Journalists threatened over Mohammed cartoons
6 February 2006
BRUSSELS — A famous Belgian philosopher and various journalists have received threatening letters after publishing the controversial cartoons of Mohammed or defending the rights to freedom of speech last week.
Philosopher Etienne Vermeersch said “Belgian newspapers should publish such cartoons each week so that Muslims get used to the idea”.
His statement was broadcast on CNN, which also ran a story showing how Flemish newspapers defended the cause of freedom of speech last week.
Flemish daily ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ ran a front page headline saying ‘Right to satire’, while ‘De Standaard’ published the controversial cartoons and ran a front page photo collage, questioning why respect should be offered to a religion that does not tolerate the opinions of others.
In response, Vermeersch received several negative emails. The editorial departments of the newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard also received mail.
The letter to De Standaard was written in English and said: “Dear Idiot, you printed some picture so called freedom of speech. It is freedoom of insult to rest of the world. You have no right what so ever. You will pay one day what you act. You been warned. You will die sooner than you expected, be prepared yourself for judgement day”.
The editorial department of Het Nieuwsblad online received a letter that was titled “Free Speech” and said: “You should have deep regret and guilt for the serious mistake committed, these cartoons are a provocative and premeditated insult against Islam, and a violent abuse of power. This kind of blasphemy is not a form of free speech”.
Another mail said: “Hello, it’s very shocking to see what is printed in the newspaper. I thought educated people don’t do anything to be hated or disliked but I guess it’s something that was done in mistake so I request [you] to be careful in future because it hurts to see the way world is living. Have a nice day.”
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news