Monday, February 23, 2009

IFPS and Geert Wilders Call for an International First Amendment

Free Geert!

The International Free Press Society and the Center for Security Policy are co-sponsoring a press conference for Geert Wilders at the National Press Club on Friday, as a part of the Washington DC leg of Mr. Wilders’ whirlwind tour of the USA. I’ll be present at this event and will report on it after I get home.

For more information about this and other events, consult the daily updates at the International Free Press Society. Today’s press release from IFPS/CSP is below:

International Free Press Society and Geert Wilders Call for An International First Amendment And Ban On All Hate Speech Laws

Washington DC — On Friday, February 27, 2009, Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders, founder and floor leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), and the International Free Press Society (IFPS), in conjunction with the Center for Security Policy, will discuss recent attacks on free speech worldwide, especially the recent legal actions against Wilders and other political leaders and journalists.

The International Free Press Society will announce a global initiative to protect free speech from laws that criminalize any criticisms of Islam or the doctrines of Shariah.

The event will include a screening of Fitna, the controversial film which includes quotations from the Koran, documentary footage of Islamic leaders inciting violence (jihad) based on those quotations, and documentary footage of jihadist violence. The film can be viewed on the Internet here.

Mr. Wilders will discuss his efforts to show Fitna and to rally support for free speech and the right to criticize Islam.

Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, will discuss the dangers to America’s national security and civil liberties imposed by global oppression of free speech. CSP recently hosted a conference in London entitled “Free Speech, Jihad and the Future of Western Civilization.” Selected speeches from that conference can be found here.

Concerning recent attacks on free speech, Gaffney said: “The insinuation of Shariah legal codes and practices into Free World societies includes the effort to impose Shariah blasphemy, slander and libel laws in the West. According to Shariah, it is impermissible to engage in speech or writings that ‘defame’ Islam or otherwise offend its followers. We must oppose all these efforts.”

Lars Hedegaard, President of the International Free Press Society, will introduce Mr. Wilders and outline the IFPS 2009 campaign to ban hate speech laws and to work for an “International First Amendment.” Hedegaard said:
- - - - - - - - -
The hate speech and blasphemy laws that are now common in many European countries lack clarity as to precisely what they aim to criminalize. Recent experience with their implementation further shows that they are unequally applied. This state of affairs is intolerable and the IFPS must therefore demand that all such laws be repealed. The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements — unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action — is to expose them to public debate and criticism.

M.P. Geert Wilders lives under 24 hour police protection. Following Fitna’s release online in March 2008, al-Qaeda issued a fatwa calling for Wilders’ murder. Wilders also currently faces prosecution in Holland for alleged “incitement to hatred and discrimination.” Wilders called the Dutch Court of Appeals’ decision to prosecute him an attack on freedom of expression. “Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted,” he said.

Mr. Wilders was recently arrested and deported from England, where he had traveled on the invitation of members of the House of Lords to speak and show the film. He is visiting New York, Boston and Washington DC this week, meeting with private organizations, political leaders and journalists to encourage their support for the campaign to protect free speech worldwide.

An extended question and answer session with all three speakers will follow their presentations.

Press Conference Logistics

  • Date: Friday, February 27, 2009
  • Security Check-in Time: 8:30 a.m.
  • Press Conference: 9:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
  • Location: Lisagor Room, The National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20045
  • Pre-registration required: Please email or call Christine Brim at 202-835-9077 (office) or 202-379-6776 (cell) to pre-register. Space is limited and advance pre-registration is required. Anyone who is not pre-registered will not be permitted entry to the press conference.
  • Security Check-in: Please allow ample time for security check-in. Personal identification and press credentials will be required. All bags, equipment and persons will be subject to inspection.


Michael Servetus said...

Great idea, this is something that should be very hard to argue againstbecause it is so very noble and fair, while it simutaneously exposes the nefarious nature of any oppsing sentiment or move by organised social nazis because it is so full of light. This I believe is something that cannot be easily attacked or opposed and so should be picked up and run with. Encouraging!

Michael Servetus said...

I submit this link for interested readers.

costin said...

Baron, I posted subtitled versions of Fitna in Czech, German and Spanish. I will soon post in Romania, Italian and French and I will post all translations I can get my hands on.

I wonder how long will it take for this account to be deleted also:

costin said...

oh, and by the way, after 2 hours from uploading I already have warning:

"Dear vasileOmFrumos2,

Your video, FITNA Czech 2 of 2, may have content that is owned or licensed by rumblefish.

No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information."

Anonymous said...

A campaign for an international First amendment: hear, hear! That's a brilliant political idea. To the point, and simple to convey. I hope it gets a long mileage.

. said...

An international first amendment:

You mean, a provision that would allow the Koran to be published and disseminated in the Netherlands and everywhere else in the world?

I know what Geert's reply would be - the only reason he would ban the Koran is that Europe's book-banning laws allow the banning of hateful books such as Mein Kampf, and the Koran is in that category.

But what about the rest of Gates of Vienna-dom - Baron and Dymphna, are you willing to trade unlimited access to Fitna for unlimited access to the Koran?

I hope the answer is yes - if so, I'm sure you would be opposed to an international First Amendment.

El said...

hmm, i'm not sure about this. an international first amendment enforced by whom? the UN?

isn't freedom of speech already guaranteed in the universal declaration of human rights? what good will it do to guarantee it again, on a different piece of paper, signed by a different bunch of bureaucrats?

i am more in favour of setting our own houses in order and removing islam from our societies than trying to promulgate the notion that there are international standards of behaviour that everyone 'must' abide by. that's the OIC's approach. do other commenters accept the approach but not the goal? i reject both...

. said...

I mean, "if not," not "if so."

costin said...

I actually learned that the idea that Geert wilders has, is not a very good idea.

Banning the Koran would also ban any discussion regarding the content of the Koran. The Koran must be available to everybody that wants to read it, because this is the only way that e can found about it's nature. I think Geert wilders thinks about banning the Koran, because in the Netherlands Mein Kampf is also banned. But this is a different story, given the Dutch history during the second world war in which 95% of Jews were killed during the Nazis (compare it to 5% of the Jews killed in Denmark, a fact that I learned at GoV). I think that Mein Kampf should be also printable in Netherlands, because people need to see what it's sick about it.

I think that this is the thing that will stay in the way of this great idea.

Dymphna said...

Formerly Gordon--

You didn't read my last post on this subject. Or perhaps you read it and forgot its contents. I said then, and I will repeat, the Koran should be feely available.

I think global free speech is a great idea. I would welcome the advent of same. China would become a most interesting place.

However, total freedom of speech isn't permitted on this blog unless whatever is being said remains within the commonly accepted norms of civility, decorum, etc. This is my house, and I have no intention of cleaning up after flame wars.

IOW, public free speech in public places, but modified rules of speech as deemed appropriate by the owners of semi-private fora.

Just like the Boy Scouts have rules of behavior for their members, so do we. Different rules, though: you needn't be cheerful or brave or perform any good deeds while commenting. However, it still remains the case you may not call names or give colorful derogatory descriptions of your interlocutors' statements.

I have no problem with people standing on soapboxes on every street corner reciting the Koran, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, II Isaiah, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc...whatever moves the reader to perform is fine with me as long as I'm free to move away from his performance.

In addition, people who are under a compulsion to deny the Holocaust should be given that leeway without fear of prison. They are more to be pitied than censured.

BTW, freedom of speech does not allow for calls to destroy the state. That is destructive of the commonweal and the latter needs protection.

Children need protection, too. That's why we have a PG 13 rule here. Children read our blog, a fact which amuses some, while others simply refuse to believe it.

This amusement/disbelief further amuses the homeschooling parents who send their children here.

Baron Bodissey said...

El, have you ever heard of a "loss leader"?

It's a product or service that attracts consumer attention but is a commercial failure. It's designed to lure the customer through the door and get him to look at all the other attractive -- and profitable -- goods that are on sale.

You know as well as I do that this is not a simple game we are playing. We are up against the masters of taqiyya, and must become masters ourselves.

"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

Baron Bodissey said...

Nodrog --

I don't know why I bother responding to you, since -- having laid your little steamer here -- you are unlikely to return to this thread. However...

You have a tendency to set up straw men concerning me and Dymphna -- citing certain positions as if they were ours, or implying that we hold them, and then confronting us with whatever spurious contradition is thus allegedly exposed.

I've gone on record before, but I'll do it again: I'm a First Amendment purist. I oppose banning the Koran, Mein Kampf, Ulysses, Amos 'n' Andy, or anything else. I think everyone should be free to deny the Holocaust or Global Warming to his heart's content. I believe in a constitutional right to be insulting in print or other media. I believe in the perfect sunshine of free discourse.

Above all, I celebrate the right of anyone, including Geert Wilders, to have an opinion that differs from mine.

I must emphasize, however, that I don't live in the same political context that Mr. Wilders does. If my country forbade the publication of Mein Kampf, I might well advocate a ban on the Koran.

Sauce for the gander and all that.

Michael Servetus said...

I think of this Universal Human Right more as a reassertion of our natural inalienable rights and another level of protection against attempts to stifle it. The freedom alowed here is also in the hope that free criticism of Islam and its foundations being incompatible with free speech and democracy will increase.

Michael Servetus said...

Through free inquiry and free speech person variable x may arrive at the perfectly rational, legitimate and democratic conclusion that the Koran, Islam, Sharia, etc are not compatible with free speech laws and therefore are opned to be banned.

El said...


yeah, i know it's more of a rallying call than anything else. sound the horns, unleash the dogs, and all that. that's fine. of course i agree with the basic sentiment as much as anyone. but it's also an actual proposition, so it has to bear a certain amount of scrutiny.

as for taqiyya, i see its importance, but will have to leave it to others. i seem to be the blunt type, ill-suited to such delicate work.

either way, nice to see geert is getting an audience in the civilized world. if only britiain were still a part of it...

. said...

I'm so glad, B & D, that you are supporters of unrestricted free speech (with Dymphna's exception noted).

I must object to the Baron's description of my post as a "steamer" - that may apply to some other posts of mine, but not this one.

And I also have no objection to Gates of Vienna keeping things PG-13 or better - because, unlike the U.S. or a state or local government, you are a private organization and thus the First Amendment has no applicability to this blog.

And now for a little "steamer" - heaven help the home-schooled children whose parents direct them to this blog!

Baron Bodissey said...

Gordon, I swan! When you let down your guard, you could almost be mistaken for a normal GoV reader. :)

Seriously, you're right: "steamer" was over-harsh. "Straw man", however, was definitely warranted.