Sharia's global reach and a free press


A growing number of newspapers are standing in solidarity against the attempt of the Islamic world to impose Sharia law restrictions on the western press. A number of Muslim countries, clergy, community organizations and demonstrators are creating a situation in which no pictures of the Prophet Muhammad may be published, regardless of local law and tradition in the free world.

No matter what you may say about freedom of the press in your country, Denmark, they want it to be forbidden to publish certain things. The first item on the list is pictures of their Prophet, but you can be certain the list will only get longer, the more it succeeds in stifling free expression. And the countries in which the restrictions apply will grow in number.

They are creating a global norm. One that accords with their law. It is a step on the road to a global caliphate.

After Jyllands Posten published its cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, outrage ensued. Then a Norwegian paper re—published them. Today, news came of a French newspaper and now two German newspapers. UPDATE: now Italian and Spanish papers have joined the resistance. Some the papers are majors: Die Welt in Berlin and La Stampa in Torino (owned by the Agnelli family).

They are telling the Islamic world that its attempt to bully small Denmark won't work. They are telling the Islamic world to respect our traditions, and our sovereignty. We are not about to sacrifice our freedom to avoid their displeasure.

If the Islamic world confronts resistance from the free world community of nations, then their boycotts will not work.

UPDATE: Of course, none of this will work unless America joins the community of nations rejecting Sharia censorship. The more big trading nations which are targets of a boycott in that community, the less effective the boycott. It is simple math.


I have to wonder if Old Europe's press isn't seeing some of the handwriting on the wall, given recent events in France. The Danes, with their own history of immigrant problems, introduced what their government described as "Europe's strictest immigration laws" in May 2002. No wonder Jyllands Posten thought that it might sell papers with the cartoons. 

The law made some big changes:

The right to asylum on humanitarian grounds, which had previously seen up to 60% of applications approved, was scrapped, the acceptable grounds for being granted asylum were cut to the bare minimum required under the Geneva Convention for Refugees, and social benefits for refugees were cut by 30%—40% for their first seven years in the country.

New provisions stipulated that Danish citizens could not bring a foreign spouse into the country unless both partners were aged 24 or over, passed a solvency test showing the Dane had not claimed social security for 12 months and had to lodge a bond of 53,000 kroner ($9,300).

Most importantly for Danish citizens who are themselves immigrants or second—generation immigrants, the Danish citizen has to be judged to have stronger links with Denmark than any other country.

The new laws had an almost immediate effect. Some 13,000 family reunification permits were granted in 2001, but this had fallen to fewer than 5,000 in 2003.

Denmark has run into flack for its clampdown:

Sweden's Social—Democrat government has castigated the Danish government, accusing it of undermining Scandinavian solidarity, and the Danish laws have also been attacked by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner.

The leader of the Danish People's Party, Pia Kjaersgaard, responded to Swedish criticism by saying: "If they want to turn Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmoe into a Scandinavian Beirut, with clan wars, honour killings and gang rapes, let them do it. We can always put a barrier on the Oeresund Bridge."

By the way,

Immigrants and the descendants of immigrants account for about eight per cent of Denmark's population.

I guess by "descendants of immigrants" they mean unassimilated Muslims. I received quite a number of emails from Americans in Denmark married to Danes. I doubt their kids count in this total.

Plenty of bloggers has published the pictures, including megablogger Michelle Malkin. So far, nobody that I know of in the antique media of America has joined in.

Hat tip: Ethel Fenig and many others

Thomas Lifson  2 01 06

UPDATE: Rosslyn Smith writes:

I was most interested in the comments from some Danes about recent parliamentary developments in Britain on religious hate laws.  Not only are the Danes a very tough people, but many of them have long memories about the British.   
By 1807 Denmark was the only remaining neutral country on the continent. In August of that year with the regular Danish army at the border facing the French, the British quickly overwhelmed the Danish militia and laid siege to Copenhagen. The British objective was to keep the Danish military and commercial fleet out of French hands.  The British had something like two dozen fearsome ships of the line, auxiliary vessels and transports for 30,000 troops.  The British used the terror inducing weapon of their day, the noisy, impossible to aim Congreve rocket, as part of their siege barrage. Much of Copenhagen was set on fire, including such military targets as the Church of the Trinity, which housed the university library. Despite the one sided nature of the "battle" it took four days for the civilian population of Copenhagen to capitulate.
Needless to say, it was not one of the Royal Navy's finest hours.   

UPDATE: Bad news from France, via the BBC

Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings. Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet. The owner of one of the papers to reprint — France Soir — has now sacked its managing editor over the matter.

Clarice Feldman