Dutch court fines Muslim group for Holocaust-denial cartoon
In addition to the fine, it imposed a two-year probation period on the group.
By JONNY PAUL
LONDON – A Nasserite European Muslim group was fined €2,500 ($3,200) by a Dutch court earlier this month for publishing a cartoon suggesting the Holocaust was made up or exaggerated by Jews.Overruling a lower court’s acquittal, the Appeals Court in Arnhem said on August 19 that the cartoon published on the Web site of the Belgiumand Netherlands-based Arab European League (AEL) in 2006 was “unnecessarily hurtful.”In addition to the fine, it imposed a two-year probation period on the group.“The court points out that the European Court of Human Rights, which considers freedom of speech of paramount importance and defends it thoroughly, makes an exception for the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust,” the court said.AEL said it published the cartoon, along with other ones questioning the Holocaust, after a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, which led to a mass outcry by Muslims across the world in 2006.The cartoon depicts two men in Auschwitz standing over a mass of dead bodies.“I don’t think they are Jews,” one man says.Advertisement“We have to get to the 6,000,000 [figure] somehow,” says the other.Another cartoon depicted Anne Frank lying in bed with Adolf Hitler, who says, “Write this one in your diary, Anne.”In another, Steven Spielberg and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson are depicted making a film on the Holocaust, with Jackson saying, “I don’t think I have that much imagination.”At the time AEL was led by its founder Dyab Abou Jahjah, a Lebanese Shi’ite who moved to Belgium in 1991, and went on to join the Iranian-run International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine.Abou Jahjah denied allegations of Holocaust denial, saying that Europe “had made of political correctness and the cult of the Holocaust and Jewworshiping its alternative religion.“People in Europe are not allowed to do a free historical examination of World War Two and the Holocaust and freely express an opinion on it that is different than the dominating dogmatic line. Any attempt to have deviant historical examination of the Holocaust will earn you the title of revisionist, anti-Semite and a jail sentence,” he said.“You don’t even have to go that far. I would be curious to see the reactions of these champions of the freedom of speech in case that same Danish paper would have published pictures of Jewish rabbis, or Moses for that matter, with a Jewish nose, the Star of David and represented him as a greedy banker, or other form of economical parasite sucking the blood of the people referring to stereotypes on Jews,” Abou Jahjah said at the time.Saying he supported freedom of speech, he called on all Arabs to use the Danish flag as toilet paper and “to illustrate every wall with graffiti making fun of everything Europe holds as holy: dancing rabbis on the carcasses of Palestinian children, hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg’s approval stamp, and Aids spreading fagots. Let us defend the absolute freedom of speech altogether, wouldn’t that be a noble cause?” In 2009, Abou Jahjah spoke in London at a meeting organized by the Stop the War Coalition and at another event in Parliament – the launch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine, which was hosted by Labor MP (Islington North) and veteran pro-Palestinian activist Jeremy Corbyn. Hizbullah official Hussein el-Hajj Hassan also spoke at the meeting.Later that year, the British Home Office refused to allow Abou Jahjah to return to the UK to speak at an event. Corbyn filed a complaint, according to Abou Jahjah.Abou Jahjah said the “lobbying of the Zionists” was responsible for the ban. He spoke at the event by video link, courtesy of Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV.“They say I am a man of Hizbullah. I am not, I am a man of justice and Hizbullah is a party standing for a just cause, and that’s why I sympathize with it just like I sympathize with every other resistance group all over the world.In a time when imperialism is shaking and heading for its final fall, it is no wonder that fascism is expressed through these kind of measures,” he said at the time.Following the Dutch court ruling, the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain, asked: “Now that the AEL has been convicted of Holocaust denial under Abou Jahjah’s leadership, will Stop the War and Jeremy Corbyn still consider Abou Jahjah a suitable person to work with?” The popular UK blog Harry’s Place, which accuses Abou Jahjah of being a “Jew-hater,” asked if Corbyn was “continuing to lobby for the admission of this racist into Britain."The Jerusalem Post posed these questions to Corbyn, and asked if he was still pursuing justice for Abou Djahjah and why he continued to defend him, even though he had been banned from entry to the UK because of his record of racism.“I have not maintained contact with anyone who I consider to have questionable views on race at all, and would not wish to,” Corbyn told the Post. “I stand by my total opposition to racism of any form, be it anti-Jewish or Islamophobia and am proud to represent a multicultural community where respect for all faiths and cultures is practiced.All forms of discrimination are abhorrent and cannot be tolerated.”
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