Friday, March 02, 2012

The Uncomfortable Side of Freedom of Speech

Norwegian Muslims held a demonstration in downtown Oslo today. In honor of the occasion, Mullah Krekar gave a speech in which he repeatedly praised the killing of Theo Van Gogh.

Many thanks to Steen for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

A translated transcript of the video is at the bottom of this post.

Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated an article about the same event from Dagbladet:

Krekar praised the murder of Theo Van Gogh

Praised the murder of the Dutch filmmaker on several occasions

When Mullah Krekar held his appeal in Kurdish and Arabic in Eidsvold square in Oslo on Friday afternoon. He used the opportunity to repeatedly praise and honor the killing of the controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, according to NRK’s dagsrevyen (TV news program).

Van Gogh was killed on November 2, 2004 on the streets of Amsterdam by a Muslim fundamentalist, who reacted strongly against Van Gogh’s criticism of Islam in his films. The killer is now serving a life sentence in a prison in the Netherlands.

“It’s the uncomfortable side of freedom of speech. I have always condemned the killing of van Gogh. Krekar made a speech which I hate, but that’s a price I’m willing to accept,” says Aktar Chaudhry, a member of the justice committee in Parliament for the Socialist Left.

On Friday afternoon approximately 100 people showed up at the square in Oslo to demonstrate against a YouTube video that shows a burning Koran.

The video was made by two Kurds living in Norway whom have since received death threats from Krekar, according to Norwegian prosecutors.

Among other things, Mullah Krekar has been indicted for having made death threats against the two Kurds.

“I will not comment on the death threats,” Krekar’s brother Khalid Faraj Ahmad says.

The protesters carried pictures of the Koran and the Koran in flames. Most of the approximately 200 demonstrators were Kurds living in Norway.

The demonstrators marched up Karl Johan’s Gate [main street in Oslo] to the Parliament, where Mullah Krekar made his appeal in Kurdish and Arabic.

“He talked about the act of the burning the Quran, something which has taken place in several countries, and that we don’t accept that someone may use freedom of speech in such a way. The Holy Quran must be respected. To burn the Koran is not freedom of expression, it is an insult,” Mullah Krekar’s brother, says Khalid Faraj Ahmed.

“Krekar came here to show that he is one of the people, and that he can express himself in public,” Ahmed told Dagbladet. After Krekar had given his speech, which ran for about half an hour, he was escorted to a waiting taxi which was surrounded by protesters shouting slogans.

“We are very happy that the demonstration was peaceful. We have cooperated closely with the police and this was an important demonstration,” says Khalid Faraj Ahmad.

Video transcript:

0:00 Central Oslo a bit before 4 pm.
0:03 A handful of Muslims, including women and children, has shown up for a peaceful demonstration.
0:09 But then Mullah Krekar surprisingly appears.
0:22 The demonstration goes on its way towards the parliament, a demonstration against Quran-burnings and offenses against the Quran.
0:27 Krekar awaits the verdict in a trial in which he is accused of threatening the lives of two Norwegian Kurds for burning the Quran and putting the video on internet. [this happened two years ago!]
0:52 Furthermore he mentioned both Guantanamo and the Jyllands-Posten caricatures.
0:56 He is somewhat more soft-spoken than in earlier public statements
1:01 but he praised the killing of the Dutch director Theo van Gogh.
1:25 Krekar earlier stated that he fears for his life when he is out in public
1:35 but today he evidently felt safe.
1:36 His oldest brother [who arranged the demo] explained why he came today:
1:40 It is to show, that he is not locked up, that he can mingle among people,
1:46 and talk to them as everyone else can.

Previous posts about Mullah Krekar:

2007 Oct 9 The Latest on Mullah Krekar
  Nov 13 Mullah Krekar: “Kill the Aussies!”
    29 More Mau-Mauing from Mullah Krekar
2008 Apr 17 Norway to Mullah Krekar: We Give Up!
  Jul 15 Free Speech in Norway Requires Police Approval
  Aug 5 A Mullah with Chutzpah
  Sep 27 Mullah Krekar Threatens Author With Death
2009 Jul 23 A Terrorist in Utopia
2011 Dec 9 A Mullah For All Seasons


laine said...

In most western countries, there are some limits placed on freedom of speech, specifically inciting murder. Praising the Muslim knife butchering of Theo van Gogh is incitement to further such deeds and this murderous mullah should be in jail. They've tried to deport him but because he's such a piece of work his lawyers claimed his life would be in danger in his home country. Therefore, Norway keeps him, and obviously not on a short chain the way such mad dogs should be kept. Norway needs to rethink its knee jerk reaction to believing the unsubstantiated claim that Krekar's life would be in danger in a Muslim country. Why would it be? He's preaching what they all believe. Innocent lives in the plural are far more endangered by letting him spout his hatred of infidels in Norway than his lone miserable life is at risk in a Muslim country. Norwegian authorities should give their heads a shake.

judenlieber said...

Sometimes it's hard to decide where freedom of speech becomes incitement. This is not one of those times. Imagine what would happen to me if I were to make a public statement today praising James Earl Ray. I would be arrested or at least questioned and put on a watch list.
And rightly so!

Anonymous said...

Muslims in Norway, not Norwegian Muslims.