German gets community service for insulting Islam

  • News
  • Thread starter sid_galt
  • Start date
  • #1
502
1
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060223/wl_nm/crime_religion_germany_dc_2" [Broken]

Madness. Just Madness. We are collapsing into a dictatorship.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
221
0
dictorship???

Why:

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.
Seems he was being an arse, to say the least.
 
  • #3
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
Well, that's a long-standing law, so it doesn't support a "collaps[e] into a dictatorship", but I agree that such a law isn't generally compatible with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech most certainly does include the freedom to be an arse, Anttech.

This is a similar issue to the one on Holocaust denial being a crime, so I won't go into it much, but IMO, I'd let the Germans (and near-by Europeans) slide on free speech when it comes to skeletons from their closet. Perhaps in 75 years when all Holocaust victims and perpetrators and their children are dead, they will reevaluate such laws. Such pendulum-swings in laws as reactions to skeletons-from-the-closet can temporarily help calm things down.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
502
1
Regardless of his views, he was exercising his right to free speech - a right which has now been denied to him. It is censorship, pure and simple - one of the characteristics of a dictatorship.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
Just to clarify - I wasn't saying that censorship isn't a component of a dictatorship (it is, but "censorship" can be a vague term, anyway...), just that without a change in a law, there can be no collapse into it.
 
  • #6
arildno
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,970
132
Since he is not in any way fomenting hatred towards particular INDIVIDUALS (or calling for violent actions towards them), this should technically have fallen within what should be permissible in a society upholding free speech, IMO.
 
  • #7
221
0
Well, that's a long-standing law, so it doesn't support a "collaps[e] into a dictatorship", but I agree that such a law isn't generally compatible with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech most certainly does include the freedom to be an arse, Anttech.

This is a similar issue to the one on Holocaust denial being a crime, so I won't go into it much, but IMO, I'd let the Germans (and near-by Europeans) slide on free speech when it comes to skeletons from their closet. Perhaps in 75 years when all Holocaust victims and perpetrators and their children are dead, they will reevaluate such laws. Such pendulum-swings in laws as reactions to skeletons-from-the-closet can temporarily help calm things down.
Seems you understand the situation, and I aggree with you. :approve:
 
  • #8
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
I should have gone a step further with this:
russ_watters said:
Just to clarify - I wasn't saying that censorship isn't a component of a dictatorship (it is, but "censorship" can be a vague term, anyway...), just that without a change in a law, there can be no collapse into it.
Not all censorship is even on the path of/to dictatorship, and this particular law is one such law that is not (which isn't to say that the law should/shouldn't exist - that isn't the only criteria).

Censorship for a dictatorship exsits for the purpose of control for the sake of control. It exists it prevent people voicing anti-government opinions, which could lead to anti-government movement.

In this case, the censorship exists to preserve stability in a society upset by a specific tumultuous event in its past. It exists to maximize the rights of the most people it can in the midst of a difficult situation. To repeat one of my favorite "Law and Order" quotes: "[a] Constitution is not a suicide pact." In other words, a constitution does not have to (and should not) protect rights so absolutely that it allows severe negative consequences. If it does that, who is it really helping?

Other examples of censorship of speech not linked to dictatorship include the typical examples of threatening to kill someone and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
arildno said:
Since he is not in any way fomenting hatred towards particular INDIVIDUALS (or calling for violent actions towards them), this should technically have fallen within what should be permissible in a society upholding free speech, IMO.
I agree and I want to further clarify that when a country has healed from the tumultuous event that led to the compromise between rights, the compromise should be voided. Whether Germany has reached that point or not, I don't have an opinion on (I'm not German and don't know the current social climate well enough for any opinion, much less an informed one).
 
Last edited:
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
Anttech said:
Seems you understand the situation, and I aggree with you. :approve:
Sorry - since you didn't elaborate much, I wasn't clear on what your opinion actually was. But I guess we're on the same page then.
 
  • #10
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
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.
I think this kinda sums it up. These kinds of things are really... they really set off a war inside your gut. For one, you know such things are to be guaranteed by any society that puts such value on freedom of speech. On the other hand... it's like those people who yap on cell phones during movies, who hurl racial epithets (sp???) at passerbyers (is that a word haha), etc etc... you know its their right to do it but it just feels like somethings very wrong with the world when they get away with it.

The only way this could have been properly delt with was only because he was coincadently a businessman. Boycott his business! But i guess he doesn't have much of a business to be boycotted now.
 
  • #11
Evo
Mentor
23,172
2,913
sid_galt said:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060223/wl_nm/crime_religion_germany_dc_2" [Broken]

Madness. Just Madness. We are collapsing into a dictatorship.
This man was not jailed, he got a suspended sentence and community service. You blew this completely out of proportion.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #12
arildno
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,970
132
A fitting community service might be to set him sweep the floors in his neighbourhood mosque..
 
  • #13
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,203
1,224
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.
"Freedom of _______ (insert your favorite)" ends at property lines, and other legally long recognized boundaries beyond which charges of infringement of others' rights, use of "fighting words," or disturbing the peace are expected of law enforcement agencies, convictions are expected of courts, and a good old-fashioned "trip behind the barn" to study manners is demanded.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,260
301
The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.
Yes, that's scary stuff. From what I see this all goes way too far. Even the suspended sentence is based on a one year prison sentence. That's absurd.

But to tell you the truth we found Germany a little scary from the start. It was the only country that we visited in which the authorities seemed a little threatening.

Btw, I am primarily Finnish and German.
 
  • #15
Freedom of speech, ect, ect...
We've had quite a few of these sorts of threads lately.
 
  • #16
Art
Ivan Seeking said:
Yes, that's scary stuff. From what I see this all goes way too far. Even the suspended sentence is based on a one year prison sentence. That's absurd.

But to tell you the truth we found Germany a little scary from the start. It was the only country that we visited in which the authorities seemed a little threatening.

Btw, I am primarily Finnish and German.
Germany has been struggling to contain a right wing neo-nazi revival ever since their reunification which is why they can sometimes appear to be over-reacting to things which in the normal course of events would be ignored. France and Holland too have also seen a big revival in far right wing parties.
The fuel appears to be the high level of immigration from Turkey and North Africa at a time of sluggish economic growth and unemployment.
 
  • #17
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
Bystander said:
"Freedom of _______ (insert your favorite)" ends at property lines, and other legally long recognized boundaries....
It doesn't say he went into the Mosques - it sounds like he just mailed them samples of his toilet paper.

I agree with Art :surprised - this is a very specific and unique law with a very specific and unique purpose that is not indicative of German law/freedom as a whole. I've also been to Germany (both pre and post wall-down) and I don't recall getting any impression from law enforcement at all.
 
  • #18
502
1
The fear is not that the present administration will use these laws for persecution. But sooner or later, a person will come into power who will not hesistate in applying these laws scrupulously.

Persecution doesn't just spring into being. It starts slowly.
 
  • #19
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,203
1,224
russ_watters said:
It doesn't say he went into the Mosques - it sounds like he just mailed them samples of his toilet paper.

(snip)
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050614/NEWS01/506140364/1004/SPORTS [Broken]

Try it in this country.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #20
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
sid_galt said:
The fear is not that the present administration will use these laws for persecution. But sooner or later, a person will come into power who will not hesistate in applying these laws scrupulously.
These laws are pretty specific. It is tough to see how they could be used in any way besides their stated purpose.
Persecution doesn't just spring into being. It starts slowly.
But that's it - this isn't the "start" of anything. The law wasn't passed recently, was it? You can't be on a slippery-slope if there isn't any slope. You can't start anything if you aren't doing something new.
 
Last edited:
  • #21
russ_watters
Mentor
20,117
6,616
Bystander said:
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050614/NEWS01/506140364/1004/SPORTS [Broken]

Try it in this country.
What does that article have to do with this thread? I'm not sure we're on different sides of this debate, but a letter with the word "anthrax" in it is unquestionably an overt threat, unlike the speech being discussed in this (and the other) thread - which is debateable.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #22
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,203
1,224
russ_watters said:
What does that article have to do with this thread? I'm not sure we're on different sides of this debate, but a letter with the word "anthrax" in it is unquestionably an overt threat, unlike the speech being discussed in this (and the other) thread - which is debateable.
http://www.letswrap.com/legal/harass.htm [Broken]

Didn't give me a chance to find the right combination of "weasel-speak," didja?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads on German gets community service for insulting Islam

  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
2K
Replies
18
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
49
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
30
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
2K
Top