Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cartoon Update

Andrew Stuttaford on The Corner draws our attention to the comments of Ayann Hirsi Ali, a Dutch MP, who is crticial of her own government's feckless response to the controversy over the Danish cartoons:

We have been flooded with opinions on how tasteless and tactless the cartoons are -- views emphasising that the cartoons only led to violence and discord. What good has come of the cartoons, so many wonder loudly? Well, publication of the cartoons confirmed that there is widespread fear among authors, filmmakers, cartoonists and journalists who wish to describe, analyse or criticise intolerant aspects of Islam all over Europe. It has also revealed the presence of a considerable minority in Europe who do not understand or will not accept the workings of liberal democracy. These people – many of whom hold European citizenship – have campaigned for censorship, for boycotts, for violence, and for new laws to ban ‘Islamophobia’. The cartoons revealed to the public eye that there are countries willing to violate diplomatic rules for political expediency. Evil governments like Saudi Arabia stage “grassroots” movements to boycott Danish milk and yoghurt, while they would mercilessly crash a grassroots movement fighting for the right to vote… I do not seek to offend religious sentiment, but I will not submit to tyranny. Demanding that people who do not accept Muhammad’s teachings should refrain from drawing him is not a request for respect but a demand for submission.”

Ali is a Somalian-born Dutch woman who fled to Holland to escape an arranged marriage. She wrote the script for Submission, a film critical of treatment of Muslim women. This is the movie that cost filmaker Theo Van Gogh his life.

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