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  • 19

    Brussels Mayor in the Dark
    Political Correctness; Posted on: 2007-08-28 10:55:05 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Socialist mayor bans demo

    From the desk of The Brussels Journal

    A quote from Daniel Schwammenthal in The Wall Street Journal, 27 August 2007:

    "I'm a free thinker," says Freddy Thielemans. Really? Many critics now doubt it after the socialist mayor of Brussels banned a demonstration under the slogan of "Stop the Islamization of Europe" (SIOE). [...] As the mayor of not just Belgium's but Europe's capital, shouldn't he rather err on the side of political freedom? Not in this instance, Mr. Thielemans shoots back. "I won't have Brussels regarded as the capital of racism, that's what I think for sure." Apparently, anti-Americanism doesn't qualify as racism. [...]"

    Yet you don't have to sympathize with the [SIOE] speakers to believe in free speech. Beyond that, banning the protest partly out of fear of violent reactions from Muslims would seem to bolster the protesters' point. If Muslim radicals decide the level of debate about Islam in Europe, doesn't it show that "Islamization," the erosion of traditional European liberties, is a reality?

    Mr. Thielemans did not address that irony. He said instead that he's not only worried about Muslims reacting violently to a SIOE march. "A number of democrats announced that they'd react too," he said, along with "NGOs that are in favor of peace and integration." It's difficult to see how people who threaten to disrupt a demonstration can be called "democrats" or "in favor of peace." Pressed on the point that the organizers should not be limited in their democratic rights due to what their opponents might do, Mr. Thielemans eventually agreed. In fact, if the counterprotesters were his only worry, he said, he'd probably let the demonstration go ahead. What really concerns him, the mayor said, is the possibility of violent racists infiltrating the protest, mingling among peaceful demonstrators and provoking and attacking foreigners. The mayor says that police have discovered extremist Web sites calling on their followers to join the protest and cause trouble.

    Unfortunately, many demonstrations contain the possibility of turning violent and some in the end do so. It is the job of the police to nip such violence in the bud and arrest troublemakers. The pre-emptive strike of banning the protest seems justified only if the threat to public safety is significant.

    How significant is the threat in this case? The mayor didn't elaborate. He couldn't even say how many potentially violent racist protesters were expected. "That's hard to say. And on top of it you are sometimes astonished -- even people you would never expect can react strangely," he said. "A part of the analysis always remains in the dark."


    Organizers of Brussels Anti-Sharia Demo Appeal against Ban

    Champagne for Everyone

    An Open Letter to Fellow Europeans
    News Source: brusselsjournal.com

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