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Agora Translates Jyllands-Posten

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At Agora, a translation of a new column for Jyllands-Posten by Per Nyholm: Jyllands-Posten: “My Day in Florence”.

On the train, I read an article by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in which he encourages the values of respect, tolerance and diversity, all very fine values which I am happy to support. And I said to myself: “Fine, mr. President! What are you doing for Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali? What are you doing to hinder the group of madmen who reportedly live in your country and which has pledged to slaughter Danes living there - all because a Danish newspaper printed some cartoons, seen by few Indonesians?”

If you want respect, Mr. President, tell your countrymen that these cartoons are protected by Danish law and that there is no case. Tell publicly what you very well know privately, that in a proper democracy one may insult Islam, Christianity, Judaism and every other religion. There is no shall, but you may. Freedom isn’t free, Mr. President, just ask the Danes this very moment.

I know, Mr. President that neither can you nor will you do this and that is the problem. A problem you share with other rulers from the Phillipines across Central Asia to the Middle East and Africa. The problem - except from a few lying Imams - is not in Denmark, but in the Moslem world where religion isn’t a private matter - where Mullahs are allowed to pester the believers in their homes, in their workplaces and in government. Only this all-encompassing religiousity can explain how 12 rather innocous cartoons can lead us to the present, a place where several have died on account of them.

You complain, Mr. President - with no small justification - about the Islamophobia of The West. In connection with that, some have complained of a drawing of Muhammed with a bomblike turban as being the most offensive. Very well, what do you think hurts Islam the most? The cartoon or this: that millions of viewers watch crazed and savage madmen decapitate their victims with knives or slaughter thousands of innocents, Moslems included, from New York to Iraq and Bali?

Respectfully, Mr. President, these killings and threats are of little use. If you say we can’t show the likeness, or alleged likeness, of Muhammed in Denmark, I say: our rights are not up for discussion. Moslem repressions will not be accepted as the basis for diminishing the foundations of Western Democracy - a system, I might add, which also many Moslems strive for and which you - as far as I know - in no small degree try to uphold.

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