a Someone should care, maybe not you....: Cartoons for chaos.... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

03 February 2006

Cartoons for chaos....

I suppose you have at least heard a bit about the cartoons that were published in a Danish newspaper that are the cause of chaos, rioting, and threats across the Islamic world.
The cartoons in question were published last year. The editor of the paper wanted to see what kind of reaction would be drawn. He said he wanted to find out if the large number of Islamic immigrants to Denmark were influencing limitations on freedom of speech in the country. There were immediate protests and some death threats for the editor proving his contention that there was a conflict between liberal Danish culture and the values of the immigrants. Then the issue was fairly promptly forgotten but all except for a small group of Moslem activists who carried copies of the cartoons to the Middle East to spread the word of Denmark's blasphemy. Soon there were protests being planned and carried out in various places in Palestine. Then, to add gasoline to the fire, a conservative Christian paper in Norway "in support of" the Danish Paper republished the cartoons. By January there were violent protests in Iraq and Palestine, threats of terrorist attacks, boycotts of European goods, Muslim countries are pulling their ambassadors out of Denmark.
The Danish government has stood firm in support of freedom of the press. (Bravo for them.) In Norway many have criticised the other paper for unnecessary provocation and trying to cause conflict.
As the cartoons became news several other papers in Europe reprinted them also. The pot has thus been further stirred and protests against the EU are spreading now. It seems the more protests arise the more papers carry the cartoons.

I find curious the various stands taken on the issue. Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, the leader of Iraqi Shiites, condemned the publication of the pictures but said Islamic extremists were also at fault for distorting the image of Islam around the world. Afghan president Hamid Karzai called for Moslems to be forgiving, saying that issue should be cause for a dispute between cultures. The Vatican condemned the cartoons saying western culture needed to know it's limits.

So what is the big fuss over? Well, part of it is that the current Moslem tradition is that there should not be images of Mohammed. This has not always been the case as can be seen by this scholarly look into the issue Images of the Prophet Muhammad - a Zombie Error in which historic images of Mohammed made by Moslems are listed and discussed as well as some detailed discussion in the comments on the issue.

I myself have a difficult time getting excited about this. There have been so many "blasphemous" depictions of Christ over the years and no one but the fundamentalists get very upset. I do find it interesting that many of the voices that condemn the Danish publication are those that defend those depictions of Christ but hey, what's a little hypocrisy in scholarly circles?
I personally feel that the publication of offensive material solely to offend people and draw a response, which is what the Danish paper admittedly did, is wrong. It is in extremely poor taste and demonstrates lousy judgment. But that is what freedom of the press is about.
Have you seen the cartoons? I hadn't until I started writing this and went out and found a copy. So, to save you the hunt, here they are.




FYI:
BBC
Afrol

7 Comments:

Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I think that this is one illustration of the difficulty that is ongoing in trying to draw this war to an end. It is so difficult to perceive the depth of the reaction. I was furious at the "piss crucifix" but in no way angry enough to create violence. These folks get really in an uproar about things that can't be understood in a secular society.

1:48 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I think sometimes you have to be offensive to expose hypocracy or cruelty, or whatever. It's not pretty, but you do what you think you have to do.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it really a matter of a religious or secular society, or simply the definition of an acceptable level of violence? Consider dueling cultures, the "wild West", Mafia hits and gang rumbles, or robber barons. Cultures often have some level of insult to which the appropriate response is considered to be a violent reprisals -- but they're not all religious.

10:05 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Well yes anon, the middle east obviously has a hight acceptable level of violence than europe or the US. But frankly I am less concerned with the reacion in the Islamic world than I am with those in Europe and the US who condem this because it is "offensive" to Moslems but but support those who offend western cultures becasue of freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

6:56 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Did you hear the name of Green Day's live album? Do you see Christians going nuts about it?

Good for Denmark for not being a bunch of p*ssies and giving in.

11:11 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Not really paying any attention at all to Green day I don't know the name of their new album. What is it? Should we follow the example of some of our Muslim brothers and issue a fatwah calling for their death? (note for the humor impaired, that is a joke)

6:58 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I think it's Bullet in a Bible.

Don't worry, I know sarcasm when I see it. Hopefully other people do. ;)

12:35 PM  

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