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Arab League faces legal action over cartoon

Wednesday 02 September 2009

The Arab European League is to be prosecuted for carrying a cartoon which discriminates against Jews on its website, the Dutch public prosecution department said on Wednesday.

The AEL put the cartoon back on its website last month after the public prosecution department decided not to take action against a number of potentially insulting cartoons.

The department said tv programme Nova and politician Geert Wilders will not be prosecuted for publishing the controversial Danish cartoons which poke fun at Mohammed. The department said reproducing the 12 cartoons, which led to worldwide unrest when published in a Danish newspaper in 2006, is not punishable by law because they target Mohammed not Muslims in general.

Double standard

However, the AEL was told it did face prosecution unless it removes a cartoon featuring two men in suits discussing how to boost the number of people killed during the holocaust.

That cartoon does 'insult Jews because of their race and/or religion' because it implies Jews themselves invented the idea that six million were killed during World War II, the department said at the time.

Although the cartoon had been taken off the AEL's website three years ago, the league decided to republish it to highlight the double standards operating in society. 'The AEL does not think any of the cartoons should be subject to prosecution,' the organisation said in a statement.

Should the AEL be prosecuted? Take part in our poll

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

If the AEL (or anyone else) is incapable of understanding the difference between their hate-filled, anti-Semitic cartoon and a joke about Mohammed, then we have a bigger problem than we thought.

By abigail | 2 September 2009 3:58 PM

It's amazingly tasteless ... but so what? They have a right to be dumb and vulgar.

By judith weingarten | 2 September 2009 4:38 PM

Hate-filled and anti-* is a matter of opinion and perception. As always we have the ability and right to decide what we agree with. Limiting or prosecuting the publication of views risks undue censorship and suppression; exactly the situation I think needs to be avoided.

By neil | 2 September 2009 5:05 PM

People should in general be capable of giving and receiving insults, and without dragging religion into the picture. It is very human to insult & to be insulted, it all starts at primary school. Stop trying to change things for the better, because it will only worsen the situation - freedom of speech!

By stevie | 2 September 2009 5:32 PM

yes but, the Jews were victimised and murdered so its wrong to poke fun at em, whaere as Muslims have actually killed

By adhd | 2 September 2009 5:40 PM

Yes indeed, Abigail we do have a bigger problem with the radical Islamic community who wants freedom of speech and expression but will not tolerate that same freedom in others... The murder of Theo Vangogh made that very clear They come and live here but will not accept the way of things here or elsewhere in the EU... the arabs want respect but they will not extend the same thing to us in our own country... they need to understand this is not a theocracy and there are no Ayatollahs here and we don't need these people telling us what to do and when. People who immigrate, either accept the culture and social order of things in the country they moved to or go back. We need to take a stance more like Germany or France and say enough is enough and not let these bullies and thugs intimidate us any longer and I know many in the Islamic community here feel the same because they are affraid to speak out for fear of being murdered by these goons. What I ma saying is not speculation... all one has to do is look around and see where most of the violence and hatred is coming from. And they resent the backlash that is a result of their way of doing things. I don't this will be put up online because it is not very politically correct and therein lay much of the problem too

By Bernard | 2 September 2009 6:27 PM

Both cartoons made by a minority mentality to try and provoke the majority lets not help them win by banning everything

By Johan | 2 September 2009 8:21 PM

This is a case of human conscience, common sense, and justice in all fairness and as per the laws of a civilized european country, the reasoning behind this ruling is professionally non-conclusive, as its based on the premise that its legally acceptable to ridicule and or humiliate leader of the club, i.e. son of god, jesus but not the members of the club i.e. christians who in any case worship, follow and believe in the context of cultural and or religious and or human values of the originator i.e. jesus.

All humanbeings are equal under the context of principles of the laws of a civilized european country, regardless of race, gender, religion or social position in society with or without immunity against public prosecution in the common civil criminal law courts. These european civil criminal laws also equally apply to public citizens, royal family members, MEPS, MPs, police, military, government bureaucrats, security, surveillance etc.
Freedom of expression and behaviour in public have commonsense limitations which are based on human reasoning, accumulated civilized experience and common civil criminal laws of a civilized european country.
The civil criminal court laws in a civilized european country are democratically administered and legally enforced by the elected government to secure and protect the public citizens against crimes and injustice. These european civil criminal laws also equally apply to royal family members, MEPS, MPs, police, military, security, surveillance etc., otherwise we have a classical case of a VIP state club within a public citizen state european country. The main issue here is, Who monitors the monitors (i.e. MEPS, MPs, police, military, government bureaucrats, security, surveillance men/women etc.), for the sake of and or on behalf of public european citizens in the 21st century and beyond ?

By Small Brother | 2 September 2009 8:51 PM

Does religion cause more harm than good?

By Jamie Anderson | 2 September 2009 9:22 PM

Only the truth hurts.
If those cartoons triggered such strong feelings, maybe they have somehow put the offended people in front of their mirror (and shown them things they didn't want to see).
The funny part is that nobody would have heard anything about it if they had just ignored the joke-insult.
Religion is amazing.

By Thomas | 2 September 2009 10:50 PM

Jews as a nation (or at least their army) are also killing.. But that is not the point. The point is that freedom of expression is essential. So it's ok to make fun of someone like tou, but not of someone of different religion etc because then it is taken as anti-whatever action ? Come on, let people say what they think. Those who disagree should try to tell others their opinion and let them decide who to agree with, not take everything to the courts. Where does it end? We are going to be afraid to speak in the end.

By Nic | 3 September 2009 12:31 AM

Who decided that making a joke in general can be prosecuted or persecuted? Why do they go on demonstrations when a joke is insulting to a prophet and why do lobbyists push for laws to be shoved down the throats of governments when someone cries Semtisim. This is not at all Christian.......

By ash raffa | 3 September 2009 1:10 AM

The AEL understands very well what they are doing as they "test" the backbone of the Dutch Public Prosecution Dept. Prediction: The Dept. will cave in or weaken and the AEL will achieve its goal which in the long run is not about cartoons but a much bigger agenda.

By bet | 3 September 2009 2:07 AM

Absolute disgrace.. is it how the country defines itself "liberal"..
@abigail: A joke about Mohammad or the Quran is in Muslims' beliefs an insult to what is considered the most sacred and holy in the religion..such a joke implies an insult to the whole muslim world just like that cartoon is believed to be an insult to the jews themselves.. if there are redlines then they must be defined by the right party and respected by the others.
@adhd: Jews were victimized and muslims have killed..hmmm probably.. but for this to be a valid argument - which by the way won't be the case - you should mention victimized by "whom" and you should mention muslim "extremists" ..and to be fair enough.. you should mention thousands of muslims in palestine including childs and elderly being killed on a yearly basis and i would like to believe that you know by whom !...you know what.. Gang-wars, hooligans and many other sorts of extremism might even result in more deaths.. this argument doesn't in anyway define what can "freedom of speech" or "insulting" be...
Verdict is: Freedom of speech should work in both directions, and if there are redlines then they should be respected by all parties.

By akadry | 3 September 2009 7:39 AM

Religion is a state-of-the-art ignorance-virus. God = The Big Bang. It is better to say "I don't know", and leave it at that, then assume there is a watchful eye in the sky.

By stevie | 3 September 2009 11:14 AM

The AEL is facing legal action. No one is chanting in the streets, setting fires, burning flags or threatening to kill anyone. This is the way it should be handled. Let all sides learn from this.

By AW | 3 September 2009 11:47 AM

While the AEL cartoon is quite offensive to me as a Jew, I do not believe that prosecution is justified. The best antidote to offensive speech is more speech. These hate speech laws are unnecessary and counterproductive as well as a violation of freedom of speech.

By Bill Poser | 4 September 2009 8:17 AM

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