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  • 16

    Kafka in Brussels
    Freedom; Posted on: 2007-08-29 01:51:04 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Organizers of Anti-Sharia Demo Have to Speak French

    From the desk of Paul Belien

    Belgium’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, is not expected to rule soon in the case of the anti-Islamization demonstration planned for 11 September. Two weeks ago Freddy Thielemans, the Socialist mayor of Brussels, banned the demonstration because, as he said, “the organizers have chosen the symbolic date of 9/11. The intention is obviously to confound the terrorist activities of Muslim extremists on the one hand and Islam as a religion and all Muslims on the other hand. […] Such incitement to discrimination and hatred, which we usually call racism and xenophobia, is forbidden by a considerable number of international treaties and is punished by our penal laws and by the European legislation.”

    The organizers decided to appeal against the ban before the Council of State. Today, the Council of State decided to postpone its verdict until it has decided whether or not the appeal, which was presented in Dutch, one of Belgium’s two official languages, should have been presented in French, Belgium’s other official language.

    When Udo Ulfkotte, the German organizer of the demonstration, filed his initial request for the demo he was told by the mayor’s office that he had to do so in French, which he did. Ulfkotte told us that, being a foreigner, he was not aware that he could also opt for a Dutch-language procedure. Now the Brussels authorities demand that he should stick to French and that the case should be brought before French-speaking judges of the Council of State. Dutch-speaking (Flemish) judges are more favourably inclined towards defending political freedoms than French-speaking (Walloon) judges. The Council of State judges are political appointees. Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, is free-market oriented while Wallonia, the French-speaking south of the country, is Socialist-dominated.

    Hugo Coveliers, Mr Ulfkotte’s lawyer, reacted with indignation to the court’s decision to rule first on the appropriate language for the case, instead of proceeding immediately with the Dutch procedure. Mr Ulfkotte could not believe it and said: “I seem to be in one of Kafka’s novels.”

    News Source: brusselsjournal.com


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