Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fear disguised as "sensitivity"

Raymond de Souza highlights the deception that most Western media are hiding behind in relation to the Muhammad cartoons:

Doug Kelly, the Post's editor-in-chief, told me flatly that his decision not to publish the cartoons to date was an editorial one, made on principle, not from fear of reprisals. He added that he would not publish an offensive image of Jesus in similar circumstances.

Given the Post's track record, that's credible. But what about other Canadian media, which have carried material offensive to, say, Christian sensibilities? Take, for example, Tony Burman, editor in chief of CBC news:

"We felt that we could easily describe the drawings in simple and clear English without actually showing them," he wrote. "This was intended, without embarrassment, as an act of respect not only for Islam but for all religions."

Is that plausible? CBC is not shy about news reports which show swastikas painted on Jewish institutions, or blasphemous "art" using Christian images. They cover those stories without asking, as Mr. Burman does, "Why should we insult and upset an important part of our audience for absolutely no public value? ... Where do we draw the line?"

It may be that the line is drawn where the fear exists that a firebomb might be thrown across it. It is implausible that the secularists who dominate elite media in Canada are suddenly concerned about respecting the Islamic prohibition on images of the Prophet.

If fear of reprisals is at work, let's be honest about it.

Mr Pedo-pants

Fry his ass.

A 40-year-old Toronto comic better known as the obnoxious Scot who berates bartenders and pub patrons in television commercials for Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale has been charged with possessing child pornography and making it available over the Internet.

Robert Norman Smith was charged yesterday after detectives from the Toronto police child exploitation section searched his home on a warrant Tuesday. He was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of making available child pornography.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Islam: the adolescent faith

Salim Mansur has an interesting observation on the ages of religions:

Why, then, is there such a disconnect between what Muslims insist their faith represents and the conduct of some Muslims, as we witness it in recent times?

For a plausible figurative explanation consider the following: Chronologically speaking Islam is in its 15th century, Christianity in its 21st and Judaism in its 58th.

We might express the ages of these three faith-traditions in terms of human life span, with Islam being in its adolescent years, Christianity having entered into its adult years and Judaism being well past its middle age.

Several centuries ago when Christianity was about the same age as Islam is today, it too often showed characteristics of adolescents lacking in introspection, readily prone to committing violence and in taking offence, behaving uncharitably toward others and being self-righteous.

The remarkable achievement of Judaism, from the perspective of its relatively long life, is survival against terrible odds.

This has provided Judaism with the wisdom of respectful coexistence with other faith traditions.

What we view in the behaviour of radical Muslims as bewildering -- people who have, for instance, dynamited the Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, gutted churches, repeatedly insulted people of other faiths -- is consistent with the conduct of an adolescent, yet to grow up and understand that actions have consequences.

The Falklands stay British

Hugo Chav-ez is trying to stir up trouble by inflamatory lingo over the Falkland Islands.

Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has called Tony Blair "the main ally of Hitler" and called on him to return the Falkland Islands to Argentina.

As part of an ongoing verbal dispute, Mr Chavez said the islands belonged to Argentina and demanded Britain give them back.

Mr Blair infuriated Mr Chavez earlier this week when he said the Venezuelan president should respect the rules of the international community.

Mr Chavez responded to Mr Blair's comments by branding him "a pawn of imperialism" and "the main ally of Hitler" - a reference to American President George W Bush.

In his latest attack on Mr Blair, Mr Chavez said Britain had violated the sovereignty of various nations - citing the case of the Falklands.

"We have to remember the Falklands, how they were taken away from the Argentinians," he said.

Speaking in the western Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, he added: "Those islands are Argentina's. Return them, Mr Blair. Those islands are Argentina's." .
Chavez is obviously clueless of history. Spain, France and Britain all had possession of the islands or parts thereof decades before Argentina existed as a nation. Britain withdrew in 1774, Spain (which had taken over the French settlement) withdrew in 1811. Both left plaques asserting their sovereignty over the islands.

The Argentinians didn't mount a settlement attempt until 1820, and it only lasted until 1831, when it was destroyed by the Americans. After this, the British reasserted their sovereignty, repossessed the islands, and have held them ever since.

Consequently, Argentina's historical claim to the islands is virtually non-existent. But so is their contemporary claim, since the island's population overwhelmingly wants to remain British. Of course, what the people want is of very little concern to dictators like Chavez, but hey, Chavvy old boy, if you want to "liberate" them, why not give it a shot? You're due for an ass-kicking, just as the Argentine junta was in 1982.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Kinsley: "The Ayatollah joke book"

Michael Kinsley points out that the Muslim's cartoon of Hitler and Anne Frank merely demonstrates that the West does in fact believe in freedom of speech, despite the craven reactions of many of its newspapers and governments.

Meanwhile, whatever point these European Muslims were making with their cartoon of Hitler and Anne Frank is more or less disproved by their very exercise. No one tried to stop them from putting the cartoon on the Web. The notion that jokes about Frank are beyond the pale is provably false. There's a play running in New York right now called "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother." It's a monologue written and acted by stand-up comic Judy Gold, who says on stage every night that her mother used to read to her from a pop-up version of Anne Frank's diary, and would say, "Pull the tab, Judith. Alive. Pull it again. Dead." Maybe you had to be there. But the New York Times reviewer called the play "fiercely funny, honest and moving" and did not demand that the author be executed or even admonished.

By contrast, in a spectacular exercise of self-censorship, almost every major newspaper in this country is refraining from publishing the controversial Danish cartoons, even though they are at the center of a major news story that these papers cover at length every day. An editorial in the Times on Wednesday said that not publishing the cartoons was "a reasonable choice" because they would offend many people and "are so easy to describe in words." As I write I am looking at a front-page photo in today's Times of Mariah Carey singing into a microphone. Words do it justice, I think.
And here's a wonderful sentence that cuts to the chase of whether we should be concerned about Muslim offence:
But the limits of free expression cannot be set by the sensitivities of people who don't believe in it.

It's official: sneezing is not the same as an orgasm

So put that pepper shaker away.

Fahrenheit 451 on PEI

The controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have incited worldwide violent protests are now causing a stir at the University of Prince Edward Island.

The student newspaper, The UPEI Cadre, chose to run the cartoons in its most recent edition fresh off the press. UPEI moved quickly Wednesday to stop the paper from being distributed on campus.

“When we realized that they were in circulation, we acted to round up the copies that were in circulation,’’ said UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan.

“We see it as a reckless invitation to public disorder and humiliation.’’

Rants From The Right Coast comments here.

Steve Janke points out that:

Muslims riot. Muslims burn. Muslims rampage. And Muslims get their way.

The rest of us act in a civilized manner. Our reward? In the institution that most symbolizes civilization, the university, we concede to the barbarians without even a semblance of resistance.
"Barbarians" is a word that has been going through my mind a lot, lately.

The decline of Europe

Theodore Dalrymple gives a pessimistic view of Europe's future, which is sadly well-rooted in current realities.

The principal motor of Europe’s current decline is, in my view, its obsession with social security, which has created rigid social and economic systems that are extremely resistant to change. And this obsession with social security is in turn connected with a fear of the future: for the future has now brought Europe catastrophe and relative decline for more than a century.

What exactly is it that Europeans fear, given that their decline has been accompanied by an unprecedented increase in absolute material well-being? An open economy holds out more threat to them than promise: they believe that the outside world will bring them not trade and wealth, but unemployment and a loss of comfort. They therefore are inclined to retire into their shell and succumb to protectionist temptation, both internally with regard to the job market, and externally with regard to other nations. And the more those other nations advance relative to themselves, the more necessary does protection seem to them. A vicious circle is thus set up.

In the process of course, the state is either granted or arrogates to itself (or, of course, both) ever-greater powers. A bureaucratic monster is created that takes on a life of its own, that is not only uneconomic but anti-economic, and that can be reformed only at the cost of social unrest that politicians naturally wish to avoid. Inertia intermittently punctuated by explosion is therefore the most likely outcome.
But there are other threats to Europe. The miserabilist view of the European past, in which achievement on a truly stupendous scale is disregarded in favor of massacre, oppression and injustice, deprives the population of any sense of pride or tradition to which it might contribute or which might be worth preserving. This loss of cultural confidence is particularly important at a time of mass immigration from very alien cultures, an immigration that can be successfully negotiated (as it has been in the past, or in the United States up to the era of multiculturalism) only if the host nations believe themselves to be the bearers of cultures into which immigrants wish, or ought to wish, to integrate, assimilate, and make their own.

In the absence of any such belief, there is a risk that the only way in which people inhabiting a country will have anything in common is geographical; and civil conflict is the method in which they will resolve their very different and entrenched conceptions about the way life should be lived. This is particularly true when immigrants are in possession, as they believe, of a unique and universal truth, such as Islam in its various forms often claims to be. If the host nation is so lacking in cultural confidence that it does not even make familiarity with the national language a condition of citizenship (as has been until recently the case in Great Britain), it is hardly surprising that integration does not proceed very far.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

See Cindy not run

She will not run for the Senate after all. Damn! What am I going to do with all the popcorn I've been hoarding?

The Bill Of No Rights


by Lewis Napper

We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our descendants, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other proponents of socialism and or authoritarianism.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that many people are confused by the Bill of Rights and apparently require a Bill of No Rights.

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country was based upon freedom, and that means freedom for everyone-not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of dolts, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free of harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who will achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free healthcare, regardless of what Hillary thinks. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public heath care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you won't have the right to big screen color TV or life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.

ARTICLE IX: You don't have the right to a job. All of us want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

Choice or hypocritical cowardice?

Canadi-anna has made a post at her blog in which she supports the non-publication of the Muhammad cartoons in the Canadian media for the reason of not gratuitously causing religious offense to Canadian Muslims. It's well worth a read, and as usual, it is a well written and thought-out post, but I have to disagree with her.

When Jyllands-Posten originally posted the Muhammad cartoons, they quite clearly stated their purpose in doing so.

The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is of minor importance in the present context. [...] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. - Sourced from Wikipedia

Previously, a Danish writer had been unable to get an artist to illustrate her book about Muhammad because they feared the consequences, and this had stimulated a debate about self-censorship. The purpose of the twelve Muhammad cartoons was to make a point in this ongoing debate about Western self-censorship in relation to Islam, not to cause offense to Muslims (though that was certainly a predictable result).

In her post Canadi-anna first states:

When a crucifix is put in a jar of urine and called art, I am offended. When the Pope was depicted as a Nazi in a cartoon on Rabble, I was offended. When Warren Kinsella (and many others since) mocked evangelical Christians for their faith, I was offended. Media in the Middle East still perpetuate the blood libel, and that offends me.
Those are indeed offensive to Christians and to Jews. However, that certainly did not stop Western main-stream-media from choosing to print pictures of Piss Christ and of the Virgin Mary portrait in elephant dung. Indeed, the New York Times did so again the other day in an article about the Muhammad cartoons!

This establishes a principle: that just because a lot of people find something religiously offensive, it will not stop the Western media from freely choosing to publish it in the interests of presenting accurate and informative news to the public, and as an exercise of freedom of expression in doing so.

That principle has been established, and it is therefore reasonable to expect that it will be consistently applied. But with the Muhammad cartoons episode, that principle has not been applied. Indeed, it has been completely abandoned by most of the Western MSM.

Why is that? It cannot be out of concern for hurting people's religious sensibilities, because the precedent-setting principle talked about above has already been established with instances of offensive matter to Christians. There must be another reason.

The only other major difference between printing images offensive to Christians and images offensive to Muslims is the reaction of those offended. Christians show that they are offended by letters to the editor, organising economic boycotts, and other peaceful means. Many Muslims (not all, but a significant enough number) react with death threats, violent demonstrations, burning of embassies, kidnappings, beheadings and calls for holocausts and terrorist outrages.

We can therefore tie these two differences together: the difference in the media's attitude toward publication of offensive images, and the difference in reactions of the offended. To put it plainly: the media will publish images offensive to Christians because they know the reaction will not overtly threaten them. They have "chosen" not to publish the Muhammad cartoons because they are frightened of the violent reaction. (I placed the word "chosen" in speech marks because, despite assertions to the contrary, this is not really a free choice, but an example of coercion.)

Western MSM is therefore, being hypocritical and cowardly by hiding behind a fake concern to not cause offense. If someone chooses not to show the cartoons because they have a general principle to avoid any images that give offense that is one thing (though I disagree with that, too), but to make publishing dependent upon the reactions of those offended while hiding behind a facade of demonstrably false concern is nothing more than hypocrisy and cowardice. It demonstrates what Jyllands-Posten has been saying all along: there is indeed fear-based self-censorship in the West regarding Islam.

Intact tomb found in Valley Of The Kings

Exciting stuff for archaeology freaks!

An American team has found what appears to be an intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the first found in the valley since that of Tutankhamun in 1922, one of the archaeologists said on Thursday.

The tomb contains five or six mummies in intact sarcophagi from the late 18th dynasty, about the same period as Tutankhamun, but the archaeologists have not yet had the time or the access to identify them, the archaeologist added.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hinzman decision imminent

Deserting American traitor Jeremy Hinzman will shortly receive the decision of Federal court.

UPDATE: And by "shortly" I mean "could take bloody ages".

The soldiers want the Federal Court of Canada to overturn an immigration board decision last March that denied them refugee status in Canada. A decision on this round of the judicial process is not expected for several months, and it could take years to exhaust all legal appeals.

Muslim comment of the day


"They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers"
Thanks for clearing that up, then.

H/T: Secular Blasphemy

The myth of declining wages

Next time you read lamentings about how people's real wages have declined, keep this column by Thomas Sowell in mind:

Economists' estimates of how much the consumer price index exaggerates inflation range from an estimate of one percentage point by former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan to an estimate of 1.5 percent by Michael Boskin, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President.

Even if we take the lower estimate of one percentage point, over a period of 25 years, that under-estimates the real income of the average American by nearly $9,000. In other words, a working couple will have their real income under-estimated by nearly 18 grand, using the consumer price index to correct for inflation.

No wonder the income statistics look so bad, even while the standard of living is rising and Americans have a higher net worth than before. Nothing is easier than to turn reality upside down, especially if you are just trying to score points, instead of getting at the truth.

What are rights?

Lovely column by Walter E Williams:

The way our Constitution's framers used the term, a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech, or freedom to travel, is something we all simultaneously possess. My right to free speech or freedom to travel imposes no obligation upon another except that of non-interference. In other words, my exercising my right to speech or travel requires absolutely nothing from you and in no way diminishes any of your rights.
Contrast that vision of a right to so-called rights to medical care, food or decent housing, independent of whether a person can pay. Those are not rights in the sense that free speech and freedom of travel are rights. If it is said that a person has rights to medical care, food and housing, and has no means of paying, how does he enjoy them? There's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy who provides them. You say, "The Congress provides for those rights." Not quite. Congress does not have any resources of its very own. The only way Congress can give one American something is to first, through the use of intimidation, threats and coercion, take it from another American. So-called rights to medical care, food and decent housing impose an obligation on some other American who, through the tax code, must be denied his right to his earnings. In other words, when Congress gives one American a right to something he didn't earn, it takes away the right of another American to something he did earn.

How Danish Imams contributed to the violence

At Michelle Malkin, details of how Imams in Denmark fabricated additional (and very offensive) cartoons to inflame the Muslim world.

In addition to the fake drawings and photos and the other lies included in the Danish imams' propaganda pamphlet posted over at The Counterterrorism Blog, my reader reports that Danish radio has enumerated additional falsehoods.
The imams reportedly spread lies that the Jyllands-Posten had 120 cartoons, not 12, and that the paper was owned by the government. (There are no state-run newspapers in Denmark.) In addition, the imams reportedly claimed that the Danish government would censor the Koran, burn the Koran, and that Danes were planning to make a blasphemous movie about Mohammed. (Brussels Journal and Jyllands-Posten had initial reports on these lies. See here and here.)

And the logical conclusion:
Denmark is being punished at the instigation of radical imams because twelve cartoonists have depicted Muhammad. However, these imams created their own three Muhammad images. They have even presented a French clown as being Muhammad. Because the twelve JP cartoonists are not Muslims, the Muslim blasphemy laws do not apply to them. But these laws do apply to the imams. Consequently, these imams deserve death. They – and no-one else – depicted the prophet as a pig – the highest imaginable insult in Islam.

Cartoonish moral equivalency

Kathleen Parker tackles the leftist idea that the cartoon portrayals of Muhammad are somehow equivalent to Nazi cartoons of Jews or racist cartoons of blacks:

The other argument, also based on a logical fallacy, is that the Danish cartoons are comparable to racist caricatures of Jews in Nazi Germany and blacks in the segregationist South. The Boston Globe, which saw fit in the past to defend "Piss Christ" (a photograph of a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine) as well as a depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in feces as worthy of government subsidy, made such a case recently.

There are at least two reasons why The Globe's comparison is bogus: gas chambers and lynchings. Both the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan were officially sanctioned enforcers of immoral social orders that used caricature to further degrade and dehumanize beleaguered minorities they ultimately murdered.

There is no equivalence between organized murder on behalf of a malignant social system and a half-dozen nerdy artists, speaking only for themselves, lampooning a fanatical religious sect whose members, by the way, specifically advance the delightful goal of exterminating millions of "infidels."

The correct comparison, in fact, for Nazi and Klan terrorists are their brothers under the hoods — the jihadists who issued a death sentence on writer Salman Rushdie, who beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl and businessman Nick Berg, and who kidnapped an innocent American female journalist and showed videos of her sobbing and terrified among armed men holding guns to her head.

These are the fascist thugs, not the artists who draw cartoons in the service of democracy and truth. And those who out of a misguided sense of cultural sensitivity and niceness try to justify Muslim outrage over a cartoon are, frankly, lending aid and comfort to the enemies of civilization.

Stunning New York Times hypocrisy

Via National Review.

So - the New York Times writes about the Danish cartoon controversy, and includes a photo of demonstrators... and one other photo. The caption:
Chris Ofili's "Holy Virgin Mary" was at the center of controversy when shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999.
Yup, it's the Virgin Mary depicted in elephant dung painting.
What a bunch of wimps. They'll run photos of art that offends Christians from seven years ago in a heartbeat, but they won't dare run a cartoon that could offend their Muslim readers.


Where are the moderate Muslims?

Tom Bevan asks the question.

And so we wait and continue to wonder: where are the moderate Muslims today? Where have they been for the last five years? We saw protests against terrorism in the streets of Amman last year – but only after the horrendous suicide bombing of a wedding shocked the consciousness of Jordanians. Aside from that, we’ve seen nothing demonstrating the magnitude and seriousness one would expect from hundreds of millions of people outraged over the fact their religion’s good name has been hijacked and distorted by a small group of fundamentalists.

There are only two conclusions to be drawn: moderate, peace-loving Muslims are either unable to win the battle against fundamentalism, or they are unwilling to win it. We are fast approaching the day when the continued lack of demonstrable effort on the part of moderate Muslims serves to disabuse the West of the notion that Islam “is peace.” That would be a terrible thing, and it would make the struggle of moderate Muslims that much more difficult in the end. The time for action is now.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Betraying freedom of speech

Michelle Malkin rounds up the largely disappointing reactions of the American media to the Cartoon Jihad. Needless to say, Canadian and UK papers are equally cowardly.

Cartoons and Islamic imperialism

Daniel Pipes gets it:

The key issue at stake in the battle over the 12 Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad is this: Will the West stand up for its customs and mores, including freedom of speech, or will Muslims impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately, there is no compromise: Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.

More specifically, will Westerners accede to a double standard by which Muslims are free to insult Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, while Muhammad, Islam, and Muslims enjoy immunity from insults? Muslims routinely publish cartoons far more offensive than the Danish ones. Are they entitled to dish it out while being insulated from similar indignities?

Germany's Die Welt newspaper hinted at this issue in an editorial: "The protests from Muslims would be taken more seriously if they were less hypocritical. When Syrian television showed drama documentaries in prime-time depicting rabbis as cannibals, the imams were quiet." Nor, by the way, have imams protested the stomping on the Christian cross embedded in the Danish flag.

The deeper issue here, however, is not Muslim hypocrisy but Islamic supremacism. The Danish editor who published the cartoons, Flemming Rose, explained that if Muslims insist "that I, as a non-Muslim, should submit to their taboos ... they're asking for my submission."
Meanwhile, Antonia Zerbisias reaches from under the Burqah to rant about right-wing "hate", and shows that she doesn't get it at all:

In terms of the North American corporate media, only a few dailies, including Montreal's Le Devoir, have republished the cartoons, which are not particularly good, not very funny and not necessary to understanding the story. As many editors have explained, merely describing the cartoons is sufficient for making the point.

I hope that's the real reason for their reticence. I would hate to think that newspapers are backing away to avoid angry protests, to prevent ad boycotts, out of political correctness or a sense that some communities should get special treatment or, most of all, because they fear violent reprisals.

If you're in the news business, sometimes you just have to take major risks in order to defend freedom of the press.
But only if it happens to promote your particular political ideology, eh? Funny how I don't recall Ms. Zerbisias following the same reasoning with the Piss Christ episode or the portrait of Mary in elephant dung. The only difference is that newspapers could (quite rightly) publish pictures of those without fear of rioting, death threats and mob violence, and they were quite happy to do so with no consideration to offended Christians or reasonings that a mere description was enough to make the point.

Hells bells, I'm an atheist and yet I can see this stinking hypocrisy a mile away!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hirsi Ali speaks out

Hirsi Ali is the Dutch politician who was forced into hiding by threats from Islamofascists. She is interviewed at Spiegel Online:

SPIEGEL: Why have the protests escalated to such an extent?

Hirsi Ali: There is no freedom of speech in those Arab countries where the demonstrations and public outrage are being staged. The reason many people flee to Europe from these places is precisely because they have criticized religion, the political establishment and society. Totalitarian Islamic regimes are in a deep crisis. Globalization means that they're exposed to considerable change, and they also fear the reformist forces developing among émigrés in the West. They'll use threatening gestures against the West, and the success they achieve with their threats, to intimidate these people.

SPIEGEL: Was apologizing for the cartoons the wrong thing to do?

Hirsi Ali: Once again, the West pursued the principle of turning first one cheek, then the other. In fact, it's already a tradition. In 1980, privately owned British broadcaster ITV aired a documentary about the stoning of a Saudi Arabian princess who had allegedly committed adultery. The government in Riyadh intervened and the British government issued an apology. We saw the same kowtowing response in 1987 when (Dutch comedian) Rudi Carrell derided (Iranian revolutionary leader) Ayatollah Khomeini in a comedy skit (that was aired on German television). In 2000, a play about the youngest wife of the Prophet Mohammed, titled "Aisha," was cancelled before it ever opened in Rotterdam. Then there was the van Gogh murder and now the cartoons. We are constantly apologizing, and we don't notice how much abuse we're taking. Meanwhile, the other side doesn't give an inch.

SPIEGEL: What should the appropriate European response look like?

Hirsi Ali: There should be solidarity. The cartoons should be displayed everywhere. After all, the Arabs can't boycott goods from every country. They're far too dependent on imports. And Scandinavian companies should be compensated for their losses. Freedom of speech should at least be worth that much to us.

Leftist hypocrisy

Much of the leftwing intellectual elite has been lecturing against freedom of speech, condemning the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, and pontificating that we all need to be more respectful of religious sensibilities, and that the real issue here is Islamophobic intolerance.

Meanwhile, leftist actors are involved in this:

In a new Turkish movie, "Kurtlar vadisi - Irak" ("Valley of the Wolves--Iraq") U.S. soldiers are portrayed as brutal murderers who "kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison - where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv," according to AP. Gary Busey plays the Jewish-American doctor.
Then, there is actor Billy Zane. Boycott him, too.
He defames American soldiers, portraying one of this nasty movie's version: evil, brutal, cold-hearted murderers. According to a summary of the "fabulous" anti-American plot of this "film", his character, Sam W. Marshall, "raids [an] Arabian wedding where everyone from the region comes together. He kills tens of people. All are civilians. Leila, the bride of the wedding, loses her future groom in the killings. Apart from the people who were murdered there, also a lot of people are declared terrorists and arrested.

Can we expect Jews to be rioting in cities, torching embassies, and calling for the beheadings of those who make and star in this film? Of course not. Jewish people are civilized, not barbarians.
But we also can't expect lectures from leftwing intellectuals condemning this movie and others like it, and calling for restraint in the exercise of freedom of speech in the name of tolerance and respect.

That's because leftists are nothing more than dishonest hypocrites.

Addendum: This article by Rocco DiPippo highlights the cowardly hypocrisy of much of the English-speaking MSM by contrasting the reactions to Piss Christ with the Muhammad cartoons.

Back in 1988, Andres Serrano submerged a crucifix in a vat of his urine, photographed the result and called it “art.”

Naturally, many of the world's two billion Christians were bothered by his antics. Members of the U.S. Congress called for a hard look at the National Endowment for the Arts, which had helped fund Serrano. Public outcry against Serrano was vocal and widespread.

As the uproar grew, numerous editorials in defense of Piss Christ, Serrano's controversial creation, were printed in U.S. and European newspapers and the Western cultural elite quickly sprang to his defense. For months, the New York Times beat the “freedom of expression” drum for all its worth, publishing numerous articles and opinion pieces sympathetic to Serrano and depicting him as courageous. In New York City, where Serrano lived, 400 New York artists held a public rally in support of his work and his right to create and display it. Serrano became a celebrated art world hero.

Though some criticisms of Piss Christ, and the man who created it, were intemperate, Serrano's art was never forced underground, nor was his life seriously threatened, nor was he forced into hiding a la Salman Rushdie or placed in protective custody. Violence-prone packs of Christians did not roam the streets of Paris, or London, or Frankfurt, or Madrid, or New York calling for the head of Piss Christ's creator.

The rejuvenation of Europe?

Victor Davis Hanson sees hopeful signs that Europe is regaining its spinal fortitude.
Yet suddenly in 2006, the Europeans seem to have collectively resuscitated. The Madrid bombings, the murder of Theo van Gogh, the London subway attacks, and the French rioting in October and November seem to have prompted at least some Europeans at last to question their once hallowed sense of multiculturalism in which Muslim minorities were not asked to assimilate at home and Islamic terrorists abroad were seen as mere militants or extremists rather than enemies bent on destroying the West.

On January 19, Jacques Chirac warned that his military would use its nuclear forces to target states that sponsored terrorism against France—El Cid braggadocio that made George Bush’s past Wild West lingo like ‘smoke ‘em out’ and ‘dead or alive’ seem Pollyannaish by comparison. Not long after, it was disclosed that the French and the Americans have coordinated their efforts to keep Syria out of Lebanon and to isolate Bashar Assad’s shaky Syrian regime. And in a recent news conference Donald Rumsfeld and the new German defense minister Franz Josef Jung sounded as if they were once more the old allies of the past, fighting shoulder to shoulder against terrorists who would like to do to Berlin what they did to New York.

Of course, the French aren't exactly balanced and even-tempered when it comes to military decisions. Either they're waving the white flag pathetically, or they're shouting "merde!" into a hail of bullets. Better the "merde!" approach when dealing with the Islamofascists though.

So is Europe now finally at the front or will they retreat Madrid-like in the face of the inevitable second round of terrorist bombings and threats to come?

Americans are not confident, but we should remember at least one simple fact: Europe is the embryo of the entire Western military tradition. The new European Union encompasses a population greater than the United States and spans a continent larger than our own territory. It has a greater gross domestic product than that of America and could, in theory, field military forces as disciplined and as well equipped as our own.

It is not the capability but the will power of the Europeans that has been missing in this war so far. But while pundits argue over whether the European demographic crisis, lack of faith, stalled economy, or multiculturalism are at the root of the continent’s impotence, we should never forget that if aroused and pushed, a rearmed and powerful Europe could still be at the side of the United States in joint efforts against the jihadists. And should we ever see a true alliance of such Western powers, the war against the fascists of the Middle East would be simply over in short order.
Given the craven attitude of both the governments and media in the Anglosphere, maybe it's the Europeans who should lack confidence in us!

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