Sharia Watch director and former UKIP candidate Anne Marie Waters has announced today that a forthcoming exhibition of Mohammed cartoons to be shown in London has been cancelled after discussions with counter-terror police.
Writing for Breitbart London, Waters revealed the security services believed the event would be attacked, leading to a “very real possibility that people could be hurt or killed – before, during, and after the event”. The organisers of the event had approached over 200 galleries with requests to host the exhibition and were turned down by almost all of them. After the final gallery, which had initially agreed had a change of heart the Draw Mohammad exhibition was left homeless.
Waters regrets that the lack of a single gallery space in the country willing to stand up for the Mohammed cartoons and the pressure from counter terror police to cancel event confirmed her suspicions that Britain had become a “frightened nation”. Calling for the establishment of a global free-speech movement, Waters remarked “It cannot be a talking shop put together to discuss shouting fire in a crowded theatre, but a tireless campaign to actively defend, by legislation and other means, the right of people to criticise, analyse, reject, satirise, and mock any single set of beliefs which is capable of affecting society as a whole, especially its freedoms”.
“We need an international campaign comprising all who seek free speech protection, particularly from Islam. It needs to work hard and fast to reverse the tide. I will contact every organisation, politician, writer, and advocate for free speech that I can find, and I hope we can take the fight for free expression on to the world stage.
“The aim is a fear-free Mohammed cartoon contest. When we can have that, we will know we are winning”.
She will no doubt receive support from fellow free speech campaigner, and member of the Dutch parliament Geert Wilders, who held a televised exhibition of Mohammed cartoons in his native Netherlands earlier this year. Initially planning to hold a physical show of art in the national parliament, he was blocked by the authorities and was forced instead to use his right as a party leader to make a party political broadcast on a subject of his choice.
In an interview with Breitbart London in June of this year, Mr. Wilders said that every country in the world should have its own draw Mohammed competition, but not as a provocation to invite attacks. Instead, he said, it was crucial that “we cannot allow violent terrorists to win” by censoring freedom of speech. Wilders said: “Every time they threaten or attack us because we use freedom of speech, we should make cartoons 100 times more. This can be the only reaction – terrorists must get the message that attacking us is just counter effective”.
British police will have witnessed the attacks at other freedom of speech events around the world recently and drawn the conclusion they could expect similar trouble in the United Kingdom from Islamists determined to prevent the depiction of their prophet. Geert Wilders was present at the Draw Mohammed competition in Garland, Texas when two Muslim gunmen attempted to kill the attendees but were shot dead by security forces.
In Copenhagen, Denmark in Feburary, another freedom of speech event was attacked by a Muslim gunman. This time the attendees didn’t have the luxury of armed guards and a documentary film maker was shot to death by the assailant who then peppered the room with bullets. He made good his escape and proceeded to attack a Synagogue in the city the following day, killing one.
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