[JURIST] Turkey has urged European countries to reexamine their religious defamation laws and ensure that they protect Muslims in the wake of the Muhammad cartoons controversy [JURIST news archive]. At a weekend conference of EU foreign ministers in Austria, Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul [official website] echoed Muslim claims that European laws reflect a double standard insofar as they protect Christianity and prosecute anti-semitism but leave Muslims vulnerable, noting in a speech [official text]:
there are legal restraints against such defamation. However, these restraints sometimes only apply to the established religions of the concerned countries. I would like to call on you here to start a process of re-examination of your legislations to ensure that these restraints apply to all religions equally, including to Islam.Turkey's proposal encountered resistance from the Dutch foreign minister, who described it as "superfluous." Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller also indicated that EU countries would not change their laws on freedom of expression. EUobserver has more.