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February 07, 2006

FREE EXPRESSION IN THE MUSLIM WORLD: The BBC reports:

A South African editor has received threats after her paper reprinted one of the cartoons that have angered Muslim groups internationally.

Ferial Haffajee, editor of the Mail and Guardian said she had received abusive letters and text messages.

On Friday, South African Muslim activists won an interdict barring another paper, the Sunday Times, from printing the cartoons. . . .

South Africa's constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

The Mail and Guardian published one of the cartoons on its international news page on Friday, to illustrate a story about last week's protests.

"People have been phoning my mother and exercising pressure through her," Ms Haffajee told the BBC News website.

She said some groups had threatened to march on the newspaper's offices in Johannesburg.

"It displays a lack of tolerance that is nerve-wracking," she said.

Ms Haffajee said she felt she was being targeted personally because she is herself a Muslim.

The BBC itself is getting bad marks here.

Meanwhile, John Scalzi is unimpressed by the Iranian response:

A newspaper in Iran -- run by allies of that country's Jew-hating current president -- printing cartoons that might possibly be anti-Jew? Who thought we would ever see that day?

Christ, this is boring already. Speaking in my capacity as Official Spokesman for The West®, I think Iranian newspapers -- particularly ones run by pals of the current president of Iran -- should go ahead and run any sort of dumbass Holocaust cartoons they want to. Indeed, I celebrate the right of Iranian newspapers to run whatever the hell they want. This is, alas, more than can be said about the Iranian government, whose grip on the press in that country is so total that the 2005 Reporters Without Borders Annual World Press Freedom Index has Iran listed 163rd in a field of 167 (a field in which Denmark, incidentally, ranked number one).

One can hope that when the allies of Iran's president are enjoying their refreshing little taste of "free expression," they might consider asking their pal for a little more genuine freedom of the press while they're at it. But, you know. I'm not exactly holding my breath for that one. Because then the people who run the paper probably wouldn't remain pals of the president of Iran. And we all know how problematic that can be. But in my capacity as Official Spokesman for The West®, I certainly hope they give it a try.

And of course I certainly hope someone who actually is a spokesman for The West® remembers to ask Iran when it plans to give its newspapers the ability to run actual news, as well as Jew-hating cartoons.

They're pathetic little losers. They want to be pathetic little losers with nuclear weapons -- but they'll still be pathetic little losers, regardless.

UPDATE: But according to some on the left, raising concerns about Muslim extremism, death threats, and censorship just proves that you're -- a right-wing extremist!

Antonia "Notice Me!" Zerbisias of the Toronto Star, -- best known in the blogosphere for attributing an anonymous commenter's remarks to blogger Stefan Sharkansky and making the bizarre claim that warbloggers have "fallen silent" -- is now claiming that the whole thing is about Muslim-hating Westerners. Riiight.

That's why Iraqi Muslim blogger Zeyad noted:

The protestors are blasting free speech in Europe, yet they are using that same free speech to call for murder and bloodshed. I would strongly support deporting those people back to the miserable societies they originally came from.

Those damned American nativists!

Meanwhile, Canadian blogger Damian Penny has some more sensible thoughts. As usual!

Read this post, too.

STILL MORE: Reader Dave Murphy emails:

Ms. Zerbisias' logic is flawless. I think if we've learned anything from this, it's that the ONLY people to blame for the rioting are the people sitting in their homes on a continent where the cartoons did not originate and where there is no rioting. It's as clear as day. Oh and also Michelle Malkin is fat.

Riight. Zerbisias isn't even good about being catty! Meanwhile, Jay Homnick is unimpressed with apologies for Islamist terror.

And reader Michael McDowell isn't having any of it:

Zerbisias condemns those Westerners who "claim to be morally superior." Well that is absolute horseshit. I am tired of being told not to judge other cultures through my "American lens" because I don’t understand their circumstances. I believe in equal rights without regard to race, religion, color, gender or country or origin. I believe in the freedom of homosexuals to marry and live freely in society. I believe in freedom of expression, and speech, and the free exchange of ideas. I believe in kindness, compassion, consideration, and that dogs make life better. I don’t "claim to be morally superior" to those ass-hat murderers; I am morally superior.

Indeed. You'd expect lefties like Zerbisias to side with people like McDowell, and Zeyad, over a bunch of sexist, homophobic theocrats -- but that would require that they side with America, too. Which is right out.