There are brave men in Europe too...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Below is an except of an interview with Anders Fogh Rasmusen, the Danish Prime Minister. The complete interview is at the Agora. Not all of Europe is supine.

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Has the basic view been skewed in favor of the religious communities?

"I think that’s very clear. If it bleeds, it leads and flag burnings and the burning of effigies and arson and violent protests in general are easier to are depict than the insubstantial values of Freedom of Speech and Press. There is also a tendency, out of fear or weariness, to just feel ‘let’s move on already’ and that the response then is ‘okay, you win’ and to just give in. But that will do noone any good. Peaceful coexistence must be the goal and the means."

How is that attained?

"Well, that can only be attained by accepting that Freedom of Speech means that everything can be scrutinised and is up for debate. I will, to take an example, never accept that Sharia can’t be examined critically. It mustn’t be so that just because someone says it’s sacred, it’s not to be the object of discussion. There’s been a lot of talk about people being offended, but you’ve got to ask yourself what is most offending - a few cartoons or two boys that have been hung in Iran or women that are stoned to death or have their hands chopped off. It’s important to keep the right perspective."

What would you say?

"I know what my personal preference is. I get most offended by seeing two teenagers hanging from the gallows in Iran, and I want the freedom to say that," says the Prime Minister. "By any means available, we must ensure that no man is persecuted or discriminated against solely because of his religion. That means that we must reject anti-semitism, islamophobia, anti-christianity and ensure that all men have protection for their right to believe whatever they want. That is an essential part of the answer. And that, I think, can be done in good manners, to say that we must be allowed be allowed to question everything and be critical, while protecting all people of all faiths against discrimination and persecution. I would even say that if that was something that could be agreed on universally, it would be a beautiful thing. That would also mean that Christians were guaranteed equal opportunities in Moslem countries."

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Add this Al-Jazeera excepted interview with an Arab-American psychologist, Wafa Sultan, posted at Memri.


Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.


(HT Stephania at Free Thoughts)

4 comments:

Luther McLeod said...

How about a Nobel for bravery. Rasmusen is to be commended. When will the majority of Danes themselves speak up? When the ratio of guards to free-speakers is one to one? Not articulated well but I hope you get my point.

As for Wafa, STRENGTH, in the face of nonsense. As has been said by many, will it be the women who shall lead islam out of the darkness? They are the most intimately aggrieved after all.

Is there anyway to link to these people, e-mail or otherwise, so that we may send them, at the least, some virtual support?

David Thomson said...

“As has been said by many, will it be the women who shall lead islam out of the darkness?”

This is very doubtful. The women of Islam generally accept their second class status. The worst male chauvinist in the West is often a super-liberal in the Islamic world! Some people think the problem is worst in Europe than in the Arab countries. Europe’s welfare states have inadvertent aided in the radicalization of the Arab males.

Luther McLeod said...

And, not mentioned before, as I could not remember her name "Ayaan Hirsi Ali". Who, most obviously, totes her "**ll* in a wheelbarrow. Talk about speaking truth to BS, this is one brave woman.

DT, yes, I know the facts, no illusions here. But there are occasions when it only takes a few. The main thing in this regard is publicity, getting the word out about these brave women. Getting the word out to those who may not even be able to read. Where there's a will, there will be found a way. Hopefully. But I do not rely on hope alone.

terrye said...

David:

Not all the women of Islam accept their status. Besides, it should be remembered that it was not all that long ago that women in the US were actually prohibited from voting in federal elections.

It is easy to be brave when you are not the one who will be killed or banished.

But I do think Rasmussen should be commended for standing up for freedom of speech. If people did that more often the backward elements of the Islamic world might get used to it.