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Muslim Cartoon Controversy: What the Media Isn't Telling You

by soj Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:21:39 PM EST

If you are coming from Raw Story or Free Republic, welcome to European Tribune. Just so you know, we're mostly lefties here (and European ones at that), but we nevertheless encourage you to see our other debates on the Danish-Muslim controversy, you'll see that we are pretty divided on the topic:

Danish Cartoons and Islam: Context and Backstory by Ben P
Violence in the wake of the cartoon controversy by Gjermund E Jansen
The Cartoons: A Manufactured Controversy? (Illustrated) by another American
Blaphemy overflow thread
The right to blasphemy by Sirocco

And look around, we have a lot of interesting stories about Europe and the rest of the world!

I had a friend over today who lives out of town and we switched on the traditional news media television and saw what most of you have probably seen - angry rioters protesting, burning flags and attacking various Danish embassies around the world.

Despite the spectaculor footage and a bevy of experts "weighing in" on the issue, I did not one single mention of what's actually going on. And so therefore, by my duty as a citizen journalist, I will now share it with all of you.

The issue has been framed by the traditional media as "Free Expression/Speech" in contrast with "Sensitivity to Religion". Do newspapers in democratic societies have the right to publish offensive images? Well that's something definitely worth debating, but it's overlooking an important step.

12 cartoons were published in the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, which you can see here. Some were very bland, others seem to be unquestionably offensive. Yet these cartons were published on September 30, 2005. What the traditional media has failed to explain is why the protests are occuring now.


But before we explain that, it's time to address a few other issues. The first issue is whether or not it is inflammatory or offensive to Islam to depict the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) at all. Traditionally, the answer is the Qur'an (the Muslim equivalent to the Christian Bible) does not forbid it, it only forbids "idolatry", which would imply worshipping a statue or other representation of Mohammed (PBUH). The Hadith, which has no equivalent in Christianity but is equivalent to Judaism's Talmud, and is somewhat of a secondary literary source of the Muslim faith, prohibits any pictures or drawings of sacred figures, including Mohammed (PBUH). That being said, in practical terms, it occurs quite regularly.

There are images similar to Orthodox Christian ikons that are commonplace in Shi'ite communities, especially in Iran. There are also Muslim works of art depicting Mohammed (PBUH) in Central Asia, and neither these nor those in Iran are considered inflammatory and neither are they censored.

There are a number of depictions of Mohammed (PBUH), some in very unflattering situations, in Christian churches in Europe, especially Italy. The famous book/poem "Inferno" by Dante makes a very unflattering reference to Mohammed (PBUH) and there are several pieces of artwork depicting Dante's descriptions.

There have been several derogatory or potentially inflammatory usages of Mohammed (PBUH) in American entertainment vehicles, perhaps the most famous being South Park. And last but not least, there is an actual sculpture of Mohammed (PBUH) on the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.

The point I'm trying to make here is that Mohammed (PBUH) has been depicted, painted or made appearances in animated cartoons on many, many occasions and yet there's been no rioting, storming of embassies and CNN coverage. The question becomes, not why were the Danish cartoons offensive or inappropriate, but why is there such a strong reaction now?

Denmark has a long history of multi-cultural tolerance, including their famous solidarity stand with Jewish citizens during World War 2. The newspaper Jyllands-Posten itself was surprised by the strong reaction to their cartoons and even apologized publically for any offense they may have caused. And for 2 months, there was hardly a peep from any Muslim group outside a small protest in Denmark itself and somewhat larger protests in Pakistan.

So what triggered this? Well it takes a blog to explain it. What CNN and the other traditional media failed to tell you is that the thousand gallons of fuel added to the fire of outrage came from none other than our old pals Saudi Arabia.

While it was a minor side story in the western press, the most important of Muslim religious festivals recently took place in Saudi Arabia - called the Hajj. Every able-bodied Muslim is obligated to make a pilgrimage once in their lifetime to Mecca, which is in modern-day Saudi Arabia. This pilgrimage can be done at any time of the year but most pilgrims arrive during the Muslim month known as Dhu al-Hijjah, which follows a lunar calendar that does not exactly match the western Gregorian calendar.

The most recent Hajj occurred during the first half of January 2006, precisely when the "outrage" over the Danish cartoons began in earnest. There were a number of stampedes, called "tragedies" in the press, during the Hajj which killed several hundred pilgrims. I say "tragedies" in quotation marks because there have been similar "tragedies" during the Hajj and each time, the Saudi government promises to improve security and facilitation of movement to avoid these. Over 251 pilgrims were killed during the 2004 Hajj alone in the same area as the one that killed 350 pilgrims in 2006. These were not unavoidable accidents, they were the results of poor planning by the Saudi government.

And while the deaths of these pilgrims was a mere blip on the traditional western media's radar, it was a huge story in the Muslim world. Most of the pilgrims who were killed came from poorer countries such as Pakistan, where the Hajj is a very big story. Even the most objective news stories were suddenly casting Saudi Arabia in a very bad light and they decided to do something about it.

Their plan was to go on a major offensive against the Danish cartoons. The 350 pilgrims were killed on January 12 and soon after, Saudi newspapers (which are all controlled by the state) began running up to 4 articles per day condemning the Danish cartoons. The Saudi government asked for a formal apology from Denmark. When that was not forthcoming, they began calling for world-wide protests. After two weeks of this, the Libyans decided to close their embassy in Denmark. Then there was an attack on the Danish embassy in Indonesia. And that was followed by attacks on the embassies in Syria and then Lebanon.

Many European papers, including the right-wing German Springer media group, fanned the flames by reprinting the cartoons. And now you have the situation we are in today, with lots of video footage of angry crowds and the storming of embassies and calls for boycotts of Danish and European products.

Saudi Arabia's influence on the Sunni Muslim world is incalculable. The sermons from high-ranking Muslim clerics are read and studied by Muslims around the world, who in turn give sermons to their local congregations. While the Saudis do not have direct control of the world's Sunni flocks, their influence is similar somewhat to the Pope's pronouncements and the sermons that Catholic priests give to their flocks the following Sundays. Saudi Arabia also finances a number of Muslim "study centers", where all the literature and material is provided by the Saudi government, filled with hatred for Jews and other extremely racist material. For them to promote an idea based on religion, including "outrage" at some cartoons published months earlier, is standard operating procedure.

Of course there is more than Saudi Arabia's hand at play here. The issue has metamorphed from religious outrage at a dozen cartoons to a clash of those who feel they are oppressed and downtrodded by the Christian world and those they consider their oppressors. That's why there was anti-Christian rioting in Lebanon, where the two religious groups have a long and tumultous co-existance.

As I sat there watching CNN (International) with my friend today, I could not help but note the number of Saudi flags that the various rioters were waving in Lebanon and Syria. Coincidence? I think not. Look for yourself - they are green with a large expanse of Arabic writing in white above a sword.


Lebanon (Reuters)

Peace

Display:
The Hadith, which has no equivalent in Christianity but is equivalent to Judaism's Talmud, and is somewhat of a secondary literary source of the Muslim faith, prohibits any pictures or drawings of sacred figures, including Mohammed (PBUH). That being said, in practical terms, it occurs quite regularly.

There are images similar to Orthodox Christian ikons that are commonplace in Shi'ite communities, especially in Iran. There are also Muslim works of art depicting Mohammed (PBUH) in Central Asia, and neither these nor those in Iran are considered inflammatory and neither are they censored.

Actualy, there is no Hadith, there are Hadiths. Different sects of Islam accept different sets of Hadiths. Your latter examples correspond to Shi'a Islam and Sufi branches, I suspect.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:35:02 PM EST
This website gives a good account of Mohammed imaging throughout the history:

Mohammed Image Archive

by das monde on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 11:26:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Danish PM Rasmussen refused to meet the ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries in October. I think your Saudi theory misses several steps of the escalation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:37:55 PM EST
You also coud reason it is evidence for it. So, what's it gonna be? There's no way to tell right now.
by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:55:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand what you argue for. How could the October protest by ambassadors of 11 countries be proof of the orchestration by a single country from January?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well what you say is true however it must be taken in context.  Rasmussen originally said his government can't and doesn't control the newspapers, therefore there was nothing he can do.  I see that he's going to be in a number of Arab TV channels today to try and defuse the crisis.

That the cartoons offended Muslims in September and October is not in dispute.  However there have been MANY offensive media publications, including films in the Netherlands, in the past.  So why was there no rioting and storming of the Dutch embassies?

In other words, Muslims have had many occasions to be offended by the media in Europe.  Why are these 12 cartoons the straw that "broke the camel's back" (not to use an offensive expression)?

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rasmussen originally said his government can't and doesn't control the newspapers, therefore there was nothing he can do.

He could've said exactly that to the ambassadors. Refusing to meet ambassadors is something very serious in diplomacy.

That the cartoons offended Muslims in September and October is not in dispute.

No, the point was that already in October, things escalated enough that representatives of 11 foreign governments were into the issue, while you claimed that only the Saudi state was into it and that from January.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Child's tale led to clash of cultures  

Death threats

At first, though, the outrage was local. Several thousand Danish Muslims protested. Three of the cartoonists received death threats; security guards were posted outside the newspaper's offices in Copenhagen and Arhus.

Interesting to note that death threats already happened before it became an "international incident". I would classify that as an escalation too.

What should have remained a parochial row was to blow up into an international incident, largely because of the perceived obdurate response of Denmark's centre-right prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. On October 19 ambassadors from Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, demanded a meeting. They wanted the paper prosecuted. The PM gave them the brush-off, arguing that his government could not interfere with the right to free speech.

We can say that the PM acted stupidly in not meeting them. No argument. But "prosecuting the paper" was a stupid demand too.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:44:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone go back into the archives of newspapers at the time of the non-meeting with the ambassadors to see how it was presented then? We don't know exactly what happened then, it may be worth digging up.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now it all makes sense, thank you.
by Shockwave (shockwaveatinorbitdotcom) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:38:39 PM EST
Thanks for the additional info, Soj. How do you link this with the story that the Danish muslims went for a tour in the Middle East with 3 extra (and extremely offensive) cartoons?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 01:40:03 PM EST
I read the link and even went over to Sullivan's blog.  It seems that the fake cartoons were distributed or propagandized in the latter half of January, when this controversy was already in full tilt.

I'm curious to see who finances this very small group which does not even represent the majority of Muslims in Denmark.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:08:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The controversy has really surfaced (beyond local news) in the past week or so, so it may still be relevant.

But we have more questions than answers at this point.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:31:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how does his theory explain the cartoon-inspired labor strikes that began in Pakistan in early December?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:04:10 PM EST
Three points:

-First, three of the cartoons are just racists. It is not that they depict someone. I think the great majority of muslims (excet for the more radical elements) could not give a damn about the other nine. It would just like painting Virgin Maria with big boobs... no problem there. But the racist part was indeed a problem and any pacific mean to get an apology was more than appropriate.

-Second. The escalation came from both sides. First Saudi Arabia and Siria, then right-wing newspapers using the theme of freedom of expression to "fuck you intolerant arabs that do not how to take a racist cartoon". British papers where the clear example of what a liberal society would do. The guardian among them was a clear example of the best Europe can offer in this case.

-Third. Concentrating on the escalation of the right-wing press (since we all know what Saudi Arabia looks like)  I would like to mention that they did not raise any eyebrow in the well-documented cases of

1- Withdrawing a publicity campaign of a video game in Italy which just depicted Jesus-Christ as you can see in the link. Jesus

2- The fact that similarly racist cartoons against jews and the shoa have been forbidden by the Supreme-Court of Spain

3- The fact that one person faces one year in prison in Spain right now because he created (alone) a set of two video-games whose purpose was to kill "beatos" and "cofrades" like in a war game, that is, religious people that cry and beat themselves in honour of Virgin Maria in the South of spain (actually different Virgin Marias) Kiling religious people for fun. The procedures against him have alrady started. And even more. The author of a short movie called the best way to cook Jesus-Christ for two people also facing eight months in jail for his creation (30 year ago) after it was rebroadcasted in TV...because both acts are illegal according to present law (article 525.1 of the Spanish Penal Code).

Suddenly those newspapers started ventilating by how the Danish asked for apologies....but they are not doing nothing for free speech down here in Spain.. I guess we are underdeveloped and stupid and we do not deserve their attention.

To finish it off Haaretz reports the following:
Muslim groups are going to depict satiric cartoons in Europe against jews to test our freedom of speech

Frank in bed with Hitler

In a word the radical wing nuts in Saudi Arabia and the racist right-wing newspapers are just two monsters feeding each other...falling into the trap of blaming one more than the other is what I think both fundamentalists want.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:16:37 PM EST
Seriously:

To me, the core issue is that I still refuse to accept that Muslims have the right to ram their offense in our faces to such an extent for such tame cartoons. Now I have been told several times that it is not up to me to decide what is offensive, but I'll stick to it - those who are offended behave like a 13-year old kid when you make fun of his pimples.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the one showing a bomb in head as if all muslims are terrorists is a good example..All muslims are terrorist, and the main figure of the religion is just a terrorist. It is just like the anti-semitic cartoons you can see in the middle East quite often.

But of course, if you do not hink that those cartoons in the Middle-east are anti-semitic, well then of course, they are not racists for you.

According to me, the one against muslims and the ones about the jews are both racist.

I would defend the rigth of anybody to be racist...but regarding the balance between public racist statements and free speech.. I normally side with free speech.

Just my opinion.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 03:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then why show us the censorship issues in Spain? I have no idea how that is relevant at all. And asking for public apologies from a government official for something printed in the private media??!!! I am entirely against that. That would be horrible.

The coercive power of governments in the public square should be reigned in when it comes to free speech. In fact, the world is suffering today because the US gov't has effectively defined patriotism as unabashed allegiance to the military and nation. Their arguments are coercive, and they are often adopted by the media as the borders of "good taste." A public apology from a gov't official would have similar effects.

I am not against ALL forms of censorship. I believe that some forms of speech (that which curtails the speech of others, especially through intimidation and violence) should be censored. But these cartoons clearly fall outside that scope.

by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 04:21:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The examples of Spain where the ones I know to defend that free speech in Europe is very easy to defend when muslims are involved, but not at all when jews or christians are involved.

I am also against asking for apologies to the government official (I would actually not even ask apologies to anybody... I do not care). But I think it is the right of any person to ask for one. I also believe the right of anybody to give or not give the apologies and the right of anybody to call for a boycott of any product.

As long as there is no violence, everything is fine for me.

Having said that.. ona personal note, I very much admire your point of view of allowing any kind of speech. It is perfectly consistent, well reasoned and you explain it very well. I have always been like you but I have realized that I was not that sure what to do when nazis groups depeloped a system of propaganda of their hate against jews and muslims in Europe. I do not know what to do when clear and over racist statements/cartoons/books are used to incite people to kill each other. I am now rethinking it...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 04:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
kcurie, I'm actually not for unlimited free speech. I believe that there are times when a form of speech is actually used to silence another's right to speech. This usually happens hand-in-hand with intimidation or threats. I believe there is such a thing as hate speech which targets an individual and attempts to subjugate. I don't think we should tolerate such speech.
by Upstate NY on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 11:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that one of the cartoons is hate speech performed with the intention to incite violence against muslims.

So you think I should defend that it should be forbidden? I am just asking

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:36:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
None of the cartoons rise to the level of hate speech, nor are they violent. Hate speech is usually performed by an actor who intimidates someone directly, either through violence or other means.  All of these cartoons are works of art, indirect free speech which relies on symbolism and metaphor to get a point across. As such, they wouldn't fall under hate speech.
by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 03:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
As long as there is no violence, everything is fine for me.
*
But don't others here understand that stuff like this PRODUCE violence???

Quote:
I am also against asking for apologies to the government official
*
Right! Muslims should actually sue and ask to be paid compensation for every single Muslim in this world who is offended by this and of course they should bankrupt this specific newspaper. Then next time "free speech" lovers would think twice before they publish racist stuff. Same with anybody else Christians, Jews that are offended.
I don't mind that any of you are atheists, that's your right to be, but I can only agree when you make jokes about PEOPLE who are misusing religion for political and other purposes. Not the exact religion. I don't see why you would offend me or anybody else's RIGHT to believe.
Few days ago friend told me: "See now some scientists agree that photon can exist at the same time in two different places and most of the people believe them"...

Not that I know much about physics but it looks to me this actually ruin all physics that we know about till this day ... (disclaimer: I don't know anything about this statement or if this information is right, I am just passing friends thought)...
"Why then they can't believe in God, Spirit, and "Life" after death etc."
It's just what you chose to believe into.
Quote:
I was not that sure what to do when nazis groups depeloped a system of propaganda of their hate against jews and muslims in Europe. I do not know what to do when clear and over racist statements/cartoons/books are used to incite people to kill each other. I am now rethinking it...
*
You are right. One's freedom should be only limited within space where he doesn't offend or hurt others...
Too much of "irresponsible" freedom (in all the different fields of life as much private as well as communal) has brought us here...and it's not pleasant place to be.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 11:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there are are two lines.

The first line is obvious.. physical violence. When there is physical violence you have crossed the line.If someone attacks you verbally, you can attack back verbally, defend with arguments, insult..but never attack physically..it is the same difference beween supporting murdering and actually murdering. Any penal Code in the West stablish a clear distinction between both and I think it is a great idea. even when someone provokes you.. it is up to you to cross the line or not.

Attacks on any specific person for specific reasons not attached to any genral religion, race or ideology, etc... is considered libel (if it is moral) here by the judge .. and stablishing it is quite objective.. So there is no line-crossing..just comitting a fault or not.

The great line we are discussing here is what to do with general incitement and general racists remarks...Forbidding them all is just impossible since everybody has always some tendency to denigrate some group or to make even slight generalizations. It is practiacally impossible...there are slight racists remark everywhere.. you can not put everybody in prison... So you have to decide if you put a line and, if you indeed do it, where to put and how to put it

I am not convinced which one is the good one but I do know that whenever there is a line the tendency is to be harsher on the minority and "respect" more the majority. This does not mean that absolute free speech is the solution. I just do not know.

That was all my point.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand what you mean .That line is very tiny. Once crossed...and mass madness is here...spreading like hell. Can't bee stopped. All though it's orchestrated big way.
I've been there. Same thing developed in front of my eyes prior to Balkan wars...I couldn't believe my eyes and ears...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 07:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't mind that any of you are atheists, that's your right to be, but I can only agree when you make jokes about PEOPLE who are misusing religion for political and other purposes. Not the exact religion. I don't see why you would offend me or anybody else's RIGHT to believe.

This is out?

Image hosting by TinyPic

It somehow offends your right to believe, then? How exactly?

I submit that it's quite different human rights that are at stake here. The above cartoon actually threatened to land a German artist in Greek prison in 2005.

He meant it as a piece of religious satire, a playful look at the life of Jesus. But Gerhard Haderer's depiction of Christ as a binge-drinking friend of Jimi Hendrix and naked surfer high on cannabis has caused a furore that could potentially land the cartoonist in jail.

Haderer did not even know that his book, The Life of Jesus, had been published in Greece until he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January charged with blasphemy.

Again, I am dismayed that people here make common cause with the most brute and blackguard religious right. You know, the guys at whose behest they murdered Jesus?

I'm not sure whether you really support religious cencorship, but if so, please do the rest of us one little favor: don't call yourself a 'liberal'.

(PS. Quantum Mechanics is some seventy years old.)

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 02:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK.
Quote:

It somehow offends your right to believe, then? How exactly?
*
Well not that this one offends ME personally, but I may have "wider angle" because I grew up in communist country. I can imagine people (like Greeks) that grew up in community where religion had much stronger influence, being offended.
This caricature "offends" me for different reason. It makes fun of me in a way like it's telling me: "Hey you moron how can you believe in anything that stupid?"...I refuse to argue but then I have to ask back "OK. But how can you believe in anything so pathetic as Darwin's "monkey"  theory...you monkey..." and here it goes, we can step on each other throat ...I would rather skip the whole thing and let you believe what ever you want in favor to let me do the same.

Quote:

"I'm not sure whether you really support religious censorship, but if so, please do the rest of us one little favor: don't call yourself a 'liberal'."
*
I do support religious , nationalistic, gender, and other kinds of "censorship" or better say I support abstinence (but do not mix me with Bush and abstinence he recommended, ha-ha) of mucking people around about things that most people are sensitive of. It never had any result that I would be favorable of.

I do not call my self "liberal" and as I said previously my position in politic is not even left of the centre but more centre itself. All though I find I have much in common with views of you "liberals" here...what ever that means, because here in Australia Howard's party is named 'Liberal" and they are not exactly what word would suggest. They are very far right and are liberal only about "free trade" (what ever they make of it).

Quote:
(PS. Quantum Mechanics is some seventy years old.)
*
Thank you for your information. I am totally in the dark regarding physic. I have to admit my friend must be totally out of the date, ha-ha.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 10:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, in my opinion you can draw a caricature of a Muslim without being a racist just as you are allowed to critizie Israeli policy without being called an anti-semite.

There are degrees to which such caricatures are bordering and sometimes crossing the racist line, yes, but such caricatures in general can not and should not automatically be called racist.  The one to decide this, on the individual level, is each and every person.  On the collective, or societal, level this is up to the courts to decide within the respective countries.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 04:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, it is me the one that consideres three of these cartoons racist. I am happy to defend my position to anybody.

And my clear point is that the judicial/press/media system is completely biased against muslims. A racist cartoon about danes in an European newspapers inciting violence will be quickly dismissed as racist and probably forbidden (if it is ever published which I doubt). Not if it is about muslims.

I indeed think that you can criticize Israel and Sharon with strong cartoon without being racist.. but you can also do it being racist. The cartoons I see here in the Middle East are a lot of them racists agains jews.. and I think these cartoon were racist. If they are not racist for you... well you have another definition of what is racism than what I have.

Having said that, what has a court to decide.. do we  not have the free speech  to declare anything.. even when it is racist?

I am saying that a lot of people get ventilations when the right to state racist comments is curtailed...when it is about muslims they do not get any ventilation when the racist comments are about jews and catholics.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 04:57:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that although many commenters on these threads seem to believe that everyone needs to be able to accept being ridiculed and satired... there is a difference between being made fun of and being vilified.  A bomb in Muhammed's turban is vilification.

When members of the majority who have access to the dominant mass media use that access and their dominant position in society to vilify and demonize a weaker minority... well, that can lead to bad things.

I learned that when I went to Rwanda.

To stem the inevitable outrage over that statement, I want to make it clear right now that I am not saying that I think Danes are going to start slaughtering their Muslim neighbors.  I am only saying that hate speech starts somewhere.

Some kinds of speech, especially when someone stronger mocks someone weaker -- what, you can't take it? you just don't have a sense of humor... -- strike me as more like bullying than humor.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And my clear point is that the judicial/press/media system is completely biased against Muslims. A racist cartoon about Danes in a European newspapers inciting violence will be quickly dismissed as racist and probably forbidden (if it is ever published which I doubt). Not if it is about Muslims.

Well, then you really got a problem if you distrust the system that much. I can not say I share your scepticism, obviously.  Sure no system is perfect, but then do we expect it to be?  As for your belief that a racist cartoon about Danes in a European newspaper would quickly be dismissed as racist and forbidden I can not say that I share your belief on that one either.  

Having said that, what has a court to decide.. do we  not have the free speech  to declare anything.. even when it is racist?

Freedom of speech has its limits of course when it is a hate speech or an incitement to racial violence or violence in general.  Norway and Denmark even have a blasphemous paragraph which is seldom in use by the way.  If Muslim people find these cartoons offensive, blasphemous and even racist well they could have their day in court, although I doubt they would get a favourable ruling because the freedom of speech principle is so important in European societies.  Of course you might say, with your deep scepticism towards the system, that this is a racist ruling and you are entitled to say so and believe so in a free society.  That doesn't nesseccarily make it more true.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, we see where we disagree. I think you are utterly wrong and that the data in Europe compelely support my case of biased system.. in TV, in newspapers, in the justice system.

But you know.. I will change my opinion gladly if you could come to Spain and dress yourself and live a life as a muslim.. exactly as a muslim.. in Almeria let's say. If you have nay problem ..go to the police or the justice system....and then you come back.

Go there. for just six months.. well maybe even less because I do not want you any harm.. you come back and you explain me that I was totally wrong...I will inmediately change my opinion.

Meanwhile I am entiitle to my opinion that you are just completely blind on these things, that you do not want to see..after all it does not affect you
And again you are perfectly entitle to your opinion that this is not the case and that the system is balanced...but this does not make it any more true neither...actually I think is just like defending that the earth is flat...but again you are entitle to be completely wrong:) Lucky of this free society that allows me to defend that Earth is not exactly flat(this last sentence is a little bit condescending.. well, just how I felt about your last post).

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do agree with you on your point that it is racist views in Europe, but not that they are so deeply entrenched in the whole system.  There are racism everywhere both in Europe and in the Middle East, but that doesn't make it systematic.

I think it is safe to say that we both could agree to disagree on this matter.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:56:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I just live in Spain, and here you notice that is entrenched more deeply. I think we agree to disagree..I could actually think that depending on your hisotry and where you live, i could indeed have your perception..We can interchange our lifes for a while...:)

A friend (living in Danemarkk for five years) told me that Danemark is basically the same  as Spain.. and another one living in US and Norway told met hat nothing compared to racism you can see in Spain...in Norway there is more than in the US, he claimed, but nothing like Spain.

So, it is a deep world perception difference. I indeed think that the same cartoon written against jews or catholics would be banned, actually I think self-censorship would have worked...but not in the case of muslims..they are the minority and the one object of constant ridicule and racism. This is why admire the british newspapers...the always ask what would I have done if instead of a muslim it would have been a jew or a anglican?...and they go from there...This is my philosophy.

So happy to disagree...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:03:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am a tolerant guy, no offence taken. ;)

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 07:00:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I do apologize if anything I said in my previous comments insulted you in any way since that was not my intention at all.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 07:09:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jesus no.

Interpreting that someone else looks like is writing some condescending sentence (one) is no offense, even less insulting and not necessarily true.. oh jesus no.

NO need for these apologies at all...

Actually if you had the need to apologize I certainly did something wrong. Sorry for that.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
Freedom of speech has its limits of course when it is a hate speech or an incitement to racial violence or violence in general.
*
Well here is the REAL PROBLEM! Who is there to decide when it is "hate speech" ...People are not all sensitive equally...
Quote:
Well they could have their day in court, although I doubt they would get a favorable ruling because the freedom of speech principle is so important in European societies.
*
Here the real problem lies. So if you are European (just in this case) you can offend anybody as long it's within Europe? But the world is GLOBAL village today. Americans and Europeans "cared" so much that Saddam Hussein striped his people of democracy that they had to occupy his country...C'mon ...if only things are that simple and easy...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 11:56:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am afraid they are.  That is why we have national laws upheld by national governments.  As long as I abide by the laws in the respective country I am entitled to do what I want.  We have of course international law, but with no means of enforcing it.  

And I seem to remember that it was not only The US and some European countries that "occupied" Iraq.  If I remember correctly Australia is also in the "Coalition of the willing".

 

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:29:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yap unfortunately you are right about Australia...but I just wanted to make a point there. Of course you know that I am naturalized Australian and first of all Serb and European ...I tried my best as a citizen of Australia to stop Howard's decision, I protested with others...but you know...
There are national and international laws but also there is a "common sense". We are asked to use a common sense when super and other powers are about to do the things against and outside the law (like occupying and bombarding other people's countries) but we are not to use it if we are not told by them...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 01:01:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, common sense seems to be a relative term in this case. :)

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 10:13:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course, if you do not hink that those cartoons in the Middle-east are anti-semitic, well then of course, they are not racists for you.

That to me seems the crux of the entire divide in this debate. I thought those cartoons on Israel, for example the one with the Jew and Bush as parrot, tasteless and not something I agree with. But I'm not offended enough to call them racist or think they cross the line. Yes, their anti-semitic - but is that already a crime?

I stopped to ponder that. Serious: Is generating anti-semitic material punnishable? I've no clue at all. It actually would make no sense to me if it was.

by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:04:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The tyicall cartoon in the middle East is normally much more worst. They depict jews as being beast, and quite some of them generalizing saying that all jews are basically, well you name it.

And yes.. I am not sure if a cartoon because it is racist or anti-semitic it should be banned.

I can tell you that in Spain they are forbidden, yes. If a judge considers a cartoon or any statement blatantly racist or inciting the attack of any minority or majority it can be forbidden. There are examples of anti-semitic material banned. In a word, depicting Sharon as a killer is fine and legal, depicting jews as beasts killing innocents and commenting somehting like "all jews are evil.. all jews are evil..", yes it is forbidden. Attacks on the honour of a person would lead to fines and a "forced retraction"(they are literally ordered to pay for apologies in the newsmedia), general racist attacks and incitement lead to banning and prison.

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your reply! I took my anti-semitic cartoon as an example because it was one of the "moderate" ones.

And the one with Sharon (although revolting) plays directly to the person, not to the Jewish people itself, and I can see the point.

But again, it comes down to perceptions. There is a grey area in this debate; there isn't a sharp line which says: this is racist, this is incitement, and on the other side of the line, it isn't and all is perfectly acceptable. It's the same for say, the discussion on abortion: when is something a life, and when is it just a clump of cells? Who makes that decision?

The factor grey is a tremendous source of strife.

by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely right.

I will much more comfortable in this debate if either everything is legal or if non-biased could be developed. I understand tha point of the absolutists of free speech..there is no way to write a clear line on this. It is very easy on any physical attack but not on anything that hurts other feelings or incite to do something. Consistent but I am not sure if it is right.

Is it possible to have non-biased criteria taking into account all the factors??? Oh those grey areas that  you name.. ohhh they are the salt of life or maybe even just life....

Take care my friend

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:15:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See, despite our earlier promises to call it quits on this discussion, we went straight on in the next thread. There's something fundamental in this discussion that stirs many of us.
by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 08:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
je je je... I never quit it with you :) je je jejje

And you have convinced me that this grey area seems quite important to some people. I guess some people have felt hated along their lifes by other people. Maybe some of them were in the minority in the school...They had bullies...other may had problem with some organized structures or with some particualr persn...so yes... you are right....I agree with you...

Me personally have lived recently a campaing of catalanophobia by the spanish hard right-wing where some media described every single day Catalonia in racist terms and using derogatory language.. always within the lgality (well most of the time). No incitement to violence.. just incitement to confrontation...

So I have seen these things a little bit from the side of the minority....It is ugly....and this with a lot of catalan people having a lot of power...I just can't imagine what is living the ame thing but powerless...shhhh

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, I find that a huge compliment if I can convince people about something.

And I understand where you're coming from and how it motivates you to be such an active alternative voice in this debate. We need voices like yours, for self-moderation and insights.

I'm an optimist: in the end, I think Catalunya and Spain will end up making fun of each other in a friendly way and respect that. Like the Dutch and the Belgium people do, while they once were united in the Dutch Republic. The key problem in this debate is one of a minority put in an underdog position. Like Catalonia in Spain, currently. For the Muslim community in Europe that's the case also, and millitant Islam is actually aggrevating it by seeding mistrust among the majority.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 06:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Germany a bunch of decades ago cartoons ridiculing Jews didnt exactly end up leading to anything good.
by observer393 on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow,

Jerome at last saw the light!  At least when it comes to freedom of speech!  

Hmmm...well there is hope that will one day see the light for the freedom of contract.

Until then, good point.

by ilg37c on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow,

ilg37c actually posted a funny comment.

There is hope that one day he'll post something constructive.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me use my freedom of speech to tell you:

you are so nice.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:53:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, but that again begs the question:  just how mature or decent is it to make fun of a 13-y-o kid's pimples?  liberty is not license...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 04:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to spot the depths of my posts... That comparison was voluntary.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 05:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to be doing that a lot lately.

I carry no brief for the Saudi government.  I'm just saying... the Hajj stampede was two weeks before the boycott started.  According to the wikipedia timeline, this event was much more proximate to the start of the boycott:

January 23:    The Danish government delivers its offical response to the UN Special Rapporteurs' request of 24 November 2005.

That response was to this request:

November 24:    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance request the Permanent Danish Mission to the UN to deliver their observations of the case.

What did the Danish response say?  Well, we can find it here (.pdf document).  It's 10 pages long, and only the first page and a half deal with the cartoons, concluding with this:

Based on an overall assessment of the article in Jyllandsposten, including the twelve cartoons, the Regional Public Prosecutor does not find that there is a reasonable suspicion that a criminal offence indictable by the state has been committed. In his decision the Regional Public Prosecutor states that he attaches importance to the fact that the article in question concerns a subject of public interest, which means that there is an extended access to make statements without these statements constituting a criminal offence. Furthermore, according to the Danish case law f.i. journalists have extended editorial freedom, when it comes to subjects of public interest. For these reasons the Regional Public Prosecutor finds no basis for concluding that the content of the article constitutes an offence under section 140 or section 266b of the Criminal Code.

The other eight-and-a-half pages focus on religious tolerance and the integration of immigrants into Danish society, starting with this:

The Government is focusing strongly on ensuring a society with mutual respect and
shared democratic values. The Danish democracy is by its very nature inclusive to all
cultures and religions.

It paints a fairly positive picture of the Danish government's efforts to improve relations with the Muslim community and aid integration of Muslim immigrants.  I haven't been to Denmark, so I have no idea how accurately the document portrays reality.

All I'm saying is that, since this response to a UN query over the cartoons was delivered three days before the boycott started, isn't it possible that the timing of the boycott has something to do with whether Muslim states found the response satisfactory?

Many commenters and diarists have said that there are many factors contributing to the mess we're all in now.  I wish I could believe it were as simple as a big ol' Saudi conspiracy, but I just don't think it's that simple.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:29:46 PM EST
Yes you're absolutely right and I thank you for the links and info.  Of course it isn't solely the Saudis to blame, neither for the original outrage nor for the genuine feelings of anger that millions are feeling who have no direct connection with Saudi Arabia.

What I was simply trying to do is fill in an important dot that was not covered by any of the media channels I've seen, including CNN.

What I was trying to show was how the Saudis latched onto this event and moved this up to their #1 issue in all their state-run propaganda.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 02:49:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i think that freedom of speech is important, but it is not the issue with these rather childish caricatures. the issue is that the danes thought that freedom of speech includes freedom from the consequences of what one says. nowhere is there anything like that. not for nothing freedom of speech stops where one hurts the other person. libel, lese majesty or insults to religion are sanctioned in not few jurisdictions around the world (i'll reserve my opinion about that for another discussion).

of course anybody who so feels should have all the freedom of the world to go to the cathedral and accuse, before his congregation, the bishop of their town of being a childfucker and a reactionary moron, but they should be ready to face the consequences. most fights on schoolyards are because somebody calls somebody else names. most of these fights end in the office of the director and everybody looking a bit stupider than before. this is not different, just the consequences are different.

the wise thing to do would have been to apologize back when the issue was a minor idiocy comitted by some reactionary rag consumed by the danish proletariat. obviously politicians and the journaille dont count wisdom among their virtues.

the other issue is about governments using stupidity to further their control over the sheeple. some accuse european govts of deliberately pushing the issue so as to stoke the flames of hatred against everything muslim (those barbarians dare to burn our embassies because we have freedom of speech !) and make an attack on iran easier to justify. of course, that the saudis would use the issue to distract from their inept management of the hajj shouldn't surprise anybody either.

i dont know if all this is true but i see it as plausible. such behavior is natural to govts of all stripes. european and arab alike.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:09:44 PM EST
Take it off-line, now.

I'm not serious, name, but I just wanted to head-butt my disagreement on just one point: the right of complete free speech also entitles people to "hurt" others, as long as the hurt is emotional hurt and does not endager their lives. It's the other side of free speech: allowing tolerance towards the intolerant, and it's a tough one.

But yes, this has completely grown out of hand for many, many reasons and the Danes played their part in not solving it sooner.

by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
the right of complete free speech also entitles people to "hurt" others, as long as the hurt is emotional hurt and does not endager their lives.
*
This is just not true as far as I know. Have you heard about "emotional abuse" ...nowadays in progressive countries it's punishable as well as physical abuse...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And as far as I see it, it regulates freedom of speech to a degree. Every country is free to see fit how to categorise the range of hurt that is acceptible, and some countries are more sensitive than others. Which is why it is illegal in Germany to deny the Holocaust and why the idiots of Aryan Nations can happily work away in the US.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 06:11:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
libel laws?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 04:54:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not "libel laws"...We in Serbia and YU had other expression for what you suggest.
"Protection of face (meaning personality) and work (meaning achievements)" for the highest figures like presidents etc...
It was unlawful to criticize them.
But I am not talking about it. I am talking about emotional abuse of those who are weaker, like children, sick people, old people, sometimes even women and sometimes even men...employees, immigrants and people that are not in a position to fight on the same level...It very often is a court case and people are suing for "emotional pain that they have endured" because of somebody's else actions.  
As for me when I meet someone here who tells me that I came here from some "monkey country" I usually do not sue. I just answer back:" And you came from long line of convicts or at best floor scrubbing English servants and you did not advance much"...I have a big mouth and do not feel helpless but some people do...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 10:50:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is a comment.. indeed!!!

We must come back to discussing what is better: complete free speech no matter how racists the statements are, or clear guidelines forbidding what kind of speech should be banned...

I am waiting for your post....I will read it with delight :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:38:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they can.

I realize that this thread and issue is supposed to be more sophisticated than that.  But, it isn't.  That's about all there is to it.

A Danish newspaper, followed by newspapers in other European quarters, published forbidden caricatures of Muhammad/Muhammed/Mohammad/whatever, because -- they are forbidden and because they can, did, and do publish them.

Muslims are offended.  Okay.  Good luck in the future, and I hope you get access to better education and some sort of political system where Muslims don't feel like their main voice is collective insanity and intolerance reminiscent of a thousand years ago.  At some point, Muslim friends and acquaintances, how about getting a fucking grip?

What you hold sacred must be parodied because it is sacred.  That is Western culture.  And we parody our own symbols and sacred cows more than any others, so we're not picking out Muslim culture to make fun of.  See Life of Brian by Monty Python if you want to see a harsh parody of the life of Jesus Christ, for example.  By contrast, Mohommad or whatever got off easy.  So far.  

But, keep pushing it, and you'll find whole new realms of parody of Mr. M. and the horse he rode in on.  He's just one more guy in history, maybe a little wiser than most, maybe not, but just as horny as any other healthy adult heterosexual male and clever enough to build an entire theology around him getting laid by as many virgins as possible while he was alive.  He's been the envy and idol of Arab males ever since.  It's all about young virgins.  He did plenty of them, apparently, and by magical insider connections to God -- which sound to me as an American much like Pat Robertson's God connections (insane, to be clear) -- Mr. M. suggested that a harem of sweet young virgins awaited martyrs who died for his teaching, Islam.  The rich fields of parody to be plowed and sown and reaped on that account are practically endless, yet there is some upset about a few cartoons.  

So a Danish newspaper, and then others, are running these cartoons.  Why?  Because they can.  And because doing so makes the point that they can.  Dogs' balls need licking, and some things need to be parodied.  In both cases, it happens because it can.  In most Muslim territory, the parody can't happen, but it does happen elsewhere, where it can.  I don't know about dogs grooming their balls in Muslim territory, but I suppose they do.

-----

-----

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
W. Churchill

by US expat Ukraine on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:40:44 PM EST
It appears that certain Muslim quarter are getting that grip.  This has appeared from Agence France-Presse on US Yahoo's front page:


Syria voiced its regret over attacks against the Danish and Norwegian diplomatic missions in Damascus by angry mobs protesting at cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.

Crowds stormed the buildings housing two embassies on Saturday, setting fire to both and pillaging the contents of the first-floor office of the Chilean embassy in one of the buildings.

"The foreign ministry expresses its regret over the acts of violence which accompanied the protests yesterday, which caused damage to embassies in Damascus," the ministry said in a statement.

"We understand the popular anger over the offences against the prophet but it is unacceptable for law and order to be violated in the country."

The ministry's statement echoed comments by the country's top religious leader, grand mufti Sheikh Ahmed Badreddine Hassun.

"It is regrettable that certain people have poorly expressed their protest against the publication by European newspapers of images that are offensive to the prophet," he said.

It seems that much progress is being made fast, without much prodding.  

-----

-----

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
W. Churchill

by US expat Ukraine on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 06:43:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is typically American answer I would say...and you are in title of it.
All though this way of thinking (especially when it becomes policy ), shortsighted, blatant, unrefined usually have harsh consequences in a long run...not to mention that it is utterly stupid and fruitless... I am saying this even in chance I may offend you or other Americans...Free speech and all that, you know...
I still hope you are joking just to make a point...and I am just not sensitive for that kind of humor I guess...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course this was meant to be here:
------------

This is typically American answer I would say...and you are in title of it.
All though this way of thinking (especially when it becomes policy ), shortsighted, blatant, unrefined usually have harsh consequences in a long run...not to mention that it is utterly stupid and fruitless... I am saying this even in chance I may offend you or other Americans...Free speech and all that, you know...
I still hope you are joking just to make a point...and I am just not sensitive for that kind of humor I guess...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OOOOPPPSSS! Sorry!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:49:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All though this way of thinking (especially when it becomes policy ), shortsighted, blatant, unrefined usually have harsh consequences in a long run...not to mention that it is utterly stupid and fruitless... I am saying this even in chance I may offend you or other Americans...Free speech and all that, you know...

Offended?  Hardly.  That pretty well sums up US foreign policy, I'm sorry to say.  But, blessed be free speech, where -- so far -- we still have the freedom to say that our own policies suck more often than not, and blessed be freedom of expression -- so far -- where we can parody and lampoon anything or anyone.

-----

-----

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
W. Churchill

by US expat Ukraine on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 01:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can bomb moslims...Iraq...Pakistan.......

You can burn Moslims....remember Falujah ?

You can fly Muslims around the world to get tortured....10...15...25 country's?

You can take Moslims prisoner and put them isolated in a jail thousends of km's from their homes  and denying about very right.....Guantanamo

You can bring electricity faster to a Moslim's arse then to his home....Abu Graib...

You can built a huge wall (some ex-communist-Germans are jalous) around Muslims .....Palestine...

Why the fuck the muslims are so obset by some lousy cartoons ???

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sun Feb 5th, 2006 at 05:51:08 PM EST
I am too lazy to recreate all the links here, but I have posted a Diary on Kos that links to various examples of earlier comics published in France dealing with Christian and Jewish issues, if only to illustrate that this is not a Muslim-only issue.

Kos Diary.

Some of this was mentioned earlier by Jerome and myself, but did not elicit specific comments.

The facts of the matter are that iconoclastic cartoons have a history, were previously targetting Christianity or Judaism, and were dealt appropriately by the various legal instances in each country.

by Lupin on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:49:37 AM EST
latest two posts, which are quite extensive attempts - based on government documents and Arab media - to try to unravel the history of the controversy.

Two things stick out in particular:

  1. Saudi Arabia was not particularly involved. Cole posits that Egypt was a more important instigator, as he looks back at newspaper reports from last fall, in the context of Mubarak's parliamentary "campaign", throwing red meat to Islamic and anti-western sentiment.

  2. That the nature of the protests were actually quite limited and the majority of the protests were peaceful. Violence only occurred in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. And most of the other protests were quite small.

  3. All the Arab newspapers he quotes condemned the cartoons as unfortunate and offensive, but none of them advocated violence and only a few advocated boycotts.

I don't really have a point to make here other than that it is important to know the actual nature of what happened before pontificating further.
by Ben P (wbp@u.washington.edu) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 03:52:08 AM EST
Cole posits that Egypt was a more important instigator, as he looks back at newspaper reports from last fall, in the context of Mubarak's parliamentary "campaign", throwing red meat to Islamic and anti-western sentiment.

Ag, everyone has their boogeyman.  I think Cole is wrong here, and it's a mistake to lay the blame at any single country's door.

I mean, maybe Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit tried to distract people from the elections by talking about the cartoons, but it sure as hell didn't work.  I went back and checked old newspapers, just to be sure, and I mean the Arabic ones too, not just the insipid English paper.  All of November and early December were totally dominated by election news here, as well as the usual simpering press reports of Mubarak's message to the Barcelona conference on something-or-other...  

I do remember hearing something about the cartoons way back then, but I would hardly categorize it as a major distraction.  It was a blip.  Although the Egyptian parliament's involvement is unique, Egypt didn't join in the boycott until well after the Gulf states did so, and there has been exactly one protest, which was yesterday and nowhere near the Danish and Norwegian embassies.

But Cole is spot on with his next statement:

Most of the caricature protests are a mixture of local politics and standard post-colonial anti-imperialism.

Yep.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 04:54:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am so proud of our chancelor Merkel today!

She has finally achieved - and in such a short time - what Schröder and Fischer were absolutely incapable to deliver to the German people in seven years. As of today our country has become a normal, adult nation at the par of the US and the UK. This morning at 10:23 h local Teheran time a German flag was publicly burned by an angry crowd in Iran! It was the first time ever that this happened.

Wir sind wieder wer, Germany has passed the last litmus test and is now ready to become a full member of the UN Security Council.

Endlich - ein Platz an der Sonne, thank you Äntschie!



"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:07:48 PM EST
If I remember right, the depiction of the Prophet at the U.S. Supreme Court is part of a large scale painting, instead of a sculpture.  The painting portrays him as an equal of other ancient law-givers, such as Moses and Hammurabi, and it is very respectful.  
by corncam on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:41:36 PM EST
North and South Wall Courtroom Friezes (PDF)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 12:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, that does it... next time I see I see a muslim riot burning the US flag, I am going to go burn down the nearest mosque.  Oh wait, I guess I am too old to throw a temper tantrum.  I don't give a hoot what they think of me so why the hell do they care so much what we think?  I think they are just looking for an excuse to riot again.   It sure beats working and making an honest living.
by krislo13 on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 11:52:25 PM EST
I was initially shocked by the impact a few cartoons created, but now, after reading your diary entry, I think it is justified, especially having in mind the important role that religion has in the Muslim world.

Then again, many people commented that the cartoons were only a tool to divert public attention from other, more important issues - for example Iran's current problems with nuclear energy.

Be careful! Is it classified?

by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 02:17:42 PM EST


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