Thursday, September 06, 2007

Has Sweden Caved?

Another Middle Eastern news agency reports that Sweden has apologized for the Modoggies. This time it’s SANA, the Syrian news service:

Sweden Apologizes for Newspapers Offending Muslims

A ModoggieSwedish Ambassador in Damascus Catharina Mempel Kipp conveyed on Wednesday her country’s apology for drawings printed recently in Swedish newspapers that depict the Prophet Mohammad in an offensive manner. Kipp expressed her respect to Islam and Muslims in general and the Syrian people in particular.

A statement by the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt affirms that Sweden is a country where people of different beliefs live together, and that the basis of Swedish society is respect, understanding and rejection of offensive action, violence and aggression.

Reinfeldt expressed his regret of the incident which has offended and upset Muslims, calling against instigating or offending other religion.

The statement was delivered by the Swedish Embassy to Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, who stated that a third party is attempting to harm the relations between Sweden and Arab and Islamic countries.

Hassoun pointed out that the Swedish Prime Minister’s stance and apology will have a good impact on Muslims and that it will contribute to ending instigation. He also called intellectuals, journalists and politicians to carry a message that serves humanity and civilizations and to avoid sowing discord between nations and peoples.

I’ll give you three guesses as to who that “third party” might be.

This looks a lot like the earlier claim by Pakistan that the Swedes had apologized, a claim that turned out to be disinformation, a little bit of anticipatory taqiyya in an attempt to expedite a real apology.

The SANA article was the only information on this story that I could find, so I wrote our Danish correspondent Kepiblanc and asked him if he could find anything else. He sent his translation of an excerpt from Nerikes Allehanda (the newspaper that first published a Modoggie):

“None of our ambassadors has said anything like that. Some of them even conveyed Fredrik Reinfeldt’s official statement,” says press- and information-secretary Cecilia Julin of Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “That statement isn’t an apology. Actually, the PM emphasizes that ‘politics must not be allowed to interfere with freedom of the press and expression.’“

Also, from Sweden’s biggest MSM outlet:

PM Fredrik Reinfeldt has invited a group of ambassadors from Arab and Muslim countries to a meeting about the drawings of Mohammed as a roundabout dog.

Egypt’s ambassador, Samah Mohamed Sotouhi, tells TT that the ambassadors from Muslim countries to Sweden in unison will hand over a list with precautions to the Swedish government, demanding measures for a permanent solution with regard to the Mohammed drawings.

“We want action, not kind words.”

The Muslim leaders have demanded a meeting with the prime minister, and they are getting one. This is where Mr. Reinfeldt has departed from the line taken by his Danish counterpart, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who refused categorically to meet with Muslim leaders about the Motoons.

Here’s what Kepiblanc has to say:
- - - - - - - - -
In my humble opinion, Reinfeldt has already caved.

When the thugs demanded a meeting with Rasmussen , his answer was “Freedom of the press and free speech is not up for discussion, so there’s no reason for a meeting.” Which effectively means : F**k You.

By agreeing to meet the thugs, Reinfeldt obviously says, “OK — let’s talk about our constitution and our laws and how we can gag the Swedish people.” Exactly what they demand.

The Local has more information about tomorrow’s meeting [Note: since I originally compiled this post, the Local link I just cited has ceased to work]:

“The meeting forms part of our dialogue with these countries,” the prime minister’s press secretary Oscar Hållén told news agency TT.

The government has indicated that the meeting will not be open to journalists.

“We want to emphasize the fact that Muslims and Christians live side by side in Sweden in a spirit of mutual respect,” said Hållén.

He also added that the government intends to reinforce its defence of freedom of expression. [emphasis added]

It looks like they’re going to make some serious sausages at that meeting, and they’re keeping the press out so that nobody will see exactly how those sausages are made.

A later article from The Local has additional information; it seems that the Muslim leaders are urging the prime minister to introduce Sharia:

Muslim ambassadors: ‘Sweden needs to change its laws’

Ambassadors from Muslim countries have indicated that they intend to present the Swedish prime minister with a list of demands when they meet for talks on Friday.

Fredrik Reinfeldt invited the ambassadors from 20 Muslim countries to government offices on Friday following a wave of protests from Muslim countries after the publication of a caricature of Muhammad in local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

Reinfeldt’s press secretary Oscar Hållén was unable to say which countries had confirmed their attendance.

Egyptian ambassador Mohamed Sotouhi told news agency TT that he and a group of fellow ambassadors had agreed on a list of measures Sweden needed to take if it was to secure a long-term solution to the Muhammad cartoon controversy.

According to Sotouhi, “comprehensive measures” were required if Sweden was to prevent some “amateur artist” from reawakening tensions every other month.

“We want to see action, not just nice words. We have to push for a change in the law,” he said.

“Muslims need legal protection against the desecration of the Prophet Muhammad, maybe something similar to the protection enjoyed by Jews and homosexuals.”

While praising the “very constructive steps” taken by Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Egyptian ambassador said that Sweden had much work left to do.

“In the long term the school curriculum has to convince pupils that if they want to express their opinion they should do so in such a way that it doesn’t cause offence or hurt. This should also be part of journalism training,” said Sotouhi.

“A permanent parliamentary committee also needs to be established to tackle islamophobia,” he added.

The ambassador urged Reinfeldt to strive towards “reaching a balance between freedom of speech and taking responsibility to avoid offending Muslims or other religious groups in this society”.

And dig this little tidbit:

Algeria’s ambassador to Sweden, Merzak Bedjaoui, said the meeting “was an excellent initiative taken in a spirit of appeasement.”

Whoo-ee! I wonder who’s doing the translating here…

And, once again:

Hållén further added that the government intended to reiterate its earlier defence of Swedish laws surrounding freedom of expression.

They’re going to have to work really hard to square that particular circle.

So the big question remains: Has Sweden really bent over and grasped its ankles yet? Or is it just tentatively fingering its diplomatic trouser buttons?

A reader who lives in Sweden sends the following note:

Just now I saw one of the Modogs on TV. They actually showed a Modoggie on TV. Wonders never cease!

This morning they had Lars Vilks, an art critic, and a host. General stuff on art and free speech, everything that has been said before. Lars did mention that he had a few death threats, but most Muslims were willing to discuss the issue reasonably.

Now there is a quick debate segment on “UR”, UtbildningsRadion, (Educational Radio).

Only now has Sweden’s media been shamed into covering the issue.

What’s notable is that smaller newspapers like Nerikes Allehanda are willing to stick their necks out and stand firm on this issue. The higher up in media and governmental food chain you go, the more closely the position resembles the Multicultural party line.

So, for right now, it’s still a modified, limited Alla ska med.

For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.


John Sobieski said...

hmm...we should set up betting options on one of those speculative betting sites. Does Sweden fold and do the Norway dhimmi dance (remember the imams on the steps and the dhimmis beneath begging for forgiveness?)

I think Sweden is different but all the other eurodhimmi elites are sure to put the pressure on the Swedes to apologize and curtail freedom of the press.

carpenter said...

Is this, in fact, the victory for freedom of press?
Due to the usual Swedish government's coward behavior, could it be that Syria and Pakistan expected apologies they didn't recieve, and thus concocted them on their own instead?
Could that be, due to their unwillingness to another Cartoon jihad and let Pakistanis and Syrians arbitrarily believe that Sweden is completely dhimmified as planned and apologizing if its newspapers print blasphemous drawings?

Or even another way; could it be that the Swedish ministry of foreign affairs is lying? What if they actually have apologized, just are affraid of looking the Swedes in the eyes and tell us they've given in to intimidation of dictatorships?

This case is far away from clear. Tomorrow, we'll at least see how Reinfeldt will behave. Luckily for us, the media will attend the meeting, which means that Reinfeldt will have in mind his image among the electorate.
Anything - ANYTHING!! - but uncomprimising defense of freedom of press by Reinfeldt will make my confidence for him corrode (it already has, but here he has a chance to get it back)

kepiblanc said...

This is a flying pig moment: Several Swedish MSM actually inform on this topic. For example: EXPRESSEN.

The Caption reads : Egypt's Ambassador demands: "Change the Swedish Constitution".

I wish y'all could read the comments, but since this is a polite blog, maybe not....

History Snark said...

In a way, I'm surprised Sweden has held out this long. Hasn't it been a constant theme here on GoV that they are-arguably-the Euro-nation farthest down the road to Dhimmitude?

I guess I'm missing something, or else too many folks here are guilty of letting their hopes make a fool of their reason.

Let the flaming begin... :)

Unknown said...

EU politicians are preparing the path for that but didnot dared yet.
I think many people understand free speach is the bottom line. If you lose that you lose anything and everything.
Danish cartoons make ring many alarm bells

X said...

No flaming needed (though I have a few good ones locked up in my brain on this subject). The simple truth is, everyone has their limit on how much pain they will tolerate. I expect the swedes made a lot of notes during the first motoons crisis and now they're trying for a more polite version of the same track.


Anyway I don't think they've caved, and I don't think the will either.

Baron Bodissey said...

GTW --

It's obviously true that Sweden and Britain are neck-and-neck in a contest for Europe's Most Dhimmified Nation. But that doesn't mean that it will stay that way, or that the Swedes will go unprotesting to their doom.

I have never asserted that I know how all this will turn out. I report what I find, and listen to what people say.

To quote Walt Whitman, "I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait."

Well... maybe a little bit of mocking, here and there... :)

Conservative Swede said...

This whole issue is very interesting and enlightening in many ways.

No Sweden will not cave in. Free speech is one of the few things the Swedes really believe in.

No Reinfeldt won't back off from his current position. His current position could be questioned, already as it is, of course. E.g. why didn't he attack Pakistan and demanded an apology for the flag burning? Why didn't he even mention it? But part of the package of the current position is an uncompromising defense of the principle of free speech.

Reinfeldt meets with the thugs (Muslim ambassadors) not because he intends to cave in, but because he does not see them as thugs. This makes him naive and ignorant, but not a man who will sell his principles.

Sweden and Reinfeldt are prepared to defend free speech. It all depends on how it is framed. Had the concrete issue been about an utterance or drawing by the Sverigedemokaterna, Reinfeldt and Sweden would have caved in already from day one. But they wouldn't have seen it as giving up free speech, but as a way to defend "democratic" ideals (it's all about perception). We saw this face of Sweden during the Jyllands-Posten affair. But then it was "evil" "racist" Denmark who did it. The evil powerful oppressor oppressing the weak and defenseless (the usual X ethics y'know). This time it's an artist and a left-winger. It's framed differently. So Sweden and Reinfeldt will stand up for the principle of free speech. He will possibly say or do other revolting things, but not that. It's not until the Swedes will see it as a war situation that the "pragmatism" we saw in the Nazi appeasement of the early '40s would be triggered. But we are very far from that.

Conclusion: In order to understand how the Swedes will react it is necessary to understand how they perceive things. If a man jumps off a cliff, we might conclude that he's suicidal. But it might be because he's blind, and just didn't see the valley below him. To being able to predict the behaviour of a person/nation/civilization we first have to understand its nature. E.g. suicidal and blind are definitely not the same things, even though in certain circumstances it will provide the same results.

PS. Since I started writing this, the Baron has posted a comment which as always is very sensible.

PPS. Lars Vilks framed this whole thing in an excellent way. Very ingenious.

Whiskey said...

Bottom line, the exclusion of the Press means Sharia is coming in.

OF COURSE Sweden will cave. Or more precisely the government. Among the likely agreements: banning pork, dogs, "uncovered mean" i.e. unveiled women around Muslims, "blasphemy" (but only against Muslims/Islam), and of course outlawing booze.

The elites of course will not be affected by this but the ordinary person will be punished which is the whole point of multiculturalism, PC, and moral relativism. Punishment of the ordinary person.

Lars Viks is going to jail. The newspapers that published the Modoggies will of course be fined and some of the editors/publishers jailed. That is also the "deal."

What does the Swedish government get out of this? More arms sales to the ME, a pass on terrorism (which I assume they've been threatened with) and of course punishment of the people.

Of course Sweden and the Swedes will surrender. Along with the Brits -- unlike the Brits they don't have the BNP or other hard-core thugs which sadly is the only solution for Europeans wanting to avoid Sharia.

Part of the problem is that Sweden and Britain have had relatively efficient, relatively corruption-free governments that lulled their people into believing the governments could be trusted. No Frenchman, Italian, or even Spaniard would trust HIS government one bit. Eastern Europeans even less.

Conservative Swede said...

Whiskey 199cl wrote:
Lars Viks is going to jail. The newspapers that published the Modoggies will of course be fined and some of the editors/publishers jailed.

Well, of course not.

This is the fundamental error by the right-wing. The truly believe that the left-wingers want to destroy our civilization, want to be dhimmified, etc. But this is not what the left-wing perceive themselves as doing. They see themselves as maximizing goodness. And we're talking Christian goodness here, 'cause the Left is all about Christian ethics.

This is maybe the most important conclusion of my writings at my blog--something I got distracted from by other people and by being unfocused myself--that what the left-wing is doing is not destroying Western civilization, but completing/fulfilling it. What I call "The Finish of the West".

History Snark said...

I dunno. I hope everyone is right, but reading the original post leads me to a cynical conclusion.

Or to be more precise, to a cynical view of the likely conclusion.

They won't get everything they demand, and the PM might well stand up and assert that free speech is not negotiable, but am I the only one (aside perhaps from Whiskey) that thinks the 'slammies will walk away with something? I can't see Sweden- or anybody- apologizing, or even hinting at an apology, and then telling them to bugger off. An apology just feels like step 1.

And as Baron and others have so often pointed out, the 'slammies have it down to a system: The Good Muslims demand concessions, and hint strongly that they must be given, else the Bad Muslims will get angry and do something terrible.

Someone or something will have to be sacrificed, IMHO. It could just be Lars Viks being forced to apologize, or it could be the Swedish government giving more money to the poor oppressed Muslims. But the price hasn't yet been paid, and I don't see it being discounted.

The Graduate said...

I may have many irritated comments written about my idea but this can be an opportunity. Here we have several oppresive countries, whose laws oppress women, Homosexuals and members of religions that are not Mulsim. Perhaps Sweden can use the request of these nations to change the Swedish constitution as a bargaining chip. Sort of a we'll change ours if you change yours and we will even throw in the apology for the Modoggy art.
I think there is a definition of Chutzpah somewhere in this whole issue.

kepiblanc said...

In this guessing contest I'm all with GTW : Sweden caves. Here is my take on it: Later today Reinfeldt and the thugs will come out from the meeting and make a joint statement along these lines : "we had a very fruitful, friendly and thorough discussion which bodes well for the future and we agree on the principles of free speech and respect for religous feelings. The Swedish government deeply regrets that Muslims wordlwide have been offended and we have decided to establish a committee (Swedish: utskott) in order to further strengthen mutual understanding, yadda, yadda, yadda...

Bottom line: They will do nothing to correct the lies in the Pakistani, Afghan and Syrian press, thus allowing the Muslim world to believe that Sweden apologized in full. And to satisfy them and the local Muslims Reinfeldt will point out that Nerikes Allahanda and Lars Vilks is already on trial for defamatory actions, "hets mot folkgrupp". The Swedish press will downplay everything, Reinfeldt will attend another friday prayer in a mosque and the real PM of Sweden Mona Muslim will support Reinfeldt in order to calm down John Doe (Calle Svensson), who doesn't care much about the constitution - or anything else, for that matter.

Come Monday, and everything is history.

Conservative Swede said...

Kepiblanc's scenario is very realistic. In fact, his first paragraph could even happen in my non-caving scenario. There will be words about regrets and about continued dialog, for sure.

The only hard currency in Kepiblanc's scenario is the hate crime trial against Lars Vilks and Nerikes Allehanda. And sure, unlike many other things suggested in this thread, this is the kind of thing that could happen. But it would be remarkable if it came out as a result of this meeting. A politically decided trial, in such an obvious way. No, fellow counterjihadists, I don't think so.

And Lars Vilks won't be forced to apologize, because he can't be forced to apologize. He'll have to be killed.

This whole affair is good in many ways, because it is enlightening. It will e.g. demonstrate the actual nature of the weakness of Sweden, which is not what 90% of the people in this and other blogs think. It will also demonstrate some strengths.

It's hard to foretell the outcome of this whole Swedes vs. Muslims affair. As I wrote in my blog, the thing I fear the most is that the soft and cuddly style of the Swedes will make the Muslims come out of the affair looking better. Not these ambassadors, but the ones living in Sweden. In the meeting Reinfeldt had with them on Tuesday, they had no demands and said they respected free speech etc. A lot of Kumbaya, creating utopian dreams of a possible dialog. Such as: bring the Muslims away from dictatorships and into democracy and the dialog will be possible.

This is what I fear the most. But luckily I'm pretty sure the Muslims will kill someone.

Profitsbeard said...

Now the Mohammad's-head-on-the-body-of-a-Pig Cartoon Escalation needs to occur.

It's Mo-swine time!

If you bow to Islam, your noggin ends up on the floor.