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February 3, 2006

The Cartoon That Could End The World


Saudi Arabia and Syria recall their ambassadors from Denmark and Libya closes its embassy in Copenhagen.  Muslims storm the Danish embassy in Jakarta, and gunmen threatened the European Union offices in Gaza.  Why?  Because of 12 cartoons that ran in a Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, in September.

Originally, editors at the paper asked 12 artists to draw depictions of the prophet after an author complained that no artist was willing, under his own name, to illustrate a book about Mohammed.  A controversy then broke out between Danish Muslims and the paper which appeared settled after the paper apologized for causing offense, but defended its right to publish the material.  The current crisis started, however, when European papers began reprinting the cartoons in a display of press freedom.

From The BAG’s standpoint, however, the strangest thing about the controversy is that the specific cartoons (with the exception of the one above) have barely been discussed.  Instead, the anger centers almost exclusively on the fact that the prophet is involved.  Religious leaders insist that Islamic tradition bars any depiction of Mohammed for fear that such images can lead to idolatry.  As muslimwakeup points out, however, these restrictions only apply to Muslims, not to non-Muslims.

So how offensive are the specific cartoons?  Rather than cover all twelve, I’m mostly touching on the one above, with the others linked below.

Given the embedded explosive (and an incendiary aspect to the nose, mouth, eyes, and eyebrows), maybe it’s obvious the figure means ill.    But what’s the message exactly?  Is the figure inherently destructive; has bombing on his mind; or is ready to explode with rage?  On the other hand, isn’t it just as possible that the figure is oblivious to the bomb?  Who’s to say the bomb isn’t just “planted” on the figure to blow him up?  (Still, whether perpetrator or victim, the Muslims lose either way.)

As far as tension goes, perhaps the edgiest part of the image is actually the fuse.  With all the cross-cultural hostility in the air right now, what seems more provocative than anything is the mere suggestion (gotta love all that Iranian hysteria) that some explosion involving Muslims is imminent.


The cartoon with seemingly the richest story was one I really couldn’t get a handle on.  Obviously, the trappings are aggressive.  They guy has a bin Laden feel to him.  The blacked out eyes convey a convict.  But what’s the narrative?  Muslim women see all too clearly the repercussions of their violent men?

I have linked to the rest of the series for your review and discussion.

Cartoon 3

Cartoon 4

Cartoon 5

Cartoon 6

Cartoon 7

Cartoon 8

Cartoon 9

Cartoon 10

Cartoon 11

Cartoon 12

(illustrations: Jyllands-Posten.  Denmark)

  • jenny

    i find cartoon #9 to be the most fascinating, perhaps because i can’t read the words. but artistically it is very compelling to me. shouting faces? disembodied heads on some sort of march or attack? how do you relate to something you barely understand the surface countours of, let alone what’s underneath?

  • marysz

    In cartoon #7, a cartoonist cowers at his drawing board as he sketches a picture of Mohammed. This incident shows that political cartoonists are more powerful than we (or the artists themselves) realize. The protesters in the Middle East recognize that power. Like the islamic militants, the Bush Administration also recognizes the power of simple visual protest. Only instead of newspaper cartoonists, the Bush Administration is obsessed with T-shirt slogans and during the election campaign even searched parking lots for subversive bumper stickers.

  • kevser

    The hypocricy of western newspapers saying that its a matter of principle to be able to print what they want, given their fawning, absolute, and sickening compliance with the unwritten rules of western hegemony is breathtaking.
    How many pictures of dead americans/iraqis have you seen on your TV/front pages?
    The muslims aren’t the only people with political sensitivities.
    The second batch (hundreds) of pictures and videos from Abu Ghraib have been deemed unconsumablee for western people.
    Wheres your liberal outrage now?
    You dont even have the choice whether they should be seen or not.

  • Carl Manaster

    #2 seems pretty clear to me, kind of Cassandra-like. Muslim society leaves women without power, but with the lack of power comes insight; Muslim men, having all the power, do not see the harm they wreak. Power and understanding, but never both together. Power blinds.

  • khanum

    I agree fully with kevser.
    The first image resembles the images of the Grand Turk that terrorized Europe; then some of the others remind me of Ali Baba. The Danes can’t imagine Muslims beyond these two parameters.

  • ummabdulla

    I didn’t look at the cartoons, because I don’t want to see them and I don’t want to discuss them. I understand that you don’t follow Islamic tradition yourself, Michael, and that this issue is right up your alley, but I assume you understand how offensive these cartoons are for Muslims.
    In any case, your post is missing a lot of background, which I’ll try to gve, but I don’t know whether I want to participate in this thread after this post.
    These cartoons were published in the Danish newspaper last September, with the full understanding that they would offend Muslims; in fact, that’s why it was done. This didn’t occur in a vacuum; here is some background about the situation of Muslims in Denmark. Some of this is also taken from The Neurocentric.
    Last year, a radio station in Copenhagen had its license taken away after someone said: “There are only two possible reactions if you want to stop this bomb terrorism – either you expel all Muslims from Western Europe so they cannot plant bombs, or you exterminate the fanatical Muslims which would mean killing a substantial part of Muslim immigrants.”
    Apparently, before publishing them, the newspaper consulted a Danish theologian who advised them not to print them, saying “It will offend Muslims and only cause pointless provocation.”
    This article gives a pretty good explanation about why Muslims were offended, but it’s not only that the Prophet(peace be upon him) was depicted at all; it also was sort of a last straw after a lot of discrimination against and demonization against Muslims.
    So, for no particular reason except to “test the boundaries”, and understanding what the reaction would be, they published them. Muslims objected at the time, and over the next few months, Muslim leaders (ambassadors, etc.) tried to set up a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister to discuss the issue, but were rebuffed. I’ve been hearing about this for months, by the way.
    Recently, a Norwegian Christian magazine printed them. I believe that Danish Muslims asked Muslims around the world to boycott Danish products until they apologized. In any case, a week or two ago, the news and a call for a boycott began spreading around the Arab world (and Muslim world, I guess). Last Friday, some of the imams mentioned it during Friday prayers. In Kuwait, supermarkets started taking Danish products off of the shelves, because people didn’t want to buy them.
    One Danish company, Arla Foods, does about $500 million of business in the Middle East, I believe, and their sales came to a halt. This was all people were talking about around here, but I guess it wasn’t really reported in the U.S.
    Some pharmacies also took Danish medicines off their shelves, including isulin, since they have alternative products. I’ve seen bloggers who read that and then wrote that we Muslims were letting our diabetic patients die! I often read things that make me realize that some people are so completely ignorant that they see Muslims as some kind of sub-humans. (And these cartoons feed into that…)
    Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark, I think, and Libya did something like that. In Kuwait, the Danish Ambassador was un-invited to the ceremony where the new Amir took the oath of office.
    Somewhere around this time, the newspaper made a half-hearted apology, which didn’t really say they regretted publishing the cartoons. By this time, the Danish Prime Minister was also sort of saying that he was sorry for the offese caused, but still holding on to the “Free Speech” banner…
    I heard him speaking today in a pretty patronizing way, trying to explain to the ignorant Muslims what “free speech” is, and how “they even criticize me!” as if we just couldn’t understand it.
    The thing is, we know that there is no absolute freedom of the press in the West. There are all kinds of restrictions, whether it’s racist or Nazi diatribes, Holocaust denial, coverage of the Royal Princes William and Harry before they reached adulthood, publishing names of rape victims or juveniles charged with crimes, informing French readers that their President had a mistress and a teenaged daughter, speech which “incites hatred” or whatever.
    As someone on the BBC put it: “When it offends Europeans, it’s a crime. When it offends Muslims, it’s Free Speech.”
    As news of the boycott spread to Europe, newspapers in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands also printed the cartoons. Given the tense atmosphere by then, this was nothing more than intentionally giving us (Muslims) the finger. It also bolstered the widespread opinion that the West is in a war against Islam.
    At some point, there was violence in Gaza, where gunmen took over an EU office or something. THEN it was reported more widely, and the news that everyone saw was the gunmen or burning flags, without any context (as is typical).
    My own view is that it’s hypocrisy to talk about Freedom of Speech as the most important thing in the world, and that I certainly have the freedom not to buy Danish products. I’m not shooting guns or burning any flags, but I’m not buying any more Lurpak butter or Puck Cheese. If they love their Freedom of Speech so much, let them pay the consequences.

  • weisseharre

    fine art

  • ummabdulla

    Sorry, I forgot one important thing. Muslim Wakeup is a website that has nothing to do with practicing Muslims. They’re in the business of ridiculing Muslims who actually try to follow Islam, which makes them popular in the Western media, but it’s NOT the place to go for Islamic information or opinions.

  • Bernhard

    @ummabdulla – Thanks for your explanation. I agree. Please understand that this rassist assault on generalized muslim is not a universal stand in Europe. The rght wing papers that publish these are not the majority.

  • PMMJ

    I had a different take on #2. Still don’t have a great hold on it, but there’s something there.
    The women have everything covered but their eyes, and the man has everything uncovered, except his eyes. They have a greater anonymity, but he’s the one that needs it.

  • black dog barking

    The women (nothing but eyes) and the man (everything but eyes) in cartoon #2 are, together, a yin and yang. The women are confined and repressed by their dress, granted little contact with the world. Contrast the man’s freedom, free flowing garments and facial hair, nothing stopping his practiced hand should he decide to put the blade to use. Abundant paradox: the nurturing yang force of the women is barricaded in black, midnight’s yin wears white. Seems a pretty volatile relationship, many instabilities.
    The 2003 movie Osama tells the story of a 12 year old Afghan girl trying to pass as a boy. Very disturbing viewing experience for this midwestern American. The starkness of the girl’s world, the bleak limits of her future, the absence of even the possibility of personal choice … this is not the world I know.
    It’s not clear why the women’s eyes are so wide. I’m not reading fear. Astonishment?

  • Smasher

    Ummabdulla: I’m really glad you gave us more context here. I found the cartoons offensive, too, but I have little to no understanding of Islam, so I can’t speak to the specifics. They did have a stilted, stereotypical feel to them, which is what I didn’t like. And as images they looked clumsy and ill thought-out. They didn’t work graphically or stylistically, and their meaning and message was very muddled and ill-conceived. (Note Michael’s confusion over the first image; I’m confused by it, too.) It’s asking for trouble to want to address an inherently controversial subject–how Islam is perceived in the west–and present it in such a clumsy, heavy-handed, deliberately confrontational way.
    It’s interesting that the paper sought advice from religous groups and still published the cartoons anyway. That means that they were asking for controversy. Well, they got it.
    I have trouble understanding why this escalated into an international incident, though. If you have issues with the paper or with its publisher, that’s one thing, and that’s totally legitimate. But the Danish government isn’t responsible, and the Danish people aren’t responsible, and it looks like they’re caught in the middle. Asking the Danish government to apologize for the actions of an independent newspaper–it doesn’t make sense to me. And asking the government to police how the people perceive Islam doesn’t make sense to me, either. There must be other, more effective venues for accomplishing that, if that is your goal. Start with the theologians who rejected the cartoons before they were published.
    It’d be a different story if the press were a direct apparatus of the state, and if the state were implicitly (or explicitly) condoning and/or encouraging hate speech and violence toward Muslims. But it doesn’t look like that’s the situation here, and that’s not how the press operates in western-style democracies.
    Regarding the radio station: its license was taken away. So it looks as if the government is on record as punishing hate speech on its airwaves. (Again, I don’t know how it works in Denmark; in the US, private companies lease the airwaves from the government, and are given license to broadcast. I’m assuming there’s a similar arrangement in Denmark.)
    Citizens elect state leaders, so state leaders are citizens in temporary jobs, serving until the people kick them out again. The government can regulate commerce and pass laws, but the government isn’t in the business of censoring the press or the people. (In the US, this concept is “prior resraint”–suppressing the publication of a piece, rather than punishing it after it’s published. Prior constraint is against the law.)
    The press serves as a watchdog on the government; that makes for a very uneasy relationship between them. (It frequently gets corrupted–it’s hard to make a case that Fox News in the US is much more than a propaganda machine for the conservative movement disguised as legitimate news, just as it’s often difficult to figure out whether the role of mass media is to present the news, or sell advertising space to corporations.)
    I’d like to know more about how this Danish newspaper is perceived. Is it frequently critical of the government, or of the president/prime minister? Is it a tabloid? If so, then maybe this controversy was a chance for government officials to distance themselves from the paper and let the paper get some heat for its actions. And maybe some bureaucrats are in no mood to apologize for the actions of this particular paper. (It’d be like asking the US government to apologize for something published by the Church of the Creator or the Ku Klux Klan. Asking them to do that implies they indorse it or are responsible for it in the first place.) If anything, letting the paper take the heat reinforces the heirarchy–or lack of heirarchy–between government and the press.
    A boycott makes sense to me, because that’s a chance to punish a company for advertising in this particular paper. That would bring additional pressure to bear in a well-focused way. But turning it into an international incident… I think that implies a basic misunderstanding of the relationship between the government and the press in western democracies.

  • ghostsmachine

    I’m riffing on a few ideas for some cartoons.
    One depicts a large pig wearing a Star of David slitting the throat of a young Palestinian girl. Another shows Jesus in fatigues brutally raping and sodomizing a Japanese schoolgirl while other soldiers look on and laugh. I have this one hilarious idea where the Dalai Lama sits down and smokes crack with some whores while high fiving Chinese soldiers busying themselves torturing Tibetans. Another portrays Native Americans as drunks and pedophiles. It’s a rich field this portrayal of religious icons and hey – it’s funny stuff right?
    Course, these aren’t necessarily insightful or even accurate portrayals of the majority of these people, but heck, it sure is easier on my noggin and since most of them have allowed whatever cultural definitions they may have had to be assimilated into “market forces” who’s gonna bitch and whine except some nutbar extremists?
    Yes, “Freedom of Speech” now comes full circle into broad strokes of ignorance and lack of respect for *anything*. It is astonishing to me that European newspapers could be so ignorant and insensitive. Truthfully though, it could be argued that you yourself are perpetuating this by showing these too.
    FWIW, I’m not a religious person; but I understand and appreciate that many religions caution the use of imagery to depict their prophets. I would even go so far to say that this is an essential wisdom of these religions and that it is the individuals responsibility to supply their *own vision* of their prophet. Consider the immense freedom of that.
    Emmanuel Todd writes in After the Empire about universalism and the necessity of it during the Cold War – why it was useful to be perceived as a culture of inclusion for most western nations. Well – that’s out the window now ain’t it?
    Just curious – How many people think these same rag sheets would have the backbone to publish the cartoon ideas I wrote of above?

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Let me see if I have your view correct:

    1. It is justified to hold the entire nation of Denmark responsible for the small minority that published these cartoons.
    2. It is unjustified to hold the Ummah responsible for the small minority that commits acts of terror.

    What makes these two cases different?
    Also, I read through your link and I have to say, any such discussion that avoids any mention of Salman Rushdie, Theo Van Gogh and Hirsan Ali is one that being very disingenious.
    Further, the claim that Jesus Christ isn’t routinely disrespected is bogus. Leaving aside the standard examples (Piss Christ, Chris Olifi’s Virgin Mary and Last Temptation of Christ), one need only consider things like South Park or various thirts.
    “rassist [sic] assault”? When did Muslim become a race?

  • BEG

    There’s two things to remember here: there are two different groups pursuing political ends with this incident.
    The first are conservative elements in Europe who want to stop or eliminate immigration to Europe. So they push for publication of these cartoons as an in-your-face thing to people who have been enduring all kinds of anti-immigrant discrimination so far and who therefore react, as U. points out, more to the political context than to the religious context.
    The second, however, is the perfect willingness of anti-western imams to use this to whip up anti-western sentiment. The response of muslims in Gaza, for example, has little to do with the political situation in Europe and everything to do with the political situtation in the Middle East.
    Between both of these kind of opportunists, the reaction and responses to these cartoons has been fanned far higher than they ever would have been withiout the fanning — ON BOTH SIDES — of intolerant bigots.
    Ain’t nobody clean in all of this.

  • Igor

    ghostmachine, we must be looking at different cartoons. I didn’t see any killing or torture or pedophilia on any of those 12 cartoons. You come off sounding disingenuous to me.
    Since I’ve been reading this site, I don’t think I’ve agreed with anything AOG has said. Until now. He’s 100% right on this one.
    I’m dumbfounded that a few cartoons can cause this much trouble. I have to work really hard to imagine any case where such outrage over something like this makes any sense. I’m sure I’d be pretty offended if we discovered the picture #1 was actually a doodle drawn by President Bush. I don’t think any of these cartoonists are commanders-in-chief of nuclear powers or large standing armies.
    The reaction to these cartoons tells me more about those who are offended than about the cartoonists or the papers that printed them. And it’s not pretty.

  • Doctor Biobrain

    Cartoons are against my non-religion. I have closed my Bagland embassy and will boycott this website until tomorrow. I hope you’re happy.

  • Shaun

    First of all, I agree that the cartoons were published as a political provocation, which is obviously reprehensible (as is the quality of the art work…).
    That said, give it some context: Here’s a link at the anti-defamation league that tracks the deluge of anti-semitic cartoons issuing from Middle-Eastern newspapers all the time, including a few cartoons published in response to the Danish cartoons (ghostmachine, your images are truly passe, check out some of this stuff!).
    In general I agree with annoyingoldguy: I don’t think anybody would have even noticed this stuff (are the cartoons even saying anything interesting?) if the demagogues hadn’t puffed it up on both sides.

  • tina

    It’s interesting to me that the cartoons are more than a little self-conscious. The cartoonist cowering over the sketchboard is one example. Another has “public relations stunt” printed right on it. The line-up of Muhammed wanna-bes in the police station shows that there are different ways to depict Muhammed, all of them based on stupid Western stereotypes, since we have no idea what he looked like. One cartoonist depicts himself holding a drawing of Muhammed as an unidentifiable stick figure with a beard.
    It’s clear the cartoonists even knew that this was a really pointless exercise in provocation and stereotyping. Note the cartoon showing Muhammed wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and the other showing him as kind of a beatnik with a halo. There’s an undercurrent of resentment on the part of the cartoonists (I understand they were required to take part in this project, as employees of the newspaper), it’s obvious to the cartoonists themselves that they cannot draw Muhammed without resorting to all the negative popular images of Muslims; beards, bombs, veiled women, crazy eyes and all the rest of it, adding insult to injury.
    I think that’s why nobody is talking about most of the cartoons. The Danes are normally relatively generous and fair minded people in my experience who have welcomed many immigrants. I think only a couple of these cartoonists enjoyed their appointed task, and these couple produced the cartoons everybody is talking about.
    The rest of the cartoons are tongue-in-cheek, even if they were volunteered, their purpose is to undercut the assignment. Like the Sultan saying to his henchmen, “Calm down guys, it’s just a cartoon from the south-west of Denmark”, in other words, even the cartoonist is saying “Please. ignore this, it’s not important”.
    I think this should not be ignored when discussing the cartoons.
    There’s also nothing profound about the veiled women or their expressions in the 2nd cartoon. The A**wipe just wanted to stick some oppressed females in there.

  • tina

    Also notice the words on the blackboard which the jeans-wearing “student Muhammed” is pointing to: “these journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs”. I mean, really, how much more obvious can the cartoonist be about what he thinks of the assignment???
    Also some of the “Muhammeds” in the police lineup are blondes, redheads, and Chinese, some wearing Western clothes. The thing they have in common is they are wearing turbans and bloodthirsty expressions. I believe this is more of a comment on the inanity of negative stereotyping than a use of the same.
    I think a majority of these cartoonists were trying in not so subtle ways to slap the editor’s face for his stupid idea, which was just designed to create another problem in the immigrant community.

  • tina

    And in the line-up cartoon, two of the “suspects” are women. I don’t think the cartoonist is trying to say Muhammed could have been a woman. What do others think of this? I’m sure its very insulting to Muslims, even the hint that Muhammed could be female.
    The more I see these, the more subversive I find them, except for three of them….the first two, and the “no more virgins” cartoon (just dumb). Do others find them subversive also?

  • ghostsmachine

    So the bomb on the head represents happiness and joy? If it doesn’t “symbolize” violence and mayhem, one of us completely misses the point of this web site. It’s about reading into the image isn’t it?
    Well – just consider my takes on “fun with religion” to be the short cut.
    Theoretically, based on your blase “what’s the big deal” attitude, you wouldn’t mind images of Native American pedophilia or Jesus raping schoolgirls. Its just a picture right? Since *you* fail to appreciate or respect the value systems of a group you dont belong to and apparently ascribe to that value system which says “anything goes”, then let me ask you – is there *anything* that’s not “okay”?
    If I post a photo on the Internet of someone who bears a striking resemblance to your mom on her hands and knees doing pornographic with small animals, you wouldn’t have a problem right? Is that too personal for you? Cuz, see BEG, I kind of perceive ones religion as being you know – deeply personal.
    Are you saying that it’s no biggie to post flyers of rats with big yellow Star of Davids on them, cuz hey, there’s no killing or anything?
    Wow. How civilized and enlightened.
    If you dont understand why some groups would prefer that their cultural or religious identities not be defined by outsiders, you dont understand the insult.
    *ANY* practicing Muslim will find the imagery of a bomb wearing Mohammed deeply offensive. Full stop.
    This does not excuse moronic Arabs denigrating Jews.
    Its funny to me that most westerners dont want their political systems identified with any religious affiliations (no onward Christian soldier here!…), but when it comes to Arab countries, theres really only one violent, backward, crazed religion to draw from isn’t there?

  • adam

    More cartoons, plenty of additional pages:
    ‘Hate speech’ is a nebulous concept. Speech that incites to hatred or violence … but incites in whom? Few people claim that -all- speech is (or should be) free, but if the limits are ’speech that incites hatred’, that is -not- ’speech that violates a religious precept.’ So the prohibition against depicting Mohammed is irrelevant. Your religious creed cannot affect my speech. You can hope for, but not demand, respectful discourse.
    I would be livid at an editorial cartoon in the States which approvingly depicted the lynching of an African-American. I wouldn’t expect the -government- to apologize, though, or condone any act of violence, but I’d certainly consider boycotting. If this is offensive to Muslims, then of -course- they have every right to boycott, just like Christians can boycott stores that offend them with ‘Happy Holidays’ or whatever.
    The right not to be offended doesn’t exist. The right to not buy whatever you choose not to buy, though … that’s a good one.

  • bergo

    According to Wikipedia the people in th line up are not all supposed to be Muhammad. Being unfamiliar with Danish politics and culture, I can’t say these identifications are correct but here is what Wiki has to say:
    “A police line-up of seven people, with the witness saying: “Hm… jeg kan ikke lige genkende ham” (“Hm… I can’t really recognise him”). Not all people in the line-up are immediately identifiable. They are: (1) A generic Hippie, (2) politician Pia Kjærsgaard, (3) possibly Jesus, (4) possibly Buddha, (5) possibly Muhammad, (6) a generic Indian Guru, and (7) journalist Kåre Bluitgen, carrying a sign saying: “Kåres PR, ring og få et tilbud” (“Kåre’s public relations, call and get an offer”)”

  • bergo

    Or more accurately those are the people they’re representing as muhammad.

  • Mr. B

    The flag of Danes, a christian cross, is burned by Muslim protestors. Do these cross and flag burners see this symbolically as an anti-christian defilement? Do they equate it with the cartooning? Seems no one is talking about the cross/flag burning as somehow being equally offensive, in a religious context. Burning crosses. Burning flags. Even in America where one would think these would touch a lot of nerves, it is not being discussed as such. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is good not to get too worked up about any of this. It is just seems oddly generally unilaterally interpreted, when, there seems to be such symmetry.

  • jt from BC

    The BAG has just served up the biggest meal to date-like UMMABDULLA I don’t know if I want (have enough skill or time) to dine. ( but I hope she hangs in here)
    I will perhaps just pick away as I cannot follow DOCTOR BIOBRAIN’S advice and close my embassy.
    JENNY said; “i find cartoon #9 to be the most fascinating, perhaps because i can’t read the words. but artistically it is very compelling to me.”
    I see # 9 as Zionism Vs Islam/Islam vs Zionism.
    In its simplicity I find it both compelling and artistic as well.
    1) THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS—Samuel P. Hungington
    2) Bernard Lewis—-The Roots Of Muslim Rage.
    In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, interest in Lewis’s work surged, especially his 1990 essay The Roots of Muslim Rage. Lewis is also known for his literary sparrings with the late Professor Edward Said of Columbia University, who critiqued Orientalist scholarship (of which he claimed Lewis’s work was a prime example) in his seminal 1978 book, Orientalism.
    (Unfortunately Edward Said died last year)
    I visualize both of these Academic Zeus like characters with agents and publishers competing over the rights to use # 9 on the cover of an inevitable reprint of their classic works ?
    These cartoons serve as a rerun of 911 in Academia and will energize the neocons who will use these Professors as cover/camouflage in the great verbal babble of ‘GWOT’.
    They have probably popped the champagne at the AEI an organization which GWB ” calls his base “.

  • John RainShadow

    I look forward to BAG’s discussion of Piss-Christ.

  • lytom

    Ummabdulla I find your comments and information very important. Thank you. It should be noted how conveniently the background information is not included in the media when these issues come up.
    Kvesar I agree with your comments. Again the standards toward publishing are not evenly applied, they are lopsided for the one side. How convenient and still better when the public is blind to the uneven scales and are convinced that this is “freedom” and “a right” to insult others.
    I find it really strange that so called “political correctness” is suddenly nonexistent when it comes to protection of human rights and questioning of governmental policies and actions.
    I am amazed how many stories have come up in media reporting the abuses, (just to mention few: treatment of prisoners and koran in the US Guantanamo prison, the burning of bodies in Afghanistan by US military, the bombing of civilians, the arrests of women in Iraq, Abu Graib…) and yet the outrage and reaction are invisible in the United States and in Europe.
    What I find ironic is that the boycott and protests, hitting Denmark and hopefully other countries, who do not respect and defend human rights is being painful and is producing a reaction! Maybe it is the beginning of unity, I hope, against the evil.

  • Martin GL

    Hi guys, I’m Danish. Allow me to translate.
    Number 9 is a rhyme. It says:
    the Prophet who is crazy
    and who keeps women under the yoke.
    But there is a silly double entendre here, because the phrase used for “being crazy” contains two words that are also slang for cock and fucking, and the thing with the women becomes very sexual.
    That having been said, I have no idea what the drawing is supposed to be.
    In number 8, the guy is saying, “I can’t quite recognize him.”

  • jt from BC

    MARTIN GL, thanks for the translation which adds some doubt to my initial interpretation HOWEVER do you not clearly see the Star Of David and The Crescent of Islam ?
    1) The Star of David (Hebrew Magen David or Mogen Dovid מגן דוד, Arabic Najmat Dawuud نجمة داوود), also known as Solomon’s Seal or the Seal of Solomon (Ashkenazi Hebrew, Shield of David, Arabic Khatam Sulayman خاتم سليمان), is a generally recognized symbol of Judaism and Jewish identity,
    2)The star and crescent is a well-known symbol of Islam It features prominently on the flags of many countries in the Islamic world.
    Can anyone linguists or others add possible nuance’s to this rhyme ?

  • lightkeeper

    When I first heard about this, my instant reaction was “defend free speech”! But as I learned more about the cartoons and the unbelievably orientalistically fantastical images (especially the first one with the bomb – could they make him look more pissed off and frightening?), I couldn’t help but feel immensely sad about the whole ordeal. I agree with U. that this was published simply to provoke an outrageous response from Muslims – something which they have largely succeeded at. And if the images hadn’t been republished to show ’solidarity’ (gimme a break) with the Dane publishers, then this wouldn’t have blown up as much as it has. I don’t think U. was arguing that the Danish people should apologize to Muslims. What has happened is the same as with the Rushdie Affair – everyone’s getting amped up for a ‘clash of civilizations’ (don’t we love that phrase?).
    This incendent however is qualitatively different from the Rushdie one. His was a serious piece of literature – which didn’t try to satisfy the Europeans with stereotypical and oriental notions of Muhammad – while these cartoons just seem like a ridiculuously stupid and considerably amateurish attempt at rousing religious outrage.
    I also don’t agree with BEG that this is more a political rather than religious matter. Those protesting in the Middle East, while perhaps being fanned by their Imams, are not doing this for political reasons. Islam trumps everything for Muslim: it isn’t a part of your life, it is your life. Of course, this is my view of it because that’s how I was brought up (although I’m now a crazy mix of agnostic-bhuddist-marxist ideology..haha). In any case I can see why and how this would be so troubling to Muslims, which is what makes me doubt that it is more a political rather than a religious issue.
    And finally, I agree with Kevser about the hypocrisy journalists display when what they’re writing about doesn’t affect their lives in the same way as others. So, its free speech to publish orientalist images of a prophet (and at such an ‘explosive’ time at that) but its not okay to acknowledge – let alone accurately report on – the tremendous amount of rape, murder, war and genocide which occurs directly or indirectly with the very real but unspoken support of the West. Whether we are willing to face up to it or not, we all have blood on our hands…If we can’t acknowledge this basic truth – let alone do something about it – we really can’t bring up the dead horse we like to smugly call ‘freedom of speech’.
    That’s enough ranting for now…

  • noneofyourbusiness

    Censor the western media.

  • Susan Murray

    Thanks ummabdulla! I was so confused by this whole issue. What do the Right-wing Danes have to gain from this kind of hate mongering? It’s as if the Post started running images of some kind of black/jesus/sambo cartoon… I still don’t know why this happened.

  • Cactus

    As an atheist, I don’t have skin in this game… least until the bullets start flying (oh, that’s right, they already have). However, I’m also a pragmatist. If a cartoonist pens a square about jesus as a cloned sheep and newspapers refuse to print it, we call it censorship and scream freedom of speech. If a publication solicits cartoons of jesus over the objections of evangelicals & born-agains, and then publishes them, is it freedom of speech? Or is the publication singling out a specific religion for ridicule? What if it were a jewish publication?
    I heard someone on BookTV talking about melting pots and when he was talking to someone in (either denmark or the netherlands) about their homogeneous society, they objected saying that there is a whole colony of germans in that city over there that arrived in the 1500’s. We have about 300 years of assimilation in this country and look at the mess we are in. Suddenly there is massive immigration into these small countries and they are reacting.
    And I would question whether the original premise was that no muslim was willing to illustrate a book. These cartoons are closer to political cartoons than to book illustration. Sounds like that is a fall-back excuse by the publication. All but a couple of them are extremely derogatory and offensive. Perhaps americans can imagine them with black faces to see just how offensive they are. My guess is that the paper knew very well that these cartoons would reach a favorable audience in their readers.
    Also, the artwork (sic?) is pedantic and typical of propaganda. Looks like the top tier of cartoonists didn’t want to touch this one. Or maybe tina was right that some of the cartoonists were giving the bird to the editor/publisher without risking unemployment.
    Another aspect to this is majority/minority. The flap over “christ, pissed” (if that was the name of it) at the new york museum was just silly because one artist was ‘insulting’ 80% of the americans who consider themselves christian. And they lived through it with no harm done. That isn’t true when the majority ridicules the minority, because the majority usually has (theoretically) power over the minority.
    I appreciate ummabdulla’s contribution since it obviously was not an easy subject for her. It was good background of a subject just way off the radar in this country. Actually, denmark is pretty much off the radar here, too. Americans are loathe to relinquish their self-centeredness.

  • janinsanfran

    Ummabdulla has confirmed what I expected: this controversy was set off intentionally by Danish anti-immigrant forces — and now everyone is playing out expected roles in a predictable bit of political theater.
    I wish all our religions could teach us how to break such patterns. But if there is such a thing as a “good” side in any of these conflicts, it is always that of the people who lack power, who can not defend themselves from the more powerful — in this case Muslim immigrants to Europe. They have been dissed and they know it. It is up to the rest of us to take the lead in breaking the cycle by repudiating the use of images to set off violence.

  • jt from BC

    Snoopy, “I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.”
    …or some, many or very many of us regardless of the words we use, pictures we draw or concepts conceived to cover our ignorance, fear or hatred.
    “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
    Johann von Goethe.
    “People are only mean when they’re threatened, and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does.”
    Mitch Albom.
    “I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”
    Booker. T. Washington.
    As an agnostic which I consider as ‘an atheist in training’, this is the best I can offer and also commend UMMABDULLA for her contribution especially the blog link article which I found inspiring.

  • tardigrade

    I am way too cynical about religion – had way too much of it as a child and went to a catholic college. So, from my western perspective and art background my critique of the drawings, from a political cartoon standpoint, are ‘fair.’
    The first one is stylistically interesting in that the treatment of the hair, the light orange coloration in the cheeks and the fuse to the very dark black of the old fashioned bomb, gives it some depth but still very 19th century. And, taken in the context of being an illustration from the past, the facial features are less incendiary as they would be for a drawing illustrated in todays style. My first impression of this image was a man with an explosive temper – nothing else.
    My impression of the two women who are restricted from everything, but can only witness the man who can do anything but does so without vision, strikes me more of a pointed political statement then the others.
    Well, now that the world has seen these images and the images of people who are mad about them, we are left with a lot of questions. None of the drawings, that I could tell, depicted their prophet. They only made references to those who are of that faith. Which leaves me wondering the exact reason for all of this stuff going on….
    I understand how images of groups can depict and demean races and ethnic groups, I also understand how words and actions can illustrate conscious reality. But, I have trouble understanding gun shaking over mostly mediocre cartoons.
    As ‘khanum’ wrote there were cases of other types of religious problems that preceded the cartoons. The explosive nature of the ‘protests’ still make me wonder about the use by the religious leaders of the images. I would more understand all of this with a ‘real human’ incident. There are many real blasphemies happening all over the world; the conditions of wars, disease, and hunger, that truly deserve yelling, burning flags, shaking guns, etc…

  • readytoblowagasket

    I think it’s sad that such bad art could cause so much misplaced upset. As *illustrations* they are clearly ignorant of their subject matter, they are immature in content, simplistic. Some of these are no more than logos. They are just plain stupid. Not clever, not witty, not complex, not even representative of what they claim they are (like “political”). Not to be taken seriously or inbued with value they *don’t* have. But obviously it’s too late for that option. And so now they do have value. Now, any legitimate claims of discrimination against Muslims have been transformed into a free speech issue. See how that works? When something has no valid content? You can put any content into it you like.

  • Venus Bjornson

    I think some people have a hard time understanding cartoons. They are not like photographs at all, of course. The Arab with the bomb in his turban, for example, is a straightforward anti-Western parody, if anyone hasn’t noticed.
    Sure, I’m as anti-Muslim as I’m an anti-Semitic and anti-Christian (all religions being equally evil, as faith is the antithesis of reason), but I just don’t see any ill will in the image at all. Good cartoons are not meant to put forth the views of the cartoonist, but to bring forth the views of the viewer of the cartoon. The reaction of Muslim viewers to the cartoons is what the cartoons are about, not the actual contents of the cartoons themselves. Hilarious. I highly doubt there is an anti-Muslim among these cartoonists; they are simply doing their job and riling the emotions of their viewers as they are supposed to do.
    As for ummabdulla, you are a bigot and a racist. Boycotting Danish products, produced by individuals with absolutely no connection to the papers or the cartoonists in question, is the height of hypocrisy. The Danish government does not run any presses, unless I’ve missed something. Why not boycott Japanese electronics makers? They have as much to do with these cartoons as Danish butter manufacturers do. Get a grip.

  • Venus Bjornson

    Upon second reflection, however, I must admit a strain of anti-Arab sentiment in these drawings, which appears somewhat more subtle than the anti-Islam aspects. On that I come down hard with a vengeance: those who target Arabs en masse deserve worse than death, in my opinion.
    Religion, by its nature, is chosen. Race is not. Anyone who does not have the strength of reason to disavow their race’s and culture’s religion deserve whatever ridicule they buy into, but the more I look at these images the more I see racism, and as another commenter noted, replacing them with “negro” caricitures from America’s past gives me a greater understanding of the impact these images have. Of course, as those very retro-negro devices are hardly offensive to most Americans (of any color) in this day and age (anyone check eBay recently?), one must wonder how advanced the Muslim sense of humor really is.
    I guess I can’t imaging being offended by any anti-Atheist cartoons, but, then, Atheists are hardly as insecure as theists subconsciously are, so maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time “feeling” it. I just don’t feel offended when people try to offend me, that’s all. I just laugh and have a little humility, just as many Christians had with the anti-Christian imagery that the NEA is so infamous for supporting. It’s only the tight-asses that have a problem with art and cartooning, and largely because they are completely uneducated as to how to appreciate it (hint: it’s not real). However, tight asses are tight for a reason: they have internal hang-ups (like most theists) that they have to vent on the rest of the world.
    Hopefully one day all these tight asses will expell their wind and bring peace to the world, though the wind that is expelled will be of such magnitude that our current global warming problems will pale in comparison.

  • ummabdulla

    Worth reading: Cartoons and Hypocrisy
    Rights, religion clash in cartoon uproar
    I don’t think anyone asked, but I just wanted to point out that the writing on the bomb in the first picture is the Muslim’s testimony of faith, something we say many times in daily prayers, in the call to prayer, and just anytime: There is no god (nothing worthy of worship) but God (Allah), and Muhammad(peace be upon him) is a messenger of God. So there certainly is a religious element here (as if there was any doubt).
    Practicing Muslims don’t need imams to command them to be angry about this. Whenever we say or write the name of the Prophets (including Jesus), we ask God to send peace and blessings upon them. We don’t worship them, but we do love and respect them.
    Some people have suggested that Arab governments sent their people out to protest, which is laughable if you know anything about Arab governments.
    Bjorn, thanks for the translations, which confirm that the cartoons are disgusting. Your posts are undoubtedly charming, but do you really think I have some obligation to buy Danish products to reward you and your compatriots, most of whom seem to have the same attitude as you? Or your government, which refused to even discuss the matter (until they realized they were going to lose a lot of money)? When I see Lurpak butter next to Saudi butter (if I ever do again), why would I choose the Lurpak? And while you refer to the cartoon as “an Arab”, everyone knows that the newspaper asked cartoonists to draw the Prophet (pbuh).
    As for the “problem” of not being able to find an artist to draw a picture of the Prophet (pbuh) for a children’s book, why didn’t they just do what’s been done many times before? Either draw pictures without showing him (sort of like what was done in the film “The Message”), or just draw him from the back or the side so that his face is not shown.
    Look at the reaction of Danes to seeing their flag disrespected (not that I advocate burning flags). That’s a piece of cloth or paper, and they can’t understand why we’re upset at seeing our religion and our Prophet mocked and insulted?

  • Bret Aldridge

    My interpretation of cartoon #2 seems obvious that the women see clearly what is going on while the men are blind to their violent actions and the repurcussions. I realize that as a Christian, there are many things I do not understand about the Islamic faith, but as a human being I can understand the anger of perceived injustice, which can lead to extreme action in the form of violence. This is only the weaker side of humanity, where base feelings such as anger take over when one feels helpless to solve a large problem. I cannot, however, understand anyone who could use a peaceful religion to justify murder and destruction. If anyone commits such acts, it is cowardice to hide behind their religion to do so, and in my opinion they have no honor for the true meaning of Islam. These individuals are merely criminals that have blinded themselves that their actions will bring about the justice they seek. It will bring about justice, when they stand before God and he sends them to hell.

  • jonst

    Ah, religion and politics. Such certainty. Such self importance. “here are the rules….live , or die, by them”. And then Bush…”you are either with us or against us”. Both give a us ironclad rules to live our lives by. And threats if and when we step off the ’straight and narrow’. Yes, shinning examples both how to live our lives. All the rules, for now and forever, spelled out. How simple.

  • tina

    After reading BL’s translation of cartoon #9…okay, it’s also a dirty joke, but now I really don’t understand it. It looks like there is a star of David in there as well, or is it is just the star in the Muslim crescent?
    Are these figures with helmet-like heads and open crescent mouths now supposed to be women? Four is the allowed number of Muslim wives…there are five figures here?
    Looks kind of sketchy, like it was quickly knocked off…maybe we are spending too much time on it. Possibly the dirty joke is all there is.

  • jt from BC

    TINA, “Possibly the dirty joke is all there is.”
    I too would like to write the whole thing off as a Western grandiose exercise in Stupidity, Hate, Vulgarity and Hypocrisy but I’m having difficulty …
    Should we read (#9) then as an exercise in scatology applying equally to Jews and Muslims, the cartoonist as equal opportunity hate monger, these identified groups being responsible for importing all their problems to Europe, for which the Danes sounded the most recently color coded hate alert…about Muslims.
    You are aware of the historical importance of the occupation of Palestine as a crucible for East-West conflicts, and of course ‘The Clash Of Civilizations’ theories, a certain Leader who rescinded a few hours later that a new Crusade (implication Christian) was underway after 911. ( “strike that from the record”, says the judge in court parlance as the defense lawyer grins )
    If you haven’t, consider reading Ummabdulla’s first link, a very precise guide to a very profound issue.
    Venus Bjornosan, most atheists I know and those ‘in training like me’ (agnostic) don’t consider it a badge of honor to be anti-semitic or anti-any religious group, I’m not certain we feel more secure or have better developed sphincter muscles either.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Venus Bjornson, I’m amazed by how you avoided saying one reasonable thing in your entire emotional rant on reason. It’s like you’re like a caricature of yourself. Fascinating.
    I also like the idea of the cartoonist as pure transmitter of societal idiosyncrasies and follies, whose cartoons reflect not himself but *me* and the complete stranger wearing a turban next to me at the bus stop. All that in a little drawing! That fuckin’ blows my mind.

  • SomeDane

    “Number 9 is a rhyme. It says:
    the Prophet who is crazy
    and who keeps women under the yoke.
    But there is a silly double entendre here, because the phrase used for “being crazy” contains two words that are also slang for cock and fucking, and the thing with the women becomes very sexual.”
    I’m sorry, but no. There’s no double entendre at all. It just seems crude, and like he just wanted to get it done, because he thought it was entirely silly and thought “if they want to be provocative, I’ll give them provocative”. At least, that’s my take on it, but I do not know who this artist is, or what his other work includes.

  • smallrat

    I don’t recall ever seeing any anti-jewish cartoons come up for “analysis” on this site, but of course it’s become acceptable to insult muslims and islam. that acceptablity, under the cover of the “freedom of speech” arguement is what the danish newspaper was trying to promote. and what racist websites like stormfront argue with their “dumb nigger” cartoons.
    unfortunately bagnewsnotes has chosen to hop along this bandwagon. in your case it’s casual liberal bigotry, but of course you guys aren’t bigots at all. you’re just “analysing” the images.

  • Mad_nVT

    Wow- it looks like we truly do have a Clash of Civilizations. Mix religions, oil, blindness, stupidity, anger, greed and conquest. Add a firecracker.
    This should provide the opportunity for a few glorious Crusades and many heroic crusaders.
    Sept 11 in New York and March 18, 2003 in Iraq were just the opening salvos.

  • SomeDane

    “of course it’s become acceptable to insult muslims and islam. that acceptablity, under the cover of the “freedom of speech” arguement is what the danish newspaper was trying to promote.”
    Who told you this? Whoever it was, was not quite up to speed with what this whole thing was about. It’s all about the fact that writers/cartoonists and other public people were getting afraid to void their opinion – any opinion – on Islam. This is a serious problem in a democracy, and Jyllands Posten wanted to shed some light on this problem. These cartoons should never have crossed the borders of Denmark, as they were part of a debate happening in Denmark, which was very reasonable, and not at all about offending Muslims.

  • The BAG

    Getting back to the images themselves… I’m also not sure how far one can read into number nine, but I think it might hold a little more meaning than what we’ve come up with so far. 
    1. Martin GL and SomeDane tell us that it says:
    the Prophet who is crazy
    and who keeps women under the yoke

    with “being crazy” having sexual connotations.
    2.  Tina asks the following questions:
    It looks like there is a star of David in there as well, or is it is just the star in the Muslim crescent?  Are these figures with helmet-like heads and open crescent mouths now supposed to be women? Four is the allowed number of Muslim wives…there are five figures here?
    If you notice, the top left figure has an “eye” (seeming to comprise an angry, aggressive face) whereas the rest “follow.”  This would suggest that the others are the “four wives.”  As opposed to helmets, I see the rounded element as evoking a turban, with the lines that drop down (some to a point) possibly referencing a headscarf.  (This might be pushing it, but if the artist drew this cartoon vertically, left to right, it would suggest that the head dress of the man was also different — loose fitting, whereas the women’s, at least in the first row, came to a point.) 
    I’m not sure what to make of the Star of David unless it suggests that the women cannot see through it, or as the result of it — whereas the man/husband does (and might be angry as a result).  (If that’s the case, this dynamic would be almost completely opposite of the one in #2, by the way.) 
    Of course, it’s impossible to say how much (even unconscious) intent went into this drawing, especially giving it’s nature as a sketch.  It does seem, however, that the “women” — with the possible exception of the one on the top right — are all pretty passive/unexpressive.  This might very well express a racial stereotype and a slur where these “women” would be blind supplicants to the man, and primarily sex objects.  Along these lines,  notice how the “scarf” of the “man” overlaps the “woman” directly below “him” (and “her” “scarf” directly overlaps the “woman” below “her.”)  I would further suggest this denotes possession (and also pecking order?).  It’s also interesting that the first overlap results in the “woman’s” “eye” being covered.  Because the “woman” doesn’t have her own “eye,” however, the cartoonist might also have been posing that an Islamic women only sees what, as much, or as far as her husband wishes her to see.
    Having said all that, let me say this:
    I do not take the time to analyze this image as an idle exercise.  In this controversy, some of us stake our ground in the Islamic culture, others in the Christian culture.  Ultimately, I stake my ground in the visual culture.  (Otherwise, shame on me for so casually and deliberately publishing these incendiary images.) 
    I honor the deep and troubling problems arising from the terrible strains on the social fabric in Denmark, France, England, etc.  Still, I think these cartoons in and of themselves are not nearly as incendiary as the attitudes and political gestures that inspired their creation, publication and current republication.  And if this blog stands for anything at all, it’s the vital importance of telling, standing for, and articulating the difference.
    I might also add, no matter how controversial any piece of art becomes, we are all lost to the extent we begin to consider any example of art (or visual media) as sign instead of symbol.  With that understanding, and with the power as well as the inherent (and saving) “unspecificity” of art, the Kuwaiti’s, the Danes, the Americans, the Canadians, the British, the Jews, the Muslim’s, the Atheists and the Agnostics can be joined in a unique and profound discussion like this, using the image as a window to see across our differences.

  • jt from BC

    SomeDane, thanks for your comment on # 9 but when did Denmark remove itself from the Global Community, before the Vikings or just recently ?

  • CoyHensley

    All of this over cartoon characters? I laugh at the Muslims who are upset over this, and question the motives of those whom brought it back out into the light. I laugh at any person whom feels it is right and good to demand someone’s head over a freaking cartoon.
    I lose respect for a supposed religion where these acts of violence are justified because of the drawings.
    Rushdee is still alive, the target of threat upon threat. His afront I could almost understand. The lack of execution on the part of those upset with him I am not surprised with at all.
    I could care less about your yammerings over a cartoon. GET OVER IT, and join the real world. You know….the one that you hate.
    I for one am tired of pandering to spoiled children! Bring it, and your pathetic excuse for a life.
    We will take it from you so that you can feel good about your virgins in heaven. Oh, and BTW….virgins are overrated and further proves that the one thing that these people need are Women’s Sufferage.
    Now where did I put those hair clippers? TIme for some of these idiots to get a haircut.
    You tire of the satire? WE COULD NOT CARE LESS. Stop using children and women as shields (Cowards), stand up and fight for your supposed beliefs. We are and will continue to kill you by the thousands otherwise.

  • smallrat

    i see the lunatics from stormfront have already started their migration to the Bag. well, what did we expect? pictures like these cannot “just be analysed”, to pretend so would be foolhardy. And this is the problem with the careless liberal culture that produces and circulates this pictures. it divorces itself from the real world, deeming every subject “academic” and refuses to engage with reality. a reality where people are offended by pictures. and this isn’t relegated to muslims and islam, who remembers the mayor of newyork cancelling an exibition by chris ofili and his elephant dung madonna. the mayor even threatened to cut of funding to the museum. this over a christian image. whether this is right or foolish, the point is that this is the world we live in, liberals deny, or demean this basic fact. idiots like CoyHensley above rejoice in the tensions between cultures, using them as a medium to voice their hatred and ignorance.
    we cannot remove a picture from the context in which it was produced.
    and contrary to what SomeDane implies, although denmark is a “liberal” democracy it is generally a racist society, with a right-wing govt that enforces some of the most discriminatory policies in europe, especially immigration policy. this fact cannot be ignored when considering these pictures.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I feel very strongly that these cartoons *SHOULD NOT* be read out of context. The cartoons themselves were created under very specific circumstances, deep within a festering and ultimately hostile in-house power struggle at the newspaper. The illustrators were certainly well aware of the conflict and could not possibly draw their pictures without qualities of that argument seeping into their work.
    The original publisher saw fit to print the cartoons *despite* being advised against it. This is not just a “bad decision,” nor is it even remotely an act of “free expression.” It was a power play. The minority population in the power struggle lost, as it always does. Not only was it a power play, it was a vindictive one. Muslims have every reason to be upset: the *motive* behind the publication of these cartoons was deliberately malicious.
    Obviously in the broader social context there is a festering animosity and power struggle as well. The spectacular murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2004 must surely have escalated tensions and prejudices that were already in place throughout the region. So if we at BnN overlook the context in which these cartoons were created, we are adding our own ignorance to the problem. These cartoons are inseparable from their context.
    As for the illustrations themselves, surely this particular selection of the cartoons was drawn by men. There seems not to be a single female point of view represented. What is represented in these stereotyped icons is the anger or ignorance of the cartoonists, as well as self-congratulatory self-reference and a preoccupation with how sex works (for men, anyway) within this “strange” closed culture. There is not one new insight presented, not one comparison with the dominant (non-Muslim) Danish culture (maybe excepting the cartoonist at his drawing table smoking a cigarette), no rising above and no stepping back. Hostility informs the drawings, and they ooze with either active or passive animosity toward their subjects.
    I fiercely resent having my own president hijack concepts like “democracy” and “freedom” to use as a camouflage for his narrow-minded and iron-fisted agenda. Likewise, I fiercely resent the Danes and the Europeans for hijacking true “free expression” and bestowing their base purposes and prejudices with that label. It is not just dishonest, it corrupts and confuses (look at all the ugliness that has blossomed in this thread). To study the cartoons merely as an intellectual exercise, without acknowledging the seed of their birth, seems to me to be complicit, and possibly even counter to what we are trying to discover here at BnN.

  • d

    Depictions of Mohammed throughout history

  • Qazedcyhnik

    Hostility informs the drawings, and they ooze with either active or passive animosity toward their subjects.
    I think that’s unfair – the stunt was certainly hostile but not all of the cartoons are. Some are neutral, and three mock the stunt: the two depicting Kåre Bluitgen with snipes about publicity (his claims that illustrators were afraid to depict Mohammed for his upcoming children’s book started the thing – he is shown with a pomegranate in his turban {Danish idiom for a lucky break} and standing at the end of the Mohamed line-up holding a sign advertising PR services), and the one mentioned above of “Muhammad” the schoolboy calling the Jyllands-postens’ journalists “reactionary provocateurs”.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Qazedcyhnik, does Kåre Bluitgen normally wear a turban? Just curious.
    I certainly don’t know Danish idiom, but I’ve read that Bluitgen wrote the children’s book in response to his own children being “intimidated by Muslims” (I don’t know what that entire story is, so I’ve put the claim in quotes) at school. If my children were being intimidated by anyone, I know I couldn’t remain neutral.

  • Tracy

    I do not want to live by the rules of anyone’s religion including Moslems and including the Christian right of the U.S., which some call the “American Taliban.” The American Taliban think they have the right to force public schools to teach the American Taliban’s version of Christianity even though there are Moslems, Jews, Buddhist, Sikhs, Christians of other sects, and nonbelievers in American schools. They think they can suppress and distort science, kill doctors, tell me who I am allowed to love, and dictate what medical procedures and medicines I may have. They will not stop until all Americans agree to abide by their rules and agree that we like their rules. (We won’t.)They are deluded and dangerous tools of George Bush’s megalomania and his cynical, treasury-looting cronies who for their own purposes prefer boiling extremism to reason.
    These Muslim rioters are also deluded and dangerous, and I guess they are the tools of the European right who hoped to light a spark, but instead ignited a bonfire, and of Muslim theocrats who are stoking the flames. (I don’t understand how anyone could say that Danish immigration policy is the cause of the rioting since nobody in Denmark is rioting.) The rioters are not the exact analogue of the American Taliban because the rioters are both tools and victims, whereas the Christian right are tools and victimizers, as when they demonize gay people. On the other hand, the American Taliban lives in a majority-Christian country, and the rioters live in majority-Muslim countries but nevertheless, both claim to be suffering discrimination. Analogue or not, Muslims who do not denounce this current, inexcusable rioting in the strongest terms are either stupid or using it to advance themselves. Do they think they are safe because the mobs are merely burning Western embassies? Maybe it is too late.
    After reading the blog Ummabdula linked to, I understand better the rioters’ anger, but their disproportionate reaction to the cartoons ought to be condemned. Furthermore, the perpetrators of 9/11 and 7/11 claimed to have been guided by Allah. Who dares to say where the bigger insult to Islam lies? . . . Speak up.
    Take a look at the animated cartoons by Shujaat at Al-Jazeera. There is a link at the bottom of the page. More stereotyping? I recognize that the cartoons do not purport to depict Allah, but the Danish drawings seem less offensive after a comparison.

  • jt from BC

    TRACY, I see is a cartoon which:
    1) further depicts the rigidly of Israel’s position of occupation as stated by BIBI and others and that they will not talk with Hamas…PERIOD (as depicted by the soldier, foxhole and digging in. )
    2) Hamas has two choices take the ‘conventional aid’ (which some political commentators say is rent or lease fees for Israel’s present tenancy on “disputed Lands”) or continue to resist.
    They have maintained their cease-fire agreement with Israel for some time now right, not so with other Palestinian groups.
    They pledge to continue to do so but if necessary will look elsewhere for ‘aid’ for they believe that those giving aid are really calling the tune or writing the libretto…might be something in this..?
    The hole in the wall represents Israel’s policy of ongoing “targeted assassinations” which is not a paranoiac expectation even if they maintain their cease fire.
    3) Hamas has stated for that the past 10 years of negotiating ( USA ladder depicts they will not talk either now ) has got them relatively nowhere.
    Their leading spokesmen say its time for Israel to initiate and to offer..the ball is in your court, what will you return, spin, curve, knuckle ball or something we can connect with.
    Remember these guys may not be ‘our’ choice but they have a long record of incorruptibility unlike Fatah.
    3) I see a brief case obviously filled with God knows how many maps and details of past failed negotiations.
    A Flag that confirms them as the democratically elected party formally dressed sitting down to negotiate.
    What I do not see nor recall seeing on Aljazeera are:
    1) Bibi with a Nazi uniform…I’m not saying he is, but his comments are often more incendiary than any cartoon might depict.
    2) hateful depictions of Zionists or Jews of other persuasions, like the thousands of anti-Semitic graffiti in our part of the world which almost always get the MSM attention.
    So my point is context, context, context from a cartoonist who has graphically depicted the importance of location, location, location, like the mantra of real estate salesman the world over.
    I see absolutely no connection between the cartoons you sight.

  • MTK

    You realize that all you Dhimmis are proving is that violence works, don’t you?
    Trust me, more people than just the Muslims are paying attention to the fact that the only way to make sure that people pay attention is to cut some throats.
    You Leftists didn’t gett up in arms about the Piss Chirist, after all. That’s because Christians don’t generally cut off people’s heads when offended.

  • readytoblowagasket

    MTK said: “That’s because Christians don’t generally cut off people’s heads when offended.”
    Right, these days Christians only kill homosexuals and doctors who perform abortions.
    But in the OLDEN DAYS, look out non-Christians!

  • Tracy

    JT: Sorry, I didn’t make myself understood. I thought the objection of some commenters was that the depiction of Arabs by the Danish cartoonists was “Orientalist,” or stereotyped, and I was just trying to point out that the drawing in Al Jazeera was similar. I wasn’t trying to argue any equivalence between the messages at all, and I understood the message about Hamas. What do you think was the message in the other cartoon about Al Zawahri’s “poetry.”

  • MTK

    Good nic. Sounds like it fits you perfectly :-)
    Killing homosexuals isn’t a Christian doctrine, even though some Christians have killed some homosexuals. OTOH, you might want to take a look at how your Muslim friends feel about homosexuals.
    Likewise, while some misguided Christians have shot abortionists or in the one case bombed a clinic, these are rare, and are condemned universally.
    The Palestinians just put Hamas in power. And you folks are worried about offensive cartoons?
    Again, when it was Piss Christ and Christians were offended, the Left screamed about freedom of expression. No one was denying that the artist had the right to piss on a crucifix, only that the Government shouldn’t fund it.
    Seems to me you all should have been as up in arms as the Christians because it was a violation of seperation of Church and State, but that would just be logically consistant.
    These cartoons were offensive to Muslims. So what? Why should they have the right to not be offended? Let alone storm embassies and set buildings on fire.

  • smallrat

    “killing homosexuals isn’t christian doctrine”…More lunacy. MTK have you ever read the old testament of the bible? or are you just being intentionally dimwitted?
    and if you think muslims don’t tolerate homosexuality you obviously know nothing about muslim culture in saudi arabia, or afghanistan.

  • jt from BC

    Tracy, indeed an extremely clever and delightfully humorous cartoon.
    I don’t recall any images of ” W ” be beheaded or dehumanized in any way…help me out here….
    Ayman’s concepts of truth and evil bear uncanny similarities to those of boy George.
    One major difference, the ‘over educated’ cave dweller actually writes poetry but religion serves them well in carrying on crazy crusades.

  • Notorious Apostate

    The fact that the cartoons are offensive to Muslims keeps coming up and is an important point. However, if that was all, the issue would be relatively simple – a bunch of insensitive prats try to make themselves look big by taking on a minority. The reason why I am concerned about the Muhammed cartoons and not about Piss Christ or the other things that have been mentioned is that these particular cartoons vilify. Offending is one thing, vilifying quite another. Doing that to a powerful majority is one thing, doing it to a minority that is already under attack is another.

  • momly

    A little OT here, but there is a lot of anger in some of these posts. I have usually found that if I am angered by something, then there is some truth in it for me. Where’s the truth in this for those of you who are angry?
    Just a thought; ignore if you want…..

  • ummabdulla

    It occurred to me that before I studied Islam, I knew next to nothing about Muhammad (pbuh). I had no idea that there were thousands of reports (hadith) – rigorously authenticated – about what he looked like, said, and did; that we knew where he was born and where he’s buried (in Madinah, in what is now Saudi Arabia), etc. So I should realize that a lot of non-Muslims might not know this either. For anyone who wants to know more, see About the Prophet Muhammad. Obviously, this is from an Islamic point of view, but it might be informative.

  • Coy Hensley

    He was a man.
    A man.

  • ummabdulla

    Yes, he was a man. Who says that he wasn’t?

  • jade

    Ummabdulla, all the context in the world won’t change the fact that you DON’T get to control absolutely everything that anybody does or says absolutely anywhere.
    You DON’T have the authority (or moral standing) to tell people in a country a thousand miles away what to print.
    You still haven’t told us when Arabic-language newspapers plan to apologise for the filth and lies and disgusting cartoons they publish on a regular basis.
    You still haven’t explained why the Danish PM should apologise for something he didn’t do and has no power to control.
    The fact that the editors of the newspaper were being deliberately nasty IS IRRELEVANT. If nastiness were a criterion, all religious texts (which are full of grotesque violence) would have to be banned.
    How DARE you lecture Westerners about how they hurt your feelings while YOU teach hatred.

  • ummabdulla

    Hypocrisy of cartoon architects revealed (with translations from Danish news reports)

  • readytoblowagasket

    jade puts me in mind of Rudyard Kipling:
    “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

  • jt from BC

    JADE, you are obviously a new poster or a very inattentive one on this site. I have not observed UMMABDULLA lecturing on this site nor have seen her make incendiary personal attacks on anyone. Her link like her comments have been informed rational and helpful.
    Your approach might better be directed to blogs where vitriol and slander are the standard fare, for you won’t get away with this type of nonsense here and/or will probably be totally ignored by the awesome sounds of silence.
    Otherwise I’m interested in your opinions but not your hatred try again.
    RTBAG, what a strange coincidence I just finished coping the Kipling work and was going to direct it to AOG in response to one of his statements. I also found ‘FORD O’KABUL RIVER (Project Gutenberg) and concluded that the more things change the more they stay the same.

  • James

    It’s a bit tiring hearing people ask why freedom of expression can permit satirical cartoons, but not say, pedophilia cartoons, or holocaust denial cartoons. People who understand free speech know that:
    1. it can’t be used to condone an illegal action (eg pedophilia, violence, etc)
    2. it can’t be used to say something blatantly and obviously untrue (eg that the holocaust didn’t happen)
    These cartoons are not condoning anything illegal, and I see elements of truth in all of them.
    So if freedom of speech is good enough for Xians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, why is it not good enough for Mohammedans?

  • fallinglady

    James, you have forgotten (conveniently?) a third prohibition to free speech. In a 1919 decision, Justice Holmes argued for an abridgement to free speech for ‘clear and present danger.’ Later clarifications limited this to ‘likely to incite imminent lawless action’ (cf. wikipedia). This is the ‘yelling fire in a crowded theater’ argument of today.
    Since these cartoons were, now admittedly, published specifically to cause an uproar, that seems to fit this occasion.

  • ummabdulla

    James, the religion is Islam (meaning submission to God, or Allah) and its followers are Muslims (which means one who submits). These names have never changed, since they’re in the Quran. “Mohammedan” is an Orientalist term which is offensive.

  • readytoblowagasket

    James said: “So if freedom of speech is good enough for Xians, Jews . . . .”
    Freedom of speech IS NOT “good enough” for ANY religious group! Freedom of speech a *secular* concept. You live in a *secular* society. If you lived in the Vatican City, guess what? You wouldn’t be allowed to say just whatever the hell you wanted.

  • fandi

    fuck ur freedom of speech & fuck u bastards

  • DSPS

    I heard about the cartoons in Oct. and didn’t want to see them, assuming they were meant to offend. Now I’m interested, and this is a fascinating thread here! I’ve just blogged some background on these 15 (!!!) cartoons over at dKos,, and a couple of your questions are answered there. Tho I may not have read every entry here, it does look like you may be missing an important fact. You haven’t seen the worst of the pictures!
    Jyllands-Posten commissioned the 12 cartoons. That is, they hoped to get more, but they got the 12. Four months later, a small group took 15 pictures to the Middle East, showed them around and there were demonstrations. In one of the comments to my entry at dKos I’ve put a link to the additional three pics which were added to cause (more) trouble. Which they did. They are icky, hateful pictures, not art, and I don’t necessarily recommend looking at them. Quite a few people, journalists and bloggers, are trying to find out where two of them came from. One has been explained.
    So there are TWO provocations here. One: the Danish paper and after a while many European papers have been proving their point about “free speech” and provoking the Muslims in Europe. Two: someone purposefully took 12 + 3 pictures to the Middle East and made the Danes look much worse.
    It’s sad. I’m sure that a large majority of all the involved groups would prefer to get along. But there are always the troublemakers.
    BTW, several of the Danish cartoonists have said that they did not like being asked to participate in the stunt; some were angry. If they refused it would look like they were scared. If they said yes there could be trouble. So “Tina” above has understood this very well, even tho she doesn’t recognize a couple of well-known Danish personalities in there :)
    Someone asked above about the paper. It is “neocon”, and the cultural editor Flemming Rose is quite extreme. This was his project. Someone has posted a long article by him as a comment to my post.
    P.S. Just one picture I simply must comment on. My first thought/impression on seeing #2 was: censureship. The black rectangle over his eyes looks like what newspapers do when they aren’t supposed to reveal someone’s identity. Which of course is because of censureship, the opposite of free speech. Can it be because one isn’t supposed to show the face of Muhammad? And then the three similar rectangles balance so nicely.

  • ummabdulla

    I think the issue of the three extra cartoons is a red herring, used by Flemming Rose to claim that the protests across the Muslim world don’t have anything to do with his cartoons, which is ludicrous. The imam from Denmark has said that they prepared a whole pamphlet, and that the other three cartoons were clearly explained as not being from the twelve published by the newspaper. I live in the Middle East, and I don’t know anyone who was talking about those three extra cartoons. Most people haven’t seen any of the cartoons and don’t want to, but they’ve heard descriptions, especially about the one with the bomb in the turban. I have seen them (here), and I can’t say that it’s made any difference in my opinion.

  • DSPS

    Hmmm, I haven’t seen that suggested elsewhere but it’s surely not impossible. And there’s a lot out there which I haven’t read, of course. It’s an unfortunate mess in any case.
    Thank you for answering.

  • Ravn

    Denmark is a secular/mildly christian state. Denmark has it’s own laws. Muslims will have to decide wether they should leave or accept the laws.
    Never have I seen so many “trying-to-be-intellectuals” deliberately choosing to give up on westerern democratic values. Nothing in the world would ever be able to convince you that cultural relativism isn’t always right. Deciding what to print? Hitler would have been proud of you.
    And we are supposed to have learnt the lesson from wwII? Seems like Europe always has to learn the hard way.

  • teutobod teutones

    When one reads how Muslims around the world are offended by this & by that. Sure there may be something to their grievances. But the point is as Christ said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. How many democracies are there in Muslim countries. Very few. Muslims believe in segregation, polygamy, religious intolerance. These are not very admirable traits. Muslims are pushing Christian countries into making policies that are undemocratic and crimes against God. But there will be a reckoning. Muslims do not follow the diplomacy (storming embassies, Iran & Jakarta) practiced by the “civilized” world. Ramming planes into building, ramming boats into ships, blowing up embassies. These are acts of war that Muslim terrorists are doing in the name of Islam and ALL Muslim peoples. How long do you think it will be before a real “Jihad” will forced up us. We know what the outcome will be. There will be no hiding from righteous revenge. You must understand that Christianity and Islam are mortal enemies and the showdown will be coming…

  • orhay

    Could someone kindly remind me of the name of the revered political cartoonist from the middle east who was assassinated in Europe perhaps 20 or so years ago? Throw some names at me…anyone.

  • jtfromBC

    I think this may be your man, Naji Salim al-Ali

  • orhay

    I was so frustrated trying to find this info through google, etc. Although it was through them that I found the bagnews site and figured I’d give it a try. Wow!
    That’s what I call an informative service. Thank you.
    What a truly great man he was! His images had such power. I have yet to find an American cartoonist with the potency and conviction of Naji’s work. I also wonder about the corner characters used by Toles and Oliphant. Perhaps inspired by al-Ali?

  • sarah

    my friend ravn:
    i don’t agree with u that islam and christianity are enemies
    we don’t see as enemies not at all and we are not responseble for the terrorest works this is not islam
    people who do this under the name of islam are not real muslims and they don’t understand what islam about
    islam is the religion of pease you just don’t understand islam you don’t know the real islam and i have to tell you we are responsible for this because we didn’t tell you about islam well
    we don’t hate you we don’t want to fight u
    but you must respect our prophet
    people who drow these cartoons certainly don’t know about muhammad (pease be upon him)
    because if they knew him they would love him just like i do
    you don’t know how much i’m angrey seeing these cartoons this is my prophet
    my religion
    it’s killing me to see that this is what they think about my prophet the greatest man in the world
    i just don’t know what to say if i could tell you about him
    if you knew him you will love him

  • JC from CANADA

    honestly people. you can interpret these cartoons however you want, but honestly being offended? I am not a religious person, and I get knocked for that all the time. You can do 2 things, move on with life, or dwell on it, and the only reason you would dwell on it is because you are not confident in your own beliefs. My point is, are these cartoons really changing anyones beliefs or opinions? The muslims are still gonna be muslim, and the rest are still gonna be the rest. As for the newspapers having the right to say it, of course they do, freedom of speech. If you don’t want to hear or see it, don’t watch or listen.

  • ammalik

    While there are always uneasy moments when different cultures or ideologies interface but they can only sit on a terra ferma with an understnding and respect for each other. I have read some unworthy language but at the same time regerets and a level of undersatnding to wards the muslim feelings. However trying to make some one understand not from ones own back ground requires a stable temperament. Has the prophet(pbuh) not said to respect all religions – that includes even the pagans- like the Hindus. How dare as Muslim you say so and so to Christ(pbuh)? Is he not your respectful prophet? Have Muslims not cast one of the sects out of Islam who other than not believing Prophet(pbuh)as the last one, also believed into the death of Jesus Christ? Now to all the non muslim friends please understand that for us our Prophet(pbuh) is the most sacred in our lives. The hypocracy of free speech ends – as they say – where my nose begins, as otherwise there will be no end to it. Where is the free speech to the Germans where to speak of Nazism or the Holocast means a five year sentence? Yes generally there are no democracies in most Muslim countries – but then who is ensuring tht puppets always rule us? Is Musharraf not one of them or the House of Saud? Unfortunately even the most powerful nation is totally under the Zion spell. When it comes to peoples vote the Algerians cannot have their own voice no matter what. Egyptians are under one man rule for the past over twenty years supported by the CIA,always managing 95-99% of votes!!The west is worried in case the Islamists win the elections in Pakistan- democracy or not democracy.. The Zion dominated CIA came to Bosnian aid only when they felt that Bosnians have starting smelling their own roots. This was not desireable in the heartland of Europe. Turkey is not being admitted in the EU because of being muslims. Stories of Mullah umar and Taliban are being blown out of proportion -the most peaceful time in AFghan history, where poverty if not the wealth was equally divided. But then they were bombarded to the hilt. They saw their families being butchered, their children blown, their mothers , sisters torn to pieces ,limbs and parts burried in make shift trenches- until there backs were against the wall and now have become a problem even for Pakistan. But can we be free to sympathies with them for this horror they have experienced? where is the free speech? Instead of mending some of their fault lines, they were blown into pieces- for a crime they themselves did not commit. But has the Afghan culture changed? If CIA backed Usama did anything stupid why punish the whole Afghan nation? Why be afraid of the muslim culture? and to hide the inner self by demonizing muslims? Live and let Live. Why the muslims in general do not believe that 9/11 was the act of muslims? However the follow ups of other acts though not Islamic ie. 7/7 or the suicide bombings are the acts of extreme provocation and frustrartion – a poor mans weapon. Yet they cannot be justified at all against innocent civilians. Even though I drifted but there is a whole lot of history leading to the cartoon protests. It seems that the Danish prime-minister was not that innocent when he mentioned of “free speech” although trying to present a baby face to the Danes. Please also remember that it was not the Muslims who crucfied Jesus(pbuh). Both the West and Muslims have to learn a lot from each others strong points. Best regards to all friends particioating in this forum.

  • The Zombie

    Well…. lets talk here frankly.
    and lets be more realistic. you know down deep inside you what is meant be that drawing.
    Prophent Mohammed is the most sprecious man ever to all Muslims.
    so lets just talk about it unbiasedly.
    everyone of us hate to hear one bad single word about the ones we love. and respect
    so Its not right at all to hurt other people`s feelings and indignity. regardless of the disagreements
    we have.
    Its so easy to hurt and disrespect others. its not that if you dont believe in what I do then you are my enemy and I should humiliate you and what you believe in .
    Godbless you all

  • Dan

    Everybody here needs to smoke a joint

  • noor

    well guys i just wanna say dat our HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD is not only respected personality but in ur Holy book His presence is mentioned understand u guys dun show respectto ur bOOK then how can u show respect to ours u ppl hav so much of plenty time for these kind of things hav u ever heard any muslim making cartoons of Jesus Christ never bcz v respect each n every religion this is wht our religion teaches us all n this is da point where v differ 4m u think over it ………….

  • Moe

    this reminds me of being in school, i cant belive that real adults in this world get so upset by silly little things. its like when a ‘mean drawing’ is passed around a classroom picking on the little weirdo in the corner, knowing he will probably go crazy when he finds out. in my opinion if there is a god he is probably laughing at you all for taking silly things so seriously.

  • jamshaid Raza

    I feel very sorry to write and discuss such like subjects. The world is very big and having min 100 of regions. Its matter of shame to duscuss and do joke for any other region.
    If you really want to know about the region, Islam, just read the Holy Book Quran and try to find yourself were are you???
    region is not to be impose but to accept the reality by heard and adopt,or implement on our life to be ready for accountibility.
    can you answer yourself these questions
    1. From where you came and where you will go??
    2. why i am human, did i stay is a human???
    3. My life is for What??
    4. How give me breath and how can stop it???
    5. do i know my creator???
    How dare someone can say or write against some regions if he cannot answer himself????????????????????????

  • emad elgamal

    Hello I’m muslim, and i’d like to tell you that these cartoons where just because of lack in the knowladge of what is islam, its a peacful religion ..can you imagine any religion that pushes for terrorism ….that nonsense.please read about islam well from any islamic center in your contries then come back and disscuss these issues.the photo of the 2 women showing only their 2 eyes doesnt have any thing to do with islam this is only a tradition in saudi arabia and it has nothing to do with religion,the religion only says to wear what we call hijab to cover the hair which was also said by other religions like the christian and jewish but unfortunatly you tend to forget.

  • Ham Sandwich

    “islam, its a peacful religion ”
    Funniest thing i have ever heard! Well i suppose if you beleive in all this Allah bullshit, you will believe anything!

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