Friday, March 10, 2006

Two Wins and a Loss

The attack on free speech continues around the world. Today's fight includes a win, a loss, and another win.

A Win:
Nine Islamic terrorists who were members of a terrorist group that also included a member who assassinated Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh were convicted by a Dutch court.
A court has convicted nine Muslims of belonging to a terrorist group and planning to attack Dutch politicians.

Two men in the so-called Hofstad group were jailed for 15 and 13 years for using a hand grenade against police. The court did not pass a jail term on the group’s leader, Mohammed Bouyeri, as he is already serving life in prison for murdering film-maker Theo van Gogh.

A Loss:
Muslims scholars renew call for blasphemy laws across Europe in addition to an official state apology:
"We are here today because we want to tell you that every Muslim in the world is very angry," said Tareq Al Suwaidan, general manager of the Kuwaiti satellite channel Al Resalah.

"We request an official apology from your government to the Muslim nation as it happened in Norway," he said. He also demanded that the European Union enact a law "that forbids the insult to religious figures."

A Win:
An anti-Castro sign at the World Baseball Classic got a fan into a lot of hot water.
While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: “Down with Fidel,” sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with the velocity of a major league fastball.

The image of the man holding the sign behind home plate was beamed live Thursday night to millions of TV viewers — including those in Cuba. The top Cuban official at the game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan rushed to confront the man.

Puerto Rican police quickly intervened and took the Cuban official — Angel Iglesias, vice president of Cuba’s National Institute of Sports — to a nearby police station where they lectured him about free speech.
I consider this one a tie because the protestor got his message across loud and clear before the Cuban officials could get the message taken down. But that was too late. Babalau Blog and the Real Cuba have more details, including photos.

It's especially delicious hearing that the Cuban officials were lectured on free speech and free expression rights. No doubt that's the first time they'd ever gotten lectured on the subject in this manner. Castro can't be pleased by this turn of events.

Looks like I should update the headline to read two wins - two losses. We're all even today as the EU is actually considering the Muslim demands for blasphemy laws. It is a sad day indeed that the free speech rights of Europeans are being hacked apart with no apparent outcry from the citizenry. (Hat Tip: LGF). And this situation isn't going to get any better as companies and government entities engage in censorship to try and avoid being hit with the wrath of militant Islamists:
In a sign of the uncertain mood in Denmark, the state railway company barred a billboard advertising a new book about Islam by a Danish professor.

The book, titled What is Islam?, contained no images of the Prophet, and a Danish imam agreed that the company had overreacted. The decision has now been reversed.
Meanwhile, via No Pasaran, a Spanish satire festival is treading carefully on the subject of Islam, but has no problem dealing with Christian targets or US foreign policy. Again, self censoring to avoid the threat of militant Islamists.

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