'The Trial' in Brussels
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Belgian justice brings to mind a certain novel by Kafka. Last month the mayor of Brussels banned a demonstration planned for September 11 under the slogan of "Stop the Islamization of Europe." An administrative court upheld that decision last week. So much for free speech and freedom of assembly in Europe's capital.
The organizers from Germany, Britain and Denmark had expected about 20,000 people from all over the Continent to protest what they called the "creeping" introduction of Shariah law into their societies. The rally was supposed to end with a minute of silence for the victims of the terror attacks on the US six years ago.
True, the organisers' goal of "preventing Islam becoming a dominant political force in Europe" and their claims that Islam is incompatible with democracy are provocative. But the question is not whether one agrees with the message but whether the message is within the bounds of protected speech, which it clearly is. If law-abiding citizens are not allowed to express their opinions on any given day, it causes irreparable damage to the plaintiffs' rights and Belgium's democracy.