I condemn, in the strongest terms, the airing of Geert Wilders’ offensively anti-Islamic film. There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here. I acknowledge the efforts of the Government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of this film, and appeal for calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.
The United Nations is the centre of the world’s efforts to advance mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. We must also recognize that the real fault line is not between Muslim and Western societies, as some would have us believe, but between small minorities of extremists on different sides with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict.
Where are the "different sides", Mr. Secretary? Who else is fighting but the Islamic extremists? Would Iraq not be a relatively peaceful, relatively democratic nation today if not for them? And Afghanistan? And Pakistan?
The notion that there are different sides implies the existence of a reality in which there is a relative equivalency between opposing forces and views. That reality does not exist. There is no equivalency, no reasonable basis for comparing western democracy to Islamic terrorism.
Freedom, sir, may, on occasion, be limited by social responsibility. But freedom also defines the meaning of social responsibility. In the conflict between terrorists and civilians, Mr. Secretary – as in all things – the foremost responsibility is to speak the truth, regardless of the offense it may cause.
Is Fitna anti-Islamic? Certainly. But is it a lie? No.
Which matters more, Mr. Secretary?