February 18, 2006

World War II all over again - Peace in our time

This must have been how Winston Churchil and Roosevelt felt in the years leading up to WWII and Pearl Harbor.

...the day before a planned mass demonstration against the cartoons – Norway’s Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen, hastily called a press conference at a major government office building in Oslo. There, to the astonishment of his supporters, Selbekk issued an abject apology for reprinting the cartoons. At his side, accepting his act of contrition on behalf of 46 Muslim organizations and asking that all threats now be withdrawn, was Mohammed Hamdan, head of Norway’s Islamic Council. In attendance were members of the Norwegian cabinet and the largest assemblage of imams in Norway's history. It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom: the dhimmi prostrating himself before the Muslim leader, and the leader pardoning him – and, for good measure, declaring Selbekk to be henceforth under his protection, as if it were he, Hamdan, and not the Norwegian police, that held in his hands the security of citizens in Norway.

...On Tuesday, as if Norway hadn't already been disgraced enough, an official Norwegian delegation met in Qatar with Muslim leader Yusuf al Qaradawi (who has defended suicide bombers and the murder of Jewish women and children) and implored him to accept Selbekk's apology for the cartoons. Lucky them: he did. ‘To meet Yusuf al-Qaradawi under the present circumstances,’ the Norwegian-Iraqi writer Walid al-Kubaisi told Aftenposten yesterday, ‘is tantamount to granting extreme Islamists and defenders of terror a right of joint consultation regarding how Norway should be governed.’

...Among the European leaders who have insisted firmly in recent days that their nations enjoyed free speech – only to insist even more firmly that that right must be exercised "responsibly" – was Swedish foreign minister Laila Freivalds, who, responding on February 9 to a Muhammed cartoon in the newspaper of the right-wing Swedish Democratic Party, didn’t just call for "responsibility" but enforced it, sending the Security Police to close down the party website. "It is frightful," she sniffed, "that a small group of Swedish extremists can expose Swedes to a clear danger" – as if it were the Swedish Democrats, and not Islamic extremists, who were threatening violence.

...On February 9, Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner of Justice, Freedom, and Security, promised to take steps to "regulate" speech (though he later denied this); Kofi Annan, in a February 12 interview on Danish TV, said "You don’t joke about other people’s religion, and you must respect what is holy for other people." Since when do the EU and UN tell supposedly free people what to respect and what not to respect? Since now, apparently. Many Islamists do not hide the fact that their long-term goal is to turn Europe, step by step, into a Muslim caliphate ruled by sharia law. Alas, it looks at present as if the cartoon controversy may turn out to have been a significant step on the way to that goal.

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