Sydney Kendall Says

Thinking in public about anything that matters.

The Freedom of Speech Wars

The Egyptian Sandmonkey has posted one more blog entry, clarifying his original goodbye message and offering an idea on what people can do to help fight for freedom of speech in the Middle East. Please read his message here.

But there is another battle about to be engaged a bit closer to home. One of our own at ThinkerToThinker blogs has been told by his local police that he is under investigation for “hate speech”, because he has ”merely… pointed out that Islam is a fascist ideology that advocates killing Jews, atheists, homosexuals etc.” Mikko Ellila has received a letter from the municipal police stating that they want to interrogate him over what he writes in his blog, because it may violate the anti-incitement law.

I cannot report first-hand what his blog has to say, because he writes in Finnish. But if you want to read what Mikko wrote to Prodos about this, please go here. Be forewarned: Prodos reprints his reply to Mikko in full, including the F-word.

Another blog following Mikko’s story is Gates of Vienna.

I am naturally wanting to be careful in Mikko’s case, since I cannot read Finnish and don’t yet have a translation of the articles in question. But given what Prodos and I have seen of anti-vilification type laws so far, it’s very likely that Mikkois not a hate-monger.We have seen that the new thought police of the Free World don’tlimit themselves to prosecuting advocacy of violence and persecution.

It’s possible that the Finnish police will deem Mikko not a hate-monger, and the case will come to nothing. But what one authority will consider to be merely honest and critical speech (or blogging) another may perceive as hate speech simply because it COULD lead some perverse reader to hate, even if the writer’s intention is not to incite persecution. Even if the writer makes it clear that it is certainof the religion’s central tenents he considers bad, but that not all people of that religion accept the bad tenents, the writer (or speaker) can be in for a long harrowing legal case.

We know that because here in Australia we have the case of Pastors Danny Scot and Danny Nalliah, who were first found guilty of hate speech and then, on appeal, were found to have been wrongly interpreted. Their case has now been sent back to the tribunal to be re-tried, taking into account the findings of the appeal.

The laws against “hate speech”seem to be interpreted very broadly, and the net can sweep up those who are honestly, without malice or desire to persecute, trying to shake up the politically correctcomplaisance in regard to Islam. We should not have to live in fear that by stating our honest views on the subject and engaging in free, open, public debate, we may be hauled before a tribunal and have to spend who knows how much of our time, energy, money and nerves having to try to prove to some thick-headed politically correct panel that we have a right to state our beliefs about Islam and engage in debate. We see that the two Dannys have had legal costs through the roof, and they have had to spend heaps of time – their case has been tried, re-tried, and now is going to be tried again. They have been vilified – made to look in the press as though they are hateful, mean-spirited bigots, which all my first-hand evidence of Danny Nalliah says is not true. (I’ve never met Danny Scot.) But the anti-vilification laws do not protect the person accused of vilifying a religion from being vilified.

So the best way to make sure that you don’t run afoul of this kind of law is to not say or write anything critical of a religion, particularly if that religion has some really scary problems, and criticizing it honestly requires tromping hard on eggshells.

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  1. “So the best way to make sure that you don’t run afoul of this kind of law is to not say or write anything critical of a religion, particularly if that religion has some really scary problems, and criticizing it honestly requires tromping hard on eggshells”

    Is this not how *they* win, by forcing people to keep mum out of fear? Not I!

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  2. Check out the comments at He may very well be a hate-monger, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a criminal.

    Incidentally, it may be inaccurate to characterize the Finnish police action as an interrogation. It may be that they’re just following up on a police report. Or would it be better if the police didn’t talk to the accused at all?

    It’s interesting how the blogosphere automatically glorifies and sanctifies anyone who claims freedom of speech restrictions. Tomorrow we’ll be asked to have a heart for the poor spammers who are being vilified and persecuted, ushering in the new Dark Ages.

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  3. Here is an English translation of the article that got Mikko Ellilä into trouble with the police. The translation is not as good as it could be, but it was made rather quickly for those bloggers who are following the case and cannot read Finnish:

    Unlike most writings in Ellilä’s blog, this one does not criticize islamism or multiculturalism, but is rather a presentation of the author’s views on why Europeans and Asians have, in general, fared better (both in their own countries and as immigrants) than Africans have. The views are, of course, extremely politically incorrect.

    The reason that this case was advertised on foreign blogs as a crusade against critique of Islam is that Mikko Ellilä did not find out until later on (and after numerous requests) what the specific target of the indictment was. Since his blog mostly deals with Islam and its effects on Western societies, he assumed that the indictment had to do with that as well.

    An English translation of the indictment against Ellilä can be read on the Finnish blog Laiva on täynnä:

    …where you can also find more information on the state official behind the indictment, Finland’s Ombudsman for Minorities, Mikko Puumalainen (“Mr. Ellilä vs. Mr. Puumalainen”).

    Whatever your views are on the article by Mikko Ellilä in question, I would like to point out that if Mr. Puumalainen succeeds in censoring it from the Internet, it is highly unlikely that this will be the last case of its kind. Mr. Puumalainen has stated explicitly in the press a few weeks ago that “something should be done about the activity of those who seek to maintain in public the current anti-immigrationist political climate. For instance, racism on the Internet should be dealt with hard-handedly.”

    In other words, if this case gets through, anything that “maintains the current anti-immigrationist political climate” can be the next target. It is most likely that writings criticizing Islam, such as those by Mikko Ellilä, would be targeted as well, since “immigration” in current political discourse obviously means mainly immigration from the Islamic countries.

    There are many other sides to this issue, about which you can read in the bilingual article “Puumalainen update” on Mikko Ellilä’s blog:

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