Let's Give the Muslim World a Message:

"We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression. We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."

No, really, that's what the EU Justice and Security Commissioner is saying, according to Reuters:

The European Union may try to draw up a media code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the furor caused by the publication across Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, an EU commissioner said on Thursday.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show "prudence" when covering religion.

"The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression," he told the newspaper. "We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right." ...

Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, said millions of Muslims in Europe felt "humiliated" by the cartoons.

His proposed voluntary code would urge the media to respect all religious sensibilities but would not offer privileged status to any one faith.

This isn't just about the EU's much more "reasonable" and "balanced" approach to free speech -- in words that I've heard from those who prefer the European approach to the American one, and would urge that it be adopted in America as well.

It's also about the EU's approach to appeasement, and to surrender. And don't tell me that the unnamed "consequences" are just public disapproval and strained international relations. When you say something like that against a backdrop of thugs burning embassies and killing people in reaction to your citizens' speech, appeasement and surrender are exactly what's going on, "voluntary" rules or not. Millions of Europeans should feel humiliated that one of their super-government's officials is even proposing this.

Thanks to Sister Toldjah for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. "EU-Ministers Considering Arab Demands":
  2. Let's Give the Muslim World a Message:
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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:
Comments