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Cartoon Update: 8 Muslim Editors Arrested, Help Them!!

by Norwegian Chef Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 05:37:34 AM EST

Promoted by Sirocco.

I have been asked to cross-post this here, so I am doing so.

As the cartoon drama continues to unfold, 8 Muslim editors (2 Jordanians, 4 Yemenis and 2 Algerians), whose papers have published the cartoons have been arrested.  Here is who they are:


Jordan

Hashem al-Khalidi, editor-in-chief of a weekly tabloid of Al-Mehwar

Jihad Momani, the former editor-in-chief of Shihane newspaper.

Both have been released but are facing trial later this week.

Yemen

Mohammad al-Asaadi, the editor-in-chief of the English-language Yemen Observer

Akram Sabra, the managing editor of al-Hurriya weekly newspaper

Yehiya al-Abed, Reporter of al-Hurriya.

These 3 are now in jail

Kamal al-Aalafi, the editor-in-chief of al-Rai al-Aam is in hiding as a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

All 3 papers have been closed. The Yemeni journalists' association called for the release of the journalists and for the annulment of the closure decrees "because these measures were not ordered by a court".

Algeria

Kahel Bousaad, Editor of Errisala

Berkane Bouderbala, Editor of Irqaa

Both papers have been closed.

The source of the above information can be found here.

Please contact Amnesty International or Reporters with Borders. to see how you can help.  This can be done by giving either of these good charities funding or following their advice on campaigns to support the editors.

So far 97 newspapers in 41 countries have published one or more the cartoons or new cartoons of their own that caricature Muhammed with the latest being today's publication in the Calgary Western Standard, the 2nd Calgary newspaper to publish the cartoons this week.

The mostly complete list of newswpapers can be found The source of the above information can be found here which links to the main Wikipedia article.

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I'll copy and paste my comment from dKos:

Those jailed editors are indeed about the only people of valor in this sorry saga. However, they can't expect much moral support from the innumerable Western leftists scrambling to affirm "cultural sensitivity" over freedom of speech. Having opted at best for a watered-down version of the latter, on what basis can these stand up for the pressmen now facing prosecution by some of the most autocratic, oppressive, and corrupt dictatorships on earth?

The best take on this belongs to an Egyptian Muslim woman writing in the International Herald Tribune. I don't usually quote articles wholesale, but this merits an exception:

Don't yield to extremists

Mona Eltahawy  

CAIRO Lost amid the ashes of torched embassies and the senseless deaths of Muslim protestors is the fact that the cartoon controversy is as much about freedom of expression in the Muslim world as it is about freedom of expression in Europe.

The violence and the bitter words exchanged over the past few days have little to do with Islam but everything to do with those who want to be its sole guardians and spokespeople.

Two Jordanian editors and a Yemeni editor who dared to publish some of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad are under arrest, accused of insulting religion under their countries' press and publication laws. For them, it was not so much an issue of joining the chorus of European and then international newspapers that sang in defense of Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published the cartoons in September. Rather, it was a chance to challenge state-sanctioned religious rules.

The dictators who rule most of the Muslim world ensure that there is little or no freedom of expression in their countries when it comes to political issues. When it comes to religion, particularly Islam, they have at their disposal cadres of compliant clerics - state-appointed, of course - who make it hard for citizens to stray from the official line.

This has been most obvious in the escalation of Muslim anger directed at Denmark over the past few days. Much of that anger has been buoyed not so much by the cartoons themselves but by political and religious leaders for whom this whole sorry episode has been, well, a godsend.

The alliance between our dictators and clerics went into overdrive as they cynically sought to manipulate this issue to score points against domestic as well as international opponents.

For the government of my country, Egypt, which spearheaded much of the diplomatic furor that preceded the violence, the benefits of anger over the cartoons were obvious, as were the double standards at play. By leaping to defend the prophet, the state and its clerics flaunt their religious credentials.

It was also the perfect opportunity to settle scores with the Danish government, which has funded groups in Egypt that criticize President Hosni Mubarak's dismal human rights record.

Egypt's government demanded that Denmark intervene in the cartoon controversy - but Egypt has brushed aside similar calls from the international community over anti-Semitism in the Egyptian news media, citing, of all things, freedom of expression.

Most of the Muslim countries whose leaders have let the world know their outrage have been competing to see who can outdo the others in "Muslimness."

For Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest sites in Islam, it was a chance to assert that it was the leader of the Muslim world in anger, too.

The Syrian regime, one of the most secular and most omniscient in its powers, must have known that a mob would burn down the Danish and Norwegian embassies. And that has been the pattern in much of the Muslim world - direct anger abroad rather than have it fester and blow up at home.

It is ironic that President George W. Bush is asking these same leaders to help calm Muslim anger when they were so instrumental in inflaming it in the first place. It is particularly telling that he made this call as he stood with King Abdullah of Jordan, while making no mention of the jailed editors.

Perhaps the ultimate double standard, though, is the repeated calls from Muslim dictators that the freedom of expression must be exercised with responsibility. Why isn't anyone telling them that an equally healthy dose of responsibility must accompany the enormous power they wield?

I am a Muslim who fully supports Jyllands-Posten's right to publish the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, as I defend the rights of Muslims to be offended. But I find the daily human rights violations by our dictators to be more offensive to the memory of the prophet's life than a few cartoons ever could be.

And let's be really honest here, haven't some Muslims been all too willing to confirm the stereotype of violent Islam with their calls to behead the cartoonists and to sever their hands? Much more than the cartoons, they malign the message of tolerance and patience under hardship that the prophet preached and that I and millions of Muslims revere.

This is not a clash of civilizations but a battle between the extremists - Muslims and non-Muslims alike - and the rest of us who refuse to allow them to speak for us.

This is about control. So of course it is about freedom of expression - in Denmark and in the Muslim world.

Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian commentator.



The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:02:13 AM EST
I hope the above quote isn't overly long on a < 19" monitor. Otherwise I can delete it and use a scrollbar.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave it as it is. Those scrollbars are annoyingly bad pieces of user interface.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It hides the comment away, and means that you have to switch from your normal scrolling to a different way, making it very hard to scan the content.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a great article. I love the ending.
I myself started wondering why people would continue to reprint the cartoons - was it pride, stubbornness, hatred? I seemed like a simple pouring of oil in the fire.

Thank you for that overview.

"Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." - BUDDHA

by JulyMorning (july_jdb(at)yahoo(dot)com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 07:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the lack of printing of the cartoons far more puzzling. Yesterday in El Pais, there was a 17 pages supplement about the Muhammad cartoons. The newspaper has dedicated an incredible amount of column space to articles about the 12 drawings, and today there are several opinion and debate pieces about them. But nowhere in the daily volumes of the newspaper can you find the actual center of all the attention; there's nowhere for people to make their own judgment of the images, and this gives the whole debate a spooky character: it feels like a discussion of a film no-one has seen or a book no-one ever read.

As a non-believer I'm quite offended and upset, by the sense of pervading fear of a religious taboo that makes itself manifest in the continual absence of the objects discussed.


Biilmann Blog

by BobFunk (bobfunk@clanwhiskey.net) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 08:02:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah. Most people without Internet (a category rumored to still exist both in Europe and the US) haven't seen the cartoons to this day. The angry masses in Muslim countries haven't either, any more than they had read the Satanic verses in 1989.

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 08:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what about the feelings of the offended? Should we just continue to offend them, although they have explicitly showed that they don't like it.

I know that the whole story is far beyond only the religious issues, and it is (as most similar affairs) a politically instigated conflict but the thing is that the masses (not wanting to offend anyone with the term) really start believing in the religions' clash.

I respect freedom of speech and the right to information but may be we can try to slow down the fast pace of the conflict by not reprinting the cartoons.

"Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." - BUDDHA

by JulyMorning (july_jdb(at)yahoo(dot)com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 02:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often."

- Mae West

Biilmann Blog

by BobFunk (bobfunk@clanwhiskey.net) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 04:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what will happen if two different groups -both of them extremists - often shock each other?

"Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." - BUDDHA
by JulyMorning (july_jdb(at)yahoo(dot)com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Difficult question I agree.

But I would argue that I´m living in secular Europe. And before I would agree or disagree on any restrictions of the press (be it voluntarily or by state regulation), I´d like to see the "evidence" and discuss it in my society.

So regretfully I refuse to follow the "orders" from someone in the Middle East. Be it an imam, a mullah, the Syrian dictator or the "life-time" President of Egypt. Especially since a lot of the public outrage and violence seems to be orchestrated.
(Since 6 of the 12 original cartoons were already published in Egypt in October 2005 without any riots.)

I´d be perfectly willing to step back IF I had been dealing with moderate Muslims using non-violent methods the whole time. In fact, such Muslim protests probably would have enjoyed a lot of support in Europe. Much to the chagrin of the right-wing nuts in the USA. :)

Unfortunately right now, I´m afraid that the Muslim extremists would declare themselves victors if we backed down. And push for more concessions.

Today, I just bought my new copy of the weekly German magazine "Der Spiegel", published each Monday [February 13, 2005]. It´s definitely NOT a right-wing magazine. One of their articles about EU "solidarity" with Denmark (not on-line) started with a description of a Brussels English language school called "English Academy" (The article was published on page 101, not available on-line unfortunately).

If the magazine is to be believed, some Belgian Muslims at that school are suing the school right now. They want topics like "politics and religion, sex, love and any other topics dealing with "Western decadence" forbidden in the classroom. Not to mention that they also "don´t want to have to deal with female teachers any longer". Because all of these things show "discrimination" against them.

I´m very much for de-escalation but articles like that convince me that we have to take a stand. We can´t be tolerant to the intolerant.

It is a matter of principle.
I can discuss/negotiate/compromise with anyone who is willing to accept the basic principles of my society.
That means:
- rule of the law
Demonstrations, law suits and consumer boycotts are fine. Death threats, torching of embassies and violent demonstrations aren´t. And if you lost in court, accept it. Appeal it if you want, but don´t resort to violence.
- gender equality is not negotiable
Honour killings and forced marriages should be prosecuted for example.
- no special privileges for any one religion
That means separation of church/religion and state. As I understand it that is one of the main problems. Since Islam - right now - doesn´t seem to acknowledge that separation. Pretty much like Christianity in the Middle Ages when the Pope claimed superiority above any Christian "worldly" king or emperor. However we don´t live in the Middle Ages any more.
- no censorship of the press by any special interest group.
And that includes religious groups.

I don´t even mention a republic / democracy and democratic elections.

I just want to ask you, where does it end?
Once we give special privileges to one religion/faith all others will demand it too. And out of fairness we then should grant it to them too. Given the multitude of faiths/cults/sects on earth where do we draw the line then? Or do we give only special privileges to faiths whose followers are especially violent?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 06:02:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is lots of other stuff that isn't published in the West; why can't this simple prohibition be added to the list? What is wrong with affirming the right to publish anything, but then refraining from doing so in those cases when it offends a signficant part of the world's population?

We have a problem here with extremists on both sides. Those who claim the over-riding right to publish anything at all no matter how repulsive others find it are no more helpful than those who take easy offence at something that is obviously crafted to offend.

At some point there is a need for cooperation, respect, and allowance for the feelings of others.

by asdf on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point!
I was actually just thinking today (thoughts, to admit sincerely, I am not very proud of, but still having their importance) how come it's happening that our culture (meaning secular Europe) is constantly trying to understand and respect the Muslim religion/traditions (I am not arguing that we succeed to do so, but we are at least trying) and our Muslim brothers don't seem to try to understand and respect us.

I am not exactly sure that this is the case, though. May be I myself am not looking for signs of their respect, or may be our whole culture is completely ignorant and cannot or (even worse) doesn't want to see and accept the signs of respect.


"Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." - BUDDHA

by JulyMorning (july_jdb(at)yahoo(dot)com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 05:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly, I'm astonished to even read this here.  Are you serious?

I am a Westerner living in a Muslim country in the Arab world, where there are not many Western expats.  I know few people, American or European, who have traveled widely in the Arab world (which I am using in this argument as a surrogate for the Muslim world, which is of course much larger and more diverse) and made any effort to really experience and understand the culture.

Of course, there are those who think they've traveled in the Arab world; they've made a tour of the Pyramids and the Nile Valley, one that totally ignores the modern culture and traditions of Egypt in favor of those six thousand years old.  I see tourists wearing short-shorts, miniskirts and tube tops while roaming the winding alleyways of Islamic Cairo.  These are people who have come to Egypt either without doing a shred of research into the local standards of modesty, both male and female (and there are both), or they are aware of those standards but choose to ignore them, never mind whose country it is, they're my tourist Euros, damnit, and I'll dress however I want.

The way I explain it to people is that sure, you can wear whatever you want, there's no law against it, but you look stupid.  It's sort of like roaming the streets of London dressed like a Klingon.  People will stare.

At the same time, I think that at least 70 percent of the Arab people I know have a close relative, e.g. a brother or sister, who lives in the West.  Many people I know here studied in US, Canadian or European universities.  They speak our languages far better than we speak theirs.  They watch our movies and TV shows, wear our fashions, listen to our music and eat our food far more than we do theirs.

Our culture and traditions are far less unknown to the average Muslim than theirs are to us.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 06:36:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. I was talking from a perspective of a citizen of a Christian country with a big Muslim minority. I also have a Muslim mother and a Christian father. May be the perception in the Balkans is different.

That is why I said:

I am not exactly sure that this is the case, though. May be I myself am not looking for signs of their respect, or may be our whole culture is completely ignorant and cannot or (even worse) doesn't want to see and accept the signs of respect.

May be it is my perception, may be it is my society's.


"Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think." - BUDDHA

by JulyMorning (july_jdb(at)yahoo(dot)com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2006 at 04:09:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, most newspapers in Germany (which reprinted them) usually only reprinted some of the cartoons. And then in the context of a news-story. You know, reporting about the whole topic and showing readers the initial reason for it. So that readers could form their own conclusions.
(The support for "freedom of expression" probably was only an added "benefit".)

And maybe it even helped the German media itself. :)
As in, if you actually know the initial 12 cartoons, you won´t repeat the error of the BBC.

Twelve cartoons were originally published by Jyllands-Posten. None showed the Prophet with the face of a pig. Yet such a portrayal has circulated in the Middle East (The BBC was caught out and for a time showed film of this in Gaza without realizing it was not one of the 12).

"Showing this in Gaza" probably wasn´t a smart idea to put it mildly. In fact it was probably seen by Muslims as an additional confirmation of the rumours. After all, if even the BBC reports it....

But you see the problem?
If you don´t know the facts (including the cartoons), how can you avoid the danger of being misinformed, even lied at?

As others have mentioned not everyone has Internet access. And not even everyone with access probably went looking for them.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 11:19:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to Norwegain chief for crossposting, and to Sirocco for front paging it. It is much needed information.

sirocco: love your sigline!

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 07:42:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I felt that one had some actuality right now...

It occurs to me that I haven't been treating this cartoon stuff on a properly philosophical level, despite having spent years studying political thought. I've subscribed to the notion that philosophy is not a spectator sport. But what if it needs to be? So, I hereby threaten a series on three contemporary European liberal political thinkers: Karl Popper, Isaiah Berlin and Ernest Gellner. As it happens, all Jewish refugees from totalitarian regimes.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 07:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just looked at the dKos diary which has already vanished.

Those jailed editors are indeed about the only people of valor in this sorry saga. However, they can't expect much moral support from the innumerable Western leftists scrambling to affirm "cultural sensitivity" over freedom of speech. Having opted at best for a watered-down version of the latter, on what basis can these stand up for the pressmen now facing prosecution by some of the most autocratic, oppressive, and corrupt dictatorships on earth?

Visit "Hitler Youth sites", "then call them Islamofascists and get it out of your system"? Nice replies you got.

And I´m not even speaking only of blogs here.
What are the British and American media going to say since most of them didn´t publish the cartoons either?  Since they didn´t want to violate the feelings and sensibilities of Muslims by publishing them?  

Daily Kos diary
- there is no question which point of view the left blogosphere has favored, from Steve Gilliard to Booman Tribune, where the community almost crucified poor SusanHu for inadvertently posting one cartoon.

Although Jen over at Steve Gilliard´s blog has a different view. :)
Likewise I´ve read that some right-wing blogs also favoured a "realpolitik" view. Namely that everything that might hurt American troops in the Middle East is bad.
So it´s not that clearcut.

I think some American "lefty" bloggers and commenters just saw this only in the context of American domestic politics. If the "right-wing nuts" are supporting it, then it must be bad.
I might be wrong but that was my impression reading some blogs.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 11:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Visit "Hitler Youth sites", "then call them Islamofascists and get it out of your system"? Nice replies you got.

I just saw that and replied in no uncertain terms. This person, Euroliberal, is a member here. It will be hard to take him seriously after this.

Yeah, Jen was on the side of the angels this time, but it's Gilliard's blog after all. I gave up on him after he reproduced a blog post by Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged that was full of factual errors. (I also posted some corrections at Sisyphus, just to have the lovely Julia sneer that I needed "toilet paper" or some such.)

Your analysis of what drove the American lefty blogs is right on, I think. But it's depressing that knee-jerk reactions coupled with ludicrous tinfoil theories about Karl Rove's supposed involvement, and of course with academic left PC gyrations, carry the day.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 01:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sheesh that guy's name is JIHAD?

MSNBC had an informative article with one of the fired Jordanians, I think it was the other one than Jihad.

A little how ironic how it's news when an Arab journalist is fired for printing a cartoon when they are regularly arrested, charged, sentenced and often tortured for printing other material.

What can I say? It's wrong to arrest journalists.  I just wish this got attention all year round.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 07:01:27 AM EST
I'm recalling this from memory, but Jihad also has a different interpretation than "Holy War", a far more innocent one which is commonly used as name. (Then again, naming boys "Osama" has surged since 9/11.)

I remember, because there was a ridiculous row in the Netherlands shortly after Theo van Gogh was murdered and a father wanted to register his newly born daughter as "Jihad" and everyone cried bloody murder (no pun. Okay, slightly pun).

Is there an Arabist around to confirm whether or not I'm crazy?

by Nomad on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 09:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Translates as "holy struggle" or something along those lines. Maybe "holy striving" might be better.  "striving in the way of God".

Google, as ever, provides.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 09:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jihad means "sacred struggle." It is said that even waking up in the morning can be a jihad sometimes.
by messy on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 09:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...birth labour? ;)

And perhap I earn myself a 1 for that.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 01:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.  It's a reasonably common name.  I know two people named Jihad, one man and one woman.  (Although one of them spells it Jehad in English.)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 03:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://indonesian.knowislam.info/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1295&postdays=0&postorder=asc&sta rt=0

Some are great.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 10:01:58 AM EST


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