Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More intimidation

From the FT and c/o Man in Shed

"A French philosophy teacher has gone into hiding under police protection after receiving death threats for an article he wrote attacking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed...

Mr Redeker’s article, entitled “Faced with Islamic intimidation, what should the free world do?” was published in Le Figaro on September 19. In it, he attacked the Prophet Mohammed, saying: “Pitiless war leader, pillager, butcher of Jews and polygamous, this is how Mohammed is revealed by the Koran.”

"Tunisia and Egypt banned the issue containing the article"

Interesting choice of words in the article by the FT which went on to potray the writer somewhat negatively. Whether he attacked Mohammed or not, or is an 'outspoken' critic, or if 'he has a reputation' is all irrelevant. It is a point of view, open to debate, to which he is entitled and which the Figaro are entitled to publish.
The article ran in the paper around the time of Popegate and is therefore very topical.

The resulting threats elicited a firm response from the paper who in a front page editorial stated:

“We condemn as resolutely as possible the serious attack on the freedom of thought and the freedom of speech that this affair has provoked.”

Press freedom has always been taken very seriously in France. Newspapers were run clandestinely by members of the Resistance during World War 2 to spread news about the Allies and counter Nazi propaganda. It was (and still is) a very dangerous task fighting fascists and a few French resistance editors found this out. Earlier this year, France and other key papers in Europe were much more determined to make a good point about freedom of speech during the cartoon debacle, than most other major papers in both the UK and US.

Le Figaro has even underlined the importance of free expression as a tool for tolerance, stressing its importance in learning to appreciate a different perspective.

Lost on some.

When will western leaders start driving this point home by offering unconditional security and support for the press, the arts (as in Germany) and writers who choose not to bow to Islams intolerance of criticism?


At Tuesday, 03 October, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

There are a couple of English translations of Redecker's article and some of the follow up comment in the French press.

Of course, Alison won't need them as she speaks such good French, but for any of you who are rubbish at French, like me, I've posted some links here:


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