I just read the story before I came over here that it's against the law in Austria to deny the Holocaust...I don't know if it's necessary...just like I don't know that it's necessary to have laws against hate crimes, when then things that are considered hate crimes are all ready against the regular laws!
By that logic, even Iran's President should be going to jail for denying the Holocaust. That said, there is a fine line between freedom of speech and hurting a community's sentiments. Since this issue's been broached, let me say that I think the Danish cartoons were in poor taste. Any believer, regardless of faith, would cringe at the prospect of their god defiled. That does not mean Westergaard should be punished or heavens, issued a fatwa upon, but he should have desisted from drawing those caricatures. there are ten thouand other ways of expressing one's rage at Islamic fundamentalism.
I have long thought the "hate crime" business was just a lot of feel-good redundancy. And I agree that the Danish cartoons were obviously designed to offend -- as was Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ." Christians were apparently able to, as it were, turn the other cheek to Serrano's insult (the public-funding issue, though, was clearly valid). Many Muslims seem to lack that kind of maturity. This is a complicated issue. I'm pretty much against gratuitously insulting a person's religion. But I also object to any religion that calls for violence against those who are not members of that religion. I also have little respect for those who denounced Christians for objecting to Serrano and questioning the use of public funds for his "art," but then turned around and objected to the "insensitivity" of the Danish cartoons. They seem to have a noticeable double standard. These are tough times -- though perhaps all times are tough -- for men and women of good will.