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Mohammed cartoons

February 2nd, 2006 . by Matt

Recently there has been a wave of muslim anger at Danish cartoons that portray the Islamic prophet Mohammed. The portrayals of Mohammed are negative portrayals, but in Islam all portrayals of Mohammed are forbidden because he is supposed to represent human perfection, and thus any drawing of him would fall short of doing him justice.

Norwegian Muslims are demanding the imposition of Islamic law in that country by calling for a law against blasphemy.

Norway needs anti-blasphemy regulations to protect minorities against derisive and hateful expression, says lawyer Abid Q Raja.

“The point is not to restrict freedom of speech but to give it direction so that weak groups do not feel insulted or mocked. If we do nothing the differences within Norwegian society will increase in the future,” Raja told newspaper Dagsavisen.

Raja’s statement comes after the new wave of controversy surrounding caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, first published in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September and now recently in the Norwegian Christian weekly Magazinet.

Raja said he perceives the caricatures as a clear insult of Muslims and their faith.

“I would like a new blasphemy regulation that defines limits for what type of offensive expression shall be allowed towards society’s minorities,” Raja said.

Professor of Public Law Eivind Smith at the University of Oslo is skeptical but believes it is high time to discuss views of blasphemy.

Norwegian law already forbids threats and insults to person on the background of their skin color, nationality, outlook on life or sexual preference. Smith believes it is important that any future tightening of the law favors human rights rather than religion.

“The point is to protect people against insult. God should be able to take care of himself,” Smith told Dagsavisen.

In the meantime, Islamic gunmen are laying siege to the EU offices in Gaza.

gumen
Islamic gunmen outside the EU offices in Gaza

Palestinian gunmen have surrounded European Union offices in the Gaza Strip in protest at caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that have been published in European newspapers.

Around a dozen gunmen from the militant group Islamic Jihad, and an armed faction of Fatah known as the Yasser Arafat brigades, threatened violence and demanded an apology for the cartoons.

The gunmen climbed walls surrounding the building and fired shots into the air before leaving, according to reports.

The group set a 48-hour deadline for an apology for the drawings, one of which features the Prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb.

Another armed Fatah group, called the Abu el-Reesh Brigades, said citizens of Norway, Denmark, France and Germany in Gaza “will be in danger” if their governments do not apologise within 10 hours.

The Danish paper that printed the cartoons originally had to have their offices evacuated after recieving a bomb threat.

The main offices of the Danish newspaper that angered many in the Muslim world by publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were evacuated on Wednesday evening after a bomb threat, police said.

It was the second time in two days that the offices of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper were evacuated in Aarhus, Denmark’s second city.

“A bomb threat was made over a telephone by an English-speaking man from a public phone in the neighborhood (of the newspaper in Aarhus),” police said.

From Copenhagen, Jeffrey Mallow from the Forward writes –

It doesn’t help that Muslims — both here and in the Middle East — seem to many Danes to be demanding more than just respect. Most Danes agree that it’s unfair to depict the prophet of Islam as a mad bomber. But many public voices in the Arab and Muslim press are going further: They want Denmark and the West to honor the Muslim religious ban on any depictions of Muhammad. That raises images of imposing Sharia law on Denmark, a country that guards its freedom of expression almost — well, religiously. Besides, as one observer noted this week, Jewish religious law forbids the depiction of God, but Jews don’t boycott Italy for Michelangelo’s “Creation.”

Denmark, like France, Great Britain and the Netherlands, is finally being forced to face the question of just what it means to be an immigrant. Does it mean accepting the culture of one’s adopted homeland, keeping one’s own roots as long as they don’t violate the law? Or does it mean, “Thanks for a piece of your territory, and now I will teach you — or force you — to live by my norms”? And what’s a free society to do about it?

Here are the cartoons that Muslims are so angry about.

cartoons

The fact is that all religions recieve criticism in the west. It is called freedom to express your beliefs, even if those beliefs contradict other peoples beliefs. When it comes to respecting other religions, Muslims are the worst. In Saudi Arabia for example, non Muslims have no rights at all.

In a briefing paper issued earlier this year, the commission recommended that advancing religious and other human rights should be a public feature of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

“The conditions inside Saudi Arabia, as well as the possibility that the Saudi government has played a role in spreading hatred, intolerance, and even violence against both Muslims and non-Muslims, have very significant implications for U.S. foreign policy.”

The State Department has since 1999 chosen not to designate Saudi Arabia as a CPC despite repeated USCIRF recommendations and the widely-held view of religious freedom campaigners that Saudi Arabia is among the world’s most egregious violators.

The department’s stance has been criticized, especially in the light of the fact that its own annual assessment of the situation is that religious freedom “does not exist” in the kingdom – the strongest judgment applied to any country in the global report.

That verdict was repeated in its annual report for 2004, which said basic religious freedoms were denied to all those who do not adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam.

“Non-Muslim worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes torture for engaging in religious activity that attracts official attention.”

The report also announced the addition of Vietnam and the small Horn of Africa nation of Eritrea to the CPC list.

Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan were redesignated as CPCs. (Iraq, whose CPC designation for violations during the Saddam Hussein regime was lifted last June, is not evaluated in this year’s report.)

In a statement welcoming the report, USCIRF chairwoman Preeta Bansal said the commission especially applauded the decision regarding Saudi Arabia.

“All individuals, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, are denied freedom of conscience and belief in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “This, together with the Saudi government’s funding and global propagation of a particular brand of Islam, impedes the development of voices of toleration and debate within the Islamic tradition.”

Leading newspapers have come to the defence of the decision to publish the cartoons.

In an editorial entitled “Cartoons and Uproar”, the Globe and Mail writes:

“The right to free expression is worth nothing unless it includes the right to offend. For dialogue and debate to flourish, citizens must be allowed the maximum freedom to say what is on their minds, even if it is provocative, insulting, inflammatory or, yes, blasphemous.”

The Globe concludes that free societies “guarantee the right to publish controversial material without fear, even when the material offends or blasphemes”.

In its editorial entitled “In defence of Danish satire”, the National Post writes:

“To give in on this issue would represent the symbolic triumph of medievalism over the West’s cherished democratic secularism. Muhammad may be a hallowed figure to the world’s 1.2-billion Muslims. But knocking around hallowed figures is something democratic nations permit. Whether that means filth smeared on the Virgin Mary in a New York museum, or images of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon eating babies, it’s all legal. Or should be, anyway.”

Noting the stubborness of Islamic nations in not separating Mosque from State, the Post concludes that “they should not be permitted to foist their intolerance on more advanced nations. Denmark’s government and Jyllands-Posten deserve praise for recognizing this fact”.

If Muslims cant handle freedom of conscience, then they shouldnt be emigrating to countries that value it. I say that we have tolerated intolerance for far too long.

Update: JoeT, the In Hell There Are No Nightlights guy, posted an illuminating pic about the muslim reaction to the cartoons in London.

terrorists
Terrorist call for the extermination of Islams enemies – in London!

Go and have a read of JoeT taking a switchblade to the repressive beliefs of these fanatics.

UPDATE 2: US backs Muslims in cartoon dispute

This article from Yahoo news has totally floored me. Say it aint true!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States backed Muslims on Friday against European newspapers that printed caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a move that could help America’s battered image in the Islamic world.

Inserting itself into a dispute that has become a lightning rod for anti-European sentiment across the Muslim world, the United States sided with Muslims outraged that the publications put press freedom over respect for religion.

“These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question.

“We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

American Muslims welcomed the U.S. position, although it stopped short of urging American media not to republish the cartoons that include depicting Mohammad as a terrorist.

Cooper said he had no comment as to why the United States chose to pass judgment in a dispute that ostensibly does not involve America.

But the United States, which was founded by immigrants fleeing religious persecution, has previously spoken out against publications offensive to believers of other faiths.

“Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images or any other religious belief,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

Shocking. Lets hope this will be retracted, and the people responsible removed from their positions in the state department.


8 Responses to “Mohammed cartoons”

  1. comment number 1 by: BananaBoi

    If Muslims cant handle freedom of conscience, then they shouldnt be emigrating to countries that value it. I say that we have tolerated intolerance for far too long.

    The Muslims are just practicing their form of Jihad. To invade Non-Muslim countries and convert them to Islam. If western countries don’t treat this issue seriously, we will all be living under Sharia’s Law in the not so distant future.

  2. comment number 2 by: Lyrt

    SupportDenmark

    Here are the Europeans newspaper that have published the said caricatures to show they support freedom of speach:

    “Die Welt” (Germany)
    “ABC” (Spain),
    “El Periodico” (Spain),
    “La Stampa” (Italia),
    “Corriere della Serra” (Italia),
    “De Volkskrant” (Netherlands),
    “De Telegraaf” (Netherlands),
    NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands),
    “Dnes” (Czech Republic),
    BBC (UK),
    “Blick” (Switzerland).


  3. […] As does my speed freak (as in Ecstacy) lovin’ net-brethren at Occidentalism […]

  4. comment number 4 by: qbe9584

    I can’t believe the State Department. This has to be a personal opinion, because anyone speaking on behalf of the US government, whose National Endowment of the Arts paid for “Piss Christ”, and photo shoot of a crucifix in a glass of urine, can’t POSSIBLY have issued that response to the news papers that are reprinting astring of extremely tame political cartoons. Or how about that march through Skokie that the Nazi Party secured rights for back in the eighties, complete with Nazi flags and brownshirt, SA uniforms.

    Where do you start in on the State Department’s statement? It’s too farcical to mock. Words lack the weight, singly to describe it. The European papers should change their banners to those cartoons until it becomes passe. Anyplace with electricity should publish those things. I applaud the folks who do.

    The criticisms for the cartoons could be any one of the following: bad taste, disrespectful, racist, anti-religious, ethno-centric. The people who are upset by the cartoons could go on, following those lines, and I would read their opinions, and maybe even agree if they were stated articulately. These criticisms should be published in counterpoint to the cartoons.

    The response shouldn’t be any of the following: you have no right to publish it, you have no right to talk about this subject, you should be killed if you do. The cartoons should be published until that silliness gets weeded out.


  5. […] The muslim anger over the publication of cartoons depicting their prophet has predictably turned violent. […]

  6. comment number 6 by: eli

    The only possible explanation for the state department’s message is that they were trying to issue a standard “respect the beliefs of others” message and botched it. Otherwise, if they’re really backing the Islamic side in this dispute, they should be hung out to dry.

  7. comment number 7 by: Occidentalism » Embarrassing

    […] The problem with this is that Europe is now in the very embarrassing postion of defending the Mohammed cartoons as ‘non-negotiable free speech‘ while putting another man in jail for exercising his ‘non-negotiable free speech’. […]


  8. […] South Park is proving again that it is willing to attack superstitious taboos when the American mass media is either unwilling, or too cowardly, to do. This time South Park has taken on the issue of self censorship over the Mohammed cartoons. The name of the episode is ‘Cartoon Wars’, and it is the first part of a two episode story. […]