Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

Firoozeh Bazrafkan Convicted of Insulting Islam…in Denmark?

with 6 comments

“I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his…”- Germaine Greer referring to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses

One person said he wanted to chop me up and feed me to his dogs. I reported it to the police but they didn’t charge him because the threats weren’t threatening enough.” – Firoozeh Bazrafkan

According to The Copenhagen Post, artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan was fined 5,000 Kroner for “violating anti-racism legislation” after her blog entry was published in the Jyllands-Posten newpaper: “I am very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters. This is, according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian, due to a defective and inhumane culture – if you can even call it a culture at all. But you can say, I think, that it is a defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”

Bazrafkan’s statement is problematic because of its lack of quantifiers; she types all Muslim men as one entity. Watch the Academy Award winning film A Separation, not the over rated caricature laden Argo, to get a more accurate picture of Iranian society. Most Iranian men are decent folk, and it’s poor art to focus on extremes as if they are the rule. But poor art is not racism.

The fact the Aarhus Police have found that she has committed racism worthy of a fine is by far more problematic. Islam is not a race. Racism is the belief in the inferiority and superiority of specific ethnic groups. Bazrafkan is criticizing culture and that’s different. Furthermore, criticizing culture, religion or nationalism is arguably legitimate free speech. Calls for violence are the exception and not “free” speech.

Michel Focault, in his admiration of Khomeini’s Revolution, set the stage for liberals like Germaine Greer to misread the dangers of fundamentalism. This conflict exploded after Salman Rushdie’s fatwa, andsignaled the start of a new battle over what ideas can be tolerated. From 1989 to the present the polemics have intensified, and the cowering thought police has created a new form of European chauvinism, patronizing Moroccans, Persians, Afghans, Pakistanis and other minorities by not considering them worthy of secular government, women’s rights, and Western liberty.

What must secular and/or ex-Muslims think when they see that criticism of religion, a crime under their own governments, faces similar restrictions in the governments of liberal dominated Europe? The Danish government’s message to oppressed Muslims reads that they are not worthy of the same freedoms. Denmark has joined Bazrafkan’s home country of Iran in censoring free speech, and this is a shame.

Naguib Mahfouz: “No blasphemy harms Islam and Muslims so much as the call for murdering a writer.”

UPDATE:  Denmark did it again, charging another Muslim – Danish Muslim Apostate Faces Hate Speech Charges

Written by Caleb Powell

September 26, 2013 at 6:59 am

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hmmm, she’s right in arguing that Islamic codes give men the rights to do whatever they want to women and children and I think it’s disgusting. More ever, this also throws the light of how Islam is practiced in Iran,as well as other staunch Muslims countries. Also the court could have protected her through the laws which protects her freedom of expression. But never-the-less, her freedom of expression can also result into mayhem that the Danish government does not want on its hand, one person versus a large Islamic migrant section of society, it’s not a win win situation.
    I find her very fascinating, I met a similar courageous Iranian lady who worked and lived in Pakistan for several years, yet one could observe how deeply the oppression had affected her, truly Islamic regimes need a dose of fresh-air. All this obsession with punitive punishment and violent practice of religion leaves a huge mark on human mind.

    hqas

    September 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

  2. The line “Bazrafkan’s statement is problematic because of its lack of quantifiers; she types all Muslim men as one entity.” makes me think of the “holy” books which say that all atheists deserve to be tortured. I’ve never heard anybody say that the quran’s statement is problematic because of its lack of qualifiers; it types all atheists as one entity.
    Different standards….

    HBP

    October 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    • @Saadia, thx, good points.

      @HBP All quantifiers are qualifiers. Not all qualifiers are quantifiers. Bazrafkan says, “Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters.” She did not quantify. In the context of the Saudi preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi convicted for killing his daughter under religious delusions of honor, her statements highlight a problem endemic to interpretations of the Koran. But if she had said “some” or “too many” Muslim men act a certain way because of the way the interpret the Koran she would have conveyed a more accurate message.

      That the Koran has problematic statements or not, while relevant to a criticism of Islam, has no bearing on the point. If the Koran does universally condemn atheists, then the Koran is wrong, but two wrongs don’t settle anything.

      Thus, the same standard applies, namely: It is better to make a carefully worded statement that clearly expresses a viewpoint.

      Pakistani journalist Ali Rizvi writes on topic at The Huffington Post:

      “…to emphasize the difference between the criticism of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry: the first targets an ideology, and the second targets human beings. This is obviously a very significant difference, yet both are frequently lumped under the unfortunate umbrella term, ‘Islamophobia.’.”

      Caleb Powell

      October 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      • To the extent that one practices a particular belief, is to the extent that one’s character is formed by that specific belief. It’s difficult to criticize that particular source of one’s character without implying that the individual doesn’t somehow suffer a character defect.

        LCBozo

        April 10, 2014 at 7:48 am

  3. Thanks a lot Caleb.
    Also I agree strongly with Ali Rizvi’s opinion from his Huffington Post not because am a Muslim, but because he clarifies criticism and Islamophobia. During my travels, more than often I come across fellow passengers who ask candidly, are you a Muslim Pakistani? and they might change their seat if upon confirmation. Once a former American colleague who by the way is also a great comrade as we worked together in Pakistan said to me, Saadia to avoid such crap, just don’t tell people you’re muslim! Hilarious!

    hqas

    October 22, 2013 at 2:33 am

  4. […] September 2013 wurde Sie in Dänemark zu einer Geldstrafe von 5000 dänischen Kronen verurteilt, weil Sie den Islam beleidigt […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers