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1. Freedom of press is a precious thing, and a thing that - as people have been pointing out over and over again - some people do not seem to understand. Even if the Danish government was furious at the Jyllands-Posten there’d be nothing they could do about it; they cannnot tell them what to print and what not to print.
On the other hand freedom of press also means responsibility. The press should know when to well leave alone.
Picking a time of heightened stress to show that they are not afraid of printing something that was haram to Muslims was a bad choice. Picking cartoons that were not only haram through depicting Mohammed, but also including some that were racist in the extreme was a studied insult, no matter how Rose now tries to explain the obvious interpretations away.
I find it very interesting as well that it was reported that the Jyllands-Posten had declined printing cartoons on Jesus because religious feelings might have been offended, rationalising that decision by saying that those cartoons had just been sent in to them without a request from their side, unlike with the Mohammed cartoons which they had asked people to send in. This was presented as the official Jyllands-Posten statement.
Today the news suddenly is that they did print those Jesus cartoons, and no-one had made a fuss over it.
Excuse me, so what is the truth now?
What I don’t understand either is how someone can apologize for printing offensive cartoons, then state a few days later that he was very disappointed about the other Danish newspapers not printing the cartoons as well. But that question is rendered mute, seeing how he defends the printing today - from a safe hidy-hole, I might point out. Yes, Rose is off on a holiday to some place unknown.
As for Italian politician Calderoli wearing a t-shirt with a Mohammed cartoon on tv, there is not really much to say about that. Pouring oil onto the flames to not let them go out fits into his political position. Thankfully public pressure was strong enough to make him resign. 100 points to Italy!
2. Now to the other side.
I’m pretty much an atheist myself, but I do know that religious belief is something… well… sacred. People might be willing to discuss politics, but religion is where it stops for a lot of them. Because it is not about politics. It is not about taste. It is not about ethics, even. It is about faith. And if you’re really faithful a mockery of your religion hurts you to the core. The moderate voices I have read and heard still mostly say one thing: It was wrong to print those cartoons. They are not only mocking my religion, they are implying that I and all of my fellow believers are terrorists.
Now, normal people will say all that, and not do anything else.
Or they will file a lawsuit against the newspaper(s).
Or they will protest in the streets.
Or they will boykott Denmark, which is a bit over the top (as the government can’t influence the newspapers) but still a peaceful means of expressing how they feel about the whole thing.
But unfortunately religion always breeds fanatics.
I don’t have to mention what happened; I am sure everyone was following the news.
Do I condone what happened? Christ, no.
But what I am saying is that the extent to which a certain type of Islamists will go to avenge a wrong done to them is well known. It is also well known (or should be) that in these times of people more often than not saying/thinking Islam = 9/11 = Al Quaida etc tempers on the receiving end of those generalizations are very frayed.
So, yes, I believe that Jyllands-Posten was well aware what was likely to happen and did this on purpose.
I wish they hadn’t succeeded, but unfortunately they did. Fanatism never sparks reasoning.
3. Which brings us back to the other side again.
I am online with AOL. I suppose they provide this service worldwide, but in case they don’t - or you don’t use AOL - I’ll point out that in addition to supplying a news service they also offer a pinboard on which users can discuss current news.
I try to avoid it, but sometimes I just can’t help noticing the opinions uttered there.
In the wake of the cartoon sparked violence a verbal counterviolence has been voiced there that more often than not makes me sick.
People demanding that no more mosques be built on German soil.
People demanding that we show them their place and don’t allow Islam to take over Germany (and other western countries) and install the Sharia.
One person ranting in sentences so bad that they didn’t make any real sense talked about Negroes, although it was unclear to this reader whether they were mentioned together with the Muslims or in contrast to them.
People demanding that we wake up to the reality of Islam being a danger and a religion of violence.
People have been waiting for this. Tempers and opinions on both sides are running high.
I am reminded of the aftermath of 9/11 when colleagues of my sister seriously expected that Germany would be attacked by Turkey.
I have been reading a lot of hate and suspicion filled comments in the blogsphere as well.
4. I have also been reading Christian and Muslim posts and comments speaking up for the Muslim side.
There’s one thing that I failed to read about so far now though:
Christian fanatism and violence.
People talked about the printing of the cartoons being wrong.
People talked about the media hardly covering the non-violent protests in the Muslim world and concentrating on the “better stories” instead.
People brought up the Inquisition, pointing out that fanatism is a thing of most religions.
Exactly. But aren’t you forgetting something here? People rightfully brought up the counter-argument to this that the Inquition happened a long time ago, and that the Muslims should live in the modern world.
Yo, people, don’t dig in the Middle Ages!
We have Christian fanatics terrorizing abortion doctors with midnight phone calls and death threats in these enlightened times of western civilization!
Over the course of the last 30 years they have been setting fire to and bombing abortion clinics, occasionally killing people within the buildings.
They have been intimidating and harrassing the patients.
They have been injuring and killing abortion doctors.
All in the name of Christianity.
Well, when I say “we” I mostly mean Americans.
Some facts about this topic can be found here.
So what would be the “logical” conclusion of that? That in contrast to the peaceful message they claim their religion to have Christians are a dangerously violent group of people who are frothing at the mouth, whose attempt at forcing their way onto the world has to be stopped in its tracks by all means.
Now that is food for thought, hm?
To lighten up the mood of this post, here’s a righteous little piece of jihad I found on an Iraqi blog:
I wake up, go to the fridge, do a sleepy-eyed makeshift inspection, and voila, there in the treacherous corner of the first drawer….what the?
An almost depleted package of Danish butter Lurpak…
Blood and sugar pressures went to the devil immediately…this is outrage! This is blasphemous, how can a Danish product survive in our god-abiding, Muslim household…La, and a thousand La…I took out the cursed vile from the refrigerator and reclaimed the appliance in the name of Islam.
I whipped out a knife, and with an ear-piercing ‘Allahu Akbar’ that startled my half-deaf grandma I charged, cutting up the cursed butter into slices, frantically, I spread that on bread and added the nice aftertouch of strawberry blood - munching up the dreaded work of Satan quickly into oblivion, my mission to eradicate the evil conspiracy off the face of the planet was a resounding success!