March 02, 2006

Life and Limb


From Expatica: EU calls for end to 'bitterness' with Muslim world.

The European Union on Monday said it was time for an end to "bitterness" between Europe and Islamic countries over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"We must concentrate on the next steps and future activities to reduce tensions and become more aware of what unites us rather than what divides us," Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik told reporters.

Both sides must make a "real effort to put some of the bitterness behind us," Plassnik underlined. Austria is current president of the 25-nation EU.

Diplomats said a statement on the issue released by EU foreign ministers was the result of a compromise between governments like Britain which wanted more conciliatory language towards Muslim countries and others, including the Netherlands, which insisted the bloc must not be seen to be apologising on the issue.

The final statement voiced "deep concern at the events that followed the publication of cartoons" and said EU governments "acknowledged and regretted" that the caricatures were considered offensive and distressing by Muslims across the world. ...

The EU statement underlined the EU's desire to "actively promote dialogue, mutual understanding and respect" with Muslim countries.

From Khaleej Times: 'Controversy helped Europe understand Islam'.

The massive protests in the Muslim world against the Danish cartoons have helped Denmark, as also Europe, have a better understanding of, and respect for, Islam, said the Danish Consul in Dubai, Thomas Bay, yesterday. ...

Khaleej Times pointed out that freedom of expression does not mean hurting others' sentiments.

'I fully agree with you. That is exactly the key. The editor of the Danish daily had not anticipated the outcome of his action, [like†the burning of flag, embassy, and killing of hundreds in protests in the Muslim world]. Yet, he has the freedom of speech. However, now, I am sure they [the newspaper] are not very proud of what they have done', the Danish head of mission said.†

'You can also turn around and say, this had a positive impact on Islam. The realization has come that you have to respect Islam, and the prophet. Now Europe is more aware of this aspect. There is positive thinking in this respect...and people will now be more careful [about hurting others' feelings]. People have now been more careful', he observed.

From Times Online: We should fear Hollandís silence.

[T]he story of Holland -- which I have been charting for some years -- should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a "peaceful" Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.

It seems the British police -- who regularly provide protection for mosques (as they did after the 7/7 bombs) -- were unable to send even one policeman to protect an organ of free speech. At the notorious London protests, Islamists were allowed to incite murder and bloodshed on the streets, but a passer-by objecting to these displays was threatened with detention for making trouble.

Holland -- with its disproportionately high Muslim population -- is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism -- not the "liberalism" that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

(Links via Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE I -- March 3: Michelle Malkin has the latest: CARTOON JIHAD: HUNTING THE KIDS. UDPATE -- Malkin now notes that part of the report was not true: CARTOON JIHAD HOAX

UPDATE II -- March 6: Juventudes Liberales hosts a pro-Denmark, pro-Free Speech demonstration in Madrid.

Posted by Forkum at March 2, 2006 05:04 PM