Sunday, February 19, 2006

More on the Muslim cartoons

More on the Muslim cartoons from editor Flemming Rose of Jyllands-Posten:
At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran...

We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims...

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy...

As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders...

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.

Worldwide violence by protestors soon followed (including this from Nigeria yesterday):
An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city center with machetes, sticks and iron rods. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.
In addition, Christian churches were torched. This comes on the heels of riots in Pakistan, where gangs burned American restaurants such as KFC ("Good work son, but cousin Iqbal no longer has his job because he worked night shift there.")

We are at the point where Muslims would kill and gladly die because their prophet was depicted in an unflattering light in cartoons (in some quarters, because he was depicted at all)...but there is no worldwide protest (or apology) when Muslims behead Westerners, line up and shoot Iraqi troops, and kill and maim Iraqi children with IEDs.

Something to think about....



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