thing is the FACT that they're resisting, not the form which that resistance takes. You and I would probably both prefer that they resist according to purer, left-wing principles but you and I live in Ireland and we don't speak Arabic, so we've nothing to offer but solidarity. In the Middle East, god love them (pun intended), the choice of banners is fairly limited and Hamas, Al Quaida, etc do seem to be the boys that get things done, so no wonder people look to them - they've no alternative.

There's a time and a place for arguing about the rights and wrongs of Islam with its adherents. Now isn't the time or the place, they've got other things on their mind, like being stereotyped and bombed. If the wrongs of Islam are so high in your list of priorities, you may as well just just come straight out with "Go ahead and bomb them, I don't like them much either"

author by Brian Borupublication date Mon Feb 13, 2006 16:16Report this post to the editors

Would you think the same about cartoons satirising Christianity? I support the cartoons as part of the tradition of satire stemming from the Enlightenment. Freedom of speech is of no use if it only means the freedom to make non-offensive remarks or satirical references to religion or politics. Cartoons satirising the Jews are a constant feature of press coverage in Muslim countries, where Jews are portrayed as pigs etc. Yet the Irish Left has little to say about this. Perhaps they have their own prejudices?

author by Brian Borupublication date Mon Feb 13, 2006 16:20Report this post to the editors

People have to have the right to poke fun, be it at politicians, religions, institutions etc. Freedom of speech was hard won over many centuries. Ridiculing a faith is not incitement to violence or persecution of members of that faith. Personally as a lapsed Catholic I found Fr.Ted highly amusing. I have no present intention to march to govt buildings with "Behead Bertie" banners. We Irish had to put up with much worse than this. The Muslims need to get a sense of humour. BTW nowhere in the Koran is depicting Mohammad explicitly banned.

author by Brian Borupublication date Mon Feb 13, 2006 16:36Report this post to the editors

Dr.Nightdub, the Inquisition was hundreds of years ago. I don't believe the cartoon was setting out to present "all Muslims" in a particular light. Rather, it was exposing the fanaticism of a strand of Islam. This is legitimate. I refer you to the recent hanging of 2 gays in Iran by the mullahs, referred to by David Norris on a recent episode of The Big Bite. I also believe that when Muslims come to this country, as guests they have responsibilities as well as rights. Part of those responsibilities are to accept the ways of the West, including its democracies, the separation of religion and state, and a free press. Once we start limiting those to soothe the protests of Muslim demonstrators, we begin a slippery slope. It would be ironic if European liberalism were to undo its own work in order to pander to minorities.

author by redjade - 'Roses of the Prophet Muhammad' Brigadepublication date Fri Feb 17, 2006 21:42Report this post to the editors

Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.

"Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad' pastries," the union said in its order.

"This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake shop owner in northern Tehran.

more at

author by Dr.Nightdubpublication date Sat Feb 18, 2006 16:49Report this post to the editors

"I also believe that when Muslims come to this country, as guests they have responsibilities as well as rights. Part of those responsibilities are to accept the ways of the West, including its democracies, the separation of religion and state, and a free press."

I agree with you to an extent about the responsibilities bit - the word "guests" rankles but I'll let it slide.

The part I'm not sure about is to what extent do you limit the rights of immigrants to challenge the status quo? For example, "the ways of the West" also include government contracts for those who rip off workers (Gama), oppression of religious minorities and incitement to hatred. You can't exactly stand at passport control and give people a checklist saying "This, this and this are beyond criticism but this, this and this are fair game."

And even if you could, who gets to draw up the checklist?

author by Spinning Quicklypublication date Sat Feb 18, 2006 20:19Report this post to the editors

There was a curious comment from "Someone" who argued that criticism of a religion should only come from within, that criticism from without is colonialism and imperialism. Where does that leave me - an atheist who was raised Catholic? I am not a member of the Catholic church in any meaningful sense, so does that make any criticism of it by me imperialism? How about the Boston Globes' reporting on the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church? I'm not sure that wouldn't count as imperialism or colonialism under "Someone"s' criticism.

author by Spinning Quicklypublication date Sat Feb 18, 2006 20:21Report this post to the editors

What's the SWP stand on the Satanic Verses?

author by pat cpublication date Sat Feb 18, 2006 20:29Report this post to the editors

i think i have the right to criticise all religions. i will do so if they try and impose their silly superstitions on me.

islam is just as laughable as any other made up religion. it was invented by a polygamous pedophile "prophet" who was also an imperialist and terrorist who spread his "religion" by conquering other territories.

islam wants to have the right to censor the media. i say no. just as i would say no to the vatican, the swp would say no to the vatican as well. why wont they stand up to the mullahs.

muislims are free to draw cartoons of me or my atheist prophet and sensei richard dawkins.

author by dilbertgeg - www.Takeoverworld.infopublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 23:10Report this post to the editors

1. This WAS obviously a provocation. The cartoonist and/or publisher are tight with the neocons and Daniel Pipes.

2. Many muslims --- but not my muslim friends --- are hot-headed, sensitive, sometimes irrational, and as concerned with negative symbolism as they are with negative reality. Or positive symbolism, such as religion. The Intelligence-Media provocateurs did not create that, but they harnessed it. It's much easier to study 'human nature' and find ways to utilize it, than to try to create it wholecloth. It has a better chance of appearing seamless to reality.

3. It is very important and valid to criticize, dissent, and/or ridicule Fascistic aspects of media organizations and intelligence, psyops.

4. It is equally important to renounce censorship --- by and of Danish press, American press, or anyone --- or by radical Islam --- even of totally repugnant speech.

5. It is appropriate to point out when repugnant speech or provocation is more --- when it is leading to incitement of physical violence or create an air of retribution.

When the German (and I think Polish and French) newspapers published cartoons and accusations about Jews or Judenrat, it was appropriate for Jews and other liberal/libertarian/communist/anarchist (iow, sympathetic) members of society to mount a counter-rhetoric campaign.

When the media tries to create an atmosphere and reality where all believers in Islam (even secular Muslims) are painted with the broad brush of extremism, to justify a further response, it is important to catalogue that and comment on that on blogs and in whatever free media exists. (I"ve been banned by both Free Republic and Democratic Underground in the USA, each on my first attempt at posting some uncomfortable truths.)

That is much different from asking govt to CLAMP DOWN on free speech, because the clampdown will eventually be targetted at the weak, in service of the strong (wealthy).

That's my take on it. Anti-State dissent is at an economic disadvantage, leading to a smaller bullhorn. But censorship laws will only lead to criminalization of opinion and dissent with which the State disagrees, and that is a BAD precedent, even if set for a noble reason.

Related Link:
author by artemispublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 23:47Report this post to the editors

Hate speech when it amounts to an incitement to breach the peace is not free speech.

There is also a right to peaceful protest against hate speech (or any other speech that doesn't take your fancy!)

However, threats, use of violence, or violent protest against those who speak hatred is equally wrong. It is also unlawful and utterly counterproductive.

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