Monday, February 06, 2006

Around the Cartoon Controversy Horn

A protester is quoted by the BBC:
"They want to test our feelings," protester Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra told the BBC.

"They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers," he said.

Liberal Philly Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin notes that the Muslim world doesn't understand that we don't have sharia:
But the assumption by many ordinary Muslims - and even Muslim leaders - that Western governments should censor such drawings is a nonstarter. As the newspaper France Soir, which reprinted the cartoons, wrote: "We had no desire to add oil to the fires as some may think. A fundamental principle of democracy and secularism is being threatened." This is a principle many Muslims apparently don't understand.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, perhaps reflecting the sentiment of angry constituents at home, reportedly called for a limit on press freedom. Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai said that "an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated." And, according to the Financial Times, Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Nayef suggested the Vatican should intervene to stop the spread of the cartoons. Apparently, the prince thinks the Pope can dictate personal behavior in the manner of the late Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa condemning novelist Salman Rushdie for blasphemy.

I would also hope that hate crime/European anti-Holocaust denying laws which the Muslims are appealing to give liberals pause.

I, along with the entire conservative world, will point you to Mark Steyn's very good column:
Meanwhile, back in Copenhagen, the Danes are a little bewildered to find that this time it's plucky little Denmark who's caught the eye of the nutters. Last year, a newspaper called Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed, whose physical representation in art is forbidden by Islam. The cartoons aren't particularly good and they were intended to be provocative. But they had a serious point. Before coming to that, we should note that in the Western world "artists" "provoke" with the same numbing regularity as young Muslim men light up other countries' flags. When Tony-winning author Terence McNally writes a Broadway play in which Jesus has gay sex with Judas, the New York Times and Co. rush to garland him with praise for how "brave" and "challenging" he is. The rule for "brave" "transgressive" "artists" is a simple one: If you're going to be provocative, it's best to do it with people who can't be provoked.

Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith.

Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president's home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.

I think there is a bigger lesson to be learned in the cartoon mess. I don't want to offend Muslims. But I think this incident should show us a few things: 1) some Muslims won't be happy unless the whole world is Muslim. In other words, terrorism at its root isn't always something about Israel. 2) It's not the newspaper's fault that these people are willing to riot and murder.

The Jerusalem Post seems to get it:
The Vatican condemned the cartoons as offensive; so did the US State Department (though the White House denounced subsequent anti-Western violence as "outrageous").

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw counseled self-censorship: "There is freedom of speech... but... not any obligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory."

There are those who would argue that the controversy does not reflect a clash of civilizations. Yet it is precisely this persistent refusal to acknowledge the obvious that weakens the cause of tolerance and liberty. Must "understanding" invariably result in the abdication of Western values?

Just skimmed your post, but you and your selections drive home the obvious inconsistancies of liberals (in general of course) when it comes to Muslims and Christians

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