‘No Danish cartoons, please’ – appeal from protest organiser

Over a month ago Peter Risdon, organiser of the “March for Free Expression”, posted a notice on their website encouraging those attending Saturday’s protest to bring along and display copies of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. He wrote: “Since we are in favour of free speech, and because the reason why newspapers and magazines across Europe (though not, shamefully, in the UK) have republished the infamous cartoons was principally ‘We are Spartacus’ – we stand together – we will be happy to see reproductions of the cartoons in question at the rally.”

March for Free Expression website, 19 February 2006

Now Risdon is frantically backtracking: “At the outset, we said that displays of the Danish cartoons would be welcome on Saturday. No, let me rephrase that: At the outset, I, Peter Risdon, said the cartoons would be welcome. I am going to take full responsibility for this. I now think that was a mistake…. I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.” Not only that, but “Muslims are welcome” at Saturday’s protest.

March for Free Expression website, 23 March 2006

But what about the other t-shirts you advertise on your site, Peter? You know, the ones with slogans like “Get your fatwa out of my face. Support Denmark. Support free speech”, “Up yours, ‘religion of peace’!”, “Viking jihad” and “Islam is a blast”. Are you still encouraging people to wear these?

Well, apparently not. If you click here you’ll find that the advert, headed “T-Shirts – But Be Quick!“, has mysteriously disappeared from the MFE site.

Peter states piously: “The principle of freedom of expression is used, by some, as a trojan horse, as a proxy for racism and islamophobia. Not by me. Not by us. Not by this campaign.” No, no, Peter – of course not.

Some of Peter’s followers are not best pleased about this liberal backsliding over the right to display racist caricatures: “This is surely what the march is about. By restricting the free speech of the protestors you will play into the hands of Islamophobia Watch…” . “I’m hugely disappointed by this. You’ve done exactly what the censors want. I’m really not sure I’ll bother coming along now, to be honest, and I’m guessing plenty of other people who have supported this campaign feel the same. I donated money to this campaign in good faith, and right now this feels like a betrayal of that faith. Will you be reimbursing people?” “I gave you money because I thought you were standing up to the tyranny of Islam, you sniveling coward. Either reverse course once again and welcome those cartoons back again THAT WERE THE ORIGINAL REASON FOR THIS MARCH or refund my money.” “Another pathetic example of grovelling to Muslim ‘sensibilities’.” “I don’t see how you can claim this march to still be in favour of free expression.” “I am incredibly disappointed by this – it is nothing but dhimmitude.” “YOU ARE A JOKE. Maybe it would be better if the march was cancelled! Hello we want free speech, but remember not to talk about the cartoons!!!! I feel sorry for people that sent you money.” “Unless you reverse this decision ASAP, I hereby withdraw my support unreservedly.” “What a bunch of wimps. You have obviously caved in to the Islamic pressure groups and the Mayor of Londinistan. Another victory for Sharia law and another defeat for Liberty.”

It can only be a matter of hours before Peter makes an appearance on Dhimmi Watch!

Postscript:  Yes, here it is.