Northern Light

The Vatican joins the fight against free speech

Yesterday the Vatican joined the al-Azhar university in Cairo in condemning the republication of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s depiction of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, but the Catholic state and the supreme institution of Islam in the Sunni world didn’t say a word about the foiled plot to kill Westergaard, who has been in hiding since November last year.

”Both sides vehemently denounce the reprinting of the offensive cartoon and the attack on Islam and its prophet,” the two sides said in a joint statement according to IslamOnline.

The cartoon was republished by 17 danish newspapers two weeks ago in an act of solidarity with the 72 year old cartoonist.

”We call for the respect of faiths, religious holy books and religious symbols,” read the statement.

”Freedom of expression should not become a pretext to insult religions and defaming religious sanctities.”

I guess the denunciation was heard in the kindergarten, where Kurt Westergaard’s wife Gitte is working. Today she received a call from the director asking her not to show up at work. A spokesman for the authorities in charge of child care in the county said that the decision to kick out Ms. Westergaard was made after several parents expressed worries for the safety of their kids.

”I am angry, dissappointed and sad. The threats are against my husband. There is no security problem concerning me,” Gitte Westergaard told Jyllands-Posten.

”I understand that some parents may feel insecure, but I would never work at a kindergarten, if I had the slightest suspicion or knowledge that this would represent a risk to the kids or my colleagues.”

Congratulations to the Vatican and Al-Azhar. This kindergarten have really shown them the kind of respect they are craving for. It’s the hells angels’ code of ethics: If you don’t respect me I’ll kill you. Or if you don’t respect me I’ll scare the hell out of anymore who’s in touch with you so that they will cut off any contact with you. And it’s working: due to security concerns the Westergaards were kicked out of the Radisson hotel in Aarhus last week.

And by the way: al-Azhar is a university practicing institutional apartheid. The institution is banned for Jews and Copts, not only the department of theology, but also medicine, economics and agriculture. And speaking about offending religious sensibilities: al-Azhar has shown no willingness to abandon the part of the sharia providing Muslims with the obligation to insult non-Muslims’ religious feelings, while at the same time insisting that non-Muslims offending Muslims’ religious sensibilities should be punished.

How does this correspond with the joint declaration?