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Stossel Censored Part 1

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The vast Empire of Censorship in Europe – and how to fight it

by Brendan O’Neill

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to tell you that freedom of speech no longer exists in Europe.

In almost every European country in 2015, there are individuals who are in prison or doing some kind of community service or paying off a fine simply for something that they said, simply for expressing themselves.

In Scotland, birthplace of so much of the Enlightenment, a man is currently in jail for the crime of singing an offensive song.

The man is a 24-year-old fan of the largely Protestant football team Rangers. And he was recently found guilty of singing a song called “The Billy Boys”, which is an anti-Catholic song that Rangers fans have been singing for years.

Under Scotland’s Orwellian Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, he was sentenced to four months in jail for songcrimes. We’ve had thoughtcrime and speechcrime — now we have songcrime.

In Sweden, which many view as the Mecca of liberalism, the happiest, fairest nation in Europe, a man was recently released from a six-month prison sentence for producing offensive art.

His name is Dan Parks. He’s a painter. He does paintings which he says are designed to challenge political correctness and to rattle the authorities. And they can certainly be described as offensive and racist works. For this, he was sent to jail for six months at the end of last year and his artworks were destroyed by the Swedish state.

In the past, Europe burnt allegedly corrupting books; now it incinerates or pulps offensive art.

In Spain, a rapper called Pablo Hasel was recently released from a two-year prison sentence for the crime of singing songs that contained violent lyrics.

Hasel is a communist who raps about how much he hates the People’s Party of Spain and how angry he is about the imposition of austerity in Spain. In one of his raps he went so far as to praise al-Qaeda and ETA. For this, for praising those groups, he was sent to jail.

In France, which still presents itself as the guardian of man’s rights, three people are currently paying off fines imposed on them for making homophobic comments on Twitter.

In January, these three individuals became the first in French history to be found guilty of anti-gay hate crimes, not for attacking anyone or damaging anyone’s property, but simply for expressing themselves on the internet.

In Turkey, the Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink is currently under investigation for crimes of “terrorist propaganda”. What she actually did is post comments on Facebook and Twitter expressing support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is banned in Turkey.

She faces up to five years in jail for this, for the crime of expressing a political view.

Some people say Turkey isn’t fit to become a full member of Europe because it’s too authoritarian. On the contrary, Turkey’s willingness to punish and fine and imprison people for speechcrimes shows that it has all the necessary credentials to be European in the 21st century.

In Germany, a 74-year-old woman is currently struggling to pay off a fine imposed on her by the courts for the crime of carrying an offensive placard.

She was on a march against immigration when she held up a sign that said “The arrogant Turks and Muslims are threatening Europe”. For this, for expressing her quite hardcore, not-very-nice political views, she was convicted of incitement to hatred and fined 1,000 Euros….

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The Tyranny of Silence

by Deborah Weiss and Andrew Harrod

….Rose stated that self-censorship in Europe has worsened since the Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the cartoons. Rose was confronted with numerous anti-free speech arguments. “Isn’t it hurting the religious feelings of people with deeply held beliefs?” “Isn’t it a smart business decision not to use language in newspapers that might offend readers?” “Isn’t is just good manners not to insult someone’s beliefs?” (paraphrasing) But Rose, without missing a beat, had an articulate and persuasive answer for each point. He insisted that the omission of language regarding Islam did not constitute simply a business decision, as all readers occasionally face offense. Nor did it stem from good manners, as the motivation was not to be polite. Rather, it was self-censorship based on fear and intimidation.

Rose ardently advocated for the equivalent of a worldwide First Amendment, arguing for a free marketplace of ideas including religious doctrine. “Religious feelings cannot demand special treatment” he proclaimed, noting that people might have other deeply held beliefs where they could claim equivalent offense.

European laws balance freedom of expression against other rights such as the right to privacy and the right not to be offended. Therefore, European countries have various laws prohibiting hate speech, religious denigration, and racism. However, “almost absolute” freedom of speech, with exceptions for incitement to violence and defamation of individuals, “makes America unique.” Free speech is “not a balancing test” against the so-called right not to be offended. Offensive speech is constitutionally protected if it’s true or mere opinion.

Rose aptly noted that hate speech restrictions have not reduced violence. Indeed, riots have always erupted in countries where hate speech, blasphemy laws and other speech restrictions exist, but have been violated. Proponents of hate speech laws claim that hate speech leads to violent acts, but there is no evidence to support their claims. In countries where freedom flourishes, offensive expression incites minimal violence.

Rose also noted a seeming paradox: where immigration rises causing an increase in diversity of race and religion, there’s a decrease in the diversity of ideas allowed expression.

When asked if he thought there is a proper role for government censorship, Rose answered with a resounding “no!” Rose noted that while Kurt Westergaard, cartoonist of Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, became victim of an assassination attempt, some believe he deserved his fate. And, the Netherlands’ Minister of Justice professed, “if we had hate speech laws, then Van Gogh would be alive today.” Rose thinks both of these positions are outrageous because they condemn speech while justifying the violence in response to it.

Rose explained that many people fail to distinguish between words and deeds. And, “America is becoming more isolated” as tyrannical countries tighten speech restrictions. While American laws allow freedom, increasingly the citizens are plagued with peer pressure and political correctness, pushing for self-censorship.

Yet, “the right not to be offended” is the only right Rose believes individuals should not have in a democracy. Freedom should be paramount.

Refusing to be silent in the face of Islamist intimidation, Rose exercises that freedom courageously and without qualms.

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Stigmatizing Their Critics – An IPT Video Report

IPT News

A segment in the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s new award-winning documentary “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception” focuses on Islamists and how they try to control public perception. Part of it is by manipulating a lazy and gullible media. But another part is to shut down any criticism of Islamist ideology – the notion that society is best governed by Islamic law.

During a recent panel discussion on the film, panelists – including two anti-Islamist Muslims – discussed the way phony accusations of “Islamophobia,” or bigotry, are used to stigmatize critics.

Link

French Media Blacks Out Protest against Radical Islam

Sergio Redegalli’s “Say No to Burqas” mural defaced yet again

By Robert Spencer

Sergio Redegalli, the fearless Australian sculptor who originated the “Say No to Burqas” mural, keeps finding it defaced by Leftists and Islamic supremacists, and keeps repainting it. Here is a recent iteration:

SayNotoBurqasDriving.jpg
Soon enough, this happened:

defacedmural.jpg
The note at the bottom of the mural in the photo above contained a veiled (ha) threat:

MockingIslam.jpg

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