Norway's Top Cop Seems Baffled by Free Speech - but Not by the Inviolability of the Koran


In reaction to this assault on their holy book, Norwegian Muslims got worked up, Muslims in Pakistan and Turkey burned Norwegian flags, and the Pakistani government called the Norwegian ambassador on the carpet. At first, the Norwegian authorities seemed as spineless as they had been during the 2006 Danish caricature crisis, when, in contrast to the government in Copenhagen, which boldly defied demands by a dozen-odd Muslim nations for an apology, the wimps in Oslo crawled like cowards.

Once again, one was reminded of the cartoon crisis, when the Norwegian diplomatic corps saw it as urgent to beg the pardon of authoritarian governments for whatever is left in Norway of individual liberty. The idea of a supposedly free country's Foreign Ministry conducting itself in such a way is shameful and pusillanimous -- and foolish, too, because these Norwegian diplomats fail to grasp that their Muslim counterparts undoubtedly read such behavior as a sign of weakness, period.

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