Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another Blow for Free Speech - Dutch cartoonist arrested for 'insulting people'

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after twelve editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. 5,000 Muslim immigrants living in Denmark took to the streets in protest over the cartoons. They were republished in a furter 50 newspapers across the world, resulting in worldwide riots.

Supporters have said that the cartoons illustrated an important issue in a period of Islamic terrorism and that their publication is a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, explicitly tied to the issue of self-censorship.

They claim that Muslims were not targeted in a discriminatory way since unflattering cartoons about other religions are frequently printed, case in point- Christianity. In Brussels a young Muslim immigrant published a poster depicting the Virgin Mary with naked breasts. It depicts the virgin Mary with a howling child and a bowl of blood. She is barebreasted and is sitting next to a shield with the arms of Flanders. As a muslim immigrant Ben Chikha is allowed to use such images. Though the picture has drawn some protest from Catholics (sans riots) this artist has not recieved death threats, and is being subsidised by the Ministry for Culture. Sounds like a double standard to me!

The Latest in the Cartoon Saga -

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch political cartoonist was arrested this week on suspicion of insulting people because of their race or religion through his work, authorities said Friday. The cartoonist, who works under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of violating hate speech laws and held overnight before being released, a spokeswoman for his publisher Uitgeverij Xtra said.

She asked that her name not be used, and declined to give Nekschot's real name, because the cartoonist and publisher have both received death threats. Nekschot is known primarily for cartoons mocking Muslims and leftists, though the spokeswoman said he is a satirist who targets "any strong ideology." Amsterdam public prosecutor spokeswoman Sanne van Meteren said Nekschot remains a suspect in a criminal investigation.

"We suspect him of insulting people on the basis of their race or belief, and possibly also of inciting hate," she said.

Each is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison under Dutch hate speech laws — or two years for multiple offenses.

What have we come to when people are arrested for political cartoons?

Further Information:


National Anarchist said...

The entire Muhammad cartoon saga is getting very old. If people have a problem with the art/media people produce, it's quite simple, avoid it.

In the same way people turn off the TV when something stupid is on, or the radio when some dickhead is ranting, people don't have to consume these cartoons. If they are in newspapers, don't buy newspapers... I hate most of the stuff in the Murdoch rags, so I don't seek them out to read them - Muslims can do the same!

As for the Virgin Mary boobs - LOL! I am very rarely offended by anything but I very much doubt the Virgin Mary had features as European as the model in this photo. All too funny.

Well done once again Alex.

Alex said...

Yes, I totally agree. Self-censorship is the way to go. It's the only non-coercive option.

I did want to highlight the different responses between the worldwide muslim community and the christian community with regards to art they find offensive.

Interestingly, the muslim community is being pandered to with regards to their censorship request when they engaged in violent activity resulting in the deaths of 100 people.

We shouldn't punish freedom of speech, but rather those who engage in violence.

National Anarchist said...

I am more disappointed in the indigenous Europeans than in the Muslim settlers. The Muslims were offended and exerted their influence and power despite being an "oppressed minority." It was the European failure to stand up against the Muslim violence that gets me worked up.

The point is, when foreigners begin telling a community how they can or can't live or as in the case, what they can publish in their media - the foreigners cease being welcome visitors and become unwelcome invaders. It becomes the duty of the native folk to let these invaders know where they stand.

One could write an essay on "independence and self-determination" but I'm sure you see what I'm saying.

Alex said...

when foreigners begin telling a community how they can or can't live or as in the case, what they can publish in their media - the foreigners cease being welcome visitors and become unwelcome invaders. It becomes the duty of the native folk to let these invaders know where they stand.

Contraversial issue. I have discussed at length with other anarchists and not had a positive response about it.

I have always advocated that I have no problem with Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Homosexuals or any other minority figure as individuals. When they form minority lobby groups they become coercive, forcing their minority viewpoints onto those of others. This I cannot tolerate, and has often left me outcast from traditional leftist circles.

We must not allow ourselves to be pandered to by the demands of others, when it takes away from our own freedoms.

Anonymous said...

what kind of conspiracy is this? drowing virgin mary with nudity by a muslim? againg by a muslim? nope he is not a muslim .what a joke you christian hypocrate! virgin mary being exalted in quran.quran 3:42
“And (mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary! Indeed God has chosen you, and purified you, and has chosen you above all other women of the worlds.