There was to have been a showing of Geert Wilders’s film Fitna in the House of Lords today – but the usual whingeing and whining by complaining Muslims, followed by supine appeasement by those in authority, has ensured that freedom of expression is once again trampled into the ground.
The decision to cancel the showing was taken last Friday after Lord Nazir Ahmed kicked up a stink and had a powwow with government chief whip in the Lords and leader of the House. For some reason the meeting also included representatives of the Muslim Council of Britain, the British Muslim Forum and other representatives of Muslims in Britain.
Just what has it to do with Muslim organisations what our peers watch in our legislative building? The film was to be shown, we assume, so their lordships could view it impartially and see what all the fuss is about. Presumably it wasn’t just for pleasure, or else they could watch it on YouTube or on this blog.
Now that the screening at the House of Lords is not going ahead, all protests and demonstrations have been cancelled, too, and Ahmed has termed the decision as “a victory for the Muslim community”.
A victory for twats like you, you censoring berk, yes, but not a victory for free expression or democracy.
Well, we can always console ourselves that, every time idiots take a decision not to show the film, a blogger or two somewhere will embed it on their blogs. We’ve done it here a few times (including on the link above).
And it’s worth saying this as often as possible, fellow bloggers, because they may one day just get the message: they may realise they can’t really gag free speech; realise that, every time they succeed in killing one showing, there will be more hits on YouTube and elsewhere; realise that they ought to shut the fuck up and stop trying to trample on the freedom of expression that we in the West are quite used to, thank you very much, and would rather like to keep.
Whatever you think of Wilders, his views and his film, people have a right to see it, and he has a right to be heard. Anyone who doesn’t agree with him can still protest, can still demonstrate, can write to newspapers, can write to and create blogs, and few people in the West would seek to stop them from doing so, as long as it’s all done peacefully.
It has to be remembered that, although Wilders now faces prosecution (see that link above), the film itself does not feature his words: it features words from the Koran about what Muslims should do to non-Muslims and juxtaposes those threatening words with pictures not only of terrorist acts but also the words of Islamic preachers spouting hate. But the charge is about more than just the film: it’s about his statements in various media.
The Dutch Court of Appeal also doesn’t like the idea of comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf. “The Court of Appeal considers this insulting to such a degree to a community of Islamic worshippers that a general interest is deemed to be present in order to prosecute Wilders because of this,” it says.
See the charge in full here. Meanwhile, in case you think online petitions help, here's one you can sign to support Wilders.