Following Prof Glenn Reynolds’ appeal to the American blogging community to write to the Belgian Embassy and protest the harassing of The Brussels Journal, Prof Kenneth Anderson wrote to the embassy in Washington DC. This is the answer he got:
In response to your mail I wanted to inform you that Belgium is a democracy in which the freedom of expression and a free press are guaranteed by the constitution and the legal system.
However, expressions of racism are a punishable offense in Belgium. An Act of Parliament created the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism in 1993. A task of the Centre is to promote equality of opportunity and combat any form of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, skin color, descent, origin or nationality. The Centre offers the possibility to internet users to complain about the racist content of web sites. These complaints are evaluated in a serious manner. Most cases are solved through giving information or through setting up a mediation process. Only in a small number of cases, the Center proceeds to legal action. More information on this program is to be found on http://www.cyberhate.be.
The Belgian government and people oppose manifestations of racism and intolerance and intend to fight these through education and the application of the law. For further information on issues regarding racism in Belgium you can go to the following web site: http://www.antiracisme.be/.
I remain at your disposal for further information.
Embassy of Belgium
Our website appears to be one of the “small number of cases” in which the Belgian authorities “proceed to legal action” by sending the police to our door in order to question us. Stanley Kurtz at National Review has also spoken out in our defence, saying: “Let the public decide whether to visit The Brussels Journal and how seriously they wish to take its reports and arguments. That is the way to handle disagreements, and infinitely preferable to shutting down the site. [...] In other words, it would be a crime against the principle of free speech – and against the interests of Europe and the West – to shut down The Brussels Journal, particularly at a moment of such danger, testing, and decision for the West.”
Belgium, however, is one of the European countries where freedom of speech is most restricted, as is also evident from the prosecution of Father Samuel, a Belgian priest of Turkish origin, who is standing trial because he warns that Christians will be persecuted in Europe once Muslims become a majority.
Perhaps the priest is wrong (let us hope so, because Muslims are becoming a majority in Europe), but if Father Samuel, who speaks from personal experience, feels that he should give his warning, why would any country that claims to be “a democracy in which the freedom of expression and a free press are guaranteed by the constitution and the legal system” prevent him from doing so? I see only one reason: because the country in question is being governed by appeasers of islamo-fascism.
Our case has nothing to do with racism. Belgium is following an old tradition which, in the fall of 1939, led Brussels to introduce an “administrative censorship” which prohibited “anti-German and unpatriotic publications.”
The “anti-Germans” of the 1930s are the “islamophobes” of today.