The cartoon-generated Arab boycott of Danish goods has become serious enough that one affected company, Arla Foods (a milk and dairy products exporter with a nearly $500 million annual market in the
The Saudis — ever the voice of reason — are escalating the controversy. Interior minister Prince Naif has called on all Arab and Islamic nations to take a stand, saying that the cartoon depictions of Mohammed were denigrating to him and insulting to all Muslims. The Danes' response is uneven. The government, while defending freedom of the press is at odds with Arla's directors who seem to welcome dhimmitude if it can restore their sales. According to the Saudi government daily, Arab News:
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen briefed European Union colleagues about the matter yesterday in
. He has repeatedly rejected calls to intervene, saying the government has no say over media. Brussels
But Arla's executive director urged the Danish government to take action. "I urgently beg the government to enter a positive dialogue with the many millions of Muslims who feel they have been offended by
," Peder Tuborgh said in a statement. Denmark
"Freedom of expression is an internal Danish issue but this has a totally different dimension," Tuborgh said. "This is about
having offended millions of Muslims." Denmark
Villy Soevndal, leader of the small opposition Socialist People's Party, said
"cannot be a country where the prime minister goes into hiding while Denmark loses export money, Danish citizens are being threatened and Danish flags burned." Denmark
This little dustup is of growing importance in the context of increasing self-censorship by the media — and, tacitly, by European governments — under the pressure of Muslim activists who want to impose their law where freedom of the press now exists. If the Danes give in, and the government apologizes, it will be a major blow to freedom of the press in all of Old Europe. Dhimmitude descends where free men refuse to stand for their freedoms.
The creeping Islamic censorship of free speech is not limited to
Apparently so. Today the WaPo published a pro-Hamas op-ed authored by a Hamas activist who was deported to
Batchelor has it right. We should hear more from Ayman al-Zawahiri. And maybe the place for Dr. Z's blog is on the Post's website.