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"EU-Ministers Considering Arab Demands":

Agora reports, translating today's Jyllands-Posten article from Danish (if you speak Danish and either agree or disagree with the translation, please let me know):

EU-Ministers considering Arab demands

It may no longer be enough to just combat discrimination, a presentation document at meeting of EU-ministers says.

As a pendant to the Muhammed-affair, the Foreign Ministers of the EU are considering complying with Arab demands to "fight defamation of religion."

So far the EU has voted against these kinds of proposals at meetings of the UN General Assembly, but they are now considering reversing that. So a written presentation document aiming at bettering the relations between Europe and the Islamic countries.

- It raises the question of whether, considering recent events, we should reconsider the EU's approach to these matters at the UN General Assembly, the document says.

The Islamic Conference, the OIC and the Arab League have demanded guarantees that the Muhammed-affair will not be repeated.

The site also offers a transcript of an interview with EU Foreign Commissioner Benita Ferroro Waldner:
Commentator: Why couldn't you just put the Muhammed-affair to rest?

BFW: Because I don't think this was a sporadic incidence. I think it was the peak of an iceberg, if you want. It showed a frustration among Moslems. And I think what we have to do is really engage with them, clearly speaking up about our fundamentals but also see where is, so to say, the border of that, the limit of that. And I think the limit of our Freedom of Speech is there where, indeed, the freedom of "the other" starts and where we have to show a responsibility and a respect and also tolerance for each other. But I also see it as a two-way street.

As I've said before, this is an argument for appeasement and surrender, surrender of one of the most basic of Western Enlightenment principles: that ideas, even deeply and dearly held ones, must be open to constant challenge and criticism (including criticism that will inevitably be overheated and at times even rude). Yes, the West, and in recent years especially Western Europe, have retreated from this principle, at times advocacy of Nazism, advocacy of racism, criticism of homosexuality, and even blasphemy. But this in no reason to ignore yet another retreat, especially a retreat as significant as the one that some in Europe seem to be counseling — significant precisely because much in Islamic theology, culture, and politics (and no doubt much in Christian, Hindu, atheist, etc. theology, culture, and politics) needs to be challenged and criticized.

I certainly hope that Europe resists these recommendations, which are dangerous precisely because they come now from inside and not just from outside. I wonder, though, whether it will.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. "EU-Ministers Considering Arab Demands":
  2. Let's Give the Muslim World a Message:
The Drill SGT (mail):
I think the situation in "old Europe is hopeless. Islamofascists are aggressive in their demands, and ultimately non-compromising. EU functionaries are spineless appeasers. And every appeasement is seen by the aggressors as what it is, weakness, thus encouraging further demands.
3.10.2006 6:39pm
JohnA (mail) (www):
This was a close-run thing in Britain: link. I don't think there's a real likelihood of Brussels getting this beyond the planning stage.

The worrying parts of this proposed EU intervention are that 1) the EU as a body is still undemocratic and 2) it can overrule all national governments.
3.10.2006 6:47pm
The Drill SGT (mail):
This article, originally in the Telegraph, but pulled is scary in its view of the direction of UK appeasement
3.10.2006 7:02pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
I completely agree with Eugene that "this is an argument for appeasement and surrender." FWIW, and not to repeat myself (at length) here, I've written about "The Only Appropriate Response to Honor Killings and Fatal Fatwas." I've also written about the danger of extending unlimited tolerance to the intolerant.
3.10.2006 7:08pm
Humble Law Student:
Great civilizations aren't destroyed from without, but from within. If Europe can't stand up for its values (or at least what it used to stand for), then maybe it deserves its fate.
3.10.2006 7:13pm
Le Messurier (mail):
The Drill SGT
This article, originally in the Telegraph, but pulled is scary in its view of the direction of UK appeasement

Was this story pulled in the regular order of things or for more nefarious reasons? Would really appreciate an answer if anyone knows.

Thanks
3.10.2006 7:19pm
The Drill SGT (mail):
The UK Telegraph page says:

This story has been removed for legal reasons

I think it's because they take some shots at Tariq Ramadan who has been:

- refused permission for a US VISA
- appears to be Islamofascist royalty, e.g. grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood
- is an advisor to Tony Blair
3.10.2006 7:34pm
Cornellian (mail):
Are we turning into a lonely island of freedom, lit by the First Amendment?
3.10.2006 8:32pm
Dan Simon (www):
The worrying parts of this proposed EU intervention are that 1) the EU as a body is still undemocratic and 2) it can overrule all national governments.

As I mentioned in a comment on the previous posting, I don't think it's a coincidence that these statements are emanating specifically from EU bureaucrats. The EU bureaucracy has plenty of reasons to attempt to placate Islamist extremists by advocating restrictions on speech--but actual fear of Islamist extremists isn't very high on the list. Consider:

1) The EU bureaucrats aren't advocating restrictions on speech at the national level, but rather at the EU level. That is, they're advocating expansion of their own power.

2) The EU bureaucrats are advocating a position most opposed by nationalists and nativists, and most supported by multiculturalists and internationalists. The latter constituencies are overwhelmingly more pro-EU than the former.

3) The EU bureaucrats are arguing for the supremacy of international harmony over political freedom. This argument is one of the key justifications for the current highly undemocratic structure of the EU--which gives enormous power to EU bureaucrats.

As I mentioned in my earlier comment, a terrified bureaucrat, capitulating before threats of violence, would sound very different from the ones quoted here and previously. An opportunistic bureaucrat, however, spotting a useful pretext for a power-grab....
3.10.2006 9:04pm
ROA:
If these laws pass, does this mean Muslims will stop claiming Jews use human blood for their religious ceremonies? Or does it just mean everyone will have to respect Islam while Muslims continue to trash and discriminate against non-Muslims?
3.10.2006 9:47pm
Cabbage:
ROA, question asked and answered.
3.10.2006 10:06pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
As I've said before, this is an argument for appeasement and surrender, surrender of one of the most basic of Western Enlightenment principles: that ideas, even deeply and dearly held ones, must be open to constant challenge and criticism (including criticism that will inevitably be overheated and at times even rude


You hear about this?

South Dakota paper refuses to editorialize on abortion ban
Editor &Publisher
Where does the Argus Leader stand on South Dakota's controversial abortion ban? Readers don't know because the paper refuses to comment on the hot issue. "It is not like endorsing a candidate or a bond measure," says editorial page editor Chuck Baldwin. "Not even like the death penalty or the war in Iraq. ...Rather than change anyone's mind, we would create another controversy." And lose some readers, no doubt.

source

More
3.10.2006 11:56pm
DK:
This is really a perfectly logical step for the EU to take. Some European countries have spent decades using government regulation to protect people from the "rough edges" of the free market, of American cultural imports, of scientific advances moving faster than the precautionary principle, and even of Swedish snuff!

of inadequately tested scientific advances (i.e. the precautionary principle). We should not be surprised that some of them would also like to regulate away the rough edges of free speech.

At least, those who've read Hayek in either the original or cartoon form shouldn't be surprised.
3.11.2006 12:34am
LK02 (mail):
Detailesd information on the reasons why this is surrender is found here
BTW Tariq Ramadan also stated in an interview that religion is above state law.
Sharia before our constitution and laws, in other words
3.11.2006 4:36am
LK02 (mail):
Link in last post not displayed. repeated here:
http://mypage.bluewin.ch/ameland/English.html
3.11.2006 4:37am
Geoffrey (mail):
I didn't see any comments confirming the translation (or otherwise), so I took a look. It appears to be correct, though be advised I'm neither native nor completely fluent.
3.11.2006 1:33pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
3.11.2006 4:07pm
hey (mail):
Thanks to Eugene for the links and the posts. Too many of the commenters here want to ascribe to bigotry and religious hatred the mere quoting of Islamists' statements and taking them seriously.

It is interesting to see that now that MEMRI has to be acknowledged by mainstream media and left blogs, they highlight connections to Israel and complain that it only quotes bad things in the Arab Press, including prayers by religious leaders and announcements by government figures. The fact that the press and left only mention the nice things rather than reflecting reality is of course ignored.

That reality does not map to one's ideal world does not mean that those who highlight reality are bigoted.
3.11.2006 8:21pm
Nathan Hall (mail):
At least he pointed out that tolerance is a two-way street, which is more than we've heard from some of the appeasement crowd. But I wonder if he really means to hold to that? Is Europe going to outlaw depictions of the Prophet only when Saudi Arabia stops persecuting Christians?
3.12.2006 9:09pm