Finland is a curious blend of statist socialism and national independence. Its politics do not always fit easily into American thinking. No one would call the small country a socially conservative nation. Religious belief is weak, and vices such as illegitimacy, alcoholism, and pornography are shockingly more prevalent than in its cousins — Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.
Most Americans — blessed with an inimitable Constitution written by men of great character and wisdom who understood the profound importance of human liberty — take freedom of expression for granted. So it sometimes surprises them to learn that their notion of free speech and free press is exceptional in the world.
Voters in Iceland infuriated bankers and European governments yet again by rejecting for a second time a proposal to force taxpayers to cover the massive debts of private Icelandic banks that failed during the economic crisis. But the battle is not over yet.
The ban on burqas and other Islamic face coverings went into effect in France yesterday. Police hauled off a few face-covered Muslim women, while outside the French embassy in London "British" Muslims protested the new law, designed to force the integration of Muslims into French society.
Homosexual men in the U.K. will soon be allowed to donate blood. It’s a policy shift that likely will increase the fear of contracting HIV through the transfusion of tainted blood.
According to an article published in The Telegraph:
The Netherlands has long been a welcome home to Jews who suffered persecution elsewhere in Europe. During the Holocaust, Dutch Christians were exemplary in their effects to rescue Jews, often risking their own lives. During the 1973 energy crisis, the Dutch were conspicuous in not yielding to boycott pressure, riding their bikes instead of using automobiles. The Dutch, who in the Dutch East Indies held one of the most populous Muslim lands on earth, have equally been solicitous toward the sensibilities of Muslims. In fact, many would say that Holland has been far too interested in yielding to Islamic pressures.
A former imam who converted to Christianity is facing extradition from Sweden to his native Iraq, where he may face imprisonment or death for his "apostasy" from Islam. According to an article at Dagen.se (translated by Google):