Back in February the Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot (pseudonym) told Danish TV that he was upset with the fact that more and more people are cowed into silence when dealing with Islam. He insisted that his cartoons – many of them being sexually explicit and taking on Islam – were meant to make people laugh.
”People are afraid, but when you laugh you are not afraid, and if you are not afraid, you are free,” he said.
Well, on Tuesday Nekschot’s freedom was encroached by the Dutch police. He was arrested as a suspect for having published ”cartoons which are discriminating for Muslims and people with dark skin”.
The Brussels Journal quotes a spokeswoman from Xtra, Nekschot’s publisher about the circumstances of the arrest:
”He was arrested with a great show of force, by around 10 policemen.”
Nekschot must be a dangerous man! A cartoonist at large!
Nekschot was a friend of Theo van Gogh who was slained by an angry Muslim on the streets of Amsterdam, November 1 2004. His offense: a documentary about violence against women in Islam that offended the religious sensibilties of the young Muslim.
The Police searched the home of Gregorius Nekschot (which means “shot in the back of his head”) and confiscated evidence, i.e. his computer, backups, usb sticks, cell phone and a number of cartoons. The Dutch minister of justice and Christian Democrat Ernst Hirsch Ballin said that the police had been investigating Nekschot for three years in order to establish his real identity. A Dutch imam and convert, Abdul Jabbar van de Ven had filed a complaint back in 2005 against the anonymous cartoonist, pointing to the insult that Nekschot’s cartoons were causing to Muslims.
”What you draw is worse than what they did in Denmark. Do you realize what can happen to you if your identity gets known?” a police officer told Nekschot according to the newspaper Het Parool.
Yes case illustrates why I am against laws criminalizing racism and ridicule and mocking of religion.
Did Nekschot incite violence?
No, he did not, and if some crazy people get violent in the wake of the publication of his cartoons, of which their is no evidence what so over, it’s their responsibility, not his.
By the way, Adjiedj Bakas, a Dutch expert on future trends, told Danish TV in February that self censorship is a growing trend among comedians and other people in the humor busines, and he predicted that it will be a growing trend in years to come. To him – and to me – this its’t at all about humor.
”It’s not about humor or cartoons. It’s about power, it’s about who will be the boss in Europe in the next century.”
Think about it, as they say.