March 14, 2006

Let Us Hope Germany Doesn't Go Down This Road Again

INTRODUCTION: On December 11th, 2005 Atlantic Review and GM's Corner hosted the first of what we hope will be a long blog carnival of articles regarding the relationship between our two countries. Joerg Wolf had the initial idea and proposed it to me and we both took off. The first carnival was published simultaneously in Germany at Atlantic Review and here. I believe that that was a first for the carnival meme. The second carnival is due to be published on March 25th at Statler & Waldorf in Germany and at American Future on this side of the Atlantic (Note: American Future is the new home of Dr. Demarche, one of my favorite bloggers).

From Agora comes this tidbit published in Jyllands-Posten (famous for the Muslim outcry following the publishing of 12 cartoon's featuring Mohammad) regarding a movement in Germany that has "gone to the prosecutors of several states to hinder the dissemination of the Quran. According to the indictment, the Quran is not just a religious and historic book, but also a political book, which is incompatible with the constiution."

As a staunch advocate of freedom of speech, this reminds me too much of the willingness of some to censor that which they cannot combat with ideas. This was, indeed, the nature of the Muslim rioting over the Mohammad Cartoons and the deserved, but too often muted, condemnation of those rioting. I am a firm believer that freedom of speech and all it's "problems" is far more democratic than attempting to shut down the ideas with which we are either not familiar, or perhaps not comfortable.

Banning the Quran is far too close to the book burnings of the Nazi era in Germany, the novel Fahrenheit 451, and even the destruction of rock and roll records seen in this country not too many moons ago and even the really, really stupid McCain-Feingold Act of today.

If the West is to win this war of ideas, a couple of things must be made perfectly clear to all. 1) Democratic governance is prime including free speech, universal sufferage, and the rights of minorities; 2) terrorism in any form will be met with staunch resistance and harsh penalties; 3) we cannot stoop to the fascistic level of those we are fighting against because if we do, we become like them.

The genesis of this post is here:

The Quran reported to the Police

By Kent Olsen, correspondent to Jyllands-Posten

A broad alliance of grass-roots movements have gone to the prosecutors of several states to hinder the dissemination of the Quran. According to the indictment, the Quran is not just a religious and historic book, but also a political book, which is incompatible with the constiution.


At the prosecutor’s office at Gorch-Forck-Wall 15 in Hamburg, an unusual letter was received Monday morning, containing an indictment filed this weekend. The indictment targeted the Quran, charging that the holy book of the Moslems, according to the accuser, is incompatible with the German constitution.

“Support Denmark!”
The accuser is “Bundesverband der Bürgerbewegungen (BVB)”, which concerns itself with, in its own words, “defending basic rights and freedoms” against Islam. The extensive international furore, allegedly caused by the Muhammed cartoons, has made clear the relevancy of the alliance. Its homepage is decorated with a Danish flag with the words “Support Denmark! Defend the Free World.” superimposed on it.

The indictment has been filed in several states, including Hamburg, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bayern and probably more.

In several talkshows on German TV, conservative politicians have pointed out that the Quran is incompatible with the German constitution. The Turkish-born writer Serap Cileli said on January 29 this year that “the Quran must be considered a historic document. It is not compatible with our constitution and Human Rights.”

Now the alliance wants the matter tried at the courts.

Potent Political Book
The author of the indictment in Hamburg, Jutta Starke, says that the Quran was reported to the police two or three years ago, but that the report was dismissed on the grounds that it was a book of only historical interest.

“The evenths of the last months have made clear that the Quran isn’t just a historical book, but very much a potent political book, a thing which we document extensively in the indictment,” Jutta Starke says.

She says it is a task of sisyphean dimensions to inform the media, politicians and churches of the true intentions of Islam in the enlightened world of the West.

“We are grateful to Jyllands-Posten that discussions about Islam have now become possible,” says Jutta Starke.

“You suffer for all of Europe and that’s why we find it indecent that Europe hasn’t loudly, in unison, taken a stand for Freedom of Speech against the laws of the Quran.”

The indictment consists of five pieces of paper and a number of appendices. The indictment says that it is not against Islam’s spiritual message, but against the judicial and political message.

The decisive count of the indictment “is in the Quran’s status vis a vis the Federal Republic of Germany’s constitution”. In the appendices to the indictment, 200 points have been listed “where the Quran is against and claims itself above the constitution.”

The Quran has an Answer to Everything
It is pointed out that the Quran to Moslems is the end all, be all in matters of faith, in matters of society and state and in the discourse with people of different views. The Quran says that it is the words of Allah. According to the views of several, including leading, Moslems in Germany, it is literally and absolutely true at all time and in all places, the indictment says.

The newly elected German-born chairman of the Moslem Central Council of German, Ayyub Axel Köhler, is quoted in the indictment:

“A constitution after the principle of the division of powers into the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers, is nowhere to be found in the Islamic theory of the State. From an Islamic viewpoint, this is obvious, since the laws - the laws of God - in the form of sharia, are already made and thus no legislative power is needed, in that sense of the word. Only Allah is the legislative power.”

Muslim Chancellor
A prominent Moslem, Ibrahim El-Zayat, is quoted as saying that he thinks it is possible that “the Federal Chancellor in 2020 is a Moslem, born and raised in Germany, that the Federal Supreme Court has a Moslem judge, and that a Moslem representative will be on the Federal Radio/TV Council to secure the Moslem citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed rights.”

“This land is our land and it is our duty to make positive changes. With the help of Allah, we will make it a paradise on Earth, by making available the Islamic ummah (ED: Islamic community) and all of mankind. Allah doesn’t change the situation of a people till the people have changed the situtation,” El-Zayad is quoted as saying.

Violence against the Infidels
The indictment is against the 200 verses of 114 suras (ED:chapters) of the Quran that are not compatible with the constitution, including demagoguery, incitement to murder, murder and mutilation, war, acceptance of thievery against infidels, meaning all non-Moslems. Verses are also pointed out where the equal rights of men and women are not upheld and where people of different faiths are oppressed.

Example: “The unbelievers among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians): They are the vilest of all creatures.” (Sura 98:6)

According to the indictment that paragraph violates Article 4 of the Constitution and Paragraph 166 of the Penal Code.

I really hope that the German courts toss this out, and further, I hope the German people also wake up to the threat of Islamo-fascism. The banning of the Quran is too much like what the islamo-fascists want to do to other ideas and is far from the concept of free speech and the free flow of ideas. We (the West) can beat the islamo-fascists with ideas and with the judicious application of overwhelming force when need be to combat terrorism, but we cannot, must not emulate their tactics.

Other excellent posts on this topic can be found at Jeff Goldstein's Protien Wisdom, Pia Causa, Democracy Frontline and Six Days More

Be sure to read all of the comments at each linked site for a fuller understanding of all of the ideas on this subject - even if you disagree with the commenter.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: We invite you to participate in the Carnival, send your submissions to Atlantic Review. Also, please feel free (in fact, we strongly encourage you) to add the Carnival Logo to your website. Click on the logo for how to do so.

UPDATE: Some have expressed the idea that this post is Anti-German. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have every confidence that the German Courts will toss this abomination out and my post is to encourage just that for the reasons explained.

Posted by GM Roper at March 14, 2006 07:43 AM | TrackBack

We (the West) can beat the islamo-fascists with ideas and with the judicious application of overwhelming force when need be to combat terrorism, but we cannot, must not emulate their tactics.

BRAVO!!!! Well, said!!!!

Posted by E. Nonee Moose at March 14, 2006 01:24 PM

There is a very real and positive purpose to dragging the Koran before the law, especially for proponents of free speech. We, the West would not be sinking to our enemies' level, but we would be using their weapons against them in a positive way, to show just how counterproductive their weapons are, and force informed public debate on the Koran and Islam in the process.

The real purpose of the indictment should not be to get the Koran banned, but rather to show just how silly such laws are, to have them repealed, and to stop the ROP from demanding new laws in places like the UK, and EU and UN mandates. If they saw that these same laws affect them more than anyone, they will be less inclined to attack freedom of speech. It was interesting that when the aborted UK legislation was being mooted, Muslim groups realised that the Koran itself could be affectd, and lobbied to have it explicitly excempt. A Christian group opposed to the legislation promised to put the Koran on trial if the legislation passed. Clearly, they did not support the banning of the Koran, they were cleverly using the laws against their only supporters.

Also, such a court case need not be run with the intention of winning. It would be a masterstroke for the the case to be used to expose the Koran for the work that it is, and to force an informed public debate on the nature of Isam. There has been no such debate to date, and even the Bush White House still seems to be largely ignorant about Islam. A Koran court case would help rectify the issue.

The public would then be left with a choice: effectively outlaw Islam or insititute true freedom of speech. While the former is far preferable to the latter, either one is better than the situation we are in now.

Posted by Ben Ze'ev at March 14, 2006 03:48 PM

Ben Ze'ev. Good points all but I think there are other ways to expose the islamofascistic writings in the Quran.

On the other hand, what happens if the courts do ban the Quran? Will the Talmud or the New Testament be next? Or perhaps Winnie the Pooh because we can't let Piglet offend Moslem sensibilities? (That is not a joke, piggy banks have been dropped at a number of savings institutions in England for that very reason - sad to say!)

I think this road is the road to perdition. At least that is my feeling.

Posted by GM Roper at March 14, 2006 03:56 PM


True, actual banning of the Koran could logically lead to banning of all sorts of material, including some of the holy books of just about all religions. I would not expect any sane society to tolerate such madness, and to throw out such stupid laws. This is a risk worth taking, the stakes are high, the threat is great and we are losing our freedoms every day.
No options are perfect, and we are forced into the Macchiavellian choice between the lesser of two evils and the third, hidden choice of staying unrealistically principled and losing.

Not that the choice I am proposing is particularly evil. Yes, there is a small amount of risk. There is far greater risk in doing nothing. Exposing Islamofascism is a very difficult business when the law, media, political correctness and the educational establishment are against you. Why thro away a golden opportunity to give the aggressors a taste of their own medicine, educate the masses, and force politicians and the media to have a long overdue debate ?

Like in the UK case, I would hope that any attack on the Koran would actually be an attack on the laws themselves. The plaintiffs could, inches from victory withdraw their case, letting the defendants know that the case will be reactivated if our freedom to criticise Islam is threatened again. This would generate even greater publicity, and hopefully also lead to the repealing of these laws.

Admittedly, Germany is a special case. There the issue is not offence, but rather that the Koran is a work of subversive, anti-constitutional literature. This would mean that the Koran is banned, other religions and Piglet are not. I am not entirely happy with this, but I am far more comfortable with this than the current situation.

Posted by Ben Ze'ev at March 14, 2006 04:21 PM

"True, actual banning of the Koran could logically lead to banning of all sorts of material,..."

It's not only logical but likely. Afterall, publicly denying the holocaust is already banned in some European countries. And not just in written form. This is the most hypocritical part of those who condemn censorship of Muhammed cartoons, yet, support the censorship of holocaust denial.

Support of this indictment as a means to spark real debate is wrong. There are other ways. As long as press freedom is practiced anywhere, it is the perfect medium for disseminating information in the Koran and the Hadiths and the tenets of Sharia law that are contrary to the promotion of a free society. Using a loose interpretation of law to remove Koranic verse from the public domain to promote dialog about it is contrary in itself.

Furthermore, using law for this purpose denotes an unspoken fear of those who are doing it. It implies a lack of faith in the law of the land which protects free speech. It proves that Islamofascists have succeeded in instilling this fear of public debate in far too many people. It must be fought and debated openly and freely, as GM says, in spite of fear. The ideas of both sides must stand on their own merit and that which is weak will fail.

Using their tactics against them is wrong. It makes us guilty of the same thing we accuse them of. To argue that it is simply a means to an end does not make it right. We must rise above that. They already call us hypocrites, do we want to confirm that label?

Posted by Oyster at March 15, 2006 09:28 AM

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