Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You tell 'em!

With respect to the continuing Mohammed cartoon row (see Amir Taheri's editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, and my previous posts) the German weekly Der Spiegel has an excellent interview with heroic Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali (via Harry's Place):
SPIEGEL: Was apologizing for the cartoons the wrong thing to do?
Hirsi Ali: Once again, the West pursued the principle of turning first one cheek, then the other. In fact, it's already a tradition. In 1980, privately owned British broadcaster ITV aired a documentary about the stoning of a Saudi Arabian princess who had allegedly committed adultery. The government in Riyadh intervened and the British government issued an apology. We saw the same kowtowing response in 1987 when (Dutch comedian) Rudi Carrell derided (Iranian revolutionary leader) Ayatollah Khomeini in a comedy skit (that was aired on German television). In 2000, a play about the youngest wife of the Prophet Mohammed, titled "Aisha," was cancelled before it ever opened in Rotterdam. Then there was the van Gogh murder and now the cartoons. We are constantly apologizing, and we don't notice how much abuse we're taking. Meanwhile, the other side doesn't give an inch.
SPIEGEL: What should the appropriate European response look like?
Hirsi Ali: There should be solidarity. The cartoons should be displayed everywhere. After all, the Arabs can't boycott goods from every country. They're far too dependent on imports. And Scandinavian companies should be compensated for their losses. Freedom of speech should at least be worth that much to us.
It is well worth reading the whole thing.
Meanwhile the Drudge Report links to this interesting story:
The Danish editor behind the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that ignited deadly riots in the Muslim world said Wednesday he's trying to coordinate with an Iranian paper soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust.
I think this is an excellent idea. I obviouly have the utmost contempt for any Holocaust denial or diminishing. However, not only will the lack of riots and deaths in reaction to the publication of these cartoons be telling, but in so doing we will also prove that we do in fact practice freedom of expression. Furthermore, the best way to combat Holocaust denial is in the free market of ideas, not by banning free speech. Finally I fully support the prominent publication of the disgusting material that regularly appears in the Arab press (via Buzzurro, who has apt comments), simply because it will hopefully further alert the West to the challenge we face.

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