By Stephen Pollard
September 2, 2009
As we report today, the Dutch authorities are going to prosecute the Arab European League for publishing a cartoon which denies the Holocaust, under Dutch hate speech laws.
This is in every respect an own goal - unjustified, stupid and deeply counter-productive.
The Dutch chairman of the AEL says that the organisation deliberately published the
cartoon on its website to highlight a double standard in freedom of speech rules
in which anti-Muslim cartoons are permitted but anti-Jewish cartoons are banned.
And one has to say that the Dutch authoriries' decision shows that he is right.
Let's be clear: it is not only right that the Danish Mohammed cartoons were free to be published; after the campaign to have them banned and the associated threats, it became imperative that they were published as widely as possible. Freedom of speech means freedom to mock religion. Any religion.
But what we insist on with regard to Muslims we must equally insist on with regard to Jews. Repellent as the cartoon may be, the AEL ought to have every right to publish it. Anything else is discriminatory and hypocritical.
Freedom of speech means freedom to offend, and to be offended. That is what destroys Islam's case for protection under the law from criticism.