Baroness Ashton is under fire after the EU failed to agree on a statement condemning attacks on religious minorities in the Islamic world because it is not politically correct to use the word “Christian”.
A meeting of EU foreign ministers failed to agree on a condemnation of sectarian attacks over the Christmas period that targeted Christians in Egypt and Iraq. Talks ended angrily when Italy accused Lady Ashton, the EU’s foreign minister, of “excessive” political correctness because she refused to name any specific religious group as a victim of attacks.
Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, demanded an EU response on the persecution of Christians after a New Year suicide bombing at a Coptic church in northern Egypt in which 23 people were killed. The Egyptian bombing followed attacks in Baghdad and fears, expressed by the Vatican, of persecution leading to a Christian exodus from the Middle East. Mr Frattini, backed by France, said it pointless to issue statements defending religious tolerance without any references to the specific minority, Christians, that was under attack
Frattini is quite correct (Ashton’s stance is grotesque), but he shouldn’t be surprised. A creature of Tony Blair’s Labour party, Ashton, picked for her current job by a secretive cabal, is a poster girl for post-democratic Europe, as incompetent as she is craven as she is malign.
Curiously Frattini then goes on to pin the blame on “secularism,” when the real issue is clearly an unwillingness to risk giving “offense” to Muslim hardliners, something that Frattini knows a thing or two about himself.
I wrote about it at the time, but here is Frattini back in 2006 (back then he was the EU’s commissioner for “justice, freedom and security”), speaking to the Daily Telegraph in the wake of the Danish Mohammed cartoons:
Plans for a European press charter committing the media to “prudence” when reporting on Islam and other religions, were unveiled yesterday.
Franco Frattini, the European Union commissioner for justice, freedom and security, revealed the idea for a code of conduct in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. Mr Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, said the EU faced the “very real problem” of trying to reconcile “two fundamental freedoms, the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion”.
Millions of European Muslims felt “humiliated” by the publication of cartoons of Mohammed, he added, calling on journalists and media chiefs to accept that “the exercising of a right is always the assumption of a responsibility”. He appealed to European media to agree to “self-regulate”.
Accepting such self-regulation would send an important political message to the Muslim world, Mr Frattini said. By agreeing to a charter “the press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right”, he said.
Clearly Baroness Ashton was paying attention.