Archive for the ‘Mohammed cartoons’ Category

Donate a car, and other items in today’s roundup

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Now that the cash for clunkers program is defunct, why don’t you consider donating your old car to charity? There are many local programs throughout the country, and the folks at Donate Car USA have an interesting article they would like you to read. Of course, before you donate to any charity, make sure to research them and be sure your donation will reach the people who really need it.

While on the subject of cars, armored vehicles are selling like hotcakes in Venezuela and the dealers can’t keep up with demand. No clunkers there

Mexico legalizes drug possession
Mexico decriminalizes small-scale drug possession
Mexico decriminalizes drug possession for small amounts as it battles big-time traffickers

Prosecutors said the new law sets clear limits that keep Mexico’s corruption-prone police from shaking down casual users and offers addicts free treatment to keep growing domestic drug use in check.

“This is not legalization, this is regulating the issue and giving citizens greater legal certainty,” said Bernardo Espino del Castillo of the attorney general’s office.

The new law sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities no longer face criminal prosecution.

Education in Honduras: La Gringa asks, How low can you go?

Cuba’s economy (pdf file): Raulonomics:
Tough Diagnosis and Partial Prescriptions in Raul Castro’s Economic Policies

Drugs, money and narco-terror

Immigration Reform Is About Stopping Terror, Remember?
The author catches up with three Iraqis who attempted to illegally enter the U.S.

Following up on the Yale University Press’ deleting the Mohammed cartoons from a book on the subject, Roger Kimball found Martin Kramer connecting the dots.

Vaclac Klaus will be a speaker at the Cato Institute’s Freedom and Prosperity in
Central and Eastern Europe
20 Years after the Collapse of Communism
, which is scheduled for September 21, 2009.

Via Maria, What Would Jesus Do? Ask Obama

With dignity and respect, we are not “wee-weed up.”

Why special interests love Obamacare

Special interests, public financing a bad mix in Michigan governor’s race


In the fun department, Washington DC will have the Tangosutra tango festival on October 23-25.

Hitchens asks, “Why did Yale University Press remove images of Mohammed from a book about the Danish cartoons?”

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

As you may recall, Yale University banned the Mohammed cartoons from being published in a book about the Mohammed cartoons (click on the photo to see the cartoons in full).


Today Christopher Hitchens writes,
Yale SurrendersWhy did Yale University Press remove images of Mohammed from a book about the Danish cartoons? and concludes,

It was bad enough during the original controversy, when most of the news media—and in the age of “the image” at that—refused to show the cartoons out of simple fear. But now the rot has gone a serious degree further into the fabric. Now we have to say that the mayhem we fear is also our fault, if not indeed our direct responsibility. This is the worst sort of masochism, and it involves inverting the honest meaning of our language as well as what might hitherto have been thought of as our concept of moral responsibility.

For Yale, this means, Goodbye, academic freedom. Goodbye, freedom of expression. Hello, self-censorship and fear.

Let’s hope the rest of the country doesn’t follow.

Yale bans the Muhammed cartoons from book

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Remember the Mohammed cartoons?


Yale University Press has now banned them from being published in a book about the Mohammed cartoons.

Via Ed Driscoll, who says,

as this New York Times article illustrates, Yale finally finds a religion it’s willing to bend over backwards to respect

Yale Press Bans Images of Muhammad in New Book

So Yale University and Yale University Press consulted two dozen authorities, including diplomats and experts on Islam and counterterrorism, and the recommendation was unanimous: The book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” should not include the 12 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005. What’s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí.

While at it, the NYT misrepresented the Mohammed cartoon controversy. Jim Hoft has the details on that.

Roger Kimball lets it rip on this latest capitulation into fear.

Former Danish PM “deeply distresssed” by Danish cartoons

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Danish Prime Minister and now NATO chief, speaking in Turkey today said he’s “deeply distressed” for the Danish cartoons:

His comments at an Istanbul conference on Monday fell short of the outright apology which Turkish officials had hoped for.

“I was deeply distressed that the cartoons were seen by many Muslims as an attempt by Denmark to mark and insult or behave disrespectfully toward Islam or the Prophet Mohammad. Nothing could be further from my mind,” he said

“I respect Islam as one of the world’s major religions as well as its religious symbols,” he said during a panel discussion at the conference aimed at building bridges between the Muslim world and the West.

Realpolitik turnaround? Craven appeasement?

Rasmussen previously defended publication of the cartoons, which caused protests in the Muslim world, on the grounds of free speech and refused to apologize to Muslim countries.


While you can, you can purchase a limited-edition print of the turban bomb cartoon: Gates of Vienna has the details,

In collaboration with the artist, the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society have printed up a limited edition of 1000 copies.

Each copy is individually numbered and signed by Kurt Westergaard.

The picture is printed in durable colors on fine paper 42 by 21.5 centimeters, suitable for framing. It will be delivered in a solid cardboard tube.

It can be yours for US $250, postage and handing included, but exclusive of customs dues or VAT where applicable.

The proceeds from this offer will go towards the International Free Press Society’s continuous campaign for free speech.

It can be purchased at the International Free Press Society page.

Embassy Attack in Pakistan Kills 4

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

The NYT today, Embassy Attack in Pakistan Kills 4, and the article mentions,

The bomb was the second effort to target foreigners in Islamabad in the last few months and came as the civilian government has signed a series of peace deals with Islamic militants in the nation’s tribal areas.

Appeasement never works.

Then there is the old Mohammed cartoons excuse: Bloomberg

Denmark’s three biggest newspapers, and about a dozen regional ones, on Feb. 13 reprinted an image of the Prophet Muhammad by cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, after police said he was the target of a terrorist-related murder plot. The publication of cartoons has triggered widespread protests in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population is Muslim.

Gates of Vienna points out that,

Ever since their recent ban on the wearing of headscarves in courtrooms by judges, the Danes have been expecting trouble from the world’s 4.9 octillion outraged Muslims.

Trouble finally arrived today in the form of a car bomb detonated in front of the Danish embassy in Pakistan. Preliminary reports indicate that no actual Danes were injured or killed in the attack. Like so many other expressions of Muslim indignation, the work of the terrorists has had the primary effect of killing and maiming other Muslims.

The Beeb has the weirdest headline: Blast by Pakistan Danish embassy. Blast by? Do they mean to imply that the Danish embassy is to blame? As you can see in their own video report, the explosion was at the embassy site.

Or can’t the Beeb get themselves to call an attack an attack?

UPDATE, Wednesday June 4
Pakistan ambassador to Denmark: ‘Are you satisfied?’

(The Carnival of Latin America will be up in an hour or two. Please bear with me.)


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Where does "freedom of expression" end?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Western culture is based on a fundamental respect for the right of the individual to express his or her opinion. This respect is in turn based on the respect for the right of individual’s ideas, as ideas are what make democracy flourish.

As any middle school kid can probably tell you, the American Constitution’s First Amendment reads (emphasis added),

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Since here in the USA (and in Puerto Rico where I grew up) we are so accustomed to these words and so committed to the concept that Congress can pass no law limiting freedom of speech, we naturally assume that the rest of the Western world enjoys the same basic freedom.

However, that is not the case.

As you can see in today’s posts, there are countries in our hemisphere where the individual has no rights at all, and countries where the government is revising the school curriculum to create a “new man” who will think only certain ideas.

In Europe, today French judges justly decided that the French government’s own TV station was wrong to have sued for libel a French citizen that exposed the TV station’s dowright lies – lies which ignited an intifada in Israel. Few Americans – used as we are to view news as entertainment – realize how important this is.

The French judges’ decision in the Al Dura trial is vitally important because it exposes a most destructive libel against Israel. Freedom of expression, which Karsenty had to fight for in court, twice, is what allowed the libel to be shown for what it is.

At the same time, radical Islamists have rioted and killed over the Mohammed cartoons. They believe that we non-Muslims are inferior to them, and as such do not have the right to freely express any ideas that might offend Islam. The demonstrations took place in countries around the world, including some protests here in the US.

Freedom of expression is a dangerous concept to the totalitarian mind. It is inimical to any totalitarian state.

Therefore it is disquieting to read this Bruseels Journal article: Brussels Court Convicts Cartoonist (h/t Siggy)

The court ruled that freedom of the press, as protected by article 25 of the Belgian Constitution, does not apply to cartoons because article 25, which dates from 1831, applies to “writers” but not to illustrators.

Judges Valvekens, De Ridder and Morel of the 20th Chamber of the Court of First Instance in Brussels ruled that “The cover illustration cannot be considered to be a direct expression of a thought or opinion” protected by the freedom of the press because

“Article 25 explicitly refers to ‘the writer.’ The illustration used on the cover is merely a depiction of a person, and not a writing, to which the exceptional status that applies to offences relating to the printing press has no effect.”

According to the Brussels court, the freedom of the press is an “exceptional status” in Belgium. It only applies for writers, not illustrators, and only for written thoughts or opinions disseminated by means of a printing press.

While you, gentle reader, are probably thinking that this will never apply to you because after all, you’re not about to move to Belgium, you should also be aware that activist judges in the USA can go against the will of the people and can attempt to rewrite the “living Constitutions” of the states or of the nation.

What if an activist judge in someone’s pocket decided that rights are to be accorded exceptional status here, in our country, because (for instance) the internet is not meeting their definition of “speech” or “press”? Can we afford to be complacent about our freedoms?

We can not take our freedom for granted. Because the moment we do, it can all be lost.


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Copenhagen police arrest six in fifth night of riots

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Six more arrests in a fifth night of rioting in Denmark.

While Rowan Williams parses the role of rule of law in the UK, Fleming Rose explains what life has become to A Danish Cartoonist on the Run:

For the past three months Kurt [Westergaard] and his wife have been moving from house to house. In early November, they had a few hours to collect their most necessary belongings before they were driven to a safe location. They had to leave their car at home because the police wanted to create the impression that Kurt and Gitte were still living in the house. The mail was collected, garbage was removed, and an agent who physically resembled Kurt was installed in the house. This was done in case the plotters were to execute their plans to kill Kurt.

Kurt’s unpardonable offense? Drawing a cartoon of Mohammed wearing a turban bomb.

Is the present rioting directly caused by religious extremism, are the rioters being manipulated by religious leaders, or is it a combination of gang activity and religious manipulation of a segment of the population that was never taught how to integrate into a modern secular society? Or is it plain old vandalism?

I would like to know my readers’ opinions.

Prior post here.


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More burning outrage on the Mohammed cartoons

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

After the Danish Papers Reprint Muhammad Cartoon, specifically the one of Mohammed wearing a bomb turban, Danish police

have arrested three people suspected of plotting to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago.

Two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin were arrested in pre-dawn raids in western Denmark, the police intelligence agency said.

The Dane was suspected of violating Danish terror laws but likely would be released after questioning as the investigation continues.

The two Tunisians will be expelled from Denmark.

And the Astute Bloggers post that for the fourth night in a row vandals have started fires in Copenhagen:

The scorecard: 14 car fires, 20 container fires, 2 garbage fires, 14 cases of vandalism, 17 arrests

AP has more:

Some observers said immigrant
youths were protesting against perceived police harassment and suggested the reprinting of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers Wednesday, may have aggravated the situation.

“They feel provocations and discrimination by the police that stop then now and then to check them,” Copenhagen social worker Khalid Al-Subeihi said. “It doesn’t make it easier when the cartoons come back again.”

A Jyllands-Posten photographer was also attacked by vandals.

I’m sure the 17 arrested are already out on the streets.


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Newspapers finally report on the new cartoon protests, a month after Gates of Vienna

Friday, August 31st, 2007

The Telegraph has a story today on the current cartoon protests:

Fears grew of a new confrontation over images deemed blasphemous by Muslims as Pakistan joined Iran in protest over a sketch by a Swedish artist portraying the prophet Mohammed as a dog.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the Swedish charge d’affaires to condemn “in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet”.

The move adds to a chorus of criticism over the series of drawings, by artist Lars Vilks, one of which was published earlier this month by a regional Swedish newspaper.

Lars Vilks‘s website (link in Swedish) has all the offensive and blasphemous drawings.

What I find interesting is not the protests, which of course are expected, but that it’s taken this long for the papers to get around to it.

Gates of Vienna has been covering the Moondoggie story since July 23, including the cartoons, more recently here.

Baron Bodissey and Dymphna were my podcast guests last Monday. Next Monday at noon Siggy and I will be talking about work in the USA and in the EU. Don’t miss it.

The Charlie-Hebdo verdict

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

I was on a blogger’s call with Hugh Hewitt re: Mitt Romney, but before I post on that, I have a follow-up on an old story, the Charlie-Hedbo cartoon trial (click on links for background information).

As I posted in February, the prosecutor did not press charges against the paper, and the judges’ veredict was due this week.

The verdict’s in: French Paper Cleared in Muhammad Drawings Case

The court ruled that Charlie-Hebdo showed no intention of insulting the Muslim community with the caricatures, several of which appeared first in a Danish paper and sparked angry protests across the Muslim world and in Europe.


The court acknowledged that the bomb-like turban could be taken as a general affront to Muslims. But it said that, given the context of the drawings’ publication, the paper showed no ”deliberate intention of directly and gratuitously offending the Muslim community.”

Reporters Without Borders hailed the acquittal as positive for French society.

Nidra Poller calls it “a terrible victory”, and I’m inclined to agree with her. As Mora mentioned in a conversation we had this afternoon, Honore Daumier practically invented the art of political cartooning. France has had a tradition of freedom of speech that fundamentally created that art.

Until now.

That the judges had to justify the publication of a cartoon, clearly a freedom of speech issue, by instead expaining it as being newsworthy,

Jean-Claude Magendie, the presiding judge, ruled that two of the three cartoons in questions didn’t target all Muslims, just violent ones. The third, showing the prophet Muhammad with a bomb in place of a turban, could offend all Muslims, he said, though it was covered by freedom of speech laws because riots in some countries about the cartoons made its publication newsworthy.

tells me that freedom of speech, one of the basic freedoms, has become devalued currency in today’s France.

Update, Friday March 23
Phillipe Val, editor of Charlie-Hebdo writes in the WSJ, telling the whole story,

In February of last year, the director of the daily France Soir, Jacques Lefranc, decided to publish the cartoons in France. He was immediately fired. It was in protest against Mr. Lefranc’s firing that I in turn decided to publish the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo. Our front-page headline was “Mohammed Overwhelmed by Extremists,” and had a drawing by Cabu of the prophet, covering his eyes with his hands and crying, “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.” I invited my colleagues from the daily and weekly press to republish the Danish cartoons, too. Most of them published some of them; only L’Express did in full.

Before publication, I was pressured not to go ahead and summoned to the Hôtel Matignon to see the prime minister’s chief of staff; I refused to go. The next day, summary proceedings were initiated by the Grand Mosque of Paris and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France to stop this issue of Charlie Hebdo from hitting newsstands. The government encouraged them, but their suit was dismissed.

After the cartoons appeared, the Muslim groups attacked me by filing suit against me on racism charges. President Jacques Chirac, who campaigned for this just-completed trial, offered them the services of his own personal lawyer, Francis Szpiner.

Read it all.