Islamists Are Cashing In On Their Lethal Mayhem by Demanding Curbs on Free Speech

The mullahs who have carefully-orchestrated the campaign of violence that has lethally torn through the Muslim world are now following up with demands for severe curbs on the way the Western media reports on and portrays Islam. Both the EU and the UN are under pressure from Muslim sources to place restrictions on press and broadcast outlets to ensure that all adverse criticism of Islam is curtailed and that the religion and its adherents are seen in nothing but the most favourable light (see Cartoons War…What Do Muslims Want?!).

Under pressure, the European Commission is drawing up a code of conduct committing the media to exercise “prudence” when reporting on Islam and other religions. Franco Frattini, the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security said the EU faced the “very real problem” of trying to reconcile “two fundamental freedoms, the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion” and appealed to European media to “self-regulate”. He said such self-censorship would send an important message to the Muslim world. If they agree to the new charter, “the press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right”, he said. Mr Frattini revealed that the code of conduct he envisaged would “acknowledge the importance of respecting religious sensibilities” but would not offer a ‘privileged status’ to any one faith. The European Commission has long had ambitions to introduce EU-wide legislation on fighting racism and xenophobia but has seen them founder amid resistance from national governments.

Mr Frattini said he was keen to move ahead with a voluntary code of conduct, to be drawn up by European media outlets with the assistance of the Commission. The code would not have the status of an EU legal instrument and would not be enforceable by Union institutions.

In Britain, members of the so-called Muslim Action Committee (MAC) have called for changes to the Race Relations Act and the Press Complaints Commission code.

Shaikh Faiz Saddiqi said the MAC had concluded they wanted the Race Relations Act modified to give Muslims the same protection as Sikhs or Jews – or, in other words, another version of the Religious Hatred law that has just been passed by Parliament, giving religion even more protection from examination and criticism. He also said the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct should be tightened to prevent publication of any images of Muhammad, but added that the clerics accepted that criticism and discussion of Islam should be allowed.

Mr Saddiqi said Muslims could accept a one-off publication of such an image as a misjudgement and said this was why it took several months for anger at the cartoons, first published in October, to gain momentum. But he said other media organisations continuing to show the cartoons knew they were causing offence. He praised the UK media for not publishing the cartoons, without acknowledging that this was probably more from fear than from a desire not to offend.

A large-scale Muslim demonstration in London tomorrow (Saturday) will also hear calls for restrictions on free speech from leading theocrats. One of them, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, said, “This rally will aim to help British Muslims express their feelings peacefully and will call upon the newspapers concerned to apologise for the enormous offence and distress caused.”

Mohamed Abdul Bari, chairman of the East London Mosque, said: “The hallmark of any civilised society is not just that it allows freedom of speech, but that it accepts this freedom also has limits.” Mr Bari did not mention who would decide what these “limits” would be.

Meanwhile, the president of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday came under pressure from Islamic countries to introduce restrictions on “blasphemy” in a proposed new U.N. human rights body.

Jan Eliasson of Sweden, this year’s assembly president, is conducting ‘intensive’ bilateral talks with key U.N. members in an effort to resolve severe splits on the new rights body aimed at replacing the poorly regarded Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission, his spokeswoman said. The aim is to get adoption this month, so the new rights body can begin to function this summer. Some U.S. Congressmen want to make a new rights body a condition for paying U.N. dues.

At the same time, some leading members of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), led by Turkey at the United Nations, told Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the concept of blasphemy should be written into the tenets for a human rights council, envoys reported. So far, only Western nations and U.N. officials have objected.

On Tuesday, the OIC Group at the United Nations issued a tougher statement than previous declarations following the Danish cartoon conflagration. It said original cartoons and their reproductions “constituted an incitement to hatred and violence against Muslims” and called on European nations “to ensure such incidents do not recur”.

The European Convention on Human Rights, which is binding on 46 European nations including all 25 EU members, states that “everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” However the convention allows nations to impose restrictions on the exercise of that right “in interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: “We must not allow the present controversy, which has been whipped up by religious extremists, to rush us into actions that would impose near-Islamic laws on to countries that are not Islamic. Regardless of whether such countries restrict free speech for themselves, they should not be permitted to roll out those repressive measures on to the rest of us. We will be urging the European media to reject or ignore any code of conduct that requires them to limit further what they say on legitimate matters of interest. And we will join any campaign of resistance to Islamist demands at the United Nations to restrict free expression.”

Of course, Christian “blasphemy” also had its violent and persecutory day not so long ago, and many of the prosecutions that have been brought in this country have centred around cartoons. John William Gott was sentenced to nine months hard labour in 1922 for comparing Jesus to a circus clown. The Victorian editor of the Freethinker, G.W. Foote, was also prosecuted for publishing “blasphemous cartoons”. You can read his story – told in his own words in Prisoner for Blasphemy.

In the 1970s, a Danish film-maker, Jens Thorsen, was intent on making a movie about the sex life of Jesus, called The Many Faces of Jesus, which would feature gay and straight sex. He wanted to shoot the film in Britain, but his plans unleashed a Muslim-style riot. Campaigners threw a fire bomb into the Danish embassy, and after complaints from the Prime Minister, the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr Thorsen was denied entry into Britain.

See also:
Maryam Namazie’s site
Examples of Islamist’s dehumanising caricatures of Jews
Islamists call for new blasphemy laws in Europe
Islamist war on the free press
Acceptance of their intolerance – it’s all part of radical Islam’s plan

This message has been received from the Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq. “Join our protest to defend the rights of all individuals to be able to think freely, criticize, be able to use their imaginations, to have right to freedom of speech, and of expression then join us in our protest in front of BBC TV Centre in London. Saturday 11 February, 2006 at 2.00 - 5.00pm. Venue: BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London W12 7RJ. Underground - White City (Central line) is directly opposite
Bus - Routes 72, 95, 220 and 272 stop outside. Organisers of this protest are: Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq - UK Branch, Middle East Centre for Women’s Rights (MECWR), International Federation of Iraqi refugees (IFIR) International Organisation of Iranian Refugees (IOIR), Iranian Civil Rights Committee and others. Iranian Civil Rights Committee (Iran CRC), Organisation for Emancipation of Women in Iran (OEWI). We call upon all organisations and freedom loving people in UK to join our protest.