Denmark's jitters

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Our friends in Denmark continue to suffer national trauma over the wrath being directed their way from the Muslim world. A passionate belief in free speech seems to be predominating over the impulse of some to submit to the deamnds of sahri'a around portrayals of Muhammad. But the unpleasantness for all Danes continues, and there are signs of what might be called jitters.

The state—owned operator of Denmark's passenger rail service, Banedanmark, according to Reuters

briefly banned a poster advertising a new book on Islam, drawing accusations of censorship because of heightened sensitivity following the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) cartoon row.

The rail operator had banned the advert for the book 'What is Islam' on Tuesday but reversed its decision yesterday after government and opposition criticism of undue suppression in a country still recovering from the cartoon crisis. [....]

In the first decision sent to the publisher Akademisk Forlag, the rail operator said it had banned the poster for the book from an underground station because it did not wish to 'contribute to political and religious discussions in public places and a possible fresh outbreak of the conflict'.

Rail operator, Banedanmark, said the unit responsible for scrutinising adverts for pornographic, religious and hidden political content had decided the poster, showing the book's cover and a couple of endorsements, could be found to be offensive.

Let's be blunt. They were afraid of even raising the subject of Islam. Probably because they feared that Muslims living in Denmark might turn violent right there in the underground train station. At minimum, any serious outburst could disrupt the tain schedules, someting they must worry about a lot.

In other words, Muslims have already intimidated state bureaucrats (usually the most risk—averse people in the world) into an exaggerated sensitivity, leading to outright censorship. If the railroad bureaucrats behave this way, we can be fairly certain that other Danish bureaucrats, laboring in more obscurity, will also be making decisions based on fear, granting power to Islamic preferences over their own Danish traditions.

Fortunately, the railroad operator changed its mind:

But it later changed its mind. 'After having seen the ad, I have to say that if the management had been presented with this issue, the decision would have been different,' Banedanmark Chief Executive Henrik Hassenkam said.

'It shows that when it comes to the Mohammad issue, things are still very sensitive', he said.

The book, written by Joergen Baek Simonsen, a leading historian specialising in Islam, is a broad introduction to Islam and how it affects people and society, according to the publisher.

'We wanted to advertise a sober, clear—minded introduction to Islam. It's just the kind of enlightened book we need in these times', Akademisk Forlag's editor Morten Hesseldahl said.

Left unexplained is how the change of heart came about. Did the publisher protest? Bureaucrats rarely reverse themselves unless forced to.

The good news is that Danish sensibility won out. The bad news is that shari'a law restrictions on what may be seen in public have entered into the decision—making framework of Danish bureaucrats. The jihadists have already won some of what they want. They take a perspective of centuries, don't forget.

Hat tip: Eric Schwappach

Thomas Lifson   3 09 06

Update: A Danish reader tells us:

Our minister of transports — who is in charge of BaneDanmark — interfered and ordered the organisation to "rethink" the issue.
 

Our friends in Denmark continue to suffer national trauma over the wrath being directed their way from the Muslim world. A passionate belief in free speech seems to be predominating over the impulse of some to submit to the deamnds of sahri'a around portrayals of Muhammad. But the unpleasantness for all Danes continues, and there are signs of what might be called jitters.

The state—owned operator of Denmark's passenger rail service, Banedanmark, according to Reuters

briefly banned a poster advertising a new book on Islam, drawing accusations of censorship because of heightened sensitivity following the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) cartoon row.

The rail operator had banned the advert for the book 'What is Islam' on Tuesday but reversed its decision yesterday after government and opposition criticism of undue suppression in a country still recovering from the cartoon crisis. [....]

In the first decision sent to the publisher Akademisk Forlag, the rail operator said it had banned the poster for the book from an underground station because it did not wish to 'contribute to political and religious discussions in public places and a possible fresh outbreak of the conflict'.

Rail operator, Banedanmark, said the unit responsible for scrutinising adverts for pornographic, religious and hidden political content had decided the poster, showing the book's cover and a couple of endorsements, could be found to be offensive.

Let's be blunt. They were afraid of even raising the subject of Islam. Probably because they feared that Muslims living in Denmark might turn violent right there in the underground train station. At minimum, any serious outburst could disrupt the tain schedules, someting they must worry about a lot.

In other words, Muslims have already intimidated state bureaucrats (usually the most risk—averse people in the world) into an exaggerated sensitivity, leading to outright censorship. If the railroad bureaucrats behave this way, we can be fairly certain that other Danish bureaucrats, laboring in more obscurity, will also be making decisions based on fear, granting power to Islamic preferences over their own Danish traditions.

Fortunately, the railroad operator changed its mind:

But it later changed its mind. 'After having seen the ad, I have to say that if the management had been presented with this issue, the decision would have been different,' Banedanmark Chief Executive Henrik Hassenkam said.

'It shows that when it comes to the Mohammad issue, things are still very sensitive', he said.

The book, written by Joergen Baek Simonsen, a leading historian specialising in Islam, is a broad introduction to Islam and how it affects people and society, according to the publisher.

'We wanted to advertise a sober, clear—minded introduction to Islam. It's just the kind of enlightened book we need in these times', Akademisk Forlag's editor Morten Hesseldahl said.

Left unexplained is how the change of heart came about. Did the publisher protest? Bureaucrats rarely reverse themselves unless forced to.

The good news is that Danish sensibility won out. The bad news is that shari'a law restrictions on what may be seen in public have entered into the decision—making framework of Danish bureaucrats. The jihadists have already won some of what they want. They take a perspective of centuries, don't forget.

Hat tip: Eric Schwappach

Thomas Lifson   3 09 06

Update: A Danish reader tells us:

Our minister of transports — who is in charge of BaneDanmark — interfered and ordered the organisation to "rethink" the issue.