Condemn the Danish attacks, defend free speech: with no “but”‘s !

February 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm (anti-semitism, fascism, Free Speech, islamism, murder, posted by JD, reblogged, Uncategorized)

Reblogged from Tendance Coatesy:

Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy.

The Krudttønden cafe in central Østerbro, Denmark,  was sprayed with bullets on Saturday afternoon. The attack came during a free-speech debate with controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the prophet Muhammad in cartoons.

From the recording of the meeting on the BBC site:

We hear: “Yes, it is freedom of speech but” “the turning point is but…” “Why do we still say but…”

Sounds of shots….

There have been plenty of “buts” recently. Above of from those enemies of free-speech and liberty who begin “I condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings, But.”

Follow latest updates

Parts of Copenhagen were on lockdown Saturday night after deadly twin attacks on the Danish capital.

A café holding an event in support of freedom of speech was attacked by two gunmen early on Saturday, leaving one man dead and three police officers injured.

After searching for the gunman for hours, police reported another shooting near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen after midnight. One man died from a gunshot wound to the head and two police officers wre left injured. The gunman fled on foot, and police warned people to be vigilant and follow the instructions of officers flooding the city centre.

The meeting was organised by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced several death threats for his controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The attack came just over a month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in which Islamist terrorists killed 17 people.

The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, was one of the speakers at the event, which was described by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister as a “terrorist act”.

As many as 200 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden café and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.

From here.

Also already in Wikipedia.

Deaths: Finn Nørgaard, 55, a film director, Dan Uzan was killed while guarding the synagogue in Krystalgade during a bar mitzvah celebration.

Two police officers were also hit but their injuries were said not to be life-threatening.

Danish Red-Green Unity bloc (Enhedslistens, De Rød-Grønne) statement, We must stand together against terror and extremism

Enhedslistens political spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, said after the attack to a debate on Oesterbro :

– I think we are all deeply affected and shocked by what has just happened in Copenhagen. Everything indicates that there is a terrorist attack on a peaceful debate event. You can not condemn enough.  It is completely incomprehensible and mad that someone seems prepared to attack other people because of drawings or positions they disagree with. I hope the police quickly catch the person or the initiators behind the acts.

– The strongest response to such attacks is to show that we do not let ourselves be cowed. We must continue to think, write and draw exactly what we want.  And we must stand together and show that terrorists and extremists will not succeed to sow discord and hatred in our society.

To those about to launch statements about Lars Vilks and the Freedom of Speech seminar full of “buts“, (notably the figures present at this event, Islamophobia and the war on terror who seem to live in a world where Islamist Genociders do not exist except as a product of ‘imperialism’) we say this:

We are not prepared to engage in the dead-end of arguing about what is, or what is not, in the Qu’ran, or ‘Islam’.


  1. Howard Fuller said,

    Yup. As a non-believer in any “god” or “gods” I have no interest in arguning over the contents of a fictional theology.

  2. Ian Pirie said,

    BUT why would anybody want to draw a picture of Mohammed with the body of a dog? What possible revolutionary, socialist or radical message does this convey?

    • Jim Denham said,

      probably none: and your point is?

    • dagmar said,

      AND WHY would anybody living in this day and age get worked up about it?

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Unfortunately there are plenty of nutters around to get worked up and kill for something that does not exist.

    • Bob-B said,

      Most people do numerous things that convey no revolutionary, socialist or radical message. Maybe that is even true of you.

      • Ian Pirie said,

        Sure, but I try not to do things that publicly insult millions of people, many of whom already suffer discrimination. My question still stands: why do this? What point does it make?

      • Jim Denham said,

        I don’t know what point the cartoonist was trying to make, and I don’t care. It’s clearly not a gross, racially offensive cartoon of the type regularly produced in Arab states about Jews; I support the right of cartoonists (and anyone else) to mock religions and religious figures: that right does not depend upon it having any particular “point” – not if you support free speech.

        What “point” did The Life Of Brian make?

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      There has ot been anything radical in the so called socialist movement since Trotsky was murdered by the comrades. Trotsky and any radical socialist would never have tolerated fascist Islam.

    • Chris Brennan said,

      No revolutionary message, just to be as offensive as possible to the continued victims of Western Imperialism.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        That is your interpretation, so I guess you are one of the defend free speech but…types.
        The victims of Western Imperialism, you mean the working classes of the World?
        As one of the victims of Western imperialism you are free to mock me, I really don’t mind. I have the right to offend and to be offended.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Hang on a mo! Aren’t the working class in the Middle East also victims of Islamic capitalism? Or is it just Western capitalism that is the bad guy?
        Western Imperalism? I’m confused, which Western countries have an empire, either in or outside of Islam?

  3. Jim Denham said,

    The Guardian, after some recent hopeful signs, returns to its more usual, wretched, relativism. They’re not even sure they’re entirely in favour of free speech, which now, it seems, “has to be weighed alongside the importance of respecting difference.”

    • Dave said,

      “But all of Europe is engaged in an unprecedented struggle to balance the fundamental rights that are its priceless postwar inheritance with the most cherished beliefs of its new citizens. The right to free speech has to be weighed alongside the importance of respecting difference. In protecting one, there is always the risk of undermining the other. ”

      This was from that Guardian article and really does highlight the fallacious reasoning that the PomoPoCo brigade get bogged down with.

      There is no balance to be assessed by freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It is a false dichotomy. My freedom to draw a picture of Mohammed as a caterpillar will never in any way restrict the freedom of religious congregation or thought.

      “Cherished belief of new citizens” What does this mean, when do they become old citizens? Just because they are “new” why is this significant?

      Why should I feel compelled to respect difference, that would imply junking all critical reasoning altogether and a priori replace it with respect. Respecting what then? Voodoo, superstition, 6,000 year old universe arguments. Respecting paedophilia?

      But if we are only concerned with curtailing our P’s and Q’s in respect of one religion we are all compelled to privilege our concerns in drastically unequal measures. The contradictions of privilege theory
      one may argue, but hey ho it all post modernism any way so it is valid whatsoever.

      Lars Wilks most probably drew the cartoon because he could, it seems unnecessary to search beyond that reason for further mystical hypotheses that would supposedly discover his hidden motivations. Another PomoPoCo method of thinking which is nearly as daft as getting the astrologers chart out.

  4. Rosie said,

    The three awful articles I read – Muir, Andrew Brown & some other one – about respect, compromise etc – were hammered in the comments.

    Of course Jenkins & Milne haven’t added their pieces yet.

    As for the Beeb & Channel 4 Journalists going “provocative” and “controversial” at those who are targetted by fascists – I have no words bad enough for them, but Fuck them will do as starters.

    • charliethechulo said,

      Yes, It’s well worth reading the comments in CiF (for a change), eg this below Muir’s piece:

      “Exactly my thoughts as well. Just a few hours after another horrifically fascist attack on free speech and Jews – the first comment piece by the Guardian “has to be” about how we should show more understanding towards what upsets Muslims “who would never think to murder but also abhor publication of these cartoons” ???!!!

      “Shameless – shameless – shameless!”

      • Jim Denham said,

        Here some comments more below Hugh Muir’s piece:

        (Muir says) “we must guard against the understandable temptation to be provocative in the publication of these cartoons if the sole objective is to establish that we can do so. With rights to free speech come responsibilities.”

        (comment from Harif): “What’s provacative about Jews in Synagogues Hugh?

        (Comment from Fencewalker): “Now be fair, Harif, it’s really important that you allow Hugh to cherry-pick and ignore stuff like that otherwise his entire argument will collapse and there’ll be nothing in the air bar a faint smell of Chamberlain.”

        (Further comment from Harif): “And, if I may act as a devil’s advocate, I think I can answer the question:
        1. Jews
        2. Synagogues.
        But I expect there’ll be no slew of articles on that.”

  5. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    When did the left start this islamaphobia nonsense and why? When did the left abandon socialism and start giving credence to the islamic fascist death cult that covers the face of women?

  6. Jim Denham said,

    Today’s Morning Star carries this attack on “New Atheism” (timely, eh?) from a Hamas supporter:

  7. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Looks like the morning star have been sleeping for the past few decades since their soviet pals were exposed. It must have been a shock to the system admitting the Gulag existed.
    Now they are ignoring the fact that muslims are slaughtering their way across the planet. But just stick to the line that the Yanks are to blame. The Yanks are to blame for the caliphate, say it often and there will be enough loonies to believe it.

  8. New Atheism Behind ‘War on Muslims’ – Morning Star | Tendance Coatesy said,

    […] The Morning Star today (Hat-tip Jim D). […]

  9. Steven Johnston said,

    Yep, a truly dispusting article from the Morning Star and it would be unfair to single out a single sentence or point from it but this struck me as an odd thing to write

    “His type resides on the top of the food chain in terms of race, gender and other criteria. Yet, somehow he is politically frustrated. Go figure.”

    So was Karl Marx, top of the food chain in that respect and he was unhappy with capitalism. But why, in a socialist newspaper does he omit the term class? Go figure indeed.

  10. Steven Johnston said,

    Is he seriously, Ramzy Baroud, trying to say that the West is waging war on Islam? A crazy assertion as capitalism does not care a jot what religion you are. The war(s) are all over profits, access to raw materials & trade routes.

  11. Sue R said,

    The American shooter could hardly be described as at the top of the food chain with regard to class; I believe he was unemployed although studying for a Legal Execuative qualification. The people he shot were of a much higher social class.

  12. damon said,

    I don’t think you can actually have both free speech to the point where people are drawing cartoons like the one above, and a large Muslim population. They just are at odds with each other.
    Ireland only had a very small Muslim population until quite recently, but now their leading representatives are flexing their muscles over the blasphemy law.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I believe all people can be won from their backward cultural/social inheritance. If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be a socialist: I’d be a cultural relativist. Unfortunately, much of the present-day “left” is just that.

      • Ian Pirie said,

        Not sure what you mean by cultural relativism in this instance. Isn’t it sensible to recognise there are social differences between (i) Christians in Britain (Queen = head of the church, bishops in Lords etc) – so Life of Brian was one kind of social intervention and (ii) Muslims in e.g. Denmark or most countries in Europe (minorities subject to hostility from many people) – so the Danish cartoons will have a different effect?

      • Chris Brennan said,

        Backward = Muslim. Progressive and revolutionary means Zionist shagging cunt?

      • damon said,

        Of course things can change, and they might change for the better over time. But day to day, it seems much easier for reactionaries to take a lead. Like they did over the Muslim community in Ireland.
        I went to the big Dublin Mosque about five years ago, just to see what Friday prayers was like, and the sermon was about ”the Zionist entity” trying to destroy All Aqsa mosque. The place was packed with several hundred mostly newer immigrants.
        I also spoke to one guy who had come over from Leicester who was taking papers from his car into the mosque offices.
        From the MCB or some such organisation I guessed.
        They had to make sure the new Irish community of Muslims took the right direction I think.

  13. Steven Johnston said,

    I’m not sure what point Ian is trying to make, is it that you cannot poke fun at the religion of a minority? Well there are 1.2 billion muslims so not sure how that makes them a minority. I can only assume that Ian is not a leftie as lefties believe that religion is the opiate of the masses and retards class consciousness ergo religion supports the status quo.
    Failing that he is saying, Christianity is fair game but Islam is off limits.

    • Ian Pirie said,

      Steven, Thanks for your considered points (unlike some of the posts here!). I mentioned Life of Brian in response to Jim (I think) who seemed to be asking whether I would condemn or criticise it (as I started all this with a question as to why the cartoons were drawn in the first place). I was trying to say the comparison didn’t make sense to me – the social position of Christians in Britain is not the same as that of Muslims in Denmark. Not to do with majority/minority, but inclusion/exclusion.
      I am a ‘leftie’ as I agree with Marx that ‘religion is the sigh of the oppressed, the heart of a heartless world, the opiate of the masses’ – and as Marx argued, what we should be doing is attacking the social conditions that lead to religion (not insulting millions of people – many of whom are socially and politically excluded). We should be reaching out to the oppressed (don’t ask me how though!).
      I do not support blasphemy laws. I oppose the power of the state (from a perspective somewhere between anarchism and Marxism).
      I don’t think such cartoons in themselves provoke racism – though if they lead to attacks like the ones in Denmark/Paris, then isn’t there a problem that violence leads to more violence? My original question (why publish such cartoons) was partly a tactical one: what is the likely outcome?
      Your point about Saudi Arabia is interesting (though again, I’m not talking about majority/minority groups, but who has power…) – and all I can say is I would have a lot of respect for anyone there who stood up against wahhabism, as Raif Badawi has done.

  14. Steven Johnston said,

    Ian raised a lot of points and I wonder if he could answer a few questions I have for him.
    Re The Life of Brain, Ian, do you think it’s acceptable to show the film only in countries where christians are the majority? But if shown in countries where they are the minority it will lead to violence against christians?
    Ian, do you think these cartoons printed here are acceptable in say Saudia Arabia, which has a king and where muslims are the majority, but not acceptable in countries where muslims are the minority?
    Do you think that if people see jokes and/or cartoons which are considered to be racist this will, using Mary Whitehouse-esqe logic, make them commit racist attacks? If yes, I have viewed the cartoons here, as have you and not committed any racist attacks (take my word for it!), what makes you and I so special?
    Ian, would you like to see a blasphemy law introduced to the UK that would cover all faiths? With any violaters jailed?

  15. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    People should be allowed to poke fun at all religion until those religions can actually give firm prima facia evidence that their fantasy is true. The Life of Brian was banned in Glasgow by the Vatican run Council. At least the muslims can claim they are not the only loonie tunes on the planet.

  16. Rilke said,

    Devout Muslims ‘respect’ Old Testament Abraham and the New Testament Jesus and John the Baptist as early but not the final and ultimate prophets who paved the inevitable way for the arrival of Muhammad. So they would find Life of Brian objectionable or ‘offensive’. But this is neither here nor there.
    Ian is missing the point. This is not a debate about religious intolerance or respect. It is a question of murder and ideological justifcations and apologia for murder. Of whether people should be executed or maimed for drawing a cartoon. Do we have no sense of justice or human decency at all outside the ‘political’ as such?
    I was all through the miner’s strike as were many of my family. Did we have the ‘right’ to cut the throats of scabs and post them on Youtube? If we did, would that be ‘understantable’ and really the ‘fault’ of the ‘Tories’? Did the black population of Aparthied South Africa not suffer more than Danish Muslims? If the the ANC had proclaimed holy race war and death to all ‘whites’ what would socialists have said then? If you accept that social exclusion, economic deprivation as well as cultural hatred are the only ’causes’ of murderous actions then poor white supremicist thugs from the slums can be excused as well. There is a clear difference between a social fact being ‘determinate’ (which these things are) and it being ‘causal’ (which they are not), Marx knew this, many on the left now don’t – too many bluffers guides.

  17. Jim Denham said,

    A lot of readers of the Graun (to judge by the balance of letters published) aren’t too worried about anti-Semitism and think free speech is negotiable:

  18. Steven Johnston said,

    I agree the point is being missed here, everyone should have freedom of speech. I hate Jim Davidson but would never stop anyone going to see him or protest outside of one of his gigs, why give him free publicity?
    I have a normal TV and buy normal newspapers, if I see or read anything that offends me I either turn my TV off or turn the page…it’s pretty simply really.
    Religion is big enough to be laughed at, even the Vatican vis-a-vis Dave Allen, admitted that it had a sense of humour and that is was ok for catholics to watch his TV shows.

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