The Contact Organization for Muslims and Government (CMO) has emphatically requested the Mayor of the Dutch city of Gouda Milo Schoenmaker to forbid a demonstration by the extreme right organization Pro Patria (English: For the Fatherland). The CMO stated it has received many phone calls by concerned Muslims. Spokesperson Yassin Elforkani said a counter-demonstration was also planned.
Mayor Milo Schoenmaker has decided to allow the Pro Patria demonstration. The extreme right organization stated it is combating Muslim extremist through these demonstrations.
“After the announcement that the demonstration will take place we received a lot of phone calls from Muslims who fear an escalation will take place. I’ve already seen a flyer with a call for a counter-demonstration,” Elforkani said. “It might also be that the action group Identitair Verzet (English: Indentitary Resistance) will take part in the demonstration. The activists belonging to this extreme right group occupied a Dutch mosque earlier this month (http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/moslimorganisaties-bang-na-bezette-moskee-leiden~a3847209/).
“We are very much for the freedom of expression but we are worries about the societal tensions. Therefore we ask the Mayor to take his responsibility,” the spokesperson said. The municipality has announced it is waiting for an official request by the CMO.
The Dutch rapper Hozny was sentenced to 80 hours of community service a conditional sentence of two years of prison for a hiphop video in which Islam critic Geert Wilders is allegedly portrayed in a threatening manner. The video (watched more than 580.000 times on Youtube) showed a Wilders look-alike that is put at gunpoint. At the end of the video gunshots are heard while the look-alike is not in sight. The video has stirred wide controversy and condemnation.
Rapper Hozny has justified the video as an artistic expression and critique of Wilders’ plea for less Moroccans in the Netherlands during the Dutch municipal campaign last year. During a gathering Wilders asked a crowd of it wanted more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands where upon the crowd chanted “less, less.” The incident had exploded into a controversy in and of itself resulting in more that 5000 reports against the Dutch member of parliament.
Hozny explained he wanted to chock with his video but not to threaten. The court nevertheless decided against the rapper and argued that the freedom of expression should not be used as a refuge for someone who makes dead threats to another, even if it it done in a more or less artistic manner. It further argued that the usage of dead threats is detrimental to the public debate on the freedom of expression and its limits.
July 10, 2014
Several aspects of the recent “anti-jihad” law, presented July 9 to the Council of Ministers, were judged unconstitutional by the Alain Jakubowicz, president of LICRA (International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.) He declared: “Without objective evidence of the intention of a criminal act or without proof of deliberately planning to commit one” it would be “extremely complicated” to prevent someone from leaving France on the grounds that they are suspected of committing an act of terrorism. “How can one consider for a single second to restrict an individual’s freedom of movement based on suspicion?” asked Jakubowicz. “Honestly, it’s constitutionally impossible.
The bill, primarily aimed at preventing Frenchmen from leaving to fight in Syria, was called an “infringement even of the principle of justice.” “We would find ourselves in the situation where intelligence services, the Minister of the Interior, the administration, would say to the judges: ‘Believe me, I’m telling you that this person is dangerous,’” stated Jakubowicz.
The president of LICRA said that the government must also “reflect on its measures to prevent jihadists from coming back.” When asked about the possibility of Internet shutdowns of sites that glorify terrorism, the president said the problem was “more nuanced.” He spoke of the “risk of opening Pandora’s box and the direct threat to freedom of expression.”
17 January 2013
The announcement of the participation of Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan in a conference on ‘Islam and the media’ in Roubaix, Nord Pas-de- Calais, has according to a report in France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais caused deep local controversy. Segments of the local community have criticized both, the organization Association Rencontre et Dialogue for creating, and the city hall for permitting such a debate in the city. Their criticism is in form and content directed against the conference and its renowned Muslim participant.
A UMP politician has questioned Tariq Ramadan’s understanding of Muslim acceptance in France. He denounced Ramadan’s critique of French state and societal attitudes towards Muslims and decries the rise of communalism allegedly caused by the Muslim intellectual’s rhetoric. Another opponent accused both the city hall and the organizers to tolerate and facilitate proselytisation by providing a public platform to the ideas represented by people like Ramadan.
In response to the severe criticism, the mayor of Roubaix has justified his decision as a commitment to the idea freedom of expression and plurality of opinions.
2 October 2012
Following speculation that anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders would not be permitted to visit Australia, immigration minister Chris Bouwen has announced that a visa will be issued. Bouwen told ABC radio that the visa procedure had taken an extended time period because “we had to find a balance between our freedom of expression and his rather extreme views.”
20 September 2012
Media coverage of ongoing international controversies surrounding the movie Innocence of Muslims tracks the responses of Dutch politicians, particularly to statements from the European parliament speaker Martin Schulz. Dutch Euro-parliamentarian Hans van Baalen announced that Schulz should be standing up for freedom of expression, while Geert Wilders, via Twitter, called Schulz a “coward” who has “sentenced freedom to death”. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Abu Taleb condemned the movie and advised Muslims to ignore the film.
Dutch judges have found the European Arab League not guilty of insulting Jews in publishing a cartoon suggesting they invented the Holocaust. The cartoon, first published four years ago and reprinted last year, was intended “to highlight double standards in society”. Judges ruled that while the court considered the cartoon insulting, the right to freedom of expression is more important, Nos tv reported.
The right to freedom of expression entails duties and responsibilities and is subject to certain limits, provided for in Article 10.2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are concerned, among other things, with protecting the rights of others. Identifying what constitutes “hate speech” is especially difficult because this type of speech does not necessarily involve the expression of hatred or feelings.
On the basis of all the applicable texts on freedom of expression and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and other bodies, the author identifies certain parameters that make it possible to distinguish expressions which, although sometimes insulting, are fully protected by the right to freedom of expression from those which do not enjoy that protection.
Under new policy rules for uniforms in Irish schools, the hijab has been deemed allowed in schools, but the burka or other face coverings will be banned. Integration minister Conor Lenihan and education minister Batt O’Keeffe issued the joint recommendation after consulting and reviewing the legal positions in Ireland. A 1988 Education Act obliges schools and personnel to have “respect for diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life I society.” “In this context, no school uniform policy should act in such a way that it, in effect, excludes students of a particular religious background from seeking enrolment or continuing their enrolment in a school. However, this statement does not recommend the wearing of clothing in the classroom which obscures a facial view and creates an artificial barrier between pupil and teacher. Such clothing hinders proper communication,” said the statement.
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After drawing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban in 2005, Kurt Westergaard has lived under constant police protection. Now Jordan wants to prosecute the Dane. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview he discusses the legal summons and his anger.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Westergaard, I am assuming you’re not planning a vacation in Jordan this year?
Westergaard: No, I don’t think so!
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The prosecutor general in Amman has issued a subpoena against you. He wants you to face a court in Jordan for the cartoon you drew of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Westergaard: Yes, but so far I haven’t received an official summons to court. I have already contacted the Jordanian Embassy in Berlin and asked them if they could inform me what the punishment would be. If I went to Amman would I be arrested as soon as I put my foot on Jordanian soil? But I never got an answer.