Op-Ed: Free Speech 2013: Criticize Islam and Be Put on Trial
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
In Moscow they used to call it a purge. In Paris it is known as “incitement to hatred”.
This is the charge against Ivan Rioufol, one of the most famous and respected columnists of the French newspaper Le Figaro, where he writes the column "Le bloc notes”. Rioufol will have to defend himself in court against the “Collective against Islamophobia”.
In a broadcast on RTL radio show, Rioufol had criticized the Collective's campaign “Nous sommes la nation”, which used Jacques Lousi David's painting, The Oath of the Horatii, the symbol of the French Revolution - except that instead of the Montagnards, the poster depicted Islamists, veiled women and bearded men.
“In an attempt to undermine freedom of expression, the sacred principle of our civilization, the Collective against Islamophobia risks appearing as a threat to democracy”, Rioufol said. “I will appear before the 17th Criminal Court of Paris”.
The Collective is close to Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-French professor famous for his Islamist preaching. The campaign at the center of the controversy was funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society. According to the weekly Nouvel Observateur, “The Collective, far from being motivated to fight racism against Muslims, carries an ideological battle to challenge the Republic in its secular principles”.
Rioufol is not the first writer charged in a French court.
In 2002 a court in Paris considered a complaint against Michel Houellebecq, who, in the novel "Platforme" called Islam “the stupidest religion”. A criminal proceeding was initiated against the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci and her publisher for the book “La Rage et l’Orgueil”. In 2006 the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and its editor Philippe Val went on trial, targeted by Islamist organizations.
Cartoonists, novelists, intellectuals, reporters are “les nouveaux réactionnaires, the new reactionaries as in the pamphlet of the leftist intellectual Daniel Lindenberg. Western intellectuals “guilty” of fighting the stereotypes of the Western elites: multiculturalism, the “droits de l’hommisme”(the human rights turned into a spoiled child), Islam and anti-Semitism. These new witches are demonized in the name of anti-racism, which the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut called “the communism of XXI century.”
This trial is an attack on freedom of speech in France”, said Rioufol when I called him. “For the first time in my journalistic career, which began in 1976, I answered the call of the judge and, accompanied by my lawyer, I was told that I had been indicted for incitement to hatred. Radical Islam is becoming more assertive in France. Their campaign has been designed to deny assimilation and integration. They want to intimidate journalists, censor the media and reintroduce the crime of blasphemy. Obviously I will not surrender. Quite the contrary”.
These cases are also emblematic of the link between Islamists and so called "human rights groups". Paul- François Paoli writes that anti-racism, born from noble principles, has evolved into an “ideology that threatens freedom of expression”. The leader of the Front National, Marine Le Pen, will be prosecuted in Lyon for having compared the Islamic prayers on the streets to the Nazi occupation of France.
It is a victory of the Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’entre les Amities Peuples (Mrap). The group, which organized campaigns to prevent the nightclubs to discriminate against immigrants, ended up allying with the Islamists who prevent the Muslim immigrants from going to the nightclubs.
Born to a network created in 1941 to save Jewish children from deportation, the Mouvement took its current name in 1977 by abandoning the fight against anti-Semitism. Its slogan became “touches pas à mon pote” (do not touch my friend). The group unleashed a campaign against Arno Klarsfeld, the lawyer son of famous Nazi hunters, called by then Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, to work on decolonization. “Klarsfeld is an active militant of colonization”, accused the Mrap. His crime? “Having served in the Israeli army”.
On April 17th 2013, at the Chamber of Commerce of Saint-Denis, the same anti-racist movement sent a delegate to greet Salah Hamouri, the Palestinian Arab terrorist who planned the assassination of Rav Ovadia Yosef.
When you allow these dangerous leftist groups and necrophile Islamists to draw in a tribunal the borders of our freedom of expression, you will likely turn democracy into Dadaism. Not that of Tristan Tzara, but Amin Dada.