Friday, February 03, 2006


The Times is reporting a demonstration outside the Danish Embassy in Jakarta:
Protests took place in Jakarta where around 150 activists stormed the Danish Embassy in the Indonesian capital in protest at Denmark's best-read broadsheet printing images including a cartoon of a bearded Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

"We're ready for jihad!" crowds chanted as they pelted the building with eggs. One carried a banner reading: "Let’s slaughter the Danish ambassador!"
Looks like they're about as good at drawing cartoons as the chaps who sketched Mohammed for Jyllands-Posten:

muscular liberals say no to death threats

Things have been getting a little heated in Gaza too:
Masked Palestinian gunmen fired shots into the air and closed the EU office in Gaza, saying it would stay shut until Western governments apologised for their media printing images including a cartoon of a bearded Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

The BBC was drawn into the row after broadcasting the images on its main evening bulletins. The move drew accusations from Muslim leaders that the corporation was inciting racial hatred.

Channel 4 News and The Spectator magazine website also showed the images, originally published in Denmark, dragging Britain into an increasingly ugly confrontation between Islam and the West.

Western diplomats from Denmark and Norway began pulling out of their missions in Gaza as gunmen searched hotels for Europeans from countries where newspapers had printed the pictures, declaring them legitimate targets.
According to the JPost, the gunmen were affiliated with the supposedly "secular" Fatah and PFLP. Interesting.

The editor of a Jordanian newspaper that suggested Muslim anger was unreasonable, was sacked by his publisher. Al-Shihan had run the cartoons, arguing: “What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage taker slashing the throat of his victim?
A good point, one apparently lost on this spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, who the Times quote as saying:
“The BBC is inciting racial hatred and not conducting a serious debate on freedom of speech. This threatens to become another Salman Rushdie affair.”
Ah yes, the Salman Rushdie affair. A quick reminder of what the chairman of the moderate MCB, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, said of Rushdie:
Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him.
Bringing up the Rushdie affair hardly supports the MAB's argument - the behaviour of a small group of Muslim extremists calling for Rushdie's head was despicable.

So was the comment from the MAB spokesman a veiled threat or simply an observation? I'd plump for the latter, although it's the classic - "Do as we say or the blame for any action from extremists will lie squarely with you, not them."

With death threats out in the open, this hullabaloo already has the hallmarks of the Rushdie affair. The likes of the MAB would do better to spend time convincing us that the cartoons are factually inaccurate and provide a counter-argument than scream "Racism!" at every given opportunity.

Otherwise, they are doing their religion a grave disservice, giving the impression that Muslims are incapable of dealing with criticism of Islam rationally.


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