Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the report on Denmark released yesterday by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. And here’s the section — under the heading “vulnerable groups” — on Danish Muslims. Quote (footnotes omitted):
In September 2005, with the stated intention of verifying whether freedom of speech is respected in Denmark, a widely-read Danish newspaper called on cartoonists to send in caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad; such drawings are considered to be offensive by many Muslims. This newspaper thus published 12 such cartoons, one of which portrayed the Prophet as a terrorist. The issue has caused widespread condemnation and a protest march was organised in Copenhagen as a result. The fact that, according to a survey carried out regarding the publication of these drawings, 56% of the respondents felt that it was acceptable is a testimony of the current climate in Denmark. ECRI considers that the goal of opening a democratic debate on freedom of speech should be met without resorting to provocative acts that can only predictably elicit an emotional reaction.
Here’s the poll I think they’re getting that number from. Via WorldPublicOpinion:
A majority—56 percent—of Danes in the Feb. 3 Epinion poll agreed with the statement “Respect for freedom of speech should be more important than the consideration of religious sentiment.” Only 37 percent agreed with the statement “Out of respect for the Muslim faith, the cartoons should not have been published even though this could be considered a limitation on the freedom of speech.”
Proof positive of a climate of intolerance. As for the bit in the report about provocation, it brings us right back to this morning’s post on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I neglected to mention there that, according to the Wall Street Journal, she’s not the only prominent European under threat of death from the jihadis who’s thinking of emigrating:
Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, is also mulling a move to America, at the urging of friends and security contacts. He set off a global storm by publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Twelve Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures are staying out of public for fear of attack.
Mr. Rose complains that Europe is going wobbly. At the height of the cartoon furor in February, Danish businessmen who criticized their publication were denounced as traitors to free speech. Since then, a segment of the public, eager for a return to calm, has favored a more conciliatory approach toward Muslim anger, Mr. Rose says…
Determining how to respond to radical Islam “is the key culture war in Europe,” Mr. Rose contends. “This will be the big issue for decades.”
Meanwhile, Olivier Guitta of the Counterterrorism Blog reports on jihadi “commandos” hunting the cartoonists. It’s the Mossad operation against the Munich terrorists in reverse, but with drawings instead of dead Olympians:
If you thought that the Cartoon Jihad was over, think again.
Indeed, several European secret services are on the lookout for special Islamist commandos allegedly trying to kill the 12 Danish cartoonists involved in the Jyllands Posten Muhammad cartoons. Most probably, a European sleeper cell could be activated for that mission. Nonetheless, an entrance of dangerous Pakistani elements thru Turkey is envisioned.
I passed on this story two weeks ago when World Net Daily reported it, but Michelle picked it up. WND, quoting journalist Hamid Mir, also identified Pakistanis as the likely culprits but had them coming in through Iran, not Turkey. LGF has been tracking developments since then, including a hit list (of German newspapers) posted on Ansar al-Sunna’s website and an Internet video from Al Qaeda calling for attacks on Denmark and several other western European countries as revenge for the cartoons.
Who’s next on the chopping block? Michelle has the answer.
Update: Goldstein comments and says the stakes here are as high as can be:
I’ve expressed on too many occasions what I think are the predictable results of such ideas about speech when applied to classical liberalism: the primacy of the individual is deconstructed and replaced by an appeal to group politics, which essentially undermines the assumptions that underpin our entire foundational system of governance.
Update: I spent twenty minutes trying to come up with a killer headline for this post, and gave up. But Charles didn’t. He also has a good question for Borders re: Harper’s publication of the Mohammed cartoons. We’ll soon find out how important the bottom line is in all this.