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Comments by YACCS
Thursday, February 02, 2006


Danish flag on fire

Here is a link to the cartoons

Muhammad cartoon row intensifies

Spiting Muslims'

France Soir and Germany's Die Welt were among the leading papers to reprint the cartoons, which first appeared in Denmark last September.

The caricatures include drawings of Muhammad wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise was running short of virgins for suicide bombers.

France Soir originally said it had published the images in full to show "religious dogma" had no place in a secular society.

But late on Wednesday its owner, Raymond Lakah, said he had removed managing editor Jacques Lefranc "as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual".

Mr Lakah said: "We express our regrets to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication."

The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), Dalil Boubakeur, had described France Soir's publication as an act of "real provocation towards the millions of Muslims living in France".

When people talk about freedom of expression, they often forget it comes in two parts.

Let me make this crystal clear: I support the right, under law, to print anything people choose which is legal. As an American, that is the broadest right in the world which means tolerating Nazis, theocrats and PETA. You want to mock religious figures, fine. The world will not end.

However, what makes me angry about this is not the content.

It is the cowardice behind it.

They knew that this would be seen as an act of extreme provocation, one which could get people killed. Is that right? Or fair? Of course not.

But the world isn't fair.

This is the kind of thing which legitmagizes radical clerics and their sense of isolation from wider European society. They can say Europeans not only don't want you in their country, they disrespect the Prophet.

So instead of saying "yes, we knew we would offend muslims and we don't care". they hide behind freedom of speech and act astonished that muslims were deeply offended. They act as if muslims getting offended is their problem, as in "we insulted you, so what?".

Well, you can feel that way, but you better understand there are consequences for your actions.

We can start with Danish troops abroad, in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their lives just got a whole lot riskier for some shitty cartoons. Then there are the NGO workers. SOL for them as well.

While the cartoonists have the right to say what they want, and no one should bow to terrorism, the problem with the cartoons was that they were genuinely offensive, bigoted, actually. Many suggested that Muhammad was a terrorist or approved of terrorism. It's easy for people in the West to assume Muslims are not rational people, who get upset at the slightest mention. But this isn't that case.

These cartoonists went out of their way to find the most offensive way to depict Muhammad and then sat back, stunned that people didn't like their uninformed takes on Islam.

It's really a slap in the face to law-abiding, hard working muslims and says "this is what they really think about you".

What truly offends me is the way people are saying "well, they have the right to say it". We have the right to say many things, but why avoid the responsibility for your words.

When I insult politicians, I don't say "why are they mad, I have a right to say that", I say, "well, yeah, because that's what I think". I don't hide behind the right to say something.

If just one of them said "we don't respect Muslims" I could understand that. But it seems in this case, they wanted to disrespect Muslims and then not have any consequence for their actions. This in countries with state sponsored religions.

The reason France Soir's editor got fired wasn't fear, but the fact that the cartoons are provocative and offensive.

If you're going to risk people's lives for the right to free speech, and that IS the issue here, it should be worthy, not just cheap, bigoted jokes.

posted by Steve @ 12:01:00 AM

12:01:00 AM

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