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Old 02-23-2006, 03:59 PM   #1
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Blashphemy In Germany

I hate to think what would happen if he burnt a Koran
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DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - A German court on Thursday convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by printing the word “Koran” on toilet paper and offering it to mosques.

The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred van H., was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service, a district court in the western German town of Luedinghausen ruled. ...

Manfred van H. printed out sheets of toilet paper bearing the word “Koran” shortly after a group of Muslims carried out a series of bomb attacks in London in July 2005. He sent the paper to German television stations, magazines and some 15 mosques.

Prosecutors said that in an accompanying letter Manfred van H. called Islam’s holy book a “cookbook for terrorists.” He also offered his toilet paper for sale on the Internet at a price of 4 euros ($4.76) per roll, saying the proceeds would go toward a “memorial to all the victims of Islamic terrorism.”

The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.
link

Blasphemy laws are grotesque.
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:28 PM   #2
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The thought police are bringing down the hammer.
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:39 PM   #3
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The worst part of it is that some will now seek to make him into some kind of patriotic, free-speech martyr-hero for his grotesquely vulgar and bigoted behavior. Do blasphemy laws encourage or discourage this phenomenon? As a practical matter, can Germany afford the social and political costs of allowing such behavior to go without any sort of formal reprimand--any sort of public assertion that We do not condone such sentiments? What other ways short of laws might they do that? Is it in the best interests of stability to dismiss all responsibility for addressing the damage to community relations done by such individuals?
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:46 PM   #4
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I am far more critical of any religion if it attacks critics. Community relations and society should take a back seat to individual rights, the right to free expression, rather than enforce non-rights such as the dubious "right" to not be offended.
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:09 PM   #5
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He shouldn't have written "Koran" on toilet paper and sent it around. That's beyond the pale, in my book.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
He shouldn't have written "Koran" on toilet paper and sent it around. That's beyond the pale, in my book.
You would toss someone in jail for that?

What about this:



or this:

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Old 02-23-2006, 06:19 PM   #7
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I've seen that toilet paper. It's actually sold in stores. I'm not saying the guy should go to jail, but what he did was in appallingly bad taste and shouldn't be treated as "freedom" when it's more in the "license to insult" category.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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That is just a subjective judgment of the nature of the speech. The point of the thread is the criminalization of a subjective judgment.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
What about this...
Are the consequences of offending political party members in the US really analogous to those of offending a poorly integrated minority group in a climate of deep mutual cultural distrust as pertains in Germany, though? I'm not speaking of the appropriate legal response necessarily, rather returning to the considerations in my first post above. "Attacking" critics (as A_W cited) is one thing--the political costs of more "benign" results like alienation and lack of faith in the goodwill of the majority are something else.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Are the consequences of offending political party members in the US really analogous to those of offending a poorly integrated minority group in a climate of deep mutual cultural distrust as pertains in Germany, though? I'm not speaking of the appropriate legal response necessarily, rather returning to the considerations in my first post above. "Attacking" critics (as A_W cited) is one thing--the political costs of more "benign" results like alienation and lack of faith in the goodwill of the majority are something else.
Can you build a coherent method of censorship based on these factors? How deep is the mutual cultural distrust? How much alienation? How little faith in the goodwill of the majority? How long do these laws stay in place? When will a group reach a level of confidence that they can handle being the target of such speech?

I'd fear a criminal justice system based on such amorphous standards.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:54 PM   #11
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But I'm not talking about the criminal justice system. Are there no alternatives in between outright censorship on the hand, and an indifferent, hostility-towards-prejudice-is-their-problem,-not-ours stance on the other? I'm not sure Germany can afford to adopt the latter.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
But I'm not talking about the criminal justice system. Are there no alternatives in between outright censorship on the hand, and an indifferent, hostility-towards-prejudice-is-their-problem,-not-ours stance on the other? I'm not sure Germany can afford to adopt the latter.
Germany as a collective people can tackle the issue in many different ways. The method used here, unfortunately, is a government run criminal justice system.

I'm not sure it is a core function of government to make us like each other.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:05 PM   #13
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is there a distinction to be made between presumably white middle/upper class males insulting other white middle/upper class males in the case of the toilet paper pictured above and white middle/upper class males insulting alienated minorities, non-specific to race and/or religion?
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:42 PM   #14
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Are one person's feelings worth more than anothers?
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I've seen that toilet paper. It's actually sold in stores. I'm not saying the guy should go to jail, but what he did was in appallingly bad taste and shouldn't be treated as "freedom" when it's more in the "license to insult" category.
And they should ban flag burning because it insults veterans.

Free speech is an all or nothing situation and until religious groups get that idea and stop trying to stop offence or hitting out violently against opponents they deserve savage mockery.

If it said "Brown This Nigger" then maybe racial hate speech argument could apply, but even then the only reason it may possibly be allowed to stick is because race is not strictly an idea, it is not something that you can change through conversion.
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