There’s been an enormous amount of aburdity written about the cartoons of Mohammed printed in a Danish newspaper and now re-printed in a number of European papers. But through all the din a few voices of reason have managed to come through, some from rather unexpected sources.
The furor over the Danish cartoons is sparking an odd reaction among some commentators in the West who see no contradiction in condemning the idiocy of Joel Stein or the repulsiveness of Tom Toles while urging solidarity with the idiot newspapermen in Denmark who thought it a good idea to not just illustrate Mohammed, but to include some illustrations designed to offend. Like Toles and Stein, they sought a cheap reaction, and getting it, are alarmed that anyone could be judgmental of their efforts.
Of course the thugs who threaten violence against the idiots are evil, and the reaction across radical Islam is every bit as chilling and outrageous as the 1989 fatwa against Rushdie.
But I think the third course between the cartoonist provocateurs and the radicals waving guns at the EU employees in Gaza is to denounce without ambiguity or excuse the latter but at the same time to delineate a very bright line between what the West stands for and the churlishness of the caroonist provocateurs.
One needn’t always rush to do whatever one has the “right” to do; a bit of circumspection is often in order. In this case, shouldn’t somebody ask “is this the right time and place for a war, and is a cartoon the cause under whose banner we march?”
This is imbecilic. I would love to see Europe pick a real fight with militant Islamism… but the first rule of war is only to declare it on people you really want to fight — not on a billion people at once, many of whom would be your allies under better circumstances.
As expected, no one started a boycott France and Germany campaign. And when I mention it to people, they mumble uncomfortably and then change the subject. Guess it’s easy to show off your islamic economic might against the makers of Lego and Butter. But Boycott Channel, Cartier, Rolex, Mercedes or BMW? We don’t love the Prophet THAT much.
Wester people are not the enimies of muslims, but most of them are not aware and studied what is Islam. The duty of muslims is to show them what is Islam by witnessing them as the best people on earth. Only by name as a muslim, there is no benefit, if only they lead a life in accordance with the directions of Allah and prophet Muhammed, a man become a muslim. A real muslim will never keep hate and prejudice in his mind, but sympathy upon ignorance and tolerance upon mistreatment and try to teach them through their excellent behaviour and work, as the holy Quran orders, defent evil with good.
The present cartoons are nothing to bother, as they can never defame Islam or muslims, if muslims lead a good life and stand as a witness for excellent deeds, no body can create misunderstanding in the minds of others.
But one thing is important, all the good men should make their voice upon these kind of bad behaviour as this is making split in the hearts of various religious people and it creates damage to the smooth life and culture.
I have to disagree with the prevailing position. [NOTE: By the end of the post I've learned more and somewhat changed my mind.] It’s not that I think the offending cartoons should be withdrawn. I think they should (voluntarily) never have been drawn. (Well, no. I’ve drawn offensive cartoons, shown them to a few friends and put them in a drawer. It’s cathartic.)
I don’t think we would tolerate newspaper cartoons making fun of Jesus’ suffering on the cross (even though, as the Anchoress points out, we did tolerate “Piss Christ” and Elephant-Dung Madonna and Kanye West in a crown of thorns). I know that we do not tolerate cartoons of stereotypical hook-nosed Jews. We know for a fact that the latter can herald and incite the murder of innocents.
The infamous and inflammatory cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad have been gaining traction and airtime for the past few weeks for one reason, and one reason alone, the misguided reaction of Muslims worldwide. Muslims, by reacting so violently, played right into the hands of the cartoonists, who drew the cartoons to illustrate the very point that Muslims are violent and uncivilized. In fact, one of the cartoons includes the following words: “Jyllands-Posten’s journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs” serving as a warning to all Muslims that the aim of these cartoons is to get them to react.
Of course, as a Muslim, I find the images offensive and despicable, furthermore, as a reader, I find the cartoons tactless and sensationalist. They are idiotic and merely highlight the unbridled ignorance of the cartoonists about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. However, their outrageous trash does not provide me enough of an impetus to start threatening people with death. If I want to prove the cartoonists wrong, I have to act calmly and peacefully, all the while making clear my disgust and outrage at the cartoons and the newspaper’s decision to print them.
I really admire Michelle Malkin. She has graced this site with many an appreciated link. And I know she puts up with a lot of garbage from the leftward fever swamps.
Which is why it pains me to say how disappointed I am with her latest post. From my small little niche in the blogosphere I have tried to alert folks to the fact that we need to be setting an example to the moderate Muslims how to deal with ugly free speech. The best way is to dismiss hate speech and marginalize it. Not one of the best ways is to get in an escalating yelling match…
The point remains that in the West, individual values start with Freedom of Speech. If that freedom is abridged, then the entire concept of democracy is endangered. No country will willingly ignore its fundamental values.
Equally, religion in the Islamic world is not a separate–or even separable–issue from day-to-day life. It underlies, infuses, and covers all aspects of life. Therefore, anything that attacks an aspect of religion is seen, is felt, as an attack on the entire body politic.
Westerners would be wise to consider that just as strongly as they feel about Freedom of Speech, many Muslims feel about the sacred nature of the Prophet. Muslims would be wise to consider how the West feels–equally strongly–that Freedom of Speech is as sacred as they believe their religion.
There is no room for compromise on either side.
I’ll add others as I find them. I’ve posted my own thoughts on the subject here:
UPDATE: Another voice of reason, Right Wing Sparkle
I have to disagree with so many blogs who seem determined to show as much disrespect for Muslims as possible with not only reprinting the offending Danish cartoons, but making up their own. I realize that many feel they are throwing it back into the face of fanatical Muslims who threaten us, but they seem to forget peaceful Muslims are offended too.
I also think it is a bit hypocritical for us to get all angry at crude depictions of Christ, yet feel that it is somehow ok to depict Mohammad in the same way. Yes, I understand that we don’t believe in Mohammad, but the people that depict Christ that way don’t believe him either.
It’s really about common courtesy. Why do we seem to think that the only Muslims we offend by this are the ones who are terrorists? There are over a billion Muslims in this world and most of them are not terrorists. We have to learn to live together on this planet in peace. I don’t think offending their faith will bring them any closer to democracy and it especially won’t bring them any closer to understanding our faith and freedoms.
And my man, Dean Esmay is pretty much on the side of the angels, too.