Tuesday, February 14, 2006

News from Italy

This Reuters article had a few interesting items. First it appears that an Italian minister is willing to take an unpopular stance for free speech by wearing T-shirts featuring cartoons of Mohammad:
Italy's Reform Minister Roberto Calderoli has had T-shirts made emblazoned with cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a move that could embarrass Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government.

Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, told Ansa news agency on Tuesday that the West had to stand up against Islamist extremists and offered to hand out T-shirts to anyone who wanted them.

"I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will start wearing them today," Ansa quoted Calderoli as saying.

He said the T-shirts were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists.

"We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Calderoli said.
Calederoli went on to say:
"This is only the tip of the iceberg of the religious war Islamist extremists have declared on us,"
Also, a quote from Prime Minister Berlusconi is notable as it perfectly captures the point made in Onk's editorial "The Twilight of the Freedom of Speech".
Berlusconi caused a storm at the weekend when he said: "I am the Jesus Christ of politics...I sacrifice myself for everyone."


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