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2006-03-21

The Swedish foreign minister has resigned. Not only did she break the Swedish "Grundlag" (=Constitution) - she also lied about it and denied it. The latter part was quite embarrassing, since she had a month earlier written to Yemen and bragged about having closed the "offending" web-site (Yemen Observer, February 15th):

Abu Baker Al-Qirbi, the Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, received on Tuesday a letter from the Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds, related to the insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Saba news reported.

The Swedish minister expressed her disapproval and sadness at the republication of the cartoons on a right-wing extremist group's website, adding that the Swedish government had closed the site.
Al-Qirbi also received a telephone call from Ekmeladdin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).


You may wonder what terrible things the web-site had done to make the foreign minister take such drastic steps. Well, Sweden shuts website over cartoon

He had asked readers to send in their own Muhammad cartoons, but he denies intending to offend Muslims.
Swedish self-censorship
Mohammedan self-censorship
There may be a pun in Mohammedan / Mohamme-Danish

His website briefly posted a picture showing Muhammad from the rear, looking into a mirror, with his eyes blacked out - an image he said was about self-censorship.

"It was directed at the Swedish government and Swedish magazines," Jomshof said.

"They are cowards for not standing by the Danish people and Jyllands-Posten [Danish newspaper which first published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad last year]."

Muslims around the world have demonstrated against the cartoons since they were republished in a number of European newspapers at the end of January.

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds described Kuriren's move as "a provocation" by "a small group of extremists".

"I will defend freedom of the press no matter what the circumstances, but I strongly condemn the provocation by SD-Kuriren. It displays a complete lack of respect," she said in a statement.


That's it: A few cartoons, including a new one, which makes an allusion to self-censorship. Notice that when Laila Freivald speaks of "extremists", she doesn't mean the rioters, who issue death threats, but a harmless cartoonist. And notice that Laila Freivald vows to "defend freedom of the press no matter what the circumstances" - unless someone actually uses their speech.

The web-site was closed, but soon reopened on a new server. However, the new site does not show the cartoons.

Later, Sweden closed down one more web-site although it's not clear how much the government was involved in this case.

You may wonder, how things could get so bad. Brussels Journal has an article about the state of affairs in Scandinavia: When Danes Pay Danegeld – Dealing with Islam in Scandinavia. The article is written by Fjordman, who used to have his own blog, where he has written about Norway and Sweden

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