Jyllands Posten is treating this as a big win. Is it?
The City Court in Aarhus rejected claims by seven Danish Muslim groups, which had argued that the 12 drawings printed in Jyllands-Posten on Sept. 30, 2005, were meant to insult the prophet and make a mockery of Islam…
In Denmark, seven Muslim organizations filed a joint defamation lawsuit against the paper in March, after the country’s top prosecutor ruled out criminal charges, saying the drawings did not violate any laws.
The court conceded that some Muslims saw the drawings as offensive, but found there was no basis to assume that “the purpose of the drawings was to present opinions that can belittle Muslims.”
American law typically limits defamation claims to assertions of fact. If you can show that your statements were merely an opinion — e.g., “we shouldn’t let Islamic terrorism intimidate us into self-censorship” — you have a defense. Likewise, as far as I know, no U.S. state acknowledges a tort of “group defamation.” Only individuals can be defamed in the legal sense. It sounds here like Danish law differs dramatically on those two points and that the only reason JP got away with it is because their motive was pure: the cartoons were a comment on censorship first and foremost, not on Muslim proclivities towards violence.
But what if they weren’t? What about those dopey DPP kids? The fact that JP didn’t have to pay up isn’t cause for celebration if someone else soon will.
Because no story about Islamist sensibilities being offended is complete without whining, here’s the view from Pakistan in vivid JihadLogic:
“This was expected because the values and culture of the West are different from Muslim countries,” said Ameer ul-Azeem, spokesman for Jamaat-e-Islami, which belongs to an Islamic alliance that organized mass protests across Pakistan last year.
Western courts “should listen to what Muslim scholars think,” ul-Azeem said. “If they think these cartoons insult their religion and the prophet, the courts should respect these views. It is not up to the court to decide if Muslims will have hard feelings or not.”
Like Steyn says, who’s assimilating whom?