Wednesday, February 01, 2006

LOONEY TOONS

Look's like this story's going to run and run. From the Times:
Under the headline "We have the right to caricature God," a French newspaper today reprinted the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have ignited extraordinary anti-Danish protests, death threats and boycotts across the Muslim world.scene

France Soir published the drawings, first printed by Jyllands-Posten, a right-of-centre Danish broadsheet last September, across pages four and five of this morning's edition with an editorial that defended the freedom of the press.

"The publication of 12 cartoons in the Danish press has shocked the Muslim world for whom the representation of Allah and his prophet is banned," the newspaper said. "But because no religious dogma can impose its view on a democratic and secular society, France Soir publishes the incriminated cartoons."

For its front page, the newspaper even commissioned its own image, showing a peeved Muhammad sitting on a cloud with Buddha, a Jewish God and a Christian God, who says: "Don’t complain Muhammad, we’ve all been caricatured here."
This story has brought many responses from various sides of blog world.

In yet another meticulously researched piece, Zombie has put together a page showing depictions of of Mohammed throughout the ages. The selection includes a painting of Mohammed that is currently being sold online by a devout Muslim woman in Iran and other pictures that were being openly sold in an Iranian market. Neither incited reactions like this (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images):



So why the big fuss over 12 Danish cartoons?

As the Popinjays point out: "Crap like this in Arab cartoons we just politely ignore"; whilst LGF is currently linking to the ADL's round-up of antisemitism in the Arab media, something that (bar the blogging world) is rarely mentioned in our media.

Why is it that we politely ignore the latter and yet statesmen such as Bill Clinton condemn outright the Danish caricatures as "totally outrageous cartoons against Islam"?

After all, as Egyptian blogger The Big Pharaoh points out:
What escalated the issue these days? The cartoons were published over a month and a half ago. The reaction back then was not as extreme as it is today. I even posted about this issue on December 21st, in other words, a whole month ago.
His message to those still seething with indignation:
I also still believe Muslims need to grow up a little and pay attention to the more serious problems inflecting them. I would also like to remind them of a book currently being sold, The Da Vinci Code, that says Jesus had a love affair with Mary Magdalene. Christians around the world did not call for the boycott of an entire nation's products because a single book was written and published within the borders of this country. The church that used to burn its dissidents is doing nothing to The Da Vinci Code author. They grew up, when will you? For your info, the book did absolutely nothing to Christianity around the world.
The Popinjays seem to agree:
Western cartoon = death threats from a bunch of nutjobs whose religion and faith isn't strong enough to withstand the assault of twelve Danish cartoonists. I mean, their religion survived several bloody crusades, and now they feel under threat from a few pudgy Danish cartoonists armed with nothing more than a HB pencil and an ink pen?
Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey has a proposal: "Let's boycott the boycott":
Fully knowing that it is retarded to punish a whole country and its products for what a Newspaper in that country did, I expected someone to start a movement to restore common sense our muslim brothers and demand a stop to the boycott, especially since the Danes have apologized over and over again. Then I figured, shit, why don't I be that someone? It is kind of expected from me anyway. Not to mention, it will piss off all the right people and I am all for that.

So I guess I will start the official local campaign to boycott the boycott, and thanks to the efforts of Roba and Jameed, the campaign now has banners that you can get here, put on your website and show solidarity with Danish people, and your love for Danish cows, who have never hurt anyone- unlike their crazy british counterparts.
Heh.




Nice cows.

It all seems like a storm in a tea-cup to me, but then I'm neither a Muslim nor an Islamophobe either. That said, if your faith can't withstand a couple of offensive cartoons it's probably not worth keeping.

I wonder what would happen if someone dared to produce a Piss Mohammed. It probably wouldn't be pretty.


UPDATE

Looks like I was right. There's more.

From the BBC:
Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage.

Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings.

Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet.

The owner of one of the papers to reprint - France Soir - has now sacked its managing editor over the matter.

The cartoons have sparked diplomatic sanctions and death threats in some Arab nations, while media watchdogs have defended publication of the images in the name of press freedom.

Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world "betrays a lack of understanding" of press freedom as "an essential accomplishment of democracy."
Quite. Regardless of how poor some of the cartoons are, there's a principle at stake here.

Oh, and if the link to Zombie's catalogue of images of Mohammed isn't working, try this Danish mirror site.

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