Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cartoon Wars

Protests around the world are condemning the publications of cartoons in Denmark about the Muslim prophet Mohammed. To some extent, they have a point. A cartoonist would never be permitted to use free speech to mock Chinese or Aboriginal peoples. So why is free speech allowed to mock Islam? Even if this is technically allowable by Danish law, why is it socially acceptable?

That being said, many of the world’s Muslims are using this as an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot. Consider the following clip from

"This is not a protest, this is a warning," said Khalid Kelly, 39, an Irish
national who converted to Islam five years ago. "Stop murdering our women and
children. We gave the same message before 9/11. We are now saying to insult our
Prophet means death. We are being attacked and an attack against our Prophet
will mean death."

Abu Jihad, 43, who was born in Pakistan, added
that the cartoonist and the editors of the papers should be killed. "It is very
clear: Anyone who insults the Prophet must be beheaded. Remember van Gogh?" he
said, referring to the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh who was murdered in 2004
for his controversial film about Islam. "Whoever did it, bless him. Islam is
peace but you see there will only be peace when Islam is implemented across the
world. In the Prophet's time anyone who insulted the Prophet was beheaded. The
same should happen now."

In London, England, protesters carried the following signs:

  • Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on the way.
  • Annihilate those who insult Islam
  • Behead those who insult Islam
  • Freedom go to Hell
  • Be prepared for the real Holocaust!
  • Massacre those who insult Islam
  • Exterminate those who slander Islam
  • Slay those who insult Islam
  • Butcher those who mock Islam

Since 9/11, our political leaders have been telling us to be tolerant of Islam, because it is a religion of peace. And I can personally attest to the fact that I know a number of Muslims who take their faith seriously, but who are also nice and kind-hearted people. But these protests have set back the image of Islam by about 20 years.

The way to handle these cartoons is not violent protest, but condescension. Europeans (and North Americans) tend to feel they are superior to everyone else on earth. So the way to handle this is to shake your head at how backwards and benighted the Europeans are. Perhaps public prayer services where leaders pray that the Danish people would use their freedoms to better mankind. That’s the best way to handle these cartoons. But I guess it’s easier to get a crowd together with signs saying, exterminate, annihilate, massacre, butcher, slay and behead.


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