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Freedom Includes the Freedom to Offend

Geert Wilders is to be tried for making the film Fitna.

A European politician is to be tried for making a film.

I’m tempted to say “Has the world gone mad?” but I don’t want to sound like a Daily Telegraph reader. The most telling line in the judgement handed down by the Dutch court is, “[Wilders’ statements are] so insulting for Muslims that it is in the public interest to prosecute”. This seems to suggest that the reason for the prosecution is fear of a Muslim backlash. Exactly the sort of violent tendencies Fitna criticises.

Don’t get me wrong I understand that Fitna offers a simplistic explanation of a complex problem. Muslim violence isn’t just religious in origin, there are political, economic and historical reasons too. I do think that Islam makes these problems worse though. It makes finding solutions harder and shapes the nature of the violence. The fairy tales of divine sanction and eternal reward make actions like suicide bombing possible.

I don’t want to rhapsodise Western values or to pretend our culture doesn’t have problems but it’s time for the West, in particular Europe, to stop compromising. We need to stand up for what we believe in. With the rapid advance of technology the next 50 years could be a Golden age for mankind but only progressive secular values can make this happen. Isn’t it time to leave the darkness of religion behind?

Edit – I’m not sure how much good these things really do but there is an online petition here.