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Friday, February 03, 2006

Utterly predictable


Seems that they're pissed

Temperatures Rise Over Cartoons Mocking Muhammad


By CRAIG S. SMITH and IAN FISHER
Published: February 3, 2006

PARIS, Feb. 2 — An international dispute over European newspaper cartoons deemed blasphemous by some Muslims gained momentum on Thursday when gunmen threatened the European Union offices in Gaza and more European papers pointedly published the drawings as an affirmation of freedom of speech.

In Gaza, masked gunmen swarmed the European Union offices on Thursday to protest the cartoons, and there were threats to foreigners from European countries where the cartoons have been reprinted. The gunmen stayed about 45 minutes.

A newly elected legislator from Hamas, the radical Islamic group that swept the Palestinian elections last week, said large rallies were planned in Gaza in the next few days to protest the cartoons, which depict the Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. Merely publishing the image of Muhammad is regarded as blasphemous by many Muslims.

"We are angry — very, very, very angry," said the legislator, Jamila al-Shanty. "No one can say a bad word about our prophet."

The conflict is the latest manifestation of growing tensions between Europe and the Muslim world as the Continent struggles to absorb a fast-expanding Muslim population whose customs and values are often at odds with Europe's secular societies. Islam is Europe's fastest growing religion and is now the second largest religion in most European countries. Racial and religious discrimination against Muslims in Europe's weakest economies adds to the strains.


Freedom of speech is important.

But that won't matter when people who do not believe in it storm the Danish Embassy, like they did in Jakarta yesterday, or kidnapped a German in Gaza, as the rest of the European aid workers fled for their lives.

Then there was the boycott of Danish dairy products and the 100 person layoff because of it.

There are now calls to sever diplomatic relations with Denmark. And of course, troops deployed in Muslim countries now have a bullseye on the back.

What a lot of people forget is that we now live in an interconnected world. Residents of Gaza now turn on their sattelites or go to an internet cafe and get a nice big dose of Western contempt for their religion.

We now have a major international crisis, because a regional Danish newspaper wanted to mock Muhammad. The ONLY questioon is if anyone dies before this is over. The diplomats told the BBC that they expect this to get worse before it gets better.

See, this was my point. These guys were writing checks that other people would have to cash. Ten years ago, this wouldn't have left Europe. Now, there are riots worldwide over this.

And you can talk all you want about how they shouldn't riot and kidnap. But some people are going to do that, others will boycott. Whatever they do, legal or illegal, what they aren't doing is accepting Danish explainations for these cartoons.

Why didn't the editors think about the consequences of their actions. It's easy to sit behind a desk and be brave. Good people, doing good work around the world are the ones now at risk for a few crappy cartoons. This is not a small deal, and dragging up 500 year old illustrations of Muhammad isn't a defense.

There is no law against doing stupid things, but people's lives are now at risk behind this.

posted by Steve @ 10:51:00 AM

10:51:00 AM

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