Dutch diplomats are already trying to pre-empt international reaction. ‘It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister, who was in Madrid to attend the Alliance of Civilisations, an international forum aimed at reducing tensions between the Islamic world and the West. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other towns with large Muslim populations, imams say they have needed to ‘calm down’ growing anger in their communities.
If you consider the Muslims as “civilized” then it is we, not they who have been misunderstanding what it means to be “civilized”. We spout platitudes about “free speech” and “tolerance” teaching our children that such concepts are the foundation of civilized behavior.
The Muslims, however, claim to be civilized while denying that such principles apply in their world, teaching their children that Muslims are supposed to be above non-believers.
Which is it?
If we take them at their word, whenever we hear speech from the Islamic community that we find offensive, the “civilized” thing to do, is not to write articles and register protests, but to rampage through Muslim neighborhoods burning and killing. That is the “civilized” way. That is the way that Dutch Foreign Minister Verhagen things we should settle our differences.
We should not tolerate Muslims who think that their religion should be recognized and respected as superior by those who do not practice it. We should not allow Muslims to speak of bringing the world under Sharia.
If we hear such things, we should immediately attack the source and do whatever it takes to to redeem our honor, even if it means murder and mayhem.
After all, as the Minister points out, there is no right to express offensive opinions, even if you are a Muslim.