Governments across Europe must do more to protect people of Muslim backgrounds who face threats and attacks from militants for exercising their right to free speech, a report said.
The report from the UK-based Centre for Social Cohesion thinktank warned that official failure to offer victims the protection they needed had left “significant numbers” of Europe’s ethnic minority citizens unable peacefully to express themselves and created the impression that more Muslims were opposed to open debate and free speech than was actually the case.
Among the cases highlighted were those of Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie, who lived in hiding from death threats for a decade and Maryam Namazie, who received threats to her life after setting up the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain and denouncing the veil.
Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion and author of the report, said: “The inalienable right to freedom of speech and expression has come under threat by Muslim extremists. Fellow Muslims are finding it increasingly difficult to criticise elements of their faith or culture without fear of significant reprisal.”
How touching that Douglas Murray and the Centre for Social Cohesion have discovered a sudden concern for the wellbeing of European Muslims. This is, of course, the same Douglas Murray whose February 2006 speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference was so extreme (“All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop … Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”) that the Social Affairs Unit have removed it from their website.