Boycott Friesland Foods and Zwanenberg

I’d best start this story at the beginning. In 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published some cartoons showing Muhammad. Many Muslims were angry, and some resorted to violence, burning down embassies and the like.

In 2008, a Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, published an anti-Islam film, Fitna. (This film can be found on the Internet but I’d advise agasinst watching it — it’s crap and you’ll be losing 15 minutes of your life, which you’ll never get back). Again there was Muslim outrage, although it was more muted, including threats of violence and boycotts of Danish and Dutch goods.

One organisation, called “The Messenger of Allah Unites Us”, led a boycott of Danish and Dutch goods in Jordan. I don’t have a problem with this: if people choose not to buy Danish or Dutch goods (or for that matter Jordanian goods), that’s up to them — it’s their money and they can spend it as they like.

However, in response, two Danish companies, Friesland Foods (dairy produce) and Zwanenberg (sausages), took out adverts in the Jordanian press denouncing Geert Wilders and the Danish media, and calling for an international ban on insulting religion.

This I find unacceptable. Freedom of speech must mean the freedom to say insulting and offensive things, or it is no freedom at all. (Even in North Korea, people are free to say things that offend no-one). So Friesland Foods and Zwanenberg are against decent, civilised, liberal, European values — the values that created the modern world and made Europe rich and successful, and incidently no doubt contributed to these companies being big and successful.

So I think everyone should refuse to buy from these companies, until they re-affirm their belief in the European values of human liberty, including freedom of speech.

This entry was posted in censorship, digital rights, Islam, politics, religion, society and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Boycott Friesland Foods and Zwanenberg

  1. Jennie says:

    Sounds like a plan to me.

  2. Rolf says:

    Three things:

    1. Both Friesland Foods and Zwanenberg are Dutch companies, not Danish. Get your facts straight before you publish next time, will you please?

    2. Expressing any statement which gratifies ‘banning the right to insult’ is an opinion in itself, therefore banning anyone who expresses such an opinion equally narrowminded.

    3. Judging another human being is not possible without judging yourself at the very same time. Just as you have completely wasted your time typing in this message, stating ‘facts’ which are explicitly wrong, and placing arguments (their behaviour) which are absolutely no different from the reasons why we should ban them (your behaviour), I have also completely wasted my time writing this message, which in both cases have been an equal complete waste of time as actually watching the Fitna-movie by mr. Wilders.

    Thanks for your attention, greetings from Holland, and now, if you don’t mind, I have an actual life to attend to.


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