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February 5, 2006

Cartoon Backlash

C&F-Cartoon

Witnessing the still escalating fervor over the Danish cartoons, one has to wonder how much this heightened tension derives from the terrorism paranoia and thinly-veiled religious fanaticism of George Bush.

Take a closer look, for example, at the fallen soldier Bush chose to honor during last week’s State of the Union speech.  The passage of Dan Clay’s last message home that the President read was relatively benign.  The rest of the letter, however, reveals a Christian zealot praising his lot should he have the fortune of dying and being reunited with his Lord.

Because the cartoon medium seems to be the genre of the moment, its been jumping out at me lately.

As a prominent voice of cartoonists, Daryl Cagle expresses how practitioners are currently feeling like scapegoats (example 1, 2) in a clash of civilizations.  In response to this frustration, Cagle (who otherwise derives his livelihood from lampooning anything that moves) offered his own cartoon ridiculing the outcry over the illustrated depiction of Mohammed.

The scariest development in all this, however, is the way the Administration’s proxies are working up racist condescension and virulent hate.  Consider Cox and Forkum, for example.  They take the “offending form” and apply it specifically as a tool of ideological warfare.  The panel above was posted on their blog this past Tuesday.  To me at least, it’s one thing for a frustrated Cagle to react with his own toon out of professional frustration.  Here, on the other hand, C&F not only depicts a racially stereotyped and hypocritical Mohammed, but goes so far as to intentionally reproduce (see arrow) the original offending Danish version with the bomb on his head.

It’s curious to also see what other cultural baggage shows up in this illustration.  Just like the Administration believes it can control Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries with a combination of might, and PR techniques, the cartoon elegantly depicts the model of the Karen Hughes type judging others on moral grounds; poisoning the conference table by dictating how it’s going to be; and absolutely blurring all distinction between religion and politics.

That’s assuming a lot, by the way, for people who couldn’t tell if Al-Aqsa’s mosque was staring them in the face.

(image: Cox and Forkum)

  • http://meghan1943.livejournal.com Meghan

    What bothers me most about this cartoon is not the image of Mohammed (though that is bad enough). What really bothers me is the PR board. Islam is a misunderstood religion in the West and this cartoon only goes off of the biases that already exist. If someone were to actually study the Koran and Islam they would see that almost everything on the PR list is completely incorrect and/or harshly skewed to fit the West’s stereotype of Muslims.
    It truly irks me when something is claimed to be “research” when it is not research at all.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/vicfitz82 Victor F

    Couldn’t we substitute Jesus with Mohammad and get the same cartoon? The crazy fundies in this country are probably what repulses me from Christianity more than anything else. I know enough to understand not every Christian acts Christian (George W Bush starting wars and claiming to be a man of faith is incredibly hypocritical; Pat Robertson calling out hits; white supremicists claiming to be pious Christians).
    Unfortunately, I think all religions have been warped in this way, which is one of the main reasons I avoid faith in them. Certainly, most INDIVIDUALS I feel would deplore these associations, but when you sleep with dogs, right…?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    Only TheBAG could look at pictures like this and blame it on President Bush’s religious fanaticism.

  • Scott

    What’s really funny about the Karen Hughes story, is that neither you, nor the blogger in your link, know what you’re talking about.
    Hughes is not looking at the Al Aqsa mosque, but the “Dome of the Rock”, sometimes erroneously called the Mosque of Omar. It is not a mosque at all, but a shrine commemorating the “night journey” of the prophet. I’m sure I’ve lost you by now, but with a little effort you can educate yourself. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is adjacent to the Dome.
    Maybe you should do some research before pointing out that someone else is too stupid to know what you don’t know, either.
    As for the other replies you’ve gotten, they’re in the same boat as you; claiming to know what they’re talking about, yet their comments reveal their ignorance. Meghan, check out muslim history according to muslims here.
    And Victor, post a link to the Christians who threatened beheadings and burned down buildings in response to “piss Christ”, or NBC’s latest cheap shot “the Book of Daniel”. Your comparison shows your simplemindedness.

  • martin

    Trees, ‘Norwegian Wood’, lack of site (sic). I am not at all suprised that poorly drawn, badly teased satire has produced multitude of posts on a reverential (for me at least) web-sight.
    As a guest in a Moslem country,I feel that this will run and run. And then run-sum. When I opened the page on friday, I thought that “incendiary” was the key word. Little did I know.
    I have learnt a lot from a lot of the posters around this issue. I have also heard mention of the Lincoln Group. Can I draw your attention/intention towards consideration of this image of American Secretary of Defence, don Rumsfeld in Germany (munich) this weekend:

  • alex

    Scott, you are indeed right that that is an image of the Dome of the rock rather than the al Aqsa Mosque. However, it is an astoundingly common confusion. Search for “al aqsa mosque” on Google Images and you’ll see what I mean.

  • ummabdulla

    Many people – including Muslims – confuse Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, probably because they usually hear of Al-Aqsa, but they usually see pictures of the Dome of the Rock. The entire complex is sometimes referred to as Al-Aqsa, too, though. There are pictures at The Noble Sanctuary

  • ummabdulla

    Some Belgian philosopher said that European newspapers should run cartoons of the Prophet(peace be upon him) every week so we Muslims would “get used to it”. Is that what we’re going to do here?
    I know most people don’t understand this, but for a Muslim, these cartoons just can’t be equated with cartoons of Bush or Sharon or Netanyahu or bin Laden or an Arab leader or an imam or anyone else.

  • Asta

    Only TheBAG could look at pictures like this and blame it on President Bush’s religious fanaticism.
    Posted by: Annoying Old Guy
    Hahaha! AOG, at last you acknowledge that Bush is a religious fanatic. There’s hope for you yet.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/vicfitz82 Victor F

    Scott: I would hope you recognize America is a largely Christian country (link) and it wouldn’t surprise me if Muslim countries regarded the official actions of the state as representing beliefs held by American Christians. Therefore, when bombs are dropped on Iraqi civilians it is a different form of terrorism than what we think “terrorism” means. We don’t have to decapitate innocent journalists simply because we are not threatened by a larger force. Everybody already listens to us. And, like it or not, the innocent blood is on my hands and everybody else’s, too, because these actions are taken in the name of the State of which I am undeniably part of.
    I don’t endorse the burning of buildings or the censorship of these cartoons. I think it’s a gross overreaction but I’m trying to understand why anybody would do such a thing. I understand where anti-western sentiment would come from in these areas given the history of our interactions with each other. I think Juan Cole has an interesting take on the cartoons.
    My issue with the cartoon itself is the depiction of the Muslims as all the same. I would have the same reaction if Jesus were portrayed in such a way. At the same time, it’s hard to clearly separate one tolerant sect from a violent radical sect seeing as they are tied philosophically to the same base. I think it is definitely a more complicated issue than I can explain accurately, which is why I’m posting semi-anonymous comments on blogs in the first place.

  • emerson

    Scott, I think that Victor’s comparison between caricatures of Mohammed and Christ is interesting, but I also agree with you that the Christian response is almost always more subdued.
    My question for you is this: Why is the Christian response typically more “civil”?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    Asta;
    And since you won’t admit that there are non-Christian religious fanatics, that would presumably mean that there’s no hope for you. I’m sorry.
    My problem with TheBAG has never been its critical eye on President Bush, the Republican Party, conservatives, etc. It has always been its complete lack of a critical eye on everyone else. It’s obvious where the religious fanaticism is in this case, yet TheBAG still blames Bush who hasn’t been involved at all. Apparently all the previous posts about how Bush has lost European support for the USA was just a smoke screen to cover the fact that the Continent is still willing to endanger itself to do Bush’s bidding.
    P.S. I suppose it was Bush’s religious fanaticism that got Salman Rushdie in trouble as well? Wow, Rove is not only everywhere but everywhen!

  • The BAG

    I should have anticipated a certain amount of flaming when I posted the Danish cartoons.  (From what I can tell, discussion threads at National Review and Little Green Footballs have included links to The BAG.) 
    Regarding Scott’s comment, I think I understand the distinction between The Dome of the Rock and The al-Aqṣa Mosque.  I also appreciate the confusion since the image with Karen Hughes specifically isolates The Dome of the Rock.
    From my training however, I’ve learned that the entire complex is typically (and more accurately and respectfully) referred to in terms of al-Aqṣa.  My frame of reference, in part, comes out of my Hebrew school education.  As a Jew (who has worked hard to understand and become more sensitive to the customs, traditions and designations of Islam), I learned to identify the whole site (the location of the first and second Jewish temples in Jerusalem) as הַר הַבַּיִת (“Har Habayit)  or “The Temple Mount.”  From that perspective, the aggregate complex — including The Dome Of The Rock — is typically referred to (at least by Jews) as “The Al-Aqsa Mosque.”  (Not that this bestows intellectual credibility, but I also believe the same practice is typical in the tourism industry.  Here’s a common example.)  I don’t think it’s just the Jews, however, who refer to the site in the aggregate.  If I understand correctly, al-masjid al-Aqṣa (or “the farthest mosque”) is identified in the Qur’an as also referring to the entire Temple Mount site, or what the Muslims, also in aggregate, more technically refer to as “The Noble Sanctuary.”
    I never have a problem being called out on terminology, technicality or even ideology.  (Recently, I even mixed up Teddy Roosevelt with FDR.) However, I urge that you would first spent some time becoming familiar with me and with this site before throwing such a foot down.

  • black dog barking

    The Cox & Forkum cartoon containing a tiny cartoon reproduction of the “bombhead” drawing is satire aimed at Western culture, not Islam. That the Prophet would seek guidance from the admittedly shallow Public Relations industry is over the top ridiculous, a reliable indicator of satire. PR firms exist to fix the perceptions of others, not to reveal truth. The PR exec lecturing the Prophet makes the point that our culture values image over substance, and in shallowness tells a secular truth.
    I guess I don’t understand the Muslim taboo in the same way I don’t understand the occasional furor over American flag burning. In the case of flag burning, as long as there’s no menace to public health or safety the act arguably strengthens our republic by affirming fundamental values. Not everyone agrees.
    Really, shouldn’t we recognize that the symbol of the thing is not the thing? At least for those parts of our lives covered by civil government? Score all this furor as yet another demonstration of the importance of separating government and religion.

  • Tracy

    Here’s an interesting site:
    http://www.sorrynorwaydenmark.com/
    The guest book is a bulletin board.

  • Asta

    Alas, it seems the world is breaking down into two camps — those with a sense of humor and those without.
    And Camp Humorless is filled with: religious fanatics of all persuasions and annoying old guys.
    I find the previous cartoons (The Cartoon that Could End the World series) to be offensive for their ignorance, their intent to incite violence and their childish ridicule. It seems diplomacy, good manners, respect for others have gone right out the window. And the cartoon in this thread probably isn’t going to win any hearts and minds in the MidEast, either. If I’ve learned anything from the Internet, I’ve learned that sarcasm and satire do not translate well.
    The Western World just doesn’t seem to “get it”. How different would this world be if “we” hadn’t marched off centuries ago against “them” in the Crusades?

  • jt from BC

    Asta, well said, if GWB exchanged his Churchill book which certainly does not contain ;
    “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.” Winston Churchill. (earlier version of Shock & Awe)
    The Arab and Kurdish people of Iraq resisted the British occupation, and by 1920 this had developed into a full scale national revolt, which cost the British dearly. As the Iraqi resistance gained strength, the British resorted to increasingly repressive measures, including the use of poison gas.
    (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHU407A.html)

  • jt from BC

    Tracy recommends, (http://www.sorrynorwaydenmark.com)
    It is an interesting site and a good beginning.
    I have taken the liberty to forward Victor F’s, recommended Juan Cole’s commentary to them, as the idealism of youth will need all the information and support they can muster for their good intentions and future challenges they may encounter.

  • Asta

    Thank you, JT from BC, for stating it more eloquently than I ever could.
    I appreciate the reference to Saladin. He is a most interesting figure in the annals of history. Perhaps he had a greater sense of decency than history admits.

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    RESPECT.
    Come on that’s all this is about. It’s simple. It’s free.
    Why can’t these papers and cartoonist show a little respect?
    Oh my god. What will it take to convince these western cartoonists that they should treat *all* people with respect? The bottom line is that minimizing the issue (that is saying nobody should feel offended by a cartoon) is the issue. This cartoon is worse than the original. Nobody has the right to minimize any other person’s emotions. You can think those emotions as silly, but, they are real. Not something to be dismissed. If you can’t agree not to offend—at least you move on without laughing at people. It’s so mindlessly disrespectful and some of these elitists clowns still don’t get it. How can they not get it. They must not realize they are dealing with real human beings.
    And the point about women on the board is ridicules. As if women were treated as equals and with respect in the west! Ha! Hey kettle! You’re black!
    This makes me really, really angry. And scared for every human tied up in this mess or caught in the crossfire.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/error27/ error27

    Probably most of the people in the streets havent seen the cartoons. They’re just pissed off at the West.
    Frankly, the foreign policy in the West has been greedy, and self serving and unethical. I think the US bombings in Pakestan are a great example of that.
    From a political perspective you look for things that will get people fired up. Sometimes it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  • Asta

    For Susan: Viva la RESPECT.
    I agree, I concur, I will work to spead this.
    (And I hear you. God knows, how I hear your message.)

  • http://mdhatter.blogspot.com mdhatter

    I think we can placate the mobs.
    maybe not the arsonists, but almost definiely the mobs.

  • jt from BC

    With RESPECT, is it easy or free, many of us may have lucked out getting it then worked in sharing it. Intrigued by the concept 3 excerpts from inquiry, and yes woman have considerable advantage in many categories..
    “It is increasingly part of political wisdom both that unjust social institutions can devastatingly damage self-respect and that robust and resilient self-respect can be a potent force in struggles against injustice….”
    “As thus analyzed, respect, most generally, has cognitive dimensions (beliefs, acknowledgments, judgments, deliberations, commitments), affective dimensions (emotions, feelings, ways of experiencing things), and conative dimensions (motivations, dispositions to act and forbear from acting). Some forms of respect also have valuational dimensions. On this analysis, then, respect is, most centrally, an attitude, or more broadly (since additional attitudes might be involved in respecting something), respect is a complex “way-of-being-toward-something.”….”
    “Care respect involves regarding the object as having profound and perhaps unique value and so cherishing it, and perceiving it as fragile or calling for special care and so acting or forbearing to act out of felt benevolent concern for it. This analysis of respect draws explicitly from a feminist ethics of care and has been influential in feminist and non-feminist discussions of respecting persons as unique, particular individuals.”
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/respect/
    Sorry BAG, a bit off topic but I’m in a disciplined restrain mode now for this month.

  • Tracy

    JT:
    Here is another interesting site. This has been up for a few years so maybe you have seen it. It displays pictures of Americans apologizing for the other half of the country that voted for George or apologizing for not doing enough to stop it. You will also see pictures of people from other countries accepting the apologies. You might see, for instance, a picture of “Johan” from “Hamburg, Old Europe.” Remember that one? Old Europe. Unlike sorrynorwaydemark it does not have a bulletin board, but maybe they can’t afford the bandwidth.
    http://www.sorryeverybody.com/
    Peace

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    jt, what do you mean by: Intrigued by the concept 3 excerpts from inquiry, and yes woman have considerable advantage in many categories.. ?

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    I guess I don’t understand the Muslim taboo in the same way I don’t understand the occasional furor over American flag burning.
    I don’t think it’s you job or my job to understand these things. But actions have meaning to people. Burning a flag might not bother me but it might seem horrible to someone else. Out of respect for other people I would never burn a flag… it’s the same thing.
    Law is another matter. If you make a law to stop disrespectful actions the absence of these actions has no value since no one has a choice.
    When this outcry started the paper should have backed down. “I didn’t know this was so important, but I respect what you think is important.”
    It’s not always possible to do this, but I can’t see why it didn’t just end at that.
    What is wrong with the people at the newspaper?

  • readytoblowagasket

    I find it extremely tedious that people who know a little about art claim reactions to it in the West are “proof” of how “civilized” Western society is. Oh, really? People may not (successfully) burn down buildings, but they DO call in death threats to museum staff, and they DO regularly take out their displeasure on the offending artwork itself, usually with an obscene twist or with a vehemence that is out of control. The attack is almost always intended to destroy the artwork. Here’s a site for boning up on a few Western reactions (even from self-described Christians — surprise!) to Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ,” Chris Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary,” and others. Crimes have occurred in Stockholm, London, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Amsterdam, Berlin, Ontario, Australia, France. I’m not saying it’s equivalent to violent mass demonstrations, but I am saying that self-righteous smugness is just another form of prejudice.
    http://renewal.va.com.au/artcrime/pages/front.html
    Here’s an excerpt from the site about the “decapitation” of a sculpture called “Margaret Thatcher” by Neil Simmons:
    “A sculpture of Margaret Thatcher, who is often referred to as ‘the Iron Lady’ would have been better served if indeed the work was made out of iron when Paul Kelleher used a cricket bat and metal baluster to decapitate the head of the 8 ft marble sculpture.”
    Apparently, when Kelleher hit the sculpture the first time with the cricket bat, it caused no damage. So he picked up one of the balusters next to the piece and successfully took the head clean off. Did you catch the part about how the sculpture was made out of marble?
    Yeah, that makes MUCH more sense than Muslims freaking out about some cartoons.

  • Hobbes

    I agree with Meghan on this. The people getting upset isn’t over the caroons as such but because of wests perception of Islam. For example the cartoons that made all the current mess were printed in Sept 2005. Muslim communities were asking for an apology since then. They were more or less told to feck off.
    There have been numerous depictions of Muhammad before and nothing came of it. Once such example is South Parks “Super Best Friends”.
    The issue is that the cartoon depicts “all muslims”. For example the one welcoming suicide bombers into heaven. Something that the Muslim religon does not believe (only fundies).
    This latest picture does the exact same thing. Attempt to tar all muslims with the same brush.
    What do you think would happen if Denmark was to print a cartoon picture of Bush screwing little children and then telling the US to feck off when it declared its disgust to it and then went on to show more pictures. You think there would be no reprocussions then?

  • jt from BC

    Susan Murray, I was intrigued by the concept of ‘respect’ as with many words or concepts I have simply taken them for granted, thinking I understood them fully having never given them much thought. I spent two hours reading about ‘respect’ at the Stanford University site and extracted three paragraphs which particularly interested me. As concepts evolve and develop women were shown to have played a significant role as my last quote notes and it was further suggested that the environmental movement had been significantly influence by women as well.
    The first paragraph could acknowledge Mrs King and Betty Friedan for their ‘resilient self respect’ as powerful role models for social change and as part of their obituary.
    I believe that in certain countries, educational opportunities, class structure, advantageous economic conditions etc have a great bearing on self respect hence an advantage to exercise it toward others. Having lived in conditions where getting food was the major task for many and their getting self respect was a challenge I’m unfamiliar with.
    While some of our peers don’t demonstrate it I’m unaware of a simple reason or answer.
    I do think and feel a moral, ethical, social and intellectual obligation to understand others who share this planet, next door or in the mountains of Afghanistan.
    About this topic and related ones I think I am closer to understanding the Muslim view point thanks to the informed opinions of others more intimately involved who have shown the powerful differences that are inherent in different cultures.
    I didn’t know there were 27 kinds of snow until I spent time with Eskimos. Some words simply cannot be translated in other languages and particular forms of reverence may share a similar fate.

  • jt from BC

    Tracy and, sorryeverybody.com, however helpful or cathartic I can’t imagine those dogging death and destruction daily in Iraq and elsewhere are interested in our apologies.
    They don’t have time for this kind of sentiment. According to a recent UK poll 82% of the folks there want us out. Maybe they could turn their genuine expressions of sorrow into screaming at those responsible for maintaining this state of siege, we certainly know who they are, what they do, and where they work.
    Yours for Outrage, Reconstruction & Peace.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Susan Murray asks: “What is wrong with the people at the newspaper?”
    At the very least, the people at the newspaper (the publishers, anyway) are bullies. That’s what’s wrong with them. They resent it that a minority point of view has an impact on “their” culture. So they went out of their way to show the minority group who’s boss. It’s *the largest* newspaper in the country, for crying out loud. It was a deliberate act of hostility and they knew perfectly well what the consequences would be.
    There are other names for that behavior too.

  • ummabdulla

    I’m not asking anyone to agree with this, but for those who are trying to understand, Muslims love Allah and his Messenger (Muhammad, pbuh) more than anything. So they might get more upset at an attack on the Prophet(pbuh) than they would at an attack on their own house.
    And it’s not just “fundamentalists”. Even secular Muslims are finding themselves upset.
    It is important to point out that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful. I see photos of people holding banners outside the Danish consulate in Kuwait, but that won’t make the news.
    So there has been violence, which is not right, but was predictable. One article (that I linked to in comments on the original post) ended like this:
    “…The cartoons published first in Denmark and now more widely across Europe set out not to depict but to ridicule the Prophet. And they do so in a climate in which Muslims across the globe feel alienated, threatened and routinely despised by the world’s great powers.
    “The combination of this with Islam’s traditional unhappiness at depictions of any human form, let alone of their most venerated one, was bound to be explosive. The affair is an example of Western ignorance and arrogance combined. We have lit a fire and the wind could take it a long way.”

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Murray

    They resent it that a minority point of view has an impact on “their” culture. So they went out of their way to show the minority group who’s boss.
    This is it exactly.
    It reminds me of the reason I never went to a baseball game until I left Cleveland. I’ve always liked baseball. But, I still can’t root for my home team. Not unless I can accept that a buck-toothed bright red indian named… um… “chief wahoo” is “funny” or a “tribute” rather than insulting.
    The worst part is how one is ridiculed for being insulted, as if you had no right to object. As if what you think and feel has no meaning.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    I asked on another thread about where truth is in all this for people and it seems like folks are better able to articulate it on this thread.
    But I am still puzzled by the disconnect between assertions that Islam is a faith of peace and reports of rioting and Danish flag burning. You all do see the disconnect, don’t you? And, yes, this may be the result of what “sells” the news.* But it is still there. Can anyone address this?
    *[For a good site about religion and journalism, go to GetReligion . The site tends more to the right than I tend, but there are some good points to be made, even so.]

  • readytoblowagasket

    momly, before WW III breaks out here, I redirect the question to you. What IS the “disconnect” that seems to allow people of MOST faiths to preach peace and practice hatred? Take our president, for example. As a fellow Christian, how do *you* explain how Bush can possibly reconcile his “faith” — which you share — with waging war around the world? Is war just more acceptable than rioting? Is killing people more acceptable than threatening to kill people? If you can answer that, then maybe it can apply to the same phenomenon you see in other faiths.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    I can’t explain Bush. I wonder if he can.
    I don’t share his values and my faith is mine. Why lump the two of us together? What point are you making with that? I assume that you assume that I am lumping rioters with Muslims everywhere and I know that isn’t true. I guess I should have spelled that out clearly in the previous post. Is this what you are doing?
    Just war is an oxymoron and even though it is in the Old Testament, I am highly skeptical of its theological origins. Rioting gets attention, but then what happens? Do the opposing views sit down at the table together to come to an understanding? That would be news!
    Killing and threats of killing are both acts of violence which show what is in the heart of the person who does these things – anger and hatred. I know Isalm is not about anger and hatred and neither is Christianity in spite of what we see and have seen. Which leads back to the disconnect.
    I am still curious as to why we have not seen the peaceful protests that umbadulla alluded to. I would like to see them. That would be hopeful.
    Believe it or not, we are on the same side in this.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    Okay, went looking and found these links:
    Aljazeera has the pictures and Ireland Online has a story.
    Good. Nice start. Any more?

  • readytoblowagasket

    momly, thanks for clarifying. It *did* sound (to me) like you were lumping the rioters — some of whom have now been shot to death in Afghanistan — with Muslims everywhere.
    http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/religion

  • ummabdulla

    There have been some violent protests, and maybe there will be more, so I’m not trying to deny that. From what I understand, this is not the correct response, and Islamic scholars agree. (Actually, I just came home from a lecture about this whole thing, and the speaker made the same point. As she said, we should be angry because we’ve been offended, but Allah, the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), and the Muslims can’t be harmed by these stupid cartoons.)
    One problem is that although there are more than one billion Muslims in the world, not all of them have received correct Islamic education. In fact, many Muslim countries don’t want their citizens to have Islamic knowledge, because that might be a threat to their corrupt regimes, so then the people are ignorant and do things that they shouldn’t. So some of them are very angry and take things into their own hands.
    To put things in perspective, though, this has been going on since September. Muslims in Denmark wrote letters to the editor, they requested meetings, there were peaceful protests, etc. So all that was tried, and it didn’t get much attention or any results.
    I can’t justify the violence, but I wonder if anyone in the U.S., for example, can justify the homicides that take place every year there, just for one example. (I think it’s around 10,000 every year by guns, and thousands more using other methods.) Most Americans would say that those are exceptions and don’t have anything to do with them – ordinary Americans. And, of course, that’s what we would say about Muslims.
    A little anecdote: One time, I was watching CNN covering one of the school shootings, and my husband came in and out of the room a few times. I was saying, “Oh, look what’s going on…” and telling him what was happening, and after a few times, he said, “What’s the big deal? Doesn’t this happen there all the time?” And he wasn’t being sarcastic; he was genuinely puzzled as to why this was big news, since as far as he knew, it was pretty normal there.
    Yet the average American thinks we live in some violent society that’s constantly up in flames. Much of the reason is that the media shows violence in Palestine and calls it “the Middle East”, not noting that this is a tiny part of the Middle East, which is otherwise calm. Not only calm, but much safer than your average American city. When a young Kuwaiti friend of mine was going to study in London, I was worried about her and tried to explain to her how you have to be more aware of your surroundings, be a little suspicious of strangers, etc., because here, you just don’t have that atmosphere. Women don’t look over their shoulders, or check inside the car before they get in, or have their keys ready, because crime really isn’t an issue. I’ve walked around – by myself – at night in places like Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul, Kuwait, and Bahrain, and not been afraid at all. So these aren’t violent societies, despite what you might hear.
    I remember hearing a tour operator in Amman, Jordan saying on the news that if there was a bomb blast in Sudan, Americans would cancel their trips to Jordan – which is true, but funny if you know anything about geography.
    As for Europeans, well, they have riots over football (soccer) games, so what can I say?
    If some Muslims get violent in defense of their Prophet, why do so many Americans get violent? Then, of course, I could ask where’s the justification for killing who-knows-how-many tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians (which has created a lot of the friction that plays into what’s going on now).

  • ummabdulla

    John Simpson is the BBC’s World Affairs correspondent, who has many years of experience in the Middle East and Muslim world… not that I always agree with him.
    Cartoon anger is a misrepresentation

  • Cactus

    Thank you, ummabdulla, for the BBC link. I’ve been asking myself these questions over the past few days.
    (1) The cartoons were published in Sept. ‘05.
    (2) Hamas was elected in Palestine 26 Jan 06.
    (3) On 1 Feb 06 FranceSoir published the cartoons with decidedly racist comments (and the editor was fired).
    (4) The first mention of a riot in Denmark that I could find was 2 Feb 06.
    (5) Now we learn that the foreign minister of Egypt has been bringing it up at every international meeting.
    My question is, was the foreign minister purposely trying to arouse the passions of the Islamic public? Why? From what I’ve heard, Egypt is not a particularly religious country. As the BBC mentions, was he trying to prop up his government in the eyes of other Islamic countries? But why so tenaciously? Was he acting for the cia? Or trying to deflect embarrassment for being a ‘rendition’ state?
    Please, some input from others more familiar…..

  • Shaun

    ummabdulla, here’s the basic problem with your logic: if violent Muslim rioters are merely a small fringe of the otherwise peaceful and open-minded Muslim world, than so are a few right-wing European newspapers trying to dust up a bunch of controversy not a good representation of broader ‘Western’ attitudes. Both groups should be dismissed as such.
    Or, if that takes the wind out of your sails:
    The European governments and the societies that have to some extent sanctioned the spread of the images, must also be held responsible and condemned. But, in this case so must the Muslim governments and nations that have allowed the rioting, encouraged outrage and most importantly have long allowed anti-Semitic cartoons to run in their newspapers!
    What’s wrong, don’t like the taste of your own medicine?
    “New York, NY, February 2, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued the following statement in response to the controversy stemming from the twelve cartoons depicting Mohammed featured in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in other European newspapers:
    ADL is opposed to religious, racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media. We found some of the cartoons in Jyllands-Posten troubling, particularly the direct linkage of Mohammad and violence.
    At the same time, we are gravely concerned by the extreme violent reaction these cartoons have generated in Muslim communities in Europe, and particularly in the Middle East. It is certainly the right of individuals and governments to express their disagreement with these depictions. However, the use of violence, threats, boycotts and other extreme reactions are highly inappropriate and bode ill for future debates involving Islam, democracy and free speech.
    What has been overlooked in the controversy is the fact that despicable anti-Jewish caricatures appear daily in newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world. While invoking the supposed “freedom of the press” in their countries, Arab and Muslim leaders have refused to take any action to stem the drumbeat of anti-Semitism in widely circulated newspapers, many state-sponsored. Indeed, leaders of regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia have virtually ignored appeals from the United States and Jewish organizations to put an end to incitement in their media, excusing it in the name of “freedom of the press.” One would hope that leaders of Arab and Muslim countries would turn all of the anger being aimed at the European press into a larger lesson for their own people about the power of images.
    ADL is strongly committed to free speech and freedom of the press – principles we consider the cornerstones of democracy. In a democratic society, newspapers need to be free to publish controversial content without fear of censorship or intimidation of their writers and editors. At the same time, newspapers and all media outlets should to take into account the sensitivities of racial, ethnic and religious groups.”

  • fallinglady

    Shaun: If you want to post on this site, leave the snarky diatribe off.
    “What’s wrong, don’t like the taste of your own medicine?”
    This site aims for respectful discussions.

  • jt from BC

    SHAUN, I’m making the assumption that you are a member of group which has experienced a long history of persecution, and consequently will wisely come to the defense of other groups facing similar hatred. Consequently somewhat bewildered I find your remarks very insensitive and self righteous.
    If you have not read the following thread which is by no means the beginning or end of the discussion on this topic, please do, I look forward to your critique.
    Posted by: Victor F | Feb 05, 2006 at 01:28 PM
    “I think Juan Cole has an interesting take on the cartoon”.
    http://www.juancole.com/2006/02/muslim-protests-against-anti-muhammad.html

  • ummabdulla

    Shaun, if those European newspapers were a small minority and most Europeans disagree with them, then I certainly haven’t seen that. What I’ve seen on TV, comments on new sites and blogs, etc., is almost entirely in agreement with them, and actually much worse.
    As for your anti-semitic cartoons, you certainly exaggerate, as if we see this horrible stuff every day. I read two English newspapers every day and I’ve never seen any in there. I don’t doubt that there are cartoons which are anti-Israel, and I consider that fair game, but I’m sure you consider that anti-semitic. Whatever else you consider anti-semitic would be considered perfectly acceptable if were about Arabs.
    I wonder how many people have heard that someone in Iran is having a contest where they’ll pick the best 12 cartoons about the Holocaust. I think that just about everyone who hears that (including me) automatically feels disgusted. And if you do feel disgusted and you feel that this shouldn’t be done, then spare me all the “Free Speech” arguments in defense of the Danish cartoons, where anyone who publishes anything somehow acquires a status where he or she is infallible and can’t even be questioned.

  • ummabdulla

    Sorry, Shaun, this is probably not one of your favorite writers, but here’s Robert Fisk:
    Don’t Be Fooled This Isn’t An Issue Of Islam Versus Secularism

  • ummabdulla

    Cactus, the cartoons were published in September, and Danish Muslims began writing letters to the newspapers, asking to meet with the editors, having peaceful demonstrations, etc. I think it was in October that Muslim ambassadors first requested a meeting with the Prime Minister, which he refused. The Egyptian ambassador was involved, but I don’t think she was the only one. At some point, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) got involved. I had heard about this on the Internet, and I think there were a few short news reports in my (English) newspaper, but it was not widely known in the Muslim world until a few weeks ago.
    The Egyptian government walks a fine line. They have to respect people’s Islamic sensitivities – and by the way, Muslims in Egypt are religious and have gotten more so in recent years. They don’t want to encourage religious fervor too much, but they can’t ginore things like this, either. The Muslim Brotherhood increased the number of seats they had in the last election, but they only ran in a small number of areas, so as not to provoke the government any more than they already did. If they had fielded candidates in every area, they would most likely have done very well, although the ruling party probably would not have let that happen.
    I don’t think the Hamas victory is related. And by the time the French newspaper reprinted the cartoons, there were already peaceful protests, Danish products had already been taken off the shelves in many Arab countries (even by the French supermarket chain Carrefour in their stores), and it was pretty much all everyone was talking about.

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    Anyone have any comments about these links?
    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2006_02_05_digbysblog_archive.html#113926170943662246
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/02/07/hirsi_ali/
    The second one was totally new to me. I suspect that there are some cracks in the foundation of the faith? Is a reformation underway in Islam?

  • Cactus

    ummabdulla, thank you for the explanation. As usual, a lot of what was going on was just not mentioned in the states. The reaction of people here (California) that I’ve spoken to is on the order of ‘Denmark? Little peaceful Denmark?’ in the tone of I must be joking.
    Also, do you know if the recent rioting in the Paris suburbs was related to this in any way, or was it strictly a local problem to France?

  • Shaun

    JT, I suppose you chose the Juan Cole article because it nominally addresses the issue of anti-Semitism? Here’s my critique: The argument is that if the Danish newspaper had published anti-Semitic images or images that “brought into question the holocaust” there would have been a “firestorm of protest.” As in the Fisk article provided by ummadulla, Cole also points out that several countries in Europe (France, Germany and Austria according to Fisk) even have laws against denying “acts of genocide.”
    Unfortunately, Fisk himself admits that, “I’m still uncertain whether these laws obtain their objectives; however much you prohibit holocaust denial, anti-Semites will always find a way around.” Either way, this is not very convincing given that most of the countries of Europe, and the US, still do not have prohibitions against printing anti-Semitic, or otherwise racist, anti-religious or genocide-denying literature or images…
    Nonetheless, what are we supposed to conclude from this fact? France and Germany are hypocritical for printing the images since they won’t print anti-Semitic ones, right? Both authors’ central thesis is that respect for religion is the Muslim version of the European prohibition against racism, hence the Danish fiasco isn’t really an issue about secularism and free speech at all, its about respect and non-incitement. Simple.
    Without even getting into whether conflating anti-religionism and racism is a legitimate equivalency or not (but its not, for the record), doesn’t that obviously imply that Muslim countries are hypocritical for printing anti-Semitic images?! I really don’t see how you can get around that without ignoring it, the way both Cole and Fisk do: go back and look at their articles, both mention what would happen if Europeans printed anti-Semitic material yet neither mentions that Muslim countries regularly do!
    Other than ignoring this fact the only other strategy available to get around it is ummabdulla’s clever argument: flat out denial. “As for your anti-Semitic cartoons, you certainly exagerate, as if we see this horrible stuff everyday…I’m sure there are cartoons that are anti-Israel, and I consider that fair game, but I’m sure you consider that anti-semitic.” nice try ummabdulla, but I’m talking about actually anti-semitic cartoons. I’ve already linked to these a few times so I won’t bore you (there are hundreds of them and I guarantee you I can find more Arabic anti-Semitic cartoons than you can find non-Antisemitic anti-Israel cartoons). Nonetheless here are descriptions of just a couple that have been printed since the Danish ones:
    “The Web site of the Arab-European League has published several stridently anti-Jewish cartoons – including one showing the Holocaust diarist Anne Frank in bed with Hitler – supposedly in an attempt to show Europeans what can happen when the freedom of the press in their societies is taken too far.”
    “A newspaper in Bahrain printed a cartoon with Danish cheese shaped like a Star of David in an attempt to blame the controversy on a so-called “Zionist penetration” in Denmark.”
    ummabdulla, you already mentioned this one: “The Hamshahri newspaper, a large circulation daily in Tehran, announced a deliberately inflammatory contest to find and publish the 12 “best” cartoons about the Holocaust.” As I recall, you were promoting the boycott of Danish goods, right? I suppose this means you will now boycott all Iranian goods as well… If not, you are a H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.
    Finally, JT, its a nice vision you have, where one group that’s been historically abused empathizes with another whenever they scream persecution…But what you’ve overlooked is that when this is all said and done, when the demagoghes can’t wring another cent from this, the apologies have been issued and the cartoons of Mohammed have been taken down, Muslims will be printing anti-Semitic cartoons every week.
    see JT, your caught by the ol’ liberal dillema: either you hold the Muslims to an equal standard and keep the fires of moral outrage burning until they stop persecuting Jews, woman and minorities or you focus on how Europe ought to know better and fall guilty to the paternalism you set out to avoid…

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun, I’m utterly mystified at why you insist on yelling at the wrong people.

  • Cactus

    For some more interesting background on the Danish cartoons, go to the following blog, and read the comments section for some interesting info on Danish politics, such as the managing director of the newspaper is married to the chairman of the Danish Oil & Natural Gas currently state-owned, soon to be privatized.
    http://www.xymphora.blogspot.com/ :: Cartoonish conspiracies

  • jt from BC

    SHAUN,
    Historical context was my first consideration.
    State censorship in many Muslim countries ( not explicitly stated is Western support for dictatorships as long as they are compliant or abandoned for strategic reasons or the overthrowing of those democracies deemed unworthy.
    Race and concepts of superiority have been amply recorded historically. From the White Mans Burden to the recent charade of GWG bringing democracy is one hell of a powerful fantasy. Like his daddy who encouraged the Shites to rise up and then abandoned them as SOP (standard operating procedure) Ironically and cynically what we say we want to see most-democracy-we have been the major force of impediment.
    Muslims experience the insulting of the Prophet but undoubtedly combine it to the Christian Crusading West and to its the leading exponent.
    “The United States happens to be an extremely fundamentalist country. It is probably more fundamentalist than Iran. If you did a comparative analysis of extremist religious belief, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the United States would be beyond Iran. For example, about 40-50 percent of the population believes that the world is created 6000 years ago. I don’t know if that is true in Iran. I doubt it. Maybe 80-90 percent of the population believes in miracles and most think that they’ve seen them. Maybe 70 percent think they witnessed them. So yes this is an extremely fundamentalist country.
    The origins were complex. There was a strong fundamentalist puritan element; on the other hand there was also a strong secular Enlightenment-based element, that is where Jefferson and Madison come from. So it’s a mixture. In fact the elite elements at the time of the revolution were mostly what are called deists, which is basically non-believers. On the other hand the fundamentalist puritan strain was very strong. The puritans who settled here described themselves as the children of Israel who are coming to the promised land to eliminate the Malikites (?) and that continues right to the present, so it’s a strange country. It’s not within the spectrum of industrial societies on matters like this. You don’t find these properties in other industrial societies.” interview extract, Noam Chomsky 2000
    Freedom of the press is critical so too is how we deliver Freedom in foreign lands, according to my warped liberal values the critical standards I’m trying to maintain are those we espouse so righteously and then proceed to deny with such deception and falsehood.
    Shaun once I’ve cleaned up my backyard I’ll definitely help my neighbors you can count on that.

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t doubt that there are anti-Israeli cartoons in Arab newspapers, just as there are in many other newspapers outside the Arab world, since Israel really isn’t the most popular country in the world, as you realize once you get outside the U.S. (Because of its policies.) As I recall, one of the most controversial cartoons was the one of Sharon eating a Palestinian child, and that was in a British newspaper.
    But it is simply not true that there is a constant drumbeat of anti-semitic cartoons, or even anti-Israeli cartoons, as if we have no other issues. We don’t wake up in the morning saying, “I hate Israel” and we don’t go to sleep at night saying, “I hate Israel”.
    The cartoons that I see every day are of two characters who are instantly recognizable as a “religious fundamentalist” (with long beard, short dishdasha and no qutra – the black robe circle that’s worn over the white headdress) and a “secular liberal” – both Kuwaitis. They argue with each other, both sort of saying the things that are stereotypical for their characters, so the cartoon lampoons both of them. This cartoon is a regular feature in the biggest Arabic newspaper, and it’s also translated for one of the English newspapers. I don’t look at the Arabic newspapers regularly, but I leaf through them sometimes and can’t recall having seen any anti-semitic cartoons. I’m not going to deny that there are some published in the Arab world; I assume there are. But if your example is the cheese, well, I didn’t see that as so outrageous.
    For those of you who talk about this constant poison of anti-semitic images that we supposedly live and breathe, do you actually see all of the the Arabic newspapers? Do you read Arabic? Or do you go to MEMRI for you (dis)information?

  • ummabdulla

    JT, you’re right; Muslims don’t believe that the world was created 6000 years ago.

  • Agnostic as hell about this mess!

    I am not sorry if I offend anybody by saying this, but people need to start putting more trust into themselves and the people around them instead of in “GOD!” All of this mess; Iraq, 911, Palestine, Iran has to do with two things…. Religion and the control of the monies used to defend said religion(Christian or Muslim or Judiaism or anything else). I am sick of the world’s babbling about, I’m Christian! I’m Muslim! I am presently living in the world’s most peaceful and atheist/agnostic country, Japan. If you want to see how well people can get along, in such high population density, please visit. All religions and nationalities are welcome, with one rule, please don’t shove your religion down anyones’ throat, chances are you will simply be passed by and ignored. Grow up people, please! Most people in Japan have a “Shinto” ceremony when they are born, a “Christian” wedding, and a “Buddist” funeral. Why can’t we all celebrate all religions though our daily ceremony, it works just fine for 130+- million people here! Seriously, I don’t understand any of these people, in my homeland (America) or in Muslim countries either….. I guess it’s just easy to blame something you don’t understand on something you don’t understand. YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK! G R O W UP! For Christ’s sake, for Mohammed’s sake, for Buddah’s sake, for everyone’s sake.

  • Bigger than Cartoon

    The violence saddens me. Islam, as I understand this religion, is supposed to be a very peaceful religion. I do not think this is so much a result of religious zealot (although it kind of is) as it is of something quite bigger in scale. Most of the places where these riots are occuring are in poor neighborhoods, rioters of poor neighborhoods. These protest, as I see them, are more of ignorance than anything else. Most of these people are taught nothing but Islam, but not Islam in a peaceful, true form, but in an extreme and intolerant form. From their lack of knowledge springs anger at anyone who would ridicule their religion. They would see it as a form of degradement, not a form of constructive criticism. These rioters are defending the only thing that they have ever been taught. They have been taught to love, obey (mostly in extreme terms), and defend (again in extreme terms) their only source of comfort and solice. Again I say this opens to a bigger problem, the problem of poverty and ignorance. Notice how all terrorists flock to these kind of people to recruit them, they are ripe for the picking.

  • ummabdulla

    Momly, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has no other reason for being than criticizing Islam. She and Irshad Manji are probably thrilled with what’s going on; they’re the darlings of the Western media for their reliable anti-Muslim statements. Most of what they say is absolute garbage, and I’m trying to show some restraint here…
    As for a “reformation”, Islam doesn’t need a reformation. Muslims need to reform themselves, which involves learning authentic Islamic teachings and then following them. In fact, many Islmic organizations (including Hams, I think) have the Arabic word for “reform” in their names.
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has absolutely ZERO credibilty in speaking for Muslims or for Islam. She shows only contempt for Muslims, including for the Muslim women that she claims to care about. Since she’s not an Islamic scholar, and not even a Muslim, the idea of her leading any kind of reformation of Islam is more ridiculous than you can imagine.
    She is sometimes discussed among my Internet friends, who are mostly Western converts to Islam who see her in teh Western press. I’m pretty sure that she’s absolutely unknown among Muslims all over the world, though. They apparently love her in the Netherlands, though.
    Too bad journalists never choose to interview (or even acknowledge) real, practicing, intelligent, assertive Muslim women…

  • ummabdulla

    I read the comments at digbysblog, and s/he makes a good point about the idea that the West needs to “teach Muslims a lesson”. Not only is it a condescending attitude, but it will only backfire. Printing insulting cartoons like that will only make Muslims stronger and more united; it won’t harm the Prophet(pbuh), it won’t harm Muslims, and it won’t benefit the people that print them (or their supporters). So if that’s the goal, they’re way off…

  • jt from BC

    umbmabdulla re, Ayaan Hiri Ali darling of the West:
    Guardian Unlimited vs The Nation or:
    Islamophobia Watch vs Islamofascism Watch
    http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2005/12/1/ayaan-hirsi-ali-gets-a-boost-from-the-guardian.html

  • Shaun

    readytoblow, I understand where you’re coming from, but tell me why I’m attacking the wrong people? I’ve made it clear that I believe if you pandor to the lowest common denominator your actually doing more harm than good to your ideals. its not always appropriate to be Bush or America or Israel bashing on every issue, even if you’ve got a great argument about their ugly records; this is the BAG so we all understand the inherent power of framing issues and the potential it has for ‘hijacking’ the ‘moral high-ground’…its irresponsible to let anybody get away with that without critiquing their motives and their concurrent behaviors; that should include Muslims, don’t you agree?
    as such, I also appreciate JT’s “emphasis on historical context:” I too am familiar with the ‘wretched of the earth’ thesis, the failures of the so-called Enlightenment, the ugly side of America’s ‘manifest destiny’, the travails of Empire and the like (Chomsky ad naseum is fine but no more Saladin lectures, please I beg you!) but that doesn’t mean you check your common sense at the door: you need to sober up and consider whether its appropriate to let this, to my view relatively minor, issue represent all of that in the first place…
    ummabdulla, even if your not sophisticated enough to see how the implication that “zionist penetration” is responsible for the Danish cartoons rests on established anti-Semitic cliches, at least you’ve already admitted that the Iranian holocaust cartoon competition is Anti-Semitic, right? (and I assume you didn’t get that information from MEMRI either…)
    so, ummabdulla, please take your head out of the sand for one minute and answer me directly: will you or won’t you be boycotting Iranian goods? Yes or no. If you can’t at least answer that question you’ve got no credibility.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun, I wrote a REALLY long answer and then I realized that a shorter answer is better. The long answer was based on my belief that jt and ummabdulla are *not* anti-Semitic. I believe that about them after reading their views on many issues over time. And I have a pretty sensitive and reliable radar for that.
    Yes, they both can be critical of U.S. and Israeli policies/politics, but I personally value those criticisms because they live outside *both* countries and therefore see things from a vantage point that I don’t have. But you’ll notice The BAG was the first person to bash Bush — right in his first paragraph. But I value his take too.
    The BAG said something else in that same paragraph, which was: “one has to wonder how much this heightened tension derives from the terrorism paranoia.” It’s a point that is demonstrated repeatedly throughout this comment thread and other related threads, including those about domestic spying and free speech. ummabdulla has her own personal concerns right now that don’t necessarily preclude yours. Obviously you are very upset about Iran right now, and that was precisely Iran’s goal: Take advantage of this heightened tension AND terrorism paranoia.
    We’re all a little jumpy right now, and everything feels threatening. But though emotions are running high on BnN lately, I don’t think there are true threats to you or to anyone here. If there were, I couldn’t hang out here myself.

  • Mad_nVT

    readytoblowagasket comments that we aren’t really vulnerable to threats here, flogging away at our computers. This is very true. It’s a nice life here in the West. For most people anyway.
    Meanwhile hundreds of millions of Muslims do feel threatened, because the US has already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and because the Bush Administration has made unsubtle threats regarding Iran and Syria. It could be called a Crusade.
    Crusade for Democracy, Crusade for Oil, Crusade for Empire. Crusade for Christ. Whatever, it surely brings death.
    In such a volatile atmosphere any sort of disturbance shouldn’t be a surprise. All it takes is one spark.

  • jt from BC

    Shaun, with 1.5 billion Muslims we are not dealing with a low common denominator here, I do not support violence but my common sense suggests we have an uncommon lack of sensitivity or awareness of the basic tenets of Islam. I acknowledge the millions of Muslims who feel deeply offended and do not encourage or respond with violence. I do not exempt those who incite or engage violently but I have seen and experienced sufficient hatred in my own society (Canada) to understand some ‘whys’ for such behavior. As you know we have finally extradited Ernst Zundel to Germany to face the music. Like most Canadians I am outraged at the Maher Arar “rendition” and watched over 100 hours of the Official Government Inquiry where both CSIS and the US State Department hid behind the ‘national security’ rational as they have with other uncharged, isolated and detained Canadian citizens of Arab origin.
    ” but no more Saladin lectures please I beg you” (singular by the way) was a tiny plug for a ‘good Arab’, necessitated by; ‘Reel Bad Arabs’-Professor Jack Shaleens 20 years of cataloging Tinseltown’s portrayal of Arabs in over 900 films…’I beg you to check out this book ‘a documented plurality of myth making and stereotyping. (published in the UK by Arris Books)
    Chomsky does go on, even for me, his knowledge and clarity of US foreign policy is difficult to dispute so I’m sorry about ad nauseum, hes not good at sound bites, and I’m not particularly adept at condensing complex issues but I work at sparing you of him in the future.
    RTBAG I was answering Shaun early this morning and then my computer went down, where Anti-Semitism enters into my previous comments confuses me, of course I am critical of some Israeli policies, my sister (US citizen for 45 yrs) calls me Anti-American when I mention US foreign policy, with an ex marine husband a son-in-law in the Corps a total disdain for politics I know where she coming from especially dealing with a political nut for a brother.
    UMMMABDULLA is more than capable of explaining her position but she’s definitely no OSTRICH
    cheers to all, jt

  • readytoblowagasket

    I was trying to tell Shaun that the *BAG community* is not as hostile (to his causes) as he (sometimes) thinks it is.
    jt, if you’re the “political nut for a brother,” keep up the good work! (As I’m sure you know, liberal = anti-American in the States.)

  • Cactus

    I’ve been thinking lately about the divisions in the christian/muslim religions and all the bickering (as it appears to me). The sunnis and the shiites hate each other, the baptists and the methodists hate each other, the evangelicals hate the presbyterians, the muslims hate the jews, etc., etc.
    Isn’t it interesting that all these religions originated in the same fertile desert area. All of them.
    And these “desert” religions don’t seem to argue with the buddhists or the hindus. Only with each other. How sad.
    If we can get along, i.e., coexist, with buddhists and hindus, why not with each other????

  • jt from BC

    RTBAG, thanks for you encouragement however no Ten Step Program exists for my malaise of political addiction.
    You know that small L–Liberal is close to Socialism and if ones gets ‘carried away’ discussing Universal Health Care for example whispers of ‘pinko’ may be heard by an old or finely tuned ear.
    Now lets get back to the BAGS Four Step Mission.

  • Shaun

    Let me clear one thing up right now: I didn’t intend to infer that any of you are anti-Semitic (though I do believe ummabdulla is being rather hypocritical and she did at least accidentally defend an obviously anti-Semitic cartoon).
    by the way, I’ve been reading this blog for over a year and posting on it occasionaly (until recently) and usually I’m just as keen on lambasting our idiot president and the obvious distortion and propaghanda in our mainstream media…
    but, in this case I think abrogating our freedom of expression because some Muslims will riot is certainly pandoring to the lowest common denominator (our major newspapers won’t even print the images the way the BAG has!). it is also, incidentally, clearly a major reason the issue has taken off…that’s what I was trying to get across: who’s manipulating these images? are they really harmful enough to be compared or otherwise related to the crusades and the holocaust?! they’re insensitive, but not illegal. that’s it. the rest is just narrow-minded spin…

  • readytoblowagasket

    Trouble is, this isn’t about freedom of expression. (If it were, the paper would have a history of mocking all religious icons, and it doesn’t. In fact, it refused to print a Jesus cartoon a few years ago because it was deemed offensive.) It’s about harassing a minority group — exactly what you yourself are against.

  • ummabdulla

    Actually, Shaun, I can’t think of any Iranian products that I buy. I don’t like pistachios, I don’t use saffron, and I don’t use their “Barf” (yeah, that’s really the name) line of detergents and soap products.

  • ummabdulla

    Cactus, my newspaper has a lot of readers from the Subcontinent, so I get quite a bit of news from there, and this may be another case of news just not being covered in other places. (Self-censorship?)
    Actually, there is often friction between Hindus and members of other religions. “Untouchables” converting in mass to Christianity or Islam and causing a lot of anger, Christian missionaries killed by Hindu fanatics, the murders and rapes in Gujarat, the ongoing fight over the religious site of Ayodhya, annual rampages by Hindu hardliners through shops selling Valentine’s Day products, opposition to the Hindu right wing party’s (the BJP) rewriting history in schoolbooks…
    In Burma, the Muslim minority (and also the Christian minority, I think) is treated very badly by the Buddhist majority, and there are clashes there. The same in Thailand.
    Sorry to be depressing… you’d probably rather not know…

  • amber

    i dont think they should act in that way but then again they should not make that cartoon when they should of known.

  • Kavod And Kaved

    The main problem is, the cartoon just isn’t relevant. If you want relevant and pointed critique of Islam in a cartoon, you have to look to Muslim satirists and cartoonists. Problem is, no American or European would get their point.

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