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I am not fine with issuing death threats. You are inventing that. I am saying that the racist and Islamophobian scum that started the cartoon campaign deliberately brought this violent reaction about.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 06:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The death threats preceded the cartoons.

In the reality-based community, effect is not generally considered to precede cause.

The proper response to death threats against textbook authors and publishers is to create such a target-rich environment that the deranged, violent extremists cannot actually make good on the threat to suppress the activity.

If that gives some racists some cheap yucks, well shrug Protecting authors and publishers from deranged, violent fanatics is more important than not giving racists cheap yucks.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 06:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The death threats preceded the cartoons

You don't mind substantiating that statement, do you?

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 07:03:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't mind at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 07:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article by Ritzau discussed the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who was initially unable to find an illustrator prepared to work with Bluitgen on his children's book

So there was NOT a textbook scrapped. No censorship. There was an author trying to employ an illustrator, and refusals to do this work.

The first one to decline the job was a Muslim, who refused on religious grounds (not menitoned in the Wikipedia article). Then there were refusals because people THOUGHT there could be violence from Muslims, but there weren't any real threats.

Only after the cartoon campaign of Jyllands Posten there were death threats and riots.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be true if you conveniently ignore the actual cases of people being murdered and assaulted over similar matters.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the impression the authors of the cartoon campaign wanted to convey: that Muslims are a menace. It is something I dispute.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:57:18 AM EST
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No, that people who will issue death threats over making drawings are a threat.

The point appears to be that making representations of Mohamed is a profanation of the holy.

So maybe the problem is that people who believe in the holy are a threat, because they are liable to get unreasonably worked up over actions which they perceive to be a profanation of the holy.

Since the definition of what's holy and what behaviours are profanations of the holy seem to be completely conventional (given the very large numbers of religions disagreeing over what's holy and what's profanation), maybe the problem is the very concept of the holy.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First there was the cartoon campaign that aimed at showing how primitive these brown skinned people are, and then there were the death threats.

And at no point was there the question to Muslims in Europe which protection of their interests they want, and a debate if the majority wanted to grant this protection.

And then, oh surprise, there was violence.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That debate was pretty effectively pre-empted by a gaggle of extremist Danish mullahs who decided to go on a tour of various Mideastern banana republics with a doctored set of pictures.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the assault on a Copenhagen university professor was not an "impression the authors of the cartoon campaign wanted to convey," unless you are going into tin-foil hat territory and claiming that it was staged for public consumption by the authors of the cartoon campaign.

Nor were the several political assassinations of high-profile anti-Islamists. Now, some of those assassinated arguably did the European culture a favor by shrugging off this mortal coil, but that does not make assassination somehow OK or non-threatening to legitimate anti-clerical activism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:06:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First there was the cartoon campaign, then there was the related violence. Not the other way round. And nobody had to scrap a textbook.

It would be an interesting debate if Danish Muslims would tell us what illustrations they would find proper in a children's book about the prophet Mohammed. Instead there was a campaign to teach the primitives how civilised people behave.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First there was the cartoon campaign, then there was the related violence. Not the other way round.

No, that's simply a lie. It doesn't get more true because you repeat it. The cartoons were published after a professor at the University of Copenhagen was bodily assaulted for reading from the Koran.

It would be an interesting debate if Danish Muslims would tell us what illustrations they would find proper in a children's book about the prophet Mohammed.

A large part of the controversy centered around the question of who gets to speak for "the Danish Muslims." Because their self-appointed spokesmen are a gaggle of extremist nutcases whose representativeness is very much in doubt, and whose ideological home is somewhere slightly to the right of Russian Orthodox Patriarch.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that is not what the authors of the cartoon campaign claimed they wanted to convey.

They may have wished to convey that those who claim special privileges for Islam are a menace. This is abundantly verifiable.

You may be interested to know how the controversy played in France, which offers relatively little in the way of protection for religious feelings.

The Danish cartoons were published by France Soir, a paper with a right-wing editorial line, and by Charlie Hebdo, a scurrilous scatological lefto-greeno-republican weekly. This provoked "lively debate", and a couple of attempts of prosecution by a confederation of Moslem organisations under a law forbidding insults to a group of people based on their religious beliefs.

They lost : it was judged that the drawings satirized Moslem extremists, not Moslems as a group.

Last year, they were preparing a special issue (named Sharia Hebdo) to commemorate the electoral victory of the Islamist party in Tunisia, when the premises of the paper were destroyed by arson (never fear, the paper is still alive and well).

My perception is that the paper demonstrated that it is indeed OK to caricature religions and religious beliefs in France, with no exceptions. This ought to be obvious to everyone, and it's a shame that they had to demonstrate it by putting themselves and their paper at risk.

I'm very glad they did it, and I believe that they have improved the integration and insertion of Moslems into French society, which was their intention.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right, the authors claimed other aims.

In my view the French version of the relation between state and religion only works if minorities are very small. French secularity keeps the Catholic church in their place, and all other religions don't count. 5% Muslims is too strong a minority for that.  

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:45:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if it doesn't work in France, it presumably can't work anywhere.

The issue in France (and to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Europe) is that a society which has been secularized, i.e. is no longer intimidated by vested religious interests and therefore has no religious taboos in the debate of ideas, is effectively being asked (by a Muslim minority) to take a step backwards into the obscurantist past.

And is saying no. Quite rightly, and fairly successfully overall, in my view.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I dispute that we live in secularised societies! We mostly respect religious taboos (we only notice them when they change) and we have some kind of balance of powers between state and religion. The appearance of a new player disturbs the balance.

Funny turn the discussion is taking now. So the real enemy is Muslims?

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 11:15:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I dispute that we live in secularised societies!

You told Jake recently Take your barbarian free speech back to the US where it belongs.

I feel compelled to ask you to take your religious society to the US where it belongs.

Now seriously, this is the time to point out that secularism, separation of church and state, and freedom of conscience are three separate concepts.

I was of the opinion that, by and large, the US had freedom of conscience and separation of church and state, but it wasn't a secular society; on the other hand, Europe tends to have freedom of conscience and a secular society but no separation of church and state.

Is this one of those cases where you can pick two out of three?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 11:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have the impression (I am open to correction) that France enjoys all three. I believe this to be a relatively enviable state of affairs, and well worth defending.

I deplore any regression in this respect, beit in France, Russia, or the Maghreb, for example.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 11:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe if you scratch the illusion of secularity a bit, you'll see how thin it is. In Germany Catholics and Lutherans are about one third of the population each. Small fry and no religion is the last third. Especially in the rural parts the Churches are everywhere (in the west). I don't know what is secular in that. We are more concerned with balancing the two Churches against each other (yes, the two Churches. A church is founded by Peter or by Martin Luther, everything else is a sect) than with secularity.

So it's not even a case of picking two out of three.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:07:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what is secular in that.

What temporal power do the churches have? If the answer is none, then the society is secular. It's not about how many people profess or practice religion. It's about whether the churches get to dictate behaviour, education, dress codes, sexual morals, etc... or not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The government collects a tithe on their behalf: that's pretty non-separational of Church and State.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does that in Denmark as well. In Denmark, what that means is that substantially the church's entire revenue stream goes through the central government bureaucracy.

That's a good system, which has worked perfectly well since the 16th century. My only complaint is that it isn't open to all the other religions who might wish to enjoy similar state support place their budgetary decisions in the hands of treasury officials...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And in Italy you have no choice but to pay it, though a few years ago they started letting you specify alternatives to the Church to give the money to.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 02:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Churches have influence on politics, on public broadcasters where they have seats, and they teach the regular religion classes in schools (except in the three city states, where they fight to get that right). And that's only the influence where they have formal legal rights, not even the informal influence.

Then there is the funding: if you owe your church money every month, because you are a member, the state will collect it for them with the income tax. There are hidden funds too.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the state tax authorities keep track of people's religious affiliation.

Big yikes!

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. State tax authorities mark marital status, number of children, membership of church on a card which you then hand to your employer (!) who transfers the taxes on your wage directly to the state.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Formal legal rights = seats on public broadcasters + teaching religion in schools + administration of voluntary religious tax. OK, that gives them an undue influence on the formation of public opinion, so I guess that, according to Migeru's definition, Germany fails the "separation of church and state" test.

What are the "hidden funds"? Sounds exciting.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is exciting. The churches run social services, hospitals, kindergarten and are refunded for the costs. The are paid for teaching religion in schools. Their priests study in public universities subjects that are decided by the Church, not the state, but the Churches can't be bothered to pay for that. Then there are some historical hangovers which we are told we can't change. In Bavaria bishops are paid by the state and the like.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Germany is much like Minnessotta :)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:14:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what is secular in that.

I interpret 'secularity' mostly in the sense that religiosity is a private matter. In stark contrast with the situation in the US where public shows of piety are almost required of politicians and public figures, in most of Europe they are frowned upon, discouraged, or they are simply not done. Even Christian Democrats keep a low profile, by and large. I may be mistaken, but even in the case of German President Gauck, the fact that he's a pastor is secondary to his reputation as a dissident against the DDR regime. Merkel doesn't make a big production out of being the daughter of a pastor either.

Maybe the fact of appointing Gauck President is a turning point, just like Sarkozy appears to have tried to inject just a bit too much of Catholicism in his political rhetoric.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 02:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kindly speak for yourself. I do.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 11:35:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More extensive reply

Funny turn the discussion is taking now. So the real enemy is Muslims?

No, the enemy is not brown people, no, the enemy is not immigrants. No, the enemy is not Muslims. Your introduction of this strawman is repugnant.

If you imagine that there is a balance of powers between state and religion in France, then you are ignorant of French society. (It's true that the clergy are on the state payroll in Alsace, that's a historical vestige similar to the fact that the motorways are toll-free in Brittany.)

It's possible that such a balance of powers truly exists in Germany -- after all, the major government party has the word "Christian" in its name -- but this too is a historical vestige, destined to disappear as (if?) society progresses.

The Catholic church in France no longer attempts to challenge the secular state in power games, it merely struggles to maintain its declining cultural influence. It happens that the only challenges to the secular state of affairs tends to come, these days, from Muslims.

Acceding to such demands would be a civilizational regression.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 11:56:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We mostly respect religious taboos (we only notice them when they change)

But, and this is the key point, when religious taboos are challenged, they are expected to yield. "This is taboo in my religion" is not a more valid argument for making public policy than "I think it's icky."

In practice, this means that Christianity enjoys a measure of privilege that Islam does not, due to simple institutional inertia. The solution to that is to remove Christianity's unfounded and unmerited privileges, not to introduce medieval barbarism in favor of Islam.

and we have some kind of balance of powers between state and religion.

No, we really don't, at least not north of the Eider or west of the Rhine.

The Catholic Church, of course, works incessantly to inject itself into European politics. But by and large it is losing.

Which is as it should be.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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