But Balkenende is only doing what he believes is the best thing to do under the circumstances. Meanwhile, both the secretary general of NATO and Iran’s deputy foreign minister have offered the Dutch advice on how to neutralize Wilders: by invoking Article 29 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to Article 29, individual rights must be limited when it comes to respect for the freedoms of others and where the public order makes this necessary. Ironically, the man who invoked this article is the deputy foreign minister of a country, Iran, where homosexuals are publicly hanged and adulteresses are stoned to death, and when this happens, no one there invokes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands also told a group of journalists that freedom of speech is “not unlimited.”
When asked whether the Netherlands could expect a boycott on Dutch products if the Wilders film is shown, the ambassador was evasive but clear. “All options are on the table,” he said. “No one can say what will happen.”
Hans Gert Pöttering, the president of the European Parliament, issued a similar statement. He called upon the media to impose a “code of behavior” on itself and not to publish anything that could be perceived as “derogatory” by members of religious groups. He also warned the Dutch not to “make a contribution to violence because of our freedom.” These clear words of appeasement, which the chief EU parliamentarian directed against the victims and not the perpetrators of violence, urging the former to be on their best behavior, were — as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote — the result of “anticipated fear” and sounded “dangerously like self-censorship.”
Let’s get real here. It isn’t just any religious gorup; it is a religious group which has produced a militant wing intent on rolling back the Enlightenment’s victories for the right to blasphemy their One True God at the edge of the scimitar. Christian fundamentalists are problematic for a host of reasons, but the central tendency of modern Islam is shockingly illiberal, and I believe that mass media and modern information technology is resulting in less assimilation of Muslims to liberal norms than would otherwise be the case. Those norms include the right to blaspheme without fearing life & limb, a normal fear for most of human history when it came to dissenters against the dominant supernatural paradigm of a given society.
Above you see an image of the head of a pig with a book in its mouth. That is all.
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