Monday, January 30, 2006

Freedom or Profit?

It's all coming to a head, isn't it?
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The controversy over Danish caricatures of Prophet Muhammad escalated Monday as gunmen seized an EU office in Gaza and Muslims appealed for a trade boycott of Danish products. Denmark called for its citizens in the Middle East to exercise vigilance.

Denmark-based Arla Foods, which has been the target of a widespread boycott in the Middle East, reported that two of its employees in Saudi Arabia were beaten by angry customers. Aid groups, meanwhile, pulled workers out of Gaza, citing the threat of hostilities.

The 12 drawings — published in a Danish paper in September and in a Norwegian paper this month — included an image of the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.

Danish government officials have expressed regret over the furor but have refused to get involved, citing freedom of expression. The Jyllands-Posten newspaper has refused to apologize for publishing the drawings and has said it did not mean to insult Islam.


But Arla Food's executive director urged the Danish government to take action.

"Freedom of expression is an internal Danish issue but this has a totally different dimension," Peder Tuborgh said. "This is about Denmark having offended millions of Muslims."

Villy Soevndal, leader of the small opposition Socialist People's Party, said Denmark "cannot be a country where the prime minister goes into hiding while Denmark loses export money, Danish citizens are being threatened and Danish flags burned."

So let's just do the honorable thing and cave like the craven euro-weenies everyone thinks we are. Say goodbye to the last vestiges of Dane moxie and courage. Better to silence an entire nation than risk offending those touchy Islamic hard-liners. Profits are at stake here.

Gentlemen (and we use the term out of the sake of politeness), you can't have a free society with free enterprise AND a society that kowtows to threats of violence over every perceived insult. The instant you give in to one set of demands, your freedom will be held hostage for another. Down that road is the steep slope that slides into the global caliphate.

Arla Foods: protect your people. Hire some security. File suit against any government anywhere that stands by and allows your people to be roughed up. You want things the easy way, like the way things were in the good, old days.

The good old days are gone. Get a spine.

ADDENDUM - Since when does a socialist care anything about profit or losses from a business that he hasn't yet nationalized? No wonder it's a small opposition party.


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