‘Response to Copenhagen attacks will be more Islamophobia, right-wing push’
RT:Do you applaud controversial artist Lars Vilks continuing his work? Or do you think he is being foolish?
Gavin MacFadyen: He has every right to do what he does. People don’t have to like it. But, you don’t want to stop what you are good at, what you are paid to do, and what is not a horrendous assaults on other people just because of threats. In that sense, he was completely legitimate in going forward.
RT:Do you think a red line should be drawn for journalists and cartoonists, in respect to their work like this, for fear of offending others?
GM: No, you go and do what you feel you have to do. There are some examples of this that I would not be prepared to defend – anti-Semetic attacks, anti-Muslim attacks. If they are social and ethnic in character, I find that particularly offensive. People have a right to do it, but then they can have a right to expect protest as, well. In a sense to understand that other people won’t like it and take action against it. However, they have a right to do it, absolutely.
RT:France and Denmark have called it a terror attack. What do you think will be the international reaction to this? After Charlie Hebdo, people claimed there was more Islamophobia and we saw a tougher stance on terrorism. Do you expect the same? Or perhaps we get a fuller debate about the cause and the root causes of it too?
GM: I wish we would, but I suspect not. As you suggested, we are going to see the same kind of response again – non-subtle, violent response, [and] increasing amounts of Islamophobia. The right-wing will put significant pressure on the conservative governments in the West to do harsher things to that community. So the worry, of course, is the event; but the secondary worry is that...the right-wing in most countries will use this to justify their racist and chauvinist views, which so far they haven’t disguised at all...
RT:What sort of debate would you like to see?
GM: We tried to organize a meeting about the Charlie Hebdo affair in London, and one of the things we found is that no venue would accept the subject, unless you are prepared to spend an enormous sum with private security. It is having a horrific affect on the ability to discuss anything and that is a bad news situation.