More Protests, But No “Demands”

Another Muslim protest has been mounted against a Swedish newspaper, this one in Uppsala, for its publication of a Modoggie.

According to The Local (thanks to Steen for the photos):

Demonstration in UppsalaA large group of protesters gathered outside the offices of a second Swedish newspaper on Friday evening protesting at the publication in August of a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

The demonstration outside the offices of newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) in Uppsala, 70 kilometres north of Stockholm, attracted around 550 protesters.

Organizers pro-Palestinian group Palestinska Folkets Förening (‘Palestinian People’s Association’) said they wanted to make Swedes in Uppsala aware of the publication and to extract an apology from the newspaper.

Per Erik Eriksson of Uppsala police said the demonstration had been give official authorization.

“It’s all very peaceful,” he said.

Demonstration in Uppsala

I attempted a translation of the signs that appear in the above photo, and got a couple of them, “Freedom of the Press or Freedom to Oppress” and “Righteousness + Freedom = Islam”.

Carpenter helped me with the third one:

“Slå aldrig på någon som ligger ner” means “Never hit someone lying down”. In this particular case, though, it is Sweden which is lying down and getting the s**t kicked out of it by over twenty Muslim states, with the ideological and religious support of 321,984,623 billion Muslims. Is that what they mean? Or do they incorrectly mean a vast Swedish newspapers’ conspiracy against Islam?

If only the latter were the real case…

Demonstration in UppsalaOne of the photos shows a Christian minister accompanying a Muslim cleric. It’s another sign of the persistent Christian-dhimmi wishful thinking, the idea that we are all worshippers of one God, we’re the same inside, we all wish to live in peace, so why can’t we just get along?

I can’t identify the pastor’s denomination. Can our Swedish readers tell if he’s a Lutheran?

Apparently the demonstrators in Uppsala were unaware that the Muslim ambassadors came away satisfied from their meeting with Mr. Reinfeldt.

Today’s Zaman confirms that the Prophet’s emissaries to Stockholm were left with a warm fuzzy feeling after meeting with the prime minister:
– – – – – – – –

Reinfeldt’s cartoon explanation satisfactory, say envoys

Ambassadors of Muslim countries who met with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Friday to defuse tensions over a newspaper cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed said they had a “positive dialogue.”

The ambassadors were generally content with the meeting and most expressed belief that Reinfeldt was “sincere” and his explanations satisfactory.

Turkish Ambassador to Sweden Necip Egüz also participated in the meeting, which comes after another one held at the Stockholm Central Mosque between the Swedish premier and leaders of Muslim groups in Sweden.

Diplomats from 22 countries, including Iran, Iraq and Syria, met with Reinfeldt at government headquarters in Stockholm “to establish dialogue with the Muslim countries,” Reinfeldt’s press secretary, Oscar Hallen, told the media prior to the meeting. “We would like to underline that Muslims and Christians live side by side in Sweden. This can be possible by mutual respect,” Hallen’s statement stressed.

In a statement given after the meeting, Prime Minister Reinfeldt said, “We have had a very good dialogue.” The Swedish premier has been reaching out to Muslim groups in Sweden and abroad to avoid a repeat of last year’s mass protests in Muslim countries over Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet.

He noted that there was a mutual understanding of the need to “dampen” reactions to the cartoon. Reinfeldt also said he had explained to the ambassadors that in Sweden a prime minister cannot punish a newspaper for what it decides to publish whether he agrees with it or not.

He said he also thanked the envoys in their efforts to stop the incident from growing further. Talking to the Cihan news agency shortly after the meeting, Ambassador Egüz said the prime minister expressed his opinions regarding the recent drawing of Prophet Mohammed in a Swedish newspaper.

“Saying that Sweden was particularly well-known for liberties but also respectful to religious beliefs, he also stated that Sweden is home to nearly 400,000 Muslims. Regarding this last incident, he said he would personally never do anything to offend or hurt someone,” the ambassador noted, adding: “I think this has been a very positive and constructive meeting. The other ambassadors also expressed during the meeting that it has been most fruitful.” Egüz said Reinfeldt’s visit to a mosque in Stockholm the other day was also very positive.

Instead of saying, “We have had a very good dialogue,” Prime Minister Reinfeldt would have done better to declare, “We would like to underline that Muslims and Christians live side by side in Sweden. Until you can say the same thing for your respective countries, I have nothing to say to you.”

Alas, Mr. Reinfeldt lacks the necessary gonadic material to make such a declaration. He is not, after all, Danish.

Sverigedemokraterna (the Sweden Democrats), the party that is considered racist and Islamophobic by the mainstream, responded to the prime minister’s squishiness by posting several of the Modoggies on their blog.

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Before yesterday’s meeting with the prime minister, the Muslim ambassadors had avowedly compiled a list of demands which they were to present to the Mr. Reinfeldt. Then, after the meeting was over, the official line changed — there were “no demands”.

Since then the newspaper Expressen has obtained a copy of the ambassadors’ letter (the original is in English; thanks to Steen for the tip).

The text of the letter is below. As you can see, there are no specific demands. However, the ambassadors’ argument seems to be that cartoons of the Prophet constitute incitement to violence under existing laws in Sweden.

In other words, the Modoggies are no more deserving of protection under freedom of speech and the press than would be shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater or issuing a public demand for the murder of someone.

It’s a shrewd tack to take, and it will be interesting to see if the Swedish authorities take the hint and squelch Lars Vilks while maintaining that “freedom of speech” is still intact in Sweden.

Here’s the full text:

H.E. Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt
Prime Minister of
the Kingdom of Sweden

We, Muslim Ambassadors in Sweden, take this opportunity to thank you Mr. Prime Minister for taking deep interest in the problem arising from the drawing and publication of the caricatures regarded by Muslims as provocative and insulting. We fully share with you the common objective of promoting mutual respect and understanding amongst different cultures and religions.

Muslims around the world have yet again been greatly hurt by this deliberate mischief. They regard it as a brazen assault on their religious sentiments. It is most unfortunate that the universally accepted principle of freedom of expression and press has been used to offend over 1.3 billion Muslims around the world.

It is indisputable that all freedoms, including the freedom of speech, come with responsibilities. None are absolute or unrestrained legally, morally, socially, culturally, or politically.

Rights and duties go hand in hand. Nobody has an inherent right to hurt others physically, mentally or emotionally. In any case, such conduct is universally regarded as violative of decency, good manners and civilized behaviour.

Freedom of speech is not a license to abuse other people or their most cherished values.

Such acts are also highly irresponsible. They greatly undermine the efforts of those who seek to promote respect and understanding among religions and civilizations. In this context we may recall the valuable contribution of the Swedish Institutes in Alexandria and Istanbul.

Even legally speaking, such reckless deeds amount to incitement to hate and violence. The result is disturbance of civic peace and creation of law and order situations. This must be prevented by all governments under their existing national laws.

The issue is not a demand for the respect of religion (!) — even though mutual respect between different communities is essential for peace and harmony in society. It is a demand not to be deliberately insulted. Is that too much to ask?

Muslims welcome an informed debate or dialogue over religion or its finer points. That is, inter alia, their religious duty. But vulgar satires do not constitute scholarly discourse. That is sheer mischief and should not be confused with art or artistic expression.

We take this opportunity to state that both international and Swedish laws are in perfect harmony with the position expressed above.

Mr. Prime Minister, we hope that your timely initiative and continued interest in the matter will prevent recurrence of such unfortunate practice. We, on our part, stand ready to extend our sincere cooperation both to you and your government. Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Muslim Ambassadors
Stockholm, September 05, 2007

Correction: Carpenter tells me that one sign says “[Human] Rights + Freedom = Islam” rather than “Righteousness + Freedom = Islam”. Also, I should have credited CG for tipping me about the Sverigedemokraterna post. Thanks, CG!

For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.

5 thoughts on “More Protests, But No “Demands”

  1. Um. Apart from the grey hair that guy looks like the pastor that did my wedding in Sweden. Yikes.

    Anyway it’s likely he is lutheran. Lutherans are the largest single christian group in Sweden so they’ll be well represented amongst the ranks of the terminally insane.

  2. Both the Muslim ambassadors’ letter and Prime Minister Reinfeldt’s gushing words about how well Friday’s get-together went are nothing but a damned whitewash of what went on an official meeting from which the press was excluded. The letter “obtained by” (read: “handed on a silver platter to”) Expressen may not contain any demands per se, but in a story to which Gates of Vienna linked Thursday, Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed Sotouhi issued a list of three very specific ones:

    * Targeted censorship: “Muslims need legal protection against the desecration of the Prophet Muhammad.”

    * Sensitivity indoctrination in schools and newsrooms: “the school curriculum has to convince pupils that if they want to express their opinion they should do so in such a way that it doesn’t cause offence or hurt. This should also be part of journalism training.”

    * Political correctness enforcers: “A permanent parliamentary committee also needs to be established to tackle Islamophobia.”

    In short, the Swedish press – which didn’t generate the “Muhammad as a roundabout dog” sketches but was only reporting on the controversy surrounding them – must be censored, indocrinated, and monitored by a parliament whose members, this story indicates, will be only too glad to clip their wings.

    If Swedish journalists want to preserve their rights, they had better get off their asses and do some digging to find out what really happened during Friday’s meeting. Did PM Reinfeldt agree to any of the items on Sotouhi’s wish list? Did he pass the buck to a parliament in which hostility toward freedom of the press has been documented by a professionally conducted survey? Not only the public but journalists themselves urgently need to know.

  3. From the eminent German blog Politically Incorrect:
    Mohammed schneidet Juden die Kehle durch.

    Die Karikaturen des schwedischen Künstler Lars Vilks, der Mohammed als Hund dargestellt hat , haben für die typischen Proteste von muslimischer Seite geführt. Vilks selber wundert sich: “Ich hatte nicht gedacht, dass die Zeichnung solch große Reaktionen auslösen würde. Im norwegischen Vestfossen hängt in einer Ausstellung ein Bild von mir, auf dem Mohammed einem Juden die Kehle durchschneidet, während ein Nazi-Offizier zuschaut. Um dieses Bild gab’s keinen Aufstand.”

    Mohammed cuts the throat of a Jew.

    The carricatures by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who depicted Mohammed as a dog, caused typical protests from Muslims. Vilks himself wonders: “I never thought that the drawings would ignite such protests. In an exibition in Vestfossen, Norway, one of my drawings is on display. It shows Mohammed cutting the throat of a Jew whith a Nazi officer watching. No objections to that picture”.

  4. Did they get it or someone paint that for them?

    One of them is pretty acurate as the choice is ““Freedom of the Press or Freedom to Oppress”

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