by Karin Roodt
The French government has refused to allow a protest against the American-made film “Innocence of Muslims” planned for this coming Saturday. The march was triggered by the satirical anti-Muslim cartoons that had appeared in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The cartoons show the Muslim prophet in naked form.
About 150 people have been arrested in Paris over the weekend, while French embassies and schools in at least 20 countries have been closed. France also had to hastily deploy tanks in Lebanon to protect their missions.
Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the French Muslim Council told Le Monde newspaper that he “was deeply concerned about this irresponsible act that could only exacerbate tensions and provoke damaging reactions”.
On the other side of the Channel, British lawyers concentrated on limiting freedom of expression after the publication of naked pictures of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The context and public responsibility of the two cases are clearly diametrically opposed, if one takes the risk of public violence into account. By choosing such satirical images the French magazine poured fuel on the fire, and endangered people’s lives.
In addition, the Western insistence on certain freedoms is one that is foreign to other cultures and the whole affair has the hallmark of a clash of civilisations ignored by the mainstream media. Not to mention the double standards applied to the British monarchy on the one hand and to Muslims on the other.
Let the advocates of unlimited freedom of expression pay the price for it. That is the only way in which they will brought under the impression of the limits to multiculturalism.
(Translated from the Afrikaans).