German Court Rules Far Right Group Can Use Mohammed Cartoons In Protest Outside Mosque

A German court has ruled that the far-right group Pro Deutschland may display cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed during planned demonstrations outside mosques this weekend. The act is viewed as an effort to provoke Muslims. Past publications of the cartoons led to riots and the killings of Christians around the world.

The cartoons were first published in 2005 before the infamous riots. While I find the effort to provoke to be obnoxious and juvenile, I agree with the Court. Such displays are in my view protected by free speech and that the threatened response of third parties should not be the basis for censorship on speech.

What is striking about the ruling is that the court ruled that this was a matter of “artistic freedom” and not anti-religious speech. We have been following the trend in the West of prosecuting cases of blasphemy and anti-religious speech. The Court drew a line in favor of free speech in this case and ruled “Simply showing the Mohammed cartoons does not qualify as a call to hatred or violence against a specific segment of the population.”

It is an important victory for free speech even if the defendants are far from inspiring. Civil libertarians are often left fighting for those who are themselves intolerant or prejudicial as in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977). Yet, a court should not force speech to conform to the demands of every group or individual. In a pluralistic society, groups must learn to live in the midst of unpopular and at times insulting speech. The Muslim groups in this case would be equally protected from non-Muslim groups seeking to silence the Islamic community in their own forms of speech.

The German court made a tough call but the right one in this case, in my view. What do you think?

Source: Tribune

24 thoughts on “German Court Rules Far Right Group Can Use Mohammed Cartoons In Protest Outside Mosque”

  1. Berliner, interesting point. While reading the article, I had to remind myself that the incident(s) were/are occurring in Germany. For some reason, we in the United States seem to think that OUR concept of free speech is the ultimate expression and, of course, the only correct one. Values differ, as we see on this blog every day. While I certainly agree with the decision of the court, I feel that we sometimes forget that free speech doesn’t necessarily mean the same to everyone.

  2. If Mohammed or however one spells it, is a Prophet, then why did he not foresee this? If one gets up and proslytises or however one spells it, one should expect some ridicule. Stuff like the earth was made in seven days and on the eighth day dog created god. Now come on! No one is gonna beliieve stuff like that. Or here is one. Hell hath no fury like a spurned woman. That all had to do with Joseph refusing to have sex with Mary. Poking fun at religious figures just stirs humans up. They are beastly creatures not fit for civiilzation. The best solution is to turn on all the spigots on the biggots and let the crap come out with the wash on Monday. Not Sunday, that is a day of rest.

  3. ““are the pun police anything like the dream police.”

    They pull double duty, pete.”

    Who knew that Sting was going to inherent the title of “hardest Working Man in Show-business?

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