It seems that Islam-fearful Belgium is caught on the horns of a dilemma. No Belgian media have so far published any of the infamous cartoons, though several prominent bloggers have done so.
But one of the key Shi’ia Islamic figures in Europe, Dyab Abu Jahjah, leader of the radical organization Arab European League (AEL) has started to post cartoons on his own news page. He stated, “After the lectures that Arabs and Muslims received from Europeans … AEL decided to enter the cartoon business and to use our right to artistic expression. … If it is the time to break Taboos and cross all the red lines, we certainly do not want to stay behind.”
So far so reasonable, but of course in this little country he is breaking the law. Only recently one of the leaders of the conservative, separatist and avowedly anti-immigration (and most popular party in the entire country) Vlaams Belang has been threatened with court for being quoted in Jewish Week for saying:
“Asked about those who say that Jews should not vote for a party that espouses xenophobia, Dewinter replied: ‘Xenophobia is not the word I would use. If it absolutely must be a ‘phobia,’ let it be ‘Islamophobia.’
“Yes, we’re afraid of Islam. The Islamization of Europe is a frightening thing. Even distinguished Jewish scholars as Bat Ye’or and Bernard Lewis warned of this. If this historical process continues, the Jews will be the first victims. Europe will become as dangerous for them as Egypt or Algeria.”
Well, yes, Islamophobia is a crime in Belgium, but I think they mean hatred rather than the dictionary definition, suggested here as fear. But there again, so is anti-Semitism.
So what are the cartoons that this self-pronounced defender of free speech published? One has Hitler in bed with Anne Frank, in a reference to the Belgian paedophile murderer, Marc Dutroux saying, “Write this one in your diary Anne!”
The next has a couple of Jews amidst the corpses of the Holocaust, one saying to another, “We have to get to the 6,000,000 somehow!”
(HUMAN EVENTS has chosen to reprint both below.)
As a Brit, and a believer in freedom of speech, Dyab Abu Jahjah has a point — one that he takes to its extreme in this comment that accompanies his images:
“I am for the absolute freedom of speech everywhere, and that’s why I call upon every free sole among Arabs to use the Danish flag as a substitute for toilet paper. To illustrate every wall with graffiti making fun of everything Europe holds as holy: dancing rabbis on the carcasses of Palestinian children, hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg’s approval stamp, and Aids spreading fagots. Let us defend the absolute freedom of speech altogether, wouldn’t that be a noble cause?”
The bottom line is that this exile from Hizbollah is just another in the great campaign to neuter European will by using its own weapons against it.
What will be interesting is the willingness of the Belgian authorities to respond to the provocation. Personally I find myself in a bit of a bind.
I think that the cowardice and near complicity of the Belgian authorities in Islamist atrocities is appalling (its alleged agreement for safe haven in return for safety seems to be an open secret). But there again I find that its proscriptive attitude to the freedom of speech equally dire.
Given that Belgium claims to be run under the rule of law, that law must be applied to all equally. If it fails to prosecute these anti-Semitic cartoons given the strong feeling amongst the Belgian Jewish population, then I think we can fairly assume that it has given up its pretence to be a liberal democracy.