European double standard on freedom of expressionThe rioting and other violence purportedly against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were a hysterical overreaction and almost certainly manipulated by malefactors.
The main concept invoked by defenders of the cartoonists and the newspapers was freedom of expression. Such a defense was based on the principle embodied by Voltaire's famous quote: "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
However, one charge made by many angry Muslims was absolutely true: that of western double standards.
As I mentioned earlier, the British government is pushing a bill that would ban the 'glorification' of terrorism. The words glorification and terrorism are not defined.
This despite the fact that Britain already has laws against incitement to murder and incitement to terrorism.
Would it a phrase like "The US sowed the seeds of 9/11 by its foreign policy over the course of several decades" become illegal in Britain if this bill passes?
It seems quite probable.
An infamous British 'historian' was today sentenced to three years in jail in Vienna for denying the Holocaust. He pleaded guilty for the crime based on a speech he gave in Austria some 15 years ago.
(Even many of the political enemies of the 'historian' opposed his prosecution for fear of making him into a free speech martyr.)
Austria is one of 11 European countries with anachronistic laws banning Holocaust denial.
So many Muslims surely wonder: why is one form of offense vigorously defended under 'free expression' by Europeans but another form will land you in jail?