It’s hard to tell exactly what went on behind closed doors during Fredrik Reinfeldt’s little tête-à-tête with Muslim leaders, but, judging by the self-satisfied responses of the Muslim participants, they must feel that they received an appropriately deferential response from the prime minister.
According to the International Herald Tribune:
Swedish premier, Muslim ambassadors content with prophet cartoon talks
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said he had a “good dialogue” Friday with ambassadors from Muslim countries in a meeting called to defuse tensions over a newspaper cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
Diplomats from 22 countries, including Iran, Iraq and Syria, met with Reinfeldt at the government headquarters in Stockholm to discuss the angry reactions to the sketch by a Swedish artist showing Muhammad with a dog’s body.
“We have had a very good dialogue,” said Reinfeldt, who 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.
Syria’s Ambassador Mohammad Bassam Imadi dismissed Swedish media reports before the meeting that the diplomats would present a list of demands to Reinfeldt.
“We have no list of demands, on the contrary, we are here to bring two sides together where there is a problem,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Iran’s Ambassador Hassan Ghashgavi described the meeting as “fruitful,” and said talks had included the responsibilities related to the freedom of speech.
“We should use the freedom of expression for integration — not abuse it,” he said.
This is the standard feel-good boilerplate issued after any high-level diplomatic confab, and not to be taken seriously. However, I notice that the prime minister’s assertion — that he “cannot punish a newspaper for what it decides to publish” — and Ambassador Ghashgavi’s — “freedom of expression must not be abused” — are fundamentally incompatible.
If freedom of expression must be suppressed to prevent abuse, then it is not freedom of expression. Period.
Everybody came away from the meeting satisfied, but nothing is solved — unless, that is, Sweden’s media never ever again publish anything that might offend a Muslim.
Kepiblanc, our longtime Danish correspondent, wrote to me this afternoon with his take on the latest news from Sweden:
Baron, the whole affair is being downplayed by Swedish MSM. For example, there’s an article in Expressen way down on their homepage. An excerpt (my translation):
– – – – – – – – –
“We reject violence”
On of the invitees was Iran’s ambassador, Hassan Ghashghavi
“It was a fruitful conversation, where I, among other things, explained that we will not see further violent demonstrations. We reject all violence, be it psychological or physical. These matters must be handled with diplomacy. I think the Swedish government handles this fine,” says Iran’s ambassador Hassan Ghashghavi to Expressen.se.
Is this a big issue in Iran?
“Yes, it upset many people and it’s important that we have this kind of dialogue. Outside Rosenbad [government building – translator] stood Heidar Han Jahangiri of Bromma [suburb of Stockholm – translator] who fled Iran twenty years ago. He protested the Swedish government’s invitation to the ambassadors.
“When one invites people from some of the world’s worst countries, like Iran and Egypt, in order to let them tell the government what to write, then you’re wrong, big time,” he says.
So far the next meeting between Reinfeldt and the ambassadors has not been scheduled.
Baron, allow me to make a reference to my comment on the “Has Sweden Caved” thread, and Conservative Swede’s as well. No, I don’t think the government can order the court into conviction of Lars Vilks or Nerikes Allehanda either. But they’ll point out and underscore that the trial is taking place in order to satisfy the Muslims. And hope the whole thing will be forgotten when the verdict comes.
As it turns out, my predictions were accurate: lots of hot air, nice words, mutual understanding, handshaking and smiling. The Muslim world will think they cowed Sweden, and the Swedish Muslims will feel stronger than ever. The “persons with a Swedish background” will be ignored by the MSM.
But it was interesting to read the readers’ comments in Expressen. Around 90% of the comments were along these lines:
- “What the hell do they think to come here and dictate how are laws should be like, when they themselves live in barbaric dictatorships of the worst kind?”
- “OK then, let’s demand they change their laws to allow Christian churches, gays, and topless girls on their beaches.”
- “I’ve just cancelled my golf trip to Egypt.”
- “I’ve just left the Social Democratic Party and joined Sverigedemokraterna.”
- “Out with all Muslims — NOW”.
Maybe I can expand Mr. Jahangir’s remarks a little:
Reinfeldt invites twenty thugs appointed by brutal dictators from the world’s most barbaric hellholes containing the planet’s dumbest people, who never, ever contributed anything positive to mankind. Nothing, nada, nichts, null, zero, zip, zilch. People who worship a medieval pedophile hood with a serious mental disorder and behave themselves as a slimy, expanding, and malignant eczema on the globe’s skin. People whose one and only purpose in this life is to die as martyrs while creating havoc, mayhem and all kinds of atrocities until they can rape 72 virgins. People who are outright crazy, mad, and insane in every respect. And they come here demanding respect???
Yes, they do. And Reinfeldt delivered. Yes, Sweden caved. Shame on him.
Here’s some more on the theme of “Freedom of expression, but…”, this one from the Swedish site Newsdesk:
Having the Right to Say Something Does Not Mean Having to Say It
Commenting on the recent debate concerning the publication of drawings depicting Mohammed as a “roundabout dog”, Mehmet Kaplan, MP, the Swedish Green Party’s spokesperson on legal issues and member of the Swedish parliament’s committee on Justice, says: “There is not need to water down the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. However, the question is also whether Nerikes Allehanda should express everything the paper is allowed to express.”
“No changes should be made to the freedom of the press act. On the other hand, we need to enter into dialogue with chief editors in matters like this. What risks hurting the public and cause unnecessary conflicts between religious groups in the community are issues like these. It is not acceptable to completely unnecessarily hurt people that adhere to a certain religion”, says Mehmet Kaplan.
“The freedom of speech and the freedom of press should be preserved, to the benefit of all Swedes, including Muslims. The row surrounding the published ‘roundabout dog’ does not concern what we are allowed to publish, but what ought to be published and the responsibility for what happens afterwards. There are a lot of things that we are allowed to do today, but that we still do not do.”
“Many Muslims find this publication completely unnecessary, it is a matter of mutual respect for each other,” says Mehmet Kaplan.
There are several things to notice in this article.
First of all, the spokesman for the Green Party is a Muslim. Interesting.
Secondly, “No need to water down the freedom of speech, however… We have freedom of speech, but… No changes should be made; on the other hand…” etc.
Thirdly, “It is not acceptable to completely unnecessarily hurt people that adhere to a certain religion.” Does this mean it is sometimes necessary to hurt people of a certain religion? Would that religion then happen to be Christian? Or maybe Jewish?
Lastly, DIALOGUE. The inevitable dialogue. The dreary, endless dialogue. As far as Muslims are concerned, “dialogue” generally means “explaining to the kafir what he must do in order to save his sorry skin.” Watch for a dialogue, Swedish-style, one that ends in consensus and reaffirms alla ska med.
The news of Muslim satisfaction hasn’t, however, trickled down to everyone in Sweden. It seems that someone has engaged in a little bit of performance art with one of Lars Vilks’ sculptures:
Sculpture by controversial artist set on fire
A sculpture created by the artist at the centre of the Muhammad cartoon controversy was set alight in southern Sweden on Thursday night.
Emergency service were alerted to the blaze shortly after midnight. The fire was quickly brought under control but the roundabout was temporarily closed for traffic due to the risk of the structure collapsing.
Police said they were classifying the crime as vandalism and did not yet have any suspects.
Earlier this year, Sweden was gripped by a ‘roundabout dog’ craze — hastily constructed wooden dogs began appearing in the middle of traffic circles nationwide as an alternative to the often unpopular and costly public artworks commissioned by local councils.
Lars Vilks’ contribution to the guerrilla art movement has been subjected to several arson attempts since the publication in Nerikes Allehanda of a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog.
Seemingly unfazed by the furious reactions to his drawings, the controversial artist indicated at one point that he was also considering constructing an actual roundabout dog featuring the founder of Islam.
Lars Vilks himself is the wild card in this whole ludicrous affair. He has made it obvious that he is not going to cease his blasphemy just because Muslims are offended — to him, the right to offend is part and parcel of his freedom of expression.
Even if he is convicted of hets mot folkgrupp, I don’t expect him to stop drawing Modoggies. Only death will stop him.
And death is just what some Swedish Muslims have in mind for Lars Vilks.
Earlier this week, a woman in western Sweden was formally charged with having issued the artist with a death threat via e-mail.
“The person in question has admitted to us that she sent the e-mail,” said police spokesman Håkan Lund.
“What is more worrying is that she stands by her words, explaining that her beliefs and convictions had been desecrated and attacked,” he added.
According to police, the woman — described as a devout Muslim with a family — was not part of any militant networks.
She did not say that she would personally kill Lars Vilks but she encouraged others to do so.
“There are a lot of people on the internet expressing this same will and intention,” said Lund.
Lars Vilks is a leftist, so Sweden’s establishment cannot abandon him entirely, as they would a Swedish Nationalist or a member of Sverigedemokraterna. Until his recent offenses, he held the correct opinions, and he will deserve the protection of the state for as long as possible.
If that Islamic bullet or bomb finds him, though, what then?
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.