Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

FREEDOM TO INSULT

By Muhammad Zaidan

When Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Muslim world that his government could not censor religious blasphemy and ban Prophet Muhammad cartoons in their newspaper since it goes against freedom  of the press and did not brake any laws, he may have been, shall we say , dishonest.
 
“it’s important to understand how our society works. In our society the media is completely independent. We have free press and the government has no authority to control the press or interfere with the press. ”
Fogh Rasmussen said.
 
His counter argument was that the Danish Government does not have any sort of censorship on their “Free Independent Press” . Also , the leading Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and other Daily Newspapers are entitled to express themselves freely without the fear of being prosecuted .
 
However , blasphemy was criminalized in Danish Law  dating from 1683 , where blasphemy was considered a capital crime. Blasphemy  ,under the Danish law,  is defined as acts which publicly ridicule or insult in Denmark legally existing religious communities dogmas or worship .
 
The Criminal Code that dates back to 1930 states :
“Any person who, in public, mocks or scorns the religious doctrines or acts of worship of any lawfully existing religious community in this country shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four months.” Danish Criminal Code section 140 (Prohibition against Blasphemy) .

Moreover , there were several case-law concerning blasphemy and religious insult towards a religion or a group of people ; for example , the  “Fur 1938.419 ”  case in 1938 ,  where four men were convicted of the publication of anti-Jewish posters , or the Gladsaxe criminal Court case  in 1971 where Two persons employed by the Danish National Broadcasting Company were indicted for the broadcasting of a song with alleged blasphemous content. They were acquitted, since the court found the song to be a contribution to the debate on the religious views of the sexuality of women.
 
Furthermore , An article published by The Guardian  titled “Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons”  on Monday ,February 6th 2006  , revealed that the same Danish newspaper that is now under the public eye had refused to publish cartoons depicting Jesus Christ in an unfavorable light in 2003 .
 
Zieler received an email back from the paper’s Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: “I don’t think Jyllands-Posten’s readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.”
 
Nevertheless, the method used by the daily Danish newspaper on those two incidents reveals the “Double Standard ” of Jyllands-Posten on how they dealt with the two cases .

In conclusion , People from different backgrounds have the right to express them selves freely . Also, they have the right to criticize any malfunction that they would encounter , whether it was domestic or global wrongful act ; however , we should draw a clear line to differentiate between freedom of expression and freedom of hate ; also , the implementation of laws should not be biased with a double-standard cause ,  where it is favorable to execute the  Code section 140 (Prohibition against Blasphemy) law for the preference of some religious and races , while not implement the same law for the favor of other religions and races .

Sources :
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/781/in3.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/feb/06/pressandpublishing.politics
http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2007/CDL-FR(2007)002-e.pdf
http://www.stm.dk/Index/dokumenter.asp?o=6&n=0&t=18&d=2502&s=2&str=stor

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August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Islam

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