Censorship, pre-censorship and freedom of speech

LiveLeak had removed Fitna from their servers, according to them, due to threats they have received.

Twenty years ago, Muslims rioted after a Muslim insulted Islam. Two years ago Muslim rioted after a non-Muslim insulted Islam. Today, Muslims riot if a non-Muslim might say something that would insult Islam.

I don't agree with everything Wilders says or does, but it's scary when we get down to pre-censorship or preemptive censorship (two words I didn't know existed a week ago).

Should censorship exist? Of course. I do believe that there are limits to freedom of speech. Inciting hate and murder are two examples of problematic issues when it comes to freedom of speech. Voicing your opinion on the problems of immigration and the dangers of fanatic religiosity don't fall into that category.

For me, Fitna exemplifies how much freedom of speech had eroded in the past few years in Western countries. The Dutch gov't considered banning a movie they've never seen. A US company banned it before it came out after receiving complaints, and a British company removed it from their servers after receiving threats. Wilders had made his point just by announcing he wanted to make a movie, an enviable position for any politician.

I have not yet seen the movie in full. I don't usually watch movies with disturbing pictures, not even when they appear on the news.

Is it insulting to Islam? Are beheadings, stonings, female genital mutilations, honor killings and other such things done in the name of Islam insulting to Islam? I would think they would be insulting to any civilized person. But Wilders is not the one responsible for that.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's called "religious correctness" and it's only applied when dealing with Islam.

People like sjeord and many other Euro's, pull the "religious correctness" card whenever someone tries to take a critical look at the "religion" of Islam.

Quite pathetic really; and the march to dhimmitude continues.....

By the way, any other religion is fair game to criticise and insult, but mention islam, and you're not being "religiously correct"!!!!

Anonymous said...

Omar Bakri, the Libyan-based radical Muslim cleric who is barred from Britain, did not think the film was very offensive....

"On the contrary, if we leave out the first images and the sound of the page being torn, it could be a film by the [Islamist] Mujahideen," he said

What is everyone so upset about again?

Anonymous said...

Ynonuomas (ha! ain't I funny? I can deliberately misspell someone's name!) didn't really understand me (no I did not call for banning this film, no I do not believe Islam should be privileged and protected against criticism; I just think Wilders is a dimwit, who shies away from nuance at every opportunity - and as a politician, I believe that way he can cause quite a lot of damage); but anonymous is making exactly my point: Wilders talks the talk of the extremists, and thereby serves as an excellent recruitment tool for them. Should he be banned for that? No, of course not. Should his freedom of speech (and his right to live for that matter) be protected? Of course! Should he be criticized when he talks rubbish? Why not?

I'm off now, I've spent way too much time here lately; so all the anonymi here, please feel free to misinterpret what wrote as much as you can.
Bye Esther, thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The very concerns about violent reactions to Fitna underscore its thesis. While some Muslims may consider it offensive, most Europeans consider the Koran's advocacy of genocide, child marriage, marital rape, rape of non-Muslim women captives, wife beating, the death penalty for apostasy and adultery, and other atavistic practices offensive. The venom spewed at unbelievers in mosques around the world daily is fine with them, and they fish out a few peaceful-sounding passages from the Koran to obscure the numerous brutal ones and, more importantly, overlook the actual practices in Muslim countries. While I believe that Muslims should have equal rights and that most are decent and law abiding people, I do not believe that Islam should be exempted from criticism.

webmaster Nieuw Religieus Peil said...

See for all the diverse organizations and people who condemned Fitna in advance and also after the release:
http://www.nieuwreligieuspeil.net/node/1852

svenskamerikan said...

Isn't it a bit curious that there is more offense taken at a movie about terrorist acts, terrorists, and proponents of violence than than the terrorist acts, terrorists , and imams themselves? That in itself implies volumes.

Fitna is nothing more than factual events coupled with the koranic verses the perpetrators use to justify them. We see offense where there ought to be shame.

Evil is on the march.

Anonymous said...

Press statement of the "Centraal Joods Overleg", see their website at http://www.cjo.nl/ link to "actueel nieuws", then to "Verklaring Centraal Joods Overleg over de film FITNA".

Translated as literally as possible (and very quickly, excuse the clumsy English):


The "Centraal Joods Overleg", platform of Jewish organizations in the Netherlands, with consternation learned of the contents of Fitna, Geert Wilders' movie.


The "Centraal Joods Overleg" finds it worrying that Wilders' movie confirms prejudices about Muslims, and at least for that reason the movie is counterproductive. The Jewish community wants to call a halt to extremism and radicalization, together with Dutch Muslims and the rest of the Netherlands.

In his movie, Wilders is guilty of gross generalizations. Only the negative elements of the Koran are highlighted, and his warning that the islamization should stop, he crosses the line of acceptable criticism.

By displaying graphs which pretend to show the explosive growth of the Muslim population in the Netherlands, in relation to depicted terror attacks, and with the slogan 'stop islamization, protect our freedom', Wilders suggests that all Muslims are potential terrorists who want to overthrow our society. That is not in relation to the facts, and in an unacceptable way portrays a whole group of the population in a bad light. A Dutch politician should not make such generalizing portrayals.

There should definitely be attention for the question how to deal with growing extremism and radicalization. The comments about Jews shown in the movie indicate that there are abhorrent ideas about Jews being proclaimed by certain Muslim clerics, and that even children are being indoctrinated with these ideas.

The series of images of terror attacks by Muslim extremists is shocking and shows once again that our society has the duty to forcefully fight this terrorism, which is fed by religion. A democracy is should protect itself against those who want to overthrow this democracy; it should offer protection to the inhabitants of the constitutional state, and stand up against such religiously motivated hate speech. Wilders' movie serves nothing but to polarize.

Amsterdam, 28 maart 2008

Anonymous said...

"...Wilders talks the talk of the extremists, and thereby serves as an excellent recruitment tool for them...."


Sjoerd (there, I spelled it right, happy?) makes my point exactly. Don't say ANYTING about Islam, it may recruit MORE to radicalism!

Well, if that's the case, a little inspection and criticism of the Koran on an INTERNET video causes more radicalism, yikes!

Better never ever criticise Islam again....I love the reasoning of the Insane.

How about we actually look into the texts of a religion (like wilders did) that actually causes so many people to become radicalized; centuries before any "fitna" INTERNET movie was released.

Look, Europeans, you guys put a dangerous minority in your suburbs, sealed them off, gave them little occupational opportunities, gave them social benefites, allowed their families to move in and let them worship the most radical form of Islam in their mosques right under your noses. Wilders is just pointing out the obvious.


"...Should he be criticized when he talks rubbish?..."

Please, what was exactly "rubbish" in the video? Dispute 1 thing he said.

As usual, the truth does hurt.

Esther said...

Anonymous,

I'll bring up a point I've brought up on my blog in the past. Wilders might want to show that the Koran is being interpreted literally. And if it isn't? Should that in any way affect whether there's a serious problem in Muslim culture or not?

There are quite a few things that Muslims do today which are against the Koran. And people will be quick to point it out whenever they feel attacked: you're not allowed to murder, you're not allowed to go on Jihad on your own, you're not allowed to circumcise girls, or kill girls who soil the family's honor. I'm not sure but you're probably also not allowed to gossip, without which honor murder would not exist.

So what? Does it really matter if it's according to Islam or not? All these things are publicly supported by radical Islamists, and some of these things are supported by the 'average' Muslim (or Turk, or Somali).

By arguing about whether it's in the Koran or not, people are:
(1) getting into an argument they can't really win. You want to start discussing ancient Arabic?

(2) moving the focus away from the real problem. The problem is not what the Koran says, the problem is what Muslims do. Just as it doesn't matter what the OT or NT say, what's important is what Jews or Christians do.

(3) preventing Muslims who do want to move away from radical Islam to actually do so. If Jihad is proscribed in the Koran, they have a problem. If it's misinterpreted by radical Islamists, they can easily ignore it.

Anonymous said...

"...Only the negative elements of the Koran are highlighted..."


He was attacking radical Islam. What would you expect him to highlight?

Yes, yes, I forgot, we should sugar-coat everything so we don't hurt anyone's feelings...YAWN.

That's right, Theo Van Gogh wasn't shot eight times, beheaded, stabbed in the chest twice with a manifesto implanted into his body in the middle of a European street. Is it possible to sugarcoat that?

Euro's must have really short memories.

Look, I have no doubt that most muslims are not extremists. 2 problems here...

1) The extremists (no matter how small in number) trump the "moderates" and can criticise them as being "not muslim enough" if they don't agree with the extremism. Their voices (if the moderates really exist) are not being heard.

2) Where are the counter-demonstrations against radical islamists? Why are the "moderate muslims" silient about this extremism?

So much so that it takes a guy like wilders to point out the obvious and get death threats for his troubles.

I want more openly "moderate muslims" and I want counter demonstrations against radical islam, not aginst those who wish to criticise radical islam

Jeez, it's like in europe, up is down and left is right, just totally backward, defeatist thinking.

Anonymous said...

"...By arguing about whether it's in the Koran or not, people are:
(1) getting into an argument they can't really win..."

Esther, I see your point.

However, to me, it seems like you guys are walking on egg-shells.

Esther said...

Hi anonymous,

Thank you, and I do see your point too. I don't think Wilders should be bashed for his film, btw. I was relating to the discussion here, and I think it's good such a discussion is taking place.

For me it's not an issue of walking on egg shells, it's an issue of dealing with the problem(s). Even without Islam, bringing in masses of people who do not feel any connection to their host country and who follow a primitive, tribal culture will cause problems. Terrorism, jihad, etc. - of course those people base themselves on the Koran, but so do people who don't think jihad is a good thing. The problem is not building mosques. It's using mosques to spread a radical philosophy, it's building a mosque as a way of making a statement instead of simply enabling prayer, it's building mosques as a way to keep distinct instead of finding way to integrate etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

"...The problem is not building mosques. It's using mosques to spread a radical philosophy, it's building a mosque as a way of making a statement instead of simply enabling prayer..."


While I agree with the above assesment entirely; it almost seems like a catch-22.

How can you tell the difference?

Esther said...

I would say it's very simple to differentiate between Muslims who pray and Muslims who preach to annihilate western culture. The Muslim prayer is a very simple prayer consisting of just a few verses from the Koran, repeated a few times.

I don't have magic answers, but I would say the basis is: don't support radical movements. [Of course, then you get into the debate about whether you should support such movements just to keep them 'visible', but that's a different issue.]

Don't hesitate to follow up on mosques and if there are radical preachings or study groups associated with it, shut it down together with any subsidies for extra-curricular activities.

Encourage mosques who show patriotic and national allegiance, as well as adherence to liberal values - freedom of speech, for example.

Minarets, calls to prayer, etc, are used to make a statement, not to pray.

Anonymous said...

I'll throw my hat in the ring one more time.

"The problem is not building mosques. It's using mosques to spread a radical philosophy"

Absolutely, Esther; and this is exactly where I think Wilders went wrong (but as long as you haven't see the video it's hard to discuss it). I can otherwise see no relevance to quoting the number of Muslims in Europe in the context of his film - and I asked for people on this forum to correct me on this point, and nobody did.

"Minarets, calls to prayer, etc, are used to make a statement, not to pray."

I absolutely agree with your point of separating radicalism from the mainstream, and cracking down hard on the extremists. But I'm not sure whether you're right about this last point, and if you are, where do you draw the line? What, for example, about church bells on Sunday mornings? Or at church weddings? Or crosses on church towers for that matter? What about Orthodox Jewish dress? What about Sikh turbans? And what about Jehova Witnesses going door to door (and taking their children along with them)? Should all those be banned along with the calls for prayer, minarets, and domed mosques? Or should every country have one preferred religion (that of the majority, presumably), and should the symbols of all the others be confined behind closed doors? I know you're not talking about banning, but I'm not sure what you ARE proposing. I personally wished people would keep their religion at home, but I doubt whether forcing them to do so is the solution.

Anonymous said...

"...Or crosses on church towers for that matter? What about Orthodox Jewish dress? What about Sikh turbans? And what about Jehova Witnesses going door to door (and taking their children along with them..."

Are any of the above religions or people associated with those religions currently dealing with an extremist minority that is violent?

Are any of the above religions posting video's on the internet of beheadings, suicide bombings, violent jihad, and other chaos caused in the name of their religion?

Sjeord, you know the answers, but the apologies keep piling up.

"...I can otherwise see no relevance to quoting the number of Muslims in Europe in the context of his film..."

To show the explosive growth of the worlds most dangerous religion in Europe, that was the point! That's the message it sends...

That the problem ISN'T going away, its just getting bigger and much worse.

Again, the wheels are slowly turning, but never-the-less, they are turing, and not towards freedom and peace!

Making EXCUSES for them only emboldens the fundamentalists.

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing....

Sjeord, you think that islam is "just like all other religions".

I know from history that it is unique in it's creation, repidness of it's spread, and practice.

We have a complete difference of oppinion.

Where you see similarities between others, I see apologies and excuses that do not address the matter at hand.

Anonymous said...

'repidness' should be 'rapidness'

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but you have a spelling problem anyway, don't you?

You seem to be responding not to what I write here, but to what you THINK I write - not anywhere have I sought apologies or excuses for anything; I have nothing but contempt for Muslim extremists, and have repeatedly stated they should be fought. But have a reality check here - as you say, Europe has a large, and growing Muslim population. Do you propose alienating them, and forcing them into the hands of the extremists; or could there be some sense in letting them have their cultural expressions, as long as they stay within the law of the land? And in treating all citizens of a country, with their quirks, as equal under that law?

Secondly, you tell me not to seek excuses - then don't do so yourself either (although, I never know, you may be a different anonymous): yes, Muslims are killing Muslims in Iraq, but that was predicted long BEFORE the war started, and the US and UK arrogantly decided to go ahead regardless, with no planning for such eventualities (oh, of course, because the people who warned them were bleeding heart liberals).
Countless civilians died, before the sectarian violence even started, from bombs directed at them by a commander-in-chief who called his war "a crusade", and that God told him it was the right thing to do. Do you think we should take him at his word, and thus see another army "creating chaos in the name of their religion", or should we dismiss it as clumsy expressions by an otherwise perfectly secular president? Remember, there was no necessity for the invasion of Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction, nu immediate threat to the invaders.

And I'm not seeking excuses here - I am happy that the world is now free of Saddam Hussein, even if I disagree with the way in which and its aftermath. I believe the Saudi regime is abhorrent, and should have been dealt with ages ago. I also believe the actions of both Sunni and Shia extremists in Iraq are inexcusable. But there is a real difference between trying to find excuses, and trying to see the complexity of a situation, get my point?

Oh lastly, so all other religions are ok. What about Hindus, will you allow them a Ganesha statue in their window, or should that also be hidden until they sort out their suicide bombers, repression of women, and other chaos caused in the name of their religion?

Anonymous said...

"...Hindus, will you allow them a Ganesha statue in their window, or should that also be hidden until they sort out their suicide bombers, repression of women, and other chaos caused in the name of their religion?..."


Yes, yes, the hindu's have gone global with their terror.

There are westernized college educated Hindu terrorists flying planes into building, making beheading videos, and wanting worldwide domination.

Get real.

"...as you say, Europe has a large, and growing Muslim population. Do you propose alienating them, and forcing them into the hands of the extremists..."

They already are alienated.

If they weren't, we would see less apologies for the terrorists and excuses made for them by their community and more proactive action in denouncing terrorism, the starting of foundations against terrorism by Muslim's themselves, and OPEN DIALOGUE.

This is not happening and I suspect will never happen; execially not when you have societies that make excuses for them all the time.

Anonymous said...

So it's only in Sri Lanka and Pakistan that Hindus should not be allowed to show their Ganeshas? Hey, that means it's actually you who is making excuses for Pakistan's repressive Muslims here!

I'm very real, anonymous, I even have a name to show for it, unlike you. But complexity does not disappear by shouting, at every attempt to elucidate them, that it is an attempt to find excuses for inexcusable behavior. Again, remember I have not called for a ban on Wilders' expressions, in spite of the fact I believe they are a sorry excuse for discourse, and damaging to society; nor have I made any comments to suggest that I believe his film is more damaging than a suicide bombing, or whatever. But strangely enough, I don't really expect responsible behavior from a suicide bomber; I do from an elected politician in a secular democracy which I hold dear. Yes, accuse me of double standards and hypocrisy, fine.

Moreover, and to come back to the original subject of the last two days: it's actually the largest moderate MUSLIM organization in the Netherlands (the "Landelijk Beraad Marokkanen", the National Council of Moroccans") which have NOT criticized Wilders' film - or at least, have kept their criticism very mild (they said they were "relieved" after seeing it) compared with the Dutch government and Jewish and Christian organizations in the Netherlands. They are speaking out, and they are speaking out continuously, but you are not listening. But hey, a Muslim organization saying something sensible is of course much less sexy for news reporters than a ranting Iranian president, or four stupid Dutch-Moroccan youths (who before 2001 wouldn't even have thought of calling themselves Muslim) burning a car. Oh, before you go on your repetitive rant again, I am not trying to find excuses for them, I think they should caught, taken to court, given whatever punishment and correction a judge may deem appropriate, etc. etc. But I'm also not trying to find excuses for lazy news reporters, or for anyone trying to deny complexity to reality, and there's no court system to take them to, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, "sjeord" tells me a lot about you, give me a break.

Are you off your soap-box yet?

All you wrote was a whole lot of nothing. Deflecting the issue, yet again, refusing to acknowledge the uniqueness of the fundamentalist muslim and their place in their society.

"..."Landelijk Beraad Marokkanen", the National Council of Moroccans") which have NOT criticized Wilders' film - or at least, have kept their criticism very mild (they said they were "relieved" after seeing it)..."

Relieved? That is what they said, relieved? What does that tell you?

"...So it's only in Sri Lanka and Pakistan that Hindus should not be allowed to show their Ganeshas? Hey, that means it's actually you who is making excuses for Pakistan's repressive Muslims here!..."

Thank you for the insane rambling; I apologize for nobody.