Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Italy makes T-Shirts of Danish Mohammed Cartoon

OK, anyone who has read my blog knows that, in relation to the Mohammed cartoon scandal, I come out on the side of freedom of the press. I think it’s essential to back our media, as freedom of the press is a key ingredient of a free society. Denouncing this freedom is to denounce the very freedom that makes our society, and many other societies around the world, great. The Danish papers had a right to publish the cartoons, and papers around the world had an obligation to reprint them when the issue became so huge in the world political scene.

There is a huge disparity between journalism, as demonstrated by news outlets around the Western world, and promoting hatred. And I’m sorry to say, Italy’s Reform Minister, Roberto Calderoni, is on the wrong side of that line. Calderoli has decided to show support for the Danish press amidst the anger being shown by the Muslim community by creating T-shirts with the various Mohammed cartoons emblazoned on them, and hand them out to anyone who wants one.

"I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will start wearing them today," Ansa quoted Calderoli as saying. He said the T-shirts were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists.

"We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Calderoli said.

Calderoli is a member of the Northern League Party, a far-right anti-immigrant party which points to the growing crime rate and rampant unemployment in Italy as the fault of vast immigration to Italy over recent years. The party is quickly growing in popularity, to some extent because of the party’s anti-Islamic views, as shown by a number of statements by Calderoli and others in the party. For example, the party pushed and got passeda tax benefit that would encourage native Italians, and only native Italians, to have more children.

"I am proud of the fact that the baby bonus will only go to Italian citizens. I say to all those Ali Babas that either Allah or their governments will have to think of them.”

I’ve been very vocal about my concerns regarding various extremist figures in the Muslim world. But extremists anywhere are dangerous, and Calderoli certainly fits the bill of an extremist. While I do support free press and free speech, we’ve already seen how the cartoons inflame the Muslim world, so why upset that side of the world further? There are so many ways to show support for the Danish press, why do so at the expense of the feelings of the Muslim community? In my opinion, this protest is over the top.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:00 PM / | |