Paintings of the Prophet

It started last year, September to be accurate. A danish newspaper published 12 illustrations depicting the Islamic prophet of Allah: Muhammed.

What might be reaching shores outside of Europe by now is the news of a middle-east almost unanimously boycotting Danish goods, burning the danish flag in the streets and calling home diplomats from my country. Terror threats towards Denmark have been posted on the web.

Why? Because according to the Quran – the Islamic bible – the prophet may not be depicted in any way.

So on one hand we have a secular newspaper in a country with freedom of the press. On the other hand we have nations of Muslims enraged by what would appear to be a clear violation of one of the rules of Islam.

Do we take sides?

No, there’s a grayscale, a golden middle-way.

Voltaire summed it up nicely:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

I am a fierce believer in freedom of speech, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. But just like the publisher of these paintings of the prophet, I know that it’s possible to offend people by exercising this right—consciously or not. We all approach things from our own unique perspective, and what one writer meant doesn’t always translate to readers. As such, free speech is not directly compatible with “do not draw the prophet” and never will be since any drawing could depict the prophet if we said it did. This is the price of free speach and it’s a price worth paying.

This is not about Islam, or any religion for that matter, it is only about freedom of speech. I respect the right to pick your own religion. I have many Muslim friends whom I respect very much. There is nothing wrong with following Islam.

Today, a french, a norwegian and an icelandic newspaper voiced their support of the danish newspaper by publishing the very same pictures. As the icelandic editor reasoned for the re-publishing of the pictures, freedom of the press cannot be argued.

Your opinion is welcome.

110 thoughts on “Paintings of the Prophet”

  1. Freedom of speech does not mean that your actions do not have consequences. I could walk up to a black person and use the N-word, but I should not complain when I get punched in the jaw.

    And all freedom of speech really says is that the government can’t persecute you for what you say, not other people. So here, it is an issue of a newspaper saying something, and there being repurcussions.

  2. Dylan says:

    Well, I don’t know very much about Islam and I don’t know anyone who practices the religion, but I feel that a drastic reaction such as burning flags and threatening terrorist attacks is a rash and exaggerated reaction to a situation like this.

    In my somewhat ignorant opinion, I would just view this as Islamic fundamentalists getting overly upset instead of rationally assessing the situation. I know very little about Islamic culture so I may just be misunderstanding their way. Does the rule about not depicting Muhammed apply to those who do not practice Islam?

  3. Joen says:

    Andrew,

    I hope you didn’t misunderstand my entry… I do in fact, completely agree with you. The newspaper should have expected repercussions, but the reactions are way overkill, in my opinion.

    Dylan,

    I completely agree that it’s a pretty exaggerated reaction.

    Does the rule about not depicting Muhammed apply to those who do not practice Islam?

    This is a good question, and I suspect, a question that’s pretty much drowned in the debate. I’m afraid I can’t answer it, but I would, of course, prefer that it only applied to Muslims. (Then again, when are you a Muslim?).

    Just because I forgot it in the entry, here’s a timeline of what happened, stolen from a danish newspaper and translated:

    • 30th September 2005, Jyllands-Posten [the newspaper] publishes 12 drawings of the prophet Muhammed.
    • Local Muslims are angered by these illustrations, as – according to the Quran – it’s not allowed to depict the prophet.
    • Hereafter, a delegation of Muslims travel to several Muslim countries to encourage international condemnation.
    • In January, the case leads to a boycott of danish goods in several arabic countries. Several ambassadors are called home, and in Gaza, Dannebrog [the danish flag] is burned in the streets.
  4. Omar says:

    I am Muslim and while I wouldn’t call myself the best representative of Islam, I am not bothered in the slightest by this cartoon.

    I think that a person should have a right to say whatever they want. Even if someone goes ahead and publishes a book calling for the death of insert any group here, I would support that person’s right to publish that book. That is not the same as supporting the book.

    If you want freedom of speech, you have to take both the good and the bad that comes from it. It’s not just one way.

    Unless you believe in censorship, get over it. Plain and simple.

  5. George says:

    It’s complex. Americans will cry “freedom of speech” over this and then when they turn off their computers, they will still be living in a country where the equivalent – burning a US flag – is outlawed in something like 30 states.

    Is your suggestion really a middle ground? It sounds much like the current Danish line to me. I’m not entirely clear on the distinction (didn’t the newspaper apologise … eventually?).

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I worry about where this is heading. In the long-term, George Bush is right – the Middle East needs to drag itself out of the Middle Ages and its medieval insistence on the primacy of religion. But trying to force them to do it only hardens attitudes and closes minds, rather than opening them.

    In the meantime, how do you convince millions of people to recognise that faith is just faith and cannot be superior to someone else’s faith, and that religions are just evolving collections of memes that act as glue for societies, and not some irrefutable, immutable set of constants.

  6. Anders Rask says:

    Andrew,

    I am a Dane, but I tend to agree with you, that it was somewhat stupid by the newspaper to print these cartoons. But the point here and now, the way I see it, is that this over reaction seems to be directed at all of Denmark and everything Danish, including danes working for Red Cross in refuge camps in Gaza. Not cool!

    Because of it it seems like Joen, I, and every Dane is being targeted in this conflict, not because of the cartoons for which we obviously have no direct responsibility, but because we live or originate from a society where there generally is a firm belief in freedom of speech and freedom of press. And this is where there apparently seems to be a clash of culture.

    Should you for some odd, incomprehensible reason actually choose to use the N-word to a black person, surely the responsibility for doing so would rest solely with yourself and not extend to the total of your country and countrymen.

    Also using the N-word would be rascist, something which as a matter of fact is outlawed in Denmark, and so is, to a certain extent, blasphemy. On the face of it it does not seem that any of those laws apply to this situation, but anyone would be welcome to try the case at a danish court. So far no one has, instead a group of imams who has been giving asylum in Denmark toured the Middle East trying to incite hate against Denmark. And within Denmark it has been suggested by the same people that it should be illegal to criticize any religion on the grounds that it is religion, which would be a serious attack on freedom of speech. Not cool!

    In my view the situation is extremely difficult, because it can be difficult simply to ask for tolerance from people who believe that God is as real as the sun and is the supreme ruler of the universe, that God is angered by this, and that it is the individual believers whole purpose in life to serve the will of God. In this sense someone’s belief is superior to someone else’s, if the first is true and the other false. It’s only if you don’t believe in any of it that all religions become equally silly, but a sillyness that because of all this Halleluja Political Correctness has become respected.

    The newspaper apologized for having angered many people, but not for the actual deed of bringing the pictures. It is also illegal in Denmark, and every single country I know of, to burn the flag.

  7. Anders,

    You said that “using the N-word would be rascist, something which as a matter of fact is outlawed in Denmark, and so is, to a certain extent, blasphemy.” You then, are suppressing my right to freedom of speech. I should be allowed to say whatever I want, to whomever I want, short of causing public harm, unless of course I am missing something obvious.

    And I should have stated this in my first post that comparing the West to radical Muslims in the Middle East is like comparing apples to oranges. Two completely different places under completely different situations.

    I would just say that if someone pictured Jesus in an unflattering way that I felt was blasphemous, I would get pretty pissed to.

    Freedom of speech gives you the right to do stupid things, but does not protect you from the consequences.

  8. Maarten Leewis says:

    12 pictures… Is there a calendar yet?

  9. Anders Kusk says:

    Andrew:

    The consequences should not be terrorist attack, the beating of every dane in the middle east and so on. And still if you use the N word on somebody, then that somebody has every right to take it to court.

    The irony in it all, the “worst” picture is muhammed with a bomb in his turban; to indicate or question if islam is the cause of terrorist attacks. Yet after the release of the pictures some islamo nuts thinks it is a good idea to threaten denmark with terrorist attacks… Is there no logic in the middle-east?

    But both satire and “real” critique of religion can be offensive to the believers so where do we part? Should we also outlaw the “second-coming of Luther”? Or a new Nietzsche? Rushdie? Galileo Galilei?

    And still, “attacking” a religion, and even a religion which also involves alot of politics(sharia) is not the same as “attacking” a person.

  10. Martin says:

    Anders, It is not forbidden to burn the danish flag (Dannebrog) in Denmark, but it is forbidden to burn or ridicule any other nations flag. Ironically that law exists in order to prevent diplomatic crisis and trade blockades against Denmark.

  11. Joen says:

    I like how this discussion is turning out. A lot of good arguments here. I’d like to reply to a few of them.

    Omar, I’m thrilled you gave your cents on this, and I respect your stance. If only more people could have such a collected view of the world as you do, we wouldn’t be having this problem at all.

    George,

    Is your suggestion really a middle ground? It sounds much like the current Danish line to me. I?m not entirely clear on the distinction (didn?t the newspaper apologise … eventually?).

    I wasn’t clear here. Sorry. My suggestion of a middle ground would be this: 1) think before you publish. 2) respect freedom of the press and sue or demand an apology, don’t burn flags and threaten terror.

    But the damage is done. Sure maybe our prime minister could’ve been a bit quicker (and louder) in saying “we respect religion, this is not about islam, this is about freedom of the press”, but diplomatic relations are being pursued. As I see it, this is the only way to go forward now.

    As Anders said, the newspaper apologized for offending Muslims, but not for posting the pictures.

    I don?t know what the solution is, but I worry about where this is heading.

    You and me both.

    In the long-term, George Bush is right – the Middle East needs to drag itself out of the Middle Ages and its medieval insistence on the primacy of religion. But trying to force them to do it only hardens attitudes and closes minds, rather than opening them.

    I agree that force won’t help here.

    In the meantime, how do you convince millions of people to recognise that faith is just faith and cannot be superior to someone else?s faith, and that religions are just evolving collections of memes that act as glue for societies, and not some irrefutable, immutable set of constants.

    Spot on. That is the question. However, this is a problem with nearly all religions (possibly with the exception of Buddhism). How do you convince a Christian that believes in the Rapture to plant a tree rather than sit and wait for the end of the world?

    Anders,

    It?s only if you don?t believe in any of it that all religions become equally silly, but a sillyness that because of all this Halleluja Political Correctness has become respected.

    Exactly. I wish I had the answer, because it seems as of a recent discussion here, I no longer think “agreeing to disagree” is the solution to any problems.

    Maarten,

    12 pictures… Is there a calendar yet?

    Har har, very funny 🙂

  12. Ali says:

    There is not a single religion or sect in this world who believe in total freedom and the ones in which they had, could not exist for long. There are rules for every game and there are some rules to live in this world. If there was total freedom, then there would be a total anarchy here. Its just like raping somebody. We dont get out of our houses and start screwing anything that come in our way even though if we want to do it. So its the same that there are some things that we should not do. These rules are made to create a balance in this world. First of all there is one point in my mind that I would like to make it here is that anyone who have not read Quran or any other book should not make an opinion out of it, without having the propoer knowledge of it or anything. Let me tell you that why is it forbidden in Islam to make physical representation of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Before Islam there were many religions that used to worship physical representations like stone idols and pictures of their gods. Its still being practiced in may countries like India and some other countries. These idols were the physical representations of their pious people who used to teach them or were their leaders. God knew this and so he forbid the people of that time not to make any picture or stone sculpture of Muhammad, because then there won’t be any difference between the other religions or Islam. In Islam there is only one God and no one else to be worshiped. Again there is only one Principle in our Universities. But in life God can’t be replaced by any other God like in Colleges or universities. So to make a balance and order in this world these rules should not be broken or the society will come to a point where there will be no difference between humans and animals.

  13. Ali, That rule comes from the Jewish origins of the Quran – Jews aren’t even allowed to pronounce his name! Yet I don’t see them making a fuss about depictions of (the same god) in other religions. Christianity has the same story (the one about worshiping the golden statue of a calf) – but most Christian faiths do allow the depiction holy figures.

    Furthermore, since it’s forbidden in the Quran to depict the profet Mohammed, no one can ever claim to depict Mohammed because no depictions of him have remained. So only by acknowledging that it is Mohammed who is depicted are you breaking the Quran’s rules.

    Also, respecting anothers right to say what they want has nothing – nothing – to do with Anarchism. That’s about doing what you like.

    I’ll back up Joen on Voltaire too. It’s the only stable way.

    In the long-term, George Bush is right – the Middle East needs to drag itself out of the Middle Ages and its medieval insistence on the primacy of religion.

    Ha! How did Europians get out of the Middle Ages? By ourselves? Yep. In the long-term we need to drop dependancy on fossil fuels, but that’s an other debate.

    Omar, good to hear your words. On a side note, I thought the tulband bomb drawing has going pretty far (with any middle eastern person wearing it) but the cartoon of ‘Stop stop, we’ve run out of virgins’ is just plain funny.

  14. How did Europians get out of the Middle Ages? By ourselves? Yep. In the long-term we need to drop dependancy on fossil fuels, but that?s an other debate.

    Ummm…they got a crap load of help from East Asia and the Middle East there buddy. Think that the West invented the compass themselves? The printing press? Gunpowder?

    And hell, the most successful European countries coming out of the middle ages were Spain and Portugal, who were largely Muslim until the close of the fifteenth century. Modernizing isn’t something that just happens. There is alot of outside influence and help.

  15. Sure, but that analogy would imply that the Middle East don’t have aeroplanes. My point is that nobody modernised anyone through conflict.

  16. Ali says:

    The country USA which prides itself on human rights and freedom of speech exterminated an entire race because they were the local red indians and enslaved another race because they were black. Now they are wiping out Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran just because they are muslims. Now this is the case of the pot calling the kettle black. whoever opposed Bush’s policies about wiping off Iraqis and Afghanis because they were muslims and therefore all terrorists (including the innocent children, women and old citizens) were either ignored or silenced. A small example would be how we never heard from the Dixie Chicks again after they voiced their disapproval on the war on Iraq. So much for the pioneering country of freedom of speech. And this case gets worse when the whole of Europe joined in with the Americans against Muslims/Terrorists. In France they banned the “Hijab”, I personally think that the hijab is a freedom of expression for a muslim women as its a choice that a woman makes herself. So dont tell muslims about the freedom of expression. Islam was the first religion which gave Black and women equality.

  17. matthew says:

    I dont really see this as being any different from similar christian freedom of speech vs. religion issues such as the Jerry Springer the Opera furore. Yes theres an issue of offence, but I dont think we should have religions dictating to others what they can and cannot see or what newspapers can or cannot print.

    That said, Im not in anyway religious (I could maybe be termed militant-atheist if such a thing is possible) so its difficult for me to perceive how something as supposedly solid and fundamental to a person as religion can be in anyway hurt by cartoons. Although I almost find these offensive, i think they say more about the originator of them than any reaction I might have to them could.

  18. Anders Rask says:

    Andrew,

    It is not my personal belief that people should be allowed to say anything they want. Personally I feel that it is required in a civilised society that individuals are protected against unjust attacks. And the whole concept of ‘Freedom of Speech’ is not normally associated with a total freedom to say anything.

    The right to freedom of expression is not considered unlimited; governments may still prohibit certain damaging types of expressions. Under international law, restrictions on free speech are required to comport with a strict three part test: they must be provided by law; pursue an aim recognized as legitimate; and they must be necessary (i.e., proportionate) for the accomplishment of that aim. Amongst the aims considered legitimate are protection of the rights and reputations of others (prevention of defamation), and the protection of national security and public order, health and morals. Opinions vary widely among people different nations and cultures as to when restriction of free speech meets these criteria.

    The excerpt is from Wikipedia’s Freedom of speech article.

    But under all circumstances I was merely stating the facts regarding the legal situation in Denmark.

    You then, are suppressing my right to freedom of speech.

    Nopes! I am in no way in the business of enforcing Danish laws. Because I live in another country I am not even voting in Denmark, so think again.

    … but does not protect you from the consequences

    Certainly not, but the law as a whole protects me (in theory) against certain possible consequences, such as violent attacks against my person. But this, anyways, is close to the point: Muslims in Denmark could have cancelled Jyllands-Posten (the newspaper in question) and Muslims all over the world could have boycotted any company that continues to advertise in Jyllands-Posten or in any other way support it. That would have been a measured and fair response within the law, and it would have hit only the responsible part. As it is now the situation almost seem to suggest that I should be very careful with the muslim families that live in my building. That’s certainly not fair! You think?

    … if someone pictured Jesus in an unflattering way that I felt was blasphemous, I would get pretty pissed too

    So does Life of Brian make you feel that all Britons are legal targets? I don’t think so, and that is in my opinion exactly the point!

  19. Brendan says:

    Religion is the single biggest cause of folks wanting to kill each other — the natural order of religion is to hate what it does not understand.

    Do I think it was wrong for the Danish Press to present the images? No. Do I think it’s wrong that the Muslim community feels insulted or slighted due to their religious laws? No. Do I believe it was naive of the press to presume nothing would come of what is effectively considered a terrible grievance against the Muslim faith? damn straight.

    And finally.. am I surprised that yet again religion is being used as a “club” (by both sides of the debate) to score points against the other? No.

    There are consequences to free speech. There are, equally, consequences to holding fast to a religious ideal. Both sides continue to use their “cause” as an excuse for the behaviour displayed — that is the true crime of the whole situation.

  20. Brendan says:

    “.. the natural order of religion is to hate what it does not understand.”

    Sorry – that should read “.. the natural order of humanity is to hate what it does not understand. Religion will intensify and distort it even further.”

  21. Ali says:

    Brendan, No religion teaches us to hate each other and start killing each other. I think it is we humans that when ever someone opposes us, we start hating him/her even if it is our parents or our girlfriend/boyfriend. Maybe its in our nature, but we have to overcome this and be peaceful. First we twist our religion in a way that it benefits us and then when something goes wrong then we say that the religion is wrong and it teaches us wrong.

  22. Nelson says:

    Oh for heavens’ sake, people! It’s no wonder you little-minded people can’t seem to get out of an eternal war among yourselves and the rest of the world. Come on! Over a stupid drawing?? If the rest of the world acted as childish as you (Muslims) do, there would be no world. For real!!!

    Imagine this: Some newspaper decides to print a picture of Jesus somewhere, and in retaliation, the US starts taking hostages, burning flags, and shooting people over it.

    All I gotta say is, wow.

    GROW UP PEOPLE! START USING YOUR TIME ON BETTER THINGS TO DO OTHER THAN CREATE PROBLEMS.

  23. George says:

    Ali,

    There is not a single religion or sect in this world who believe in total freedom and the ones in which they had, could not exist for long. There are rules for every game and there are some rules to live in this world. If there was total freedom, then there would be a total anarchy here.

    You are both right and wrong. Yes there need to be rules for society to function. But what you have to understand is that some of these rules are more correct than others. Some rules are built to give other people the freedom to make their own choices about how they live their lives, some rules are built to force other people to live according to the demands of those setting the rules.

    In the West, we prefer the former ones to the latter. While from a Muslim perspective (and other perspectives), I understand that it’s easy to look at this and see decadence and moral corruption as its products, we see these things as the unfortunate costs of the superior payoffs of individual freedom. We don’t assert that our system is perfect, but we do insist that giving people the right to make their own choices is better.

    This means that there is a hierarchy of rules. Some are necessary, some are not. It wasn’t necessary for our society to disallow women from voting – we didn’t have anarchy when they were given the vote. Similarly, we don’t have anarchy when we have freedom of speech. We haven’t had anarchy in the 100+ years that we have had freedom of speech, and this isn’t the first or the last time that people are offended by that speech.

    Before Islam there were many religions that used to worship physical representations like stone idols and pictures of their gods. Its still being practiced in may countries like India and some other countries. These idols were the physical representations of their pious people who used to teach them or were their leaders.

    Organized religion falls in the latter category of a system of rules which aims to get groups of people to behave according to ways that have been designed by a few people (or, if you believe that religion, God).

    If you are designing a set of rules for people to live their life by, you want two things – an incentive for people to actually keep to your rules, and a way of ensuring that those rules can’t be corrupted by the passage of time/by others. Successive religions have gotten successively better at designing their rules (either blindly or deliberately or by divine dictate) according to those requirements.

    All religions say “we’re checking up on you”. Funny, isn’t it, that the most popular explanations for why we are here all involve an observer who will make sure you are following the rules. There are plenty of reasons for our existence that you could create without needing an observer, but you never see many of them do you?

    Christianity says “believe in these rules or you’ll go to hell” – pretty powerful motivator, right? Likewise, Islam says “read our holy book in its original language” and “don’t draw pictures of our holy man” because that’s a pretty powerful way of saying “don’t put words into our holy man’s mouth” or “don’t corrupt our rules”.

    The country USA which prides itself on human rights and freedom of speech exterminated an entire race because they were the local red indians and enslaved another race because they were black. Now they are wiping out Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran just because they are muslims.

    Please, please, please. I’m absolutely begging you to believe me. No one is attacking Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran because you are Muslims. Our societies are full of Muslims and we welcome them with open arms.

    However, I will grant you, that I don’t think we (citizens of the US/UK/etc) are told the truth about why your countries have been invaded. But it isn’t because of your beliefs.

    And this case gets worse when the whole of Europe joined in with the Americans against Muslims/Terrorists. In France they banned the ?Hijab?, I personally think that the hijab is a freedom of expression for a muslim women as its a choice that a woman makes herself.

    You have to understand how societies work. Societies only work if everyone is on the same page – if everyone respects each other, and sees each other as equals, and mix together socially and in work, etc. Historically, when two societies occupy the same physical location, but don’t play nice together, they end up fighting or one society ends up dominating the other or whatever. It doesn’t work out well for the minority party.

    All France wants to do is make Muslims in France be a part of French society. That isn’t an attack on Muslims. If you were any other ethnic group, the same thing would apply. Whether banning the Hijab is a good way of achieving that goal is a different question.

    Also, the Hijab is emphatically not freedom of expression if someone else is forcing you to wear it. That is what worries Westerners. That women wear the Hijab because men want/force them to.

  24. foiegras says:

    “I don’t like your cartoons, so you’re intolerant”

    This is foolish.

    100% support from a French reader.

  25. m says:

    In my opinion….

    I find it very insulting to see these images of the prophet….

    Just look at the way they depicted him…

    What does that implies????????!!!!!

    Turban that resembles a bomb wrapped around his head, daggers, ?. Etc

    if these insulting images were about Christianity or Judaism or any other religion ?. These pathetic projection wont be even allowed to be published in any paper?..

    Freedom of speech comes with limits …… and everybody knows that….

    “Nelson says:

    Oh for heavens? sake, people! It?s no wonder you little-minded people can?t seem to get out of an eternal war among yourselves and the rest of the world. Come on! Over a stupid drawing?? If the rest of the world acted as childish as you (Muslims) do, there would be no world. For real!!!

    Imagine this: Some newspaper decides to print a picture of Jesus somewhere, and in retaliation, the US starts taking hostages, burning flags, and shooting people over it.

    All I gotta say is, wow.

    GROW UP PEOPLE! START USING YOUR TIME ON BETTER THINGS TO DO OTHER THAN CREATE PROBLEMS.

    Maybe you people shouldn?t bring that kinda thing to yourself in the first place?

    Just look how Queen Margrethe takes an attitude about other religion that is different than yours?.

    http://www.africancrisis.org/NewsView.asp?Rec=7062&Action=V&Sort=D&Page=1&

  26. George says:

    Just look at the way they depicted him…

    What does that implies????????!!!!!

    Turban that resembles a bomb wrapped around his head, daggers, ?. Etc

    You should look up the history of political cartooning in European newspapers. People have been drawn in all sorts of insulting ways to make political points, almost since the invention of newspapers.

    if these insulting images were about Christianity or Judaism or any other religion ?. These pathetic projection wont be even allowed to be published in any paper?..

    If they were about Christianity or Judaism, they would have been published, a few dozen people would have complained and that would have been that.

    Freedom of speech comes with limits …… and everybody knows that….

    Yep, and those limits are: You may say what you want, but you have to live with the consequences of what you say, and everyone has a right not to listen. Oh and you mustn’t say things that are false – libel and slander and all that.

  27. Ahmed says:

    To tell the truth, i am a muslim from the islamic country of kuwait. i am really not that bothered with this situation but i must say that people are getting the wrong view over muslims. The terrorists out there talking about islam and how it is the only good religion are the ones that know least about islam. In our great religion god did not tell us to force people to be muslims!! he just told us to insist on it or try to talk them into it. And i must say that the Danish newspaper had absolutely no right to draw what it had drawn because thay knew it would be offensive to muslims!! I do not think that the muslims should react this way however i do agree with the fact of boycotting the danish goods!! If they knew that we would be offended then they should know we wiont buy any more of their goods!! if we offended them in any way they would be angry as well so i say we give them a taste of their own medicine!!;P

  28. Maarten Leewis says:

    Wow Joen, you got ’em in a real feed-frenzy here!

    Ahmed, do you really think we would stop buying your oil if you offended Denmark? Or Holland in my case, because that is what you are saying.

    In my opinion any religion is to be boycotted, they bring nothing but trouble. Just open any newspaper or historybook. History repeats itself. We had the Spanish Inquisition, now we have the Jihad. Same shit in a different package.

    If there was a country that outlawed religion, that is where i would move. Anyone who knows where Utopia is, let me know…

  29. Nathan Smith says:

    It’s like the old axiom goes: “Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.” — Clearly they have taken their right of free speech a bit too far. I’m Christian, but still try to respect the beliefs of other people.

  30. Rob Mientjes says:

    Anyone who knows where Utopia is, let me know…

    Don’t say that. Remember that “utopia” is a made-up mash-up word. The “u” emphasises the ambiguity of the pronunciation of both outopia and eutopia, Ancient Greek words (or well, modern adaptations in a compound) meaning respectively “no place” and “good place”, or when we pull in some contextual grammar, “worst place” and “best place”. People think “utopia” means “perfect place”. There is no perfect. Perfection is a paradox, because it inherently requires a compromise (and I’m talking about the human side of this, not the industrial production of helicopter axes, to name something that requires a certain degree of perfection).

    Utopia is an inherent paradox. Thomas More, the man who coined the term, didn’t think about that a lot, it seems. He thinks “perfect” is an attainable goal. Perfect shouldn’t be in your scope. “Better” is how I approach things.

    Oh, and to talk a bit on topic… I’m a baptised Roman Catholic, turned atheist. I allow anyone his or her opinion, no matter how much I despise it. In some cases, I’ll try to have a reasoned debate about it, but sometimes it’s best to just let ’em be. I would not, however, burn someone’s family crest and kidnap his children if he would bother me with his bible. I would give reason one last shot. Belief, faith and expectation are three of the more interesting aspects of the human psyche. I’m actually writing a book about it. And music. Bit of poetry.

    And I of course impose my opinion upon my audience. Disobedient or obedient, I will at least make sure I get my thing said. I won’t, however, attack the audience.

  31. Amanda says:

    Questions to my fellow humans:

    1- How did the newspaper get these caricatures? Do you know the history of the assigned competition? Were there really 100 artist called upon to do this job and only ten agreed to do so?

    2-Why did the newspaper chose this time of tremor to do so? Didn?t they have any freedom of expression ? let?s say 10 years ago?

    3- Have the newspaper ever call for such caricatures depicting the Holocaust for example? Oh or would that be an act of anti-Semitism banned by many countries and organizations?

    4- Why didn?t the Muslims retaliate by making fun of other prophets, religions or institutions? Is it because they believe in all prophets and religions and are also forbidden to make fun of them?

    5- Did the Muslims decide to Boycott the Danish products a day after the caricatures were published, or was there a long period of negotiations and reasoning?

    6- When did the newspaper apologize and what did it apologize for?

    7- Historically speaking, which part of the world was under the ?Age of Darkness? or the ?Middle Ages?? And what were the Muslims doing then?

    8- Isn?t what the angry masses are doing now a form of the ?freedom of expression?? Did any government call upon the boycott or is it the people?s choice?

    ?Men are respectable only as they respect.? Emerson

  32. sars says:

    Well first of all muslims extremist were doing . Don’t compare islam to with other religions because its totally different. Danish press was wrong to show Mohammad with a bomb on the head. It looks like they were trying to show that “muslims are terrorists from the beginning” & ‘they always planning something’ Thats why lots of muslim thinks that they insult them by showing all cartoons which is depend on false information. But why islam? there were other religions to choose from.

  33. 1- How did the newspaper get these caricatures? Do you know the history of the assigned competition? Were there really 100 artist called upon to do this job and only ten agreed to do so?

    Nope. They even consulted Islam experts, and they agreed it should be fine.

    2-Why did the newspaper chose this time of tremor to do so? Didn?t they have any freedom of expression ? let?s say 10 years ago?

    It’s a regional paper, they published it back in september. It’s only erupted now, as palistinian groups weary of Hamas try to find things they can inflame the community with – hoping to get Hamas intro trouble. Also 10 and even 100 years ago caricatures like these were created and published throughout Europe, so that’s a moot point.

    3- Have the newspaper ever call for such caricatures depicting the Holocaust for example? Oh or would that be an act of anti-Semitism banned by many countries and organizations?

    I’ve thought about that myself actually – I don’t have a good answer.

    4- Why didn?t the Muslims retaliate by making fun of other prophets, religions or institutions? Is it because they believe in all prophets and religions and are also forbidden to make fun of them?

    Nope to the latter part, and to the former, the paper isn’t of a particular faith (as far as I know).

    5- Did the Muslims decide to Boycott the Danish products a day after the caricatures were published, or was there a long period of negotiations and reasoning?

    Nope. Once it erupted (months after the fact), products were immidiately banned by shopowners.

    6- When did the newspaper apologize and what did it apologize for?

    After it erupted – they apologised for the anger caused, but not for the publication, as they believe in freedom of speach.

    7- Historically speaking, which part of the world was under the ?Age of Darkness? or the ?Middle Ages?? And what were the Muslims doing then?

    The Middle Ages refer to Europe between 900 and 1500 AD, Islam was still propagating but in the Middle East they were trading. “the Muslims” didn’t organise themselves as such, and most would say they don’t do so today.

    8- Isn?t what the angry masses are doing now a form of the ?freedom of expression?? Did any government call upon the boycott or is it the people?s choice?

    I believe your refering to Middle Eastern governments have stood by their people, but from what I’ve read and heard boycotts were the people’s initiative.

  34. George says:

    In my opinion any religion is to be boycotted, they bring nothing but trouble.

    Please stop talking rubbish.

    (I’d post even more links, but I’d get picked up by WP’s spam filter. But you get the idea.)

  35. George says:

    It looks like they were trying to show that ?muslims are terrorists from the beginning? & ?they always planning something? Thats why lots of muslim thinks that they insult them by showing all cartoons which is depend on false information. But why islam? there were other religions to choose from.

    Or maybe they were just saying “Islam is synonymous with terrorism in today’s world”, which is a pretty neutral observation to make.

  36. Avram says:

    Digressing slightly, Voltaire never actually said that famous phrase that is often attributed to him. Those words were written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall as her characterization of Voltaire’s attitude.

  37. Joen says:

    A fierce discussion this is, but that is good. It forces us to use our words. If anyone thinks this is starting to get out of bounds, contact me personally, because I can still accept quite a bit here.

    Amanda,

    1- How did the newspaper get these caricatures? Do you know the history of the assigned competition? Were there really 100 artist called upon to do this job and only ten agreed to do so?

    To expand on James’ explanation, I seem to remember the 12 drawings stemming from a book about Islam that was recently published. This book had called for illustrators to draw Muhammed in the book, but all illustrators declined. I think the article with the pictures were discussing that book, and the concept of drawing the prophet (and why it wasn’t allowed).

    3- Have the newspaper ever call for such caricatures depicting the Holocaust for example? Oh or would that be an act of anti-Semitism banned by many countries and organizations?

    See this is a realization that’s starting to dawn for me. I’ve always thought that publishing these pictures would generate heat, but apparently to some Muslims, it’s such a strong icon that it would be the same writing books about how the holocaust never happened. Of course such books have been written, probalby by neo-nazis.

    4- Why didn?t the Muslims retaliate by making fun of other prophets, religions or institutions? Is it because they believe in all prophets and religions and are also forbidden to make fun of them?

    As James’ said, the newspaper is secular, i.e. has no religion. The newspaper wouldn’t really care if they made fun of other prophets… in fact, some of the 12 illustrations made fun of other prophets and religious figures.

    6- When did the newspaper apologize and what did it apologize for?

    James is prett right on this one… technically they apologized for offending Muslims, and as James said, not for publishing the article. Here’s the full “apology” in english.

    8- Isn?t what the angry masses are doing now a form of the ?freedom of expression?? Did any government call upon the boycott or is it the people?s choice?

    I know some of my fellow citizens care alot about this, but I don’t personally care much that they burn my flag. I do of course care that this means they pretty much hate me by now. And such is the problem. They hate me, not only Jyllands Posten (the newspaper). I would not have thought a second time if the newspaper was boycotted, or companies supporting the newspaper. To me, this would be sensible retaliation. I’m not sure you could call it “freedom of expression”.

    Avram,

    I am aware of that misquote to Voltaire, and I considered including it in the article, or simply writing “someone said:” instead of “Voltaire said:”. I left it out simply because it mattered less than the rest of the article 🙂

  38. Amanda says:

    answers to question #1

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/01/world/main1269165.shtml

    “The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten originally published the cartoons in September after asking artists to depict Islam’s prophet to challenge what it perceived was self-censorship among artists dealing with Islamic issues. A Norwegian newspaper reprinted the images this month. ”

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/589

    “According to Islam it is blasphemy to depict the Prophet Muhammad. Last Summer a Danish writer complained that he could not find an artist to illustrate his book about Muhammad because illustrators feared retaliation by Denmark?s Muslim immigrant population. This prompted Jyllands-Posten (JP), Denmark?s largest newspaper, to test whether the threat of Islamic terrorism has restricted the freedom of expression in Denmark. JP asked a considerable number of artists to draw a picture of Muhammad to illustrate an article about freedom of speech in a multicultural society. Only 12 artists were prepared to do so. As can be seen here, some of them criticised JP and its editor, Carsten Juste, claiming that the request was a ?provocation? and a ?PR stunt.? On September 30, JP published all twelve cartoons, including the ones criticising the paper.”

    Since when do we ask people to freely express themselves? is this really freedom or a paid job for a hiddden agenda?

  39. Joen says:

    Since when do we ask people to freely express themselves? is this really freedom or a paid job for a hiddden agenda?

    If there was a “hidden agenda”, it would be a PR stunt. I am absolutely, utterly and 100% positive that it was in NO way intended to create this polarization and clash of cultures that has ensued.

  40. m says:

    I?m absolutely against these drawings as I said earlier?.

    But look how they depicted the prophet ?.. People who see these images get the impression that Islam= terrorism ?.

    If the newspaper knew that these drawings will set a rage ?. Then why publishing it…

    Again there is a difference between free of speech and insulting?

    And btw no true Muslim will agree on depicting the prophet or ?even god? in anyway possible ?.

    And about what I heard about the adductions and burning the flags and stuff I?m 100% against it ?.. Because that won?t solve anything it will only make things complicated?

    These people who burn flags and abduct people are speaking or taking action by themselves not in the name of Islam?.. Cause Islam told Muslims years ago in wars not to even harm a TREE ?. But unfortunately not all Muslims are following the right path of Islam ?. Unfortunately when the world sees these people and their behaviors they judge them as Muslims not as individuals ?..

    There have been a lot of cases when a Muslim does something wrong ? it?s the religion that goes to trail ?. But when a Christian or Judaist or anybody who do something wrong their religion stays out of it ?

    It?s the way people see Islam ?.

    You people ?non-muslims and even some muslims? are seeing it from the wrong angle ?.

    And about the boycotting it?s the action that Muslims have taken ? because we see it as the only peaceful solution in our point of view ?. Better than going out burning flags and killing innocent people which is totally haraam?

    Isn?t that a free of speech!!!

    And just look how the Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?..

  41. Joen says:

    m,

    People who see these images get the impression that Islam= terrorism ?

    The picture you speak of was intended to portray extremist Muslims who use the will of Allah to justify terrorism. It was not intended to say that all Muslims are terrorists.

    And just look how the Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?

    Fortunately, this is only the extremist right-wing in Denmark, which is a very small minority. Personally I find it disgusting and utterly inappropriate to even consider doing such a thing, and I promise you: that is also the general sentiment in Denmark. Denmark is not perfect, we have our bad eggs too.

  42. Anders Rask says:

    It is great that Joen’s blog attracts so many different people, which makes it a good place to discuss things like this unfortunate situation. Among the commenters there seem to be a handful of people that seems to be able to represent the “side” of this concflict that are against Denmark because of the cartoons brought in the Danish newspaper. So the following questions are particularly directed to you, but obviously anyone should feel free to answer or comment.

    1) Do you realise that Jylland-Posten (the newspaper in question) is not in any way affilitated with the Danish government or the Danish Queen for that matter?

    2) Do you realise that the newspaper speaks only for itself and not for all Danish people or as an authoritative representant of Danish culture?

    3) Do you really, with 1) and 2) in mind, believe that it is fair that the reaction is aimed at all Danes and everything Danish, instead of only against those responsible?

    4) Are you aware that in western culture in general, the Christian God and Jesus, and Christian believers, are being made fun of all the time? One of the most popular and mainstream cartoon shows through the times is The Simpsons who frequently depict the Christian God and Jesus in very unflattering ways!

    End of questions.

    I don’t think it is a valid comparison to compare the Mohammed cartoons to cartoons making fun of the Holocaust. Comparing them to Jesus cartoons would be valid.

    And regarding the boycott, it doesn’t belong in the Freedom of Expression section, but rather in the people are free to decide what products they wanna buy period section. But as far as I am informed at least one country, Saudia Arabia, has implemented a government imposed boycott of Danish goods which is illegal according to WTO laws, which they as a member of WTO are subject too. As it is normal practice, this may lead to trade sanctions from EU against the country in question. EU and USA have a long history of such so-called Trade Wars which have normally went down with relatively good humour, but it will be interesting, in a sort of horrifying way, to see how a Trade War between EU and one or more Muslim countries will go down.

  43. m says:

    ” 41 Joen says:

    m,

    People who see these images get the impression that Islam= terrorism ?

    The picture you speak of was intended to portray extremist Muslims who use the will of Allah to justify terrorism. It was not intended to say that all Muslims are terrorists. ”

    but unfortunetly not everbody is like you, some people believe even though if its sarcastic or not ….. i dont know why but some poeple have grudges against muslims .. i experienced that in a foriegne country and its heart breaking… thank gos there are poeple like you !

    And just look how the Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?

    “Fortunately, this is only the extremist right-wing in Denmark, which is a very small minority. Personally I find it disgusting and utterly inappropriate to even consider doing such a thing, and I promise you: that is also the general sentiment in Denmark. Denmark is not perfect, we have our bad eggs too.”

    well thats great news to me…. thank you..

    42 Anders Rask says:

    “I don?t think it is a valid comparison to compare the Mohammed cartoons to cartoons making fun of the Holocaust. Comparing them to Jesus cartoons would be valid.

    And regarding the boycott, it doesn?t belong in the Freedom of Expression section, but rather in the people are free to decide what products they wanna buy period section. But as far as I am informed at least one country, Saudia Arabia, has implemented a government imposed boycott of Danish goods which is illegal according to WTO laws, which they as a member of WTO are subject too. As it is normal practice, this may lead to trade sanctions from EU against the country in question. EU and USA have a long history of such so-called Trade Wars which have normally went down with relatively good humour, but it will be interesting, in a sort of horrifying way, to see how a Trade War between EU and one or more Muslim countries will go down.”

    This newspaper is in Denmark ?

    Then the Danish government should have controlled this situation before it got bigger?especially that they knew its offensive and will start a rage ?.

    the thing is by continueing that “depicting god and the prophets of god” people will hold some grudges to each other …. because some people have great respect for thier religion and any religion of god ….

    and those people who drew these drawings are showing no respect what so ever ….

    the important thing is that depicting god and prophets are haraam ?forbeded??.

    I think that the newspaper shouldn?t published these images at all?. Because they know nothing about islam for a matter a fact?.

    And I know that there are Danish people who are against these drawings because they can see that they are offensive to the religion and the people who follow this religion ?.

    But you should know that not all muslims are with those who started burning flags and kidnapping innocent people ?..

    In conclusion I think it is a great shame, indeed, for any person to ridicule the savior of the humanity.

    Thank you for listening to both sides of this conflict.

  44. Joen says:

    Breaking news: The danish embassy in Syria has been torched.

    For now I only have a link to the danish article:

    http://politiken.dk/VisArtikel.iasp?PageID=436712

  45. Anders Rask says:

    m,

    the Danish government should have controlled this situation …

    And what do you suggest the government should have done?

  46. M,

    No one is burning the Koran. It was a rumour that was started, most likely by radical islamist elements to further fuel the fire.

    Notice from which side of this conflict that most of the completely insane and irrational moves in this conflict are coming from.

    Also, I seriously think it went far beyond Jyllandspostens wildest expectations how completely insane and overblown the reaction to these drawings would be.

    I simply don’t think burning down embassys is within the mind frame of the intellectual danish population. So I think they were prepared to get a scathing bunch of letters and maybe a couple of the usual imams proclaiming that they should burn in hell and that usual schpiel. Not a bunch of freaking terrorist actions, violent assaults and a multinational trade boycott. It simply isn’t within the scope of what I would have thought possible either.

    We are a mild mannered people.

  47. And for the record, I think Jyllandsposten have done no wrong.

    If people choose to have taboos that offend them deeply though they are no more than a trivial matter to the majority of the earth population, you are entirely yourself to blame when it deeply offends you. You can not expect 7 billion people to keep track of what irrational things might get your knickers in a twist.

    If I choose to be pissed off at the sight of a pair of Nike shoes and I see you with a pair of Nikes, I am the one responsible for pissing myself off, not the wearer of the shoes.

    You may curse and ciritize the “offending” party all you want, as is your democratic right, but the second you take it to the level of harassment and violence, you are so fucking out of line that any and all sympathy I could ever have garnered for your cause is gone in a flash of disgust.

  48. George says:

    M,

    Can you not see the hypocrisy in what you are saying?

    In one sentence you ask that people do not judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few extremists:

    There have been a lot of cases when a Muslim does something wrong ? it?s the religion that goes to trail ?. But when a Christian or Judaist or anybody who do something wrong their religion stays out of it ?
    It?s the way people see Islam ?.

    Then barely two sentences later, you judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few extremists:

    And just look how the Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?..

  49. Jonas Rabbe says:

    This is such an incomprehensible and absurd situation that I doubt Jyllandsposten would have ever imagined it would have come this far. That said, they had been forewarned that it would probably not be a good idea to print the drawings. On Sunday January 29, Politiken brought an article with the title Jyllandsposten was forewarned, it was an interview with Tim Jensen who is a historian specializing in religion. Jyllandsposten appearantly sought out his advice on whether they should print the 12 drawings. The article is in Danish, but the sentence I found interesting is pretty much this:

    I said that we obviously have freedom of speech in Denmark, but that I would consider very seriously not bringing the drawings, as they, seen in the light of the current Danish debate about muslims and Islam, could be perceived as an unnecessary provocation, and as fanning the flames.

    Although forewarned is a big word to use for the way this situation has escalated, there another factor that we have to take into consideration when speaking out in the globalized age. Our audience isn’t just the local community anymore. People are listening all over the world.

    Personally, I don’t see any good reason why Jyllandsposten had to print the drawings. They don’t add anything to the debate, and are in my eyes empty provocation. Granted, I don’t think the reaction is proportionate to the offence, but that doesn’t mean that Jyllandsposten is right.

  50. Tauquil says:

    I think what many find particularly galling about these cartoons, is that it suggests the West has an inability to look beyond its own stereotyping.

    And surely nobody really thinks people aren’t lighting things on fire because of this cartoon. Using it as an excuse, yes.

    To add to the discussion, I’ve posted my own feelings and observations here:

    linky link

  51. Amanda says:

    Correction,

    The Saudi Arabian government did not impose a boycott it was the people’s choice. The only action the goverment did, is pull out thier ambassador in Denmark.

    http://arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=77169&d=1&m=2&y=2006

  52. m says:

    dear george,

    “M,

    Can you not see the hypocrisy in what you are saying?

    In one sentence you ask that people do not judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few extremists:

    There have been a lot of cases when a Muslim does something wrong ? it?s the religion that goes to trail ?. But when a Christian or Judaist or anybody who do something wrong their religion stays out of it ?

    It?s the way people see Islam ?.

    Then barely two sentences later, you judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few extremists:

    And just look how the Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?..”

    yes i agree with you …. i didnt notice that for that i apologize … I DIDNT MEAN TO PUT IT YHAT WAY …. you opened my eyes to it…. thank you ….

    let me do the corrections:

    And just look how a GROUP OF PEOPLE in Denmark response ?. They are going to burn the holly quran a holy book from the god just like ?the bible ?etc? as I heard in the news ?..”

    it just when i heard the news … i kinda felt mad about it …. but believe me i never ment to put it that way …. sorry for the misunderstanding…

    and what amada said was true:

    “Amanda (subscribed to comments) says:

    Correction,

    The Saudi Arabian government did not impose a boycott it was the people?s choice. The only action the goverment did, is pull out thier ambassador in Denmark.”

    the boycotting came from the people not the goverment…

    thank you

  53. Ali Abu-Asab says:

    I’m a Muslim who lives in the U.S. and I was extremely offended by the cartoons.

    Having said that, I’m a firm believer and defender of free speech. Now freedom of speech means that you should be able to say whatever you want, without censor, or consequences. However, you are also responsible for your words.

    There are sensitive subjects like religion, in which your words have consequences.

    You can’t call your wife a Fat B**** and expect to get away with it. Your wife is going to be really upset, and she will make you sleep on the couch, if not on the street corner. And after that happens, you will have to apologize and get her flowers and chocolate, before she throws your stuff out of the window.

    So basically, the cartoonists have the right to draw the pictures, and the Muslims have the right to exercise their freedom of speech, by demonstrating against the cartoonists and demanding an apology.

    Now, the violence is too much, and it?s unacceptable. However, no one will blame your wife for throwing your stuff out the window, after you call her a fat b****.

  54. Ali, that’s a really insightful way of thinking about it.

  55. I must say that any woman who starts destroying property because of name calling is nuts and out of line.

  56. Joen says:

    An interesting development is that an Iranian newspaper now wants to print drawings of the holocaust. This development is interesting because one of the arguments often used in this discussion (even here), is the “what if someone printed spiteful images of jesus or the jews?”. Well now, it seems, we’ll find out.

    My predictions: The illustrations will be reprinted in many western newspapers, and while they’ll generate outrage, I don’t expect any Iranian embassies or flags to be burnt for it.

  57. Anders Rask says:

    As you Joen, I predict that these Holocaust cartoons will be condemned by many, but that no one will go to extremes such as mentioned. I am however afraid that any condemnation however mild or stern will be taken as a proof in case by the Iranian newspaper and its like minded, and no attention will be paid to the actual significant differences in the reaction.

  58. Anders, I agree. But that’s how it is argue with irrational, psychopathic fucks – they know what they know and whatever you say will be proof positive of what they say. If you actually come up with a good argument against something they say, they will ignore it.

    Watch Fox network in the states, and you can see a milder version of them on pretty much all the “news” shows.

    My parents used to have neighbors like this. They were clinically ill in their heads. It was the most insanely frustrating thing in the world to try and deal with them.

    I don’t see any problem with publishing the holocaust drawings. They can publish them all they want.

    And I say this in spite of the fact that I think that there is a huge difference in making a mockery of 5 million peoples deaths in mass genocide and making a funny portrait of someones imaginary friend.

  59. Amanda says:

    The difference between us here and the people who are burning building and flags is that we can reason. Anger is a dark blanket that covers the mind and blinds all senses. I am sure that those Muslims who know their religion very well, and who have studied the history of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) would know that he had never acted in an irrational, angry way.

    The answer to your question: why don?t Muslims attack the Christian God or Jesus is: because all three religions believe in the same God and for Muslims there are certain conditions to be truly faithful and one of them is to believe in all the prophets and messengers of God.

    http://www.islamonline.net/english/introducingislam/belief/Messengers/article01.shtml

    Note: Muslims denounce all depictions of all Prophets and they refuse to watch or publicize any images of any prophet. (The reason why many of them boycott the movie The passion of Christ)

    http://www.asianews.it/dos.php?l=en&dos=16&art=720

    Let me also add why most people here mentioned the Holocaust? It seems that it?s the only topic that people refuse to talk about and if we go back to history we can find what happened to the French Philosopher Roger Garoudi and David Irving when they doubted it.

    Boycotting is a legal, peaceful method that people can express their feelings through (ask the NY times and many American Journals), Violence is not acceptable at all no matter what your religion is.

    ?Men are respectable only as they respect.? Emerson

  60. Josh says:

    The belief that Islam forbids portrayals of Muhammad is recently acquired. Back when Muslims created things, rather than blowing them up, they made paintings, frescoes, miniatures and prints of Muhammad. Other interpretations of the Quran forbid images of humans or animals, which makes even a child’s coloring book blasphemous. That’s why the Taliban blew up those priceless Buddhist statues, bless their innocent, peace-loving little hearts.

    Muslims ought to start claiming the Quran also prohibits indoor plumbing, to explain their lack of it.

  61. Amanda says:

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

    Alexander Pope

  62. Cypress says:

    The belief that Islam forbids portrayals of Muhammad is recently acquired.

    Maybe by you Josh but not everyone else. In fact isn’t it something that was already there and well established by Muslims, and thus there was a reaction when it was violated?

  63. m says:

    i found this on line:

    now tell me that doesnt outrage you or upset you……

    these people who made these about the prophets: jesus and moammed just has nothing else to do …. they are just starting a rage…

    http://www.jesusdance.org/

    http://www.mohammeddance.com/

    this proves that they have no respect to religions and to the prophets or even the people who embrace these religions…

  64. m,

    I can honestly say that it doesn’t upset me the least bit. It could have been funnier if they had spent a little more time on it, but on no level does it have any kind of emotional effect on me.

    Maybe you should learn to chill out about stuff like that. I think it’s handing complete strangers and amazing amount of power over your mood if you let stuff like that affect you emotionally.

    What those people are doing is enjoing this power you are handing them.

    And no, many people have no respect for religion when followers of religion try to impose their own taboos on the public space. You just have to learn to accept that these people have a right to mock your religion, however tasteless and disrespectful you may think it is. Much like you have the right to mock them and their beliefs as much as you want to.

  65. Anders Rask says:

    m,

    Honestly, I couldn’t help laughing out loud when I saw the Jesus dance page. On the Mohhammed one I couldn’t hear the sound though, and the pictures didn’t really seem like they were made for dancing.

  66. Josh says:

    Cypress said:

    Maybe by you Josh but not everyone else. In fact isn?t it something that was already there and well established by Muslims, and thus there was a reaction when it was violated?

    Cypress- Do some of your own research next time. There are countless records of depictions of Muhammad BY MUSLIMS throughout history. The idea that such images are verboten is a myth that will not die. Ask the Cranky Professor: Cranky Professor on Images of the Prophet

    or look at the

    archive of images of the prophet

    For the record, it’s not a belief I’ve ever acquired Cypress and nothing in my post indicated such. Perhaps you thought that by “recently” I meant since the publication of the cartoons? Perhaps. Your error.

  67. Joen says:

    On danish television, tonight, I heard the most sensible commentary on the situation I have yet heard. The commentary was from the progressive muslim, Irshad Manji.

    Inspired by her comments I quickly jumped on to her website and found an extremely interesting article, that pretty much sums up all the things that inspired me about her comments in the news-bit. Here’s a part of it.

    […] Muslims have little integrity demanding respect for our faith if don?t show it for others. When have we demonstrated against Saudi Arabia?s policy to prevent Christians and Jews from stepping on the soil of Mecca? They may come for rare business trips, but nothing more. As long as Rome welcomes non-Christians and Jerusalem embraces non-Jews, we Muslims have more to protest than these cartoons.

    None of this is to dismiss the need to take my religion seriously. Hell, Muslims even take seriously the need to be serious: Islam has a teaching against ?excessive laughter.? I?m not joking. But does this mean that we should cry ?blasphemy? over less-than-flattering depictions of the Prophet Muhammad? God, no.

    For one thing, the Koran itself points out that there will always be non-believers, and that it’s for Allah, not Muslims, to deal with them. More than that, the Koran says there is “no compulsion in religion.” Which suggests that nobody should be forced to treat Islamic norms as sacred. […]

    Be sure to read the full article: How Muslims are caricaturing ourselves.

    Tomorrow I’ll be buying her book, “The Trouble with Islam Today” (danish / english). I also plan to write her a short email, thanking her for being a voice of reason in this storm of mis-information.

  68. Omar says:

    Joen: I’ve read her book, it’s very interesting. However, she doesn’t really have credibility with most Muslims…mainly because she’s homosexual.

  69. Joen says:

    Omar said:

    Joen: I?ve read her book, it?s very interesting. However, she doesn?t really have credibility with most Muslims…mainly because she?s homosexual.

    All the more reason to read the book, in my opinion: she’s honest. I think there are a lot of muslims hidden in the closet.

    Even so, I understand your argument, and I realize that some of the more fundamentalist muslims will have a hard time picking up the book for that reason alone. Even more reason to advertise it here. I honestly believe Islam has plenty of room for homosexuals.

  70. Chris says:

    Oh no, a homosexual!

    You religious folks do realize that the restrictions against “laying down with your brother” are not there because God, Yaweh or Allah said no, right? Those restrictions were put in place by bigotted idiots some 1,500-4000 years ago.

    Seriously, take a moment and think things through. The Almighty really gives a shit if dudes diddle dudes? Really? I mean, seriously? That’s something that ranks high on His list of shit to be concerned with?

    But, He has no problem with murdering innocent children on school buses? He’s totally cool with stoning a girl for kissing a boy on the second thursday after a full moon? There’s no problem with beating a woman for leaving the house while going through her monthly? It’s completely alright to severely punish someone for eating pork? Stoning for working on a Sunday, an arbitrary day picked by men? That makes sense too?

    Or do we just pick and choose those aspects of religious works that fit with our own truly fucked world view? If that’s the way things work then what the fuck is God good for?

    Apologies to Omar if it seems like I’m attacking you. I’m not. You just ended up being between me and Joen.

  71. umayr says:

    Its quite a shame that most people here are still not trying to look at the other point of view, instead they are still just imposing thier own ideas and beliefs. So most of the west doesnt believe in religion, still if someone believes in something why cant they be progressive. Seriously you are looking at things from a perspective you want to see the whole deal. Irshad Manji btw is a cheap canadian publicity stunt and nothing else.

    The cartoon issue currnetly is definitely an over reaction right now, but unfortunately when the issue started off there was plenty of arrogance from the paper and the government on this issue. The offense was expected but still carried on with the print. Personally nothing like this can dent my faith or beliefs, but there are plenty of folks who can be used around with such pictures etc to gather up a mob.

    We are seeing a mob gathering up against Iran in a similar fashion. So seriously enough what is needed is understanding both societies, europe has an inbuilt fear of believers, and the muslims overreact.

  72. umayr,

    Where do you see the arrogance? Is it arrogance that they chose to print something even though someone would get offended?

    Seriously?

    If that is so, when is a newspaper not arrogant? When is it, in your eyes, ok that they print something even though it offends?

    When it only offends ten people? ten thousand? one? noone?

    You and so many others come to this debate with “freedom of speech is of course important, but…”. But that’s the thing: There is no but. In societies with free speech, someone is going to be offended. There is always some uptight person who will get offended at even the slightest controversy. Even things that aren’t a controversy in most peoples eyes.

    And the law doesn’t give the offended party any special rights or help, since it’s ultimately the person who is being offended that is allowing themselves to be offended. No damage has been done except in their minds.

    There is just no other way to make freedom of speech work. They put laws in place that tries to prevent systematic, slanderous campaigns against people, and that’s the best they can do. These laws have determined that what the paper did was not breaking these laws. Ergo it’s not wrong.

    Any hangups beyond that are on the head of the person being offended.

    That’s how it works. That’s the only way it’s ever going to work.

    And that’s the entire purpose of the newspapers initial reason for writing their article that included the drawings; that people were slowly chipping away at their own freedom of speech in the name of political correctness and because of fear of repercussions.

    And they really have a point: People are being fired from newspapers because they step on a few sore toes, even if what they write about is extremely relevant.

    A discussion about the freedom of speech is relevant. A debate about how hypersensitivity coupled with self-censorship is making it impossible to debate som very important issues in our societies is especially relevant. Because the current sitation – as highlighted by the Muhammed drawings controversy – is that even though we have freedom of speech, we apparently arent allowed to use it. And do we really have freedom of speech then?

    I don’t think anything highlights the relevance of this debate more than the extreme overreaction from some parts of the world, but certainly also the reaction from many, many people that are popping up all over the place saying “yes, we have freedom of speech, but this is wrong”.

    It’s not wrong. That’s the whole point. It’s how it’s got to be if we want to maintain our democracy and our freedom, and if some people are still so sensitive they can’t handle that, they need to toughen up and get the fuck over it.

    It’s not like there aren’t plenty of people in the press that are saying things that piss all over my deepest beliefs, but I sure as hell don’t want those people quieted down for fear of me burning down their house. Or because they are afraid of offending my delicate feelings.

    So, either you are for freedom of speech with all the thorns that rose might have, or you are not. Make a choice. Don’t say yes to freedom of speech with the exception of the things you find wrong, because that’s not an option. You can disagree all you like with what people say, but the fact that they are saying it is not wrong.

    So (getting to the point) the government were not wrong or arrogant. They handled it the only way they could: Not getting involved. That’s not arrogant. That’s the exact thing they should do.

    Their biggest mistake was that they eventually buckled and started offering the best apologies they could give without destroying the foundation of our societies (“we are sorry you feel offended”, not “we are sorry we were wrong”).

    The newspaper were not arrogant either, they just started a very relevant debate, even though they knew it was going to offend some people. That’s not arrogant, it’s just not hyper-sensitive and politically correct. I applaude that gutsy choice, because too few people dare to do that, and after this whole ruckus, it’s probably going to be even rarer.

    Freedom of speech is something that needs to be maintained. Stuff like this needs to happen. We can’t just sit there and talk about how we have freedom of speech, but then never talk about anything we are afraid will offend people, because then what good is it? Then it’s just hypothetical freedom of speech, and that’s just not good enough.

    Not only is burning down embassys an overreaction, any claim that printing those drawings was somehow morally wrong is an overreaction. It might be that you disagree, or dislike or even hate the paper for doing things, but if you are in a society where one of the cornerstones is free speech and you want this speech to remain free, then it is in no way possible for you to claim what they did was somehow morally wrong without being a hypocrite.

    Umayr, it’s not that I don’t see the other partys point of view, it’s just that it’s fundamentally incomplatible with what I hold to be the most important property of free nations. There is no middle ground that doesn’t undermine that.

  73. Chris says:

    Everything Brian said.

    I’d say something clever here but we’re long past being clever.

  74. Chris, having a hard time understanding that comment – gimme a headline 🙂 agree? disagree?

  75. Chris says:

    agree? disagree?

    Wholeheartedly agree.

  76. umayr says:

    Brian..

    Do you in all honesty think that NOW after the cartoons have been printed there wont be any self censorship.. and everyone will be happy and going ‘yay we’ve got freedom of speach’ .. i dont think so ..

    It was stupid.. not just because it was hurting the feelings of almost 1.5 billion people of this planet (who mostly are hurt and not roiting) but it makes some flash points around the world unstable.

    What it has done is made people come out to protests while some political parties have used it for thier own motives.. burning down embassies trust me has nothing to do with denmark or any other country, it just puts the government of that country at an odd position. Destabalization of governments and terrorists getting into MOBS is not something you can be very proud off..

    With things finally stabalizing around, with iraq having its elections however crude.. things were stabalizing.. the newspaper knew what they would cause and they went ahead with it .. everyone knew this would happen, im quite sure that the danish journalists arent dumb retards who have no idea about the world.

    So it was irresponsible journalism.. it had nothing to do with freedom of speach .. It had nothing to do with the muslim community of denmark.. it was plain stupid and irresponsible..

    And yes the danish people now will impose self censorship more whole heartedly .. they’d be more scared moving around the world.. and they’d be uneasy with thier local immigrant population..

    Plus a lot more hatred all around the world.

    Seriously Brian, your last para sounded like a fundamentalist..

    If the newspaper had to start a debate or wanted discussions about self censorship seriously, they would’ve chosen better ways.

    You need to lighten up to the reality that the world is made up of different cultures and different people..

    ps. the poor editor guy was sent on a vacation when he said that he’d print the iranian holocaust cartoons.. lol

  77. Chris says:

    So, in the future we should expect that should we ever in any possible way might “hurt the feelings” of muslims that they will in fact start burning shit down? What the fuck is wrong with that picture?!?

    You know what my reaction is to someone hurting my feelings?

    “Jeeze, you’re a real dick.”

    Then I move on to more important things.

    Seriously, we should expect that if someone steps on Islams shoes that all hell is going to break loose? That’s fucked in the head. No. Don’t argue. That’s just fucked in the head.

    Keep it up. Let violence continually be the only recourse of the Muslim. Eventually we’ll just get tired of the shit and turn the Middle East into a vast field of glass.

    Newsflash, non-violence is the best means by which real change has ever taken place. Ghandi could figure that out. King figured that out. Why the fuck are Muslims so damn stupid?

    Here, just to make things clear, you burn down a building, I’m no longer listening to you, I’m loading.

    Shit, I did not want to get into this conversation. Damn.

  78. umayr says:

    and you call the muslims fundamentalists..

    cheers m8 ..

    ?Jeeze, you?re a real dick.?

    Then I move on to more important things.

  79. Umayr, it’s a tired tactic to piss people off to a point where they get emotional and then call them fundamentalist. Saying that they are, doesn’t make it so.

    There’s nothing even remotely correct in calling me a fundamentalist (probably because I used the word “fundamentally”), or Chris because he got pissed off and spoke from his emotions rather than his intelligence, which I must admit is really hard not to do for me as well.

    Check out the definition of “fundamentalist”. None of that fits neither of us. It doesn’t fit you either, I am sure.

    So maybe if you could try and reread my post, then reread Chris’ post and see what he is actually saying and see if you seriously can’t write something else.

    Your response to my post seems like you didn’t even read what I was writing. Just the first paragraph tries to oppose something I said, by saying something I myself said.

  80. Also,

    You need to lighten up to the reality that the world is made up of different cultures and different people..

    “Lighten up to the reality”?

    Turning peoples words back on them is a clever discussion tactic when done right, but when it’s completely forced and incorrectly done, it just makes you look silly.

  81. umayr says:

    Brian.. seriously i didnt intend ot piss either of you off, but i did put up a valid question,which you seem to blatantly ignore in your latest comment.

    No seriously brian.. tell me what has the newspaper achieved with that particular freedom of expression?

    i think you are missing my point.. i am not opposing anything you’ve said.. i partially agree with you up there on some points.. but it seems you missed my point entirely..

    my point is has the caricatures in anyway been useful for the danish public, or thier belief in freedom of expression, locally or globaly.. ?

    Have the cartoons actually started up a dialog between ‘islam and the west’ about this issue? nope, i dont think so.

    If you look at it i think that paper has forced the imposition of self censorship on your society. And youd have to face it, it has made the lives of all danish people outside thier country harder and unsafe.

    Now i didnt call you a fundamentalist i said “you sounded like one” (and ofcourse you dont have to bring up the dictionaries to show the meaning) you know why i said that.. because fundamentalists believe that thier religion, thier text, thier beliefs are infaliable just like you feel about your particular brand of freedom of expression etc.. ofcourse you arent religiously motivated but you do tend to have the same sort of agression, but then again i shouldnt judge you anyway.

    You know if there was a need for dialogue or to test the boundries of freedom of speach or self censorship with Islam in a serious manner, i think the newspaper should’ve rather had an open forum and found out about the issues from both sides in a civilized manner (since you tend to point out about being a civilized society and a modern one too) instead of making an absolute mockery of the journalism and civility of denmark.

    And seriously when i look at educated, civilized people trying to defend an act as stupid as this in the name of freedom its quite disheartening..

    btw first cartoon, among many other..

    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/brenn1.htm

    Caption: “A Scene from the ‘Good Old Days.'” The theme is freedom of the press. This supposedly depicts the situation before 1933, when the Nazis claimed the Jews controlled the German press. (2 January 1934)

  82. Umair says:

    No … I am NOT umayr but I sorta have the same views on the subject.

    While I admit that most of the reported reactions in the Muslim world have been violent and over the top, there have been some which have been peaceful. tbh though none have made any difference.

    The West has made it abundantly clear that diplomacy is BS through its wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and continuing support of Israel despite the way it has treated the Palestinians since before most of us were even born.

    Most muslims like myself have grown up in a world where we have seen our fellow muslim brothers being persecuted only because of their religon. Kashmir, Bosnia, Palestine, Chechnya … the list goes on. And peaceful means havent done shit for those causes. And dont even try to blame it on “terrorist muslims”. These are freedom fighters who gave up on peace after they saw that it only gave their oppressors more time and courage to beat down on them more. And I would know because I have studied about these conflicts and not just seen Fox News for my info … lol

    With that background I dont find it overly hard to understand how violent the reaction has been in the Muslim world. This generation has seen how diplomacy has failed them and how the West because of its economic and military might has continued to have its way in Muslim countries … Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan … need I list more?

    Its a REACTION! The offense came from the west … I wont argue over the intention but it was a very stupid mistake if the editor and responsible people didnt have a clue about wtf they were doing.

    I appreciate freedom of speech but that power comes with great responsibility. Self-censorship IS a good thing believe it or not and the numbskulls in that Danish newspaper and the ones who reprinted the offensive material in support should have known better. They made a mistake and then arrogantly put forth the freedom of speech argument to get their people behind them. It was only after diplomatic and economic repurcussions that they understood what they had done.

    Once again it was POWER (economic in this case) which resolved the issue by extracting an apology from the offenders. The only difference is that this time the Muslims exercised it instead of the West.

    Have a good one …

  83. umayr says:

    here are some interesting facts

    Danish ministers say the government can?t condemn the cartoons a daily publishedand that freedom of speech is guaranteed for all and that freedom of the press is also guaranteed by the Danish constitution

    ok, but..

    ?The law prohibits publicly disseminated statements, which threaten, insult, or degrade persons based on their religion.?

    And this law was used by the Danish government to condemn ?anti-Semitic? activities and investigate them, as mentioned in the human rights report made by the US Department of State regarding Denmark in 2004:

    ?From January through June, there were five incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism, primarily graffiti, and one incident of an anti-Semitic mailing, which the government condemned and investigated.?

    What is strange to me is , with millions of people protesting and obviously it can be seen the cartoon has hurt plenty .. why cant it be in the same category as the anti-semitic stuff..

    As far as freedom of speach is concerned, i guess the expression cant really be anti-semitic.. though im sure some danes can explain better here..

    Morever other european nations who follow freedom of speach also have laws against anti-semitism..

    *In France a university professor was sacked because he made a research questioning the magnitude of the Holocaust. In Germany one risks going to jail if one denies the Holocaust or brandishes Nazi symbols in public.

    The Italian interior minister confirmed on Thursday that legal action is being taken against 11 football fans for brandishing Nazi symbols during a Serie A game. The 11 face prison sentences of between three months and one year.*

    Then I read “Queen Margrethe II’s ” stance in her official biography.. via a news print article.. on telegraph.co.uk

    She said: ?We are being challenged by Islam these years ? globally as well as locally. It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and lazy.

    ?We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance.?

    (Filed: 15/04/2005)

    then this going unnoticed for a year by the telegraph and danish government, after getting media attention was changed a bit,

    to:

    In the original version of this story, relying on a translation provided by an international news agency, the Telegraph quoted Queen Margrethe as saying “We have to show our opposition to Islam”. But the correct translation should be “counter-balance”. The story was re-published on Feb 16, 2006 to reflect that.

    haha.. counter-balance..

    i actually find this amusing.

  84. Joen says:

    umayr said:

    What is strange to me is , with millions of people protesting and obviously it can be seen the cartoon has hurt plenty .. why cant it be in the same category as the anti-semitic stuff..

    First of all, anyone, and I do mean anyone (including countries) are allowed to sue the newspaper, heck even the danish government, for breaking the law you mention. Seriously, take the newspaper to court and have them pay damages! (That is, if the one suing wins the case).

    Secondly, and I don’t mean to belittle what has happened, there is a difference between stupidity and hatefulness. I classify the publishing of those drawings as stupidity, rather than hatefulness. The difference is, stupidity is much harder to condemn than hatefulness.

    To elaborate a bit: if it was the clear intention of the newspaper to incite riots and to single out muslims, then I have no doubt the Danish government would have condemned the newspaper before you could yell “racism”. But this was not the case. The newspaper wanted to discuss the act of drawing religious symbols in a satirical context. So they drew many different religious symbols, not limited to Muslim symbols such as Muhammed.

  85. Chris says:

    Umair and Umayr, you’ve both said a number of things so bear with me while I try to respond.

    This comment may go rather long, buckle up. I’ll refrain from the previous day’s foaming at the mouth.

    my point is has the caricatures in anyway been useful for the danish public, or thier belief in freedom of expression, locally or globaly.. ?

    If nothing else this has cemented in the minds of some the importance of freedom of expression, a freedom lacking in many Islamic nations.

    Have the cartoons actually started up a dialog between ?islam and the west? about this issue? nope, i dont think so.

    Yes. You’re having that dialog now.

    You know if there was a need for dialogue or to test the boundries of freedom of speach or self censorship with Islam in a serious manner, i think the newspaper should?ve rather had an open forum and found out about the issues from both sides in a civilized manner (since you tend to point out about being a civilized society and a modern one too) instead of making an absolute mockery of the journalism and civility of denmark.

    My experience of such an “open forum” is that no one would show up and no one would report on it.

    And seriously when i look at educated, civilized people trying to defend an act as stupid as this in the name of freedom its quite disheartening..

    It is equally disheartening to see people of the book murdering one another. It is equally disheartening to see those same people riot in the name of their benevolent deity. Doesn’t that strike you as being just as stupid?

    The West has made it abundantly clear that diplomacy is BS through its wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and continuing support of Israel despite the way it has treated the Palestinians since before most of us were even born.

    Regarding Israel lets make things clear here, while it is understood that there are many Muslims that do not share the views of certain extremists there are likely just as many Westerners that do not approve of Israel. I, being one of those people. I have railed far longer against Israel and the actions of the Israeli government than I have Islam.

    Secondly, it is not so easy for the West to consider diplomacy when the measure of a good time in Tehran is easily quantified by the number of Western leaders burned in effigy. Chants of “death to the Great Satan” do not a hospitable environment for negotiation and understanding make.

    Also, if you want to get into a pissing match over who did what first I’m willing to go back to the days of the Barbary pirates if needs be.

    Most muslims like myself have grown up in a world where we have seen our fellow muslim brothers being persecuted only because of their religon.

    And most Westerners are growing up in a world where they are persecuted for not sharing that religion.

    The long and the short of it is that the West and Islam on both sides of the issue have what you might call a massive PR problem. One I don’t see being quickly resolved if ever. There has been an escalation of animosity between the two cultures perpetrated by those least accountable to the groups represented. This is known. This is fact and yet the majorities of these groups continue to follow, as sheep, down a long deadly road.

  86. Chris says:

    seriously enough, the cartoons wont dent my faith or the faith of so many more but the cartoons have pretty much been an insult to our pride.. maybe it is something like youd? feel multiplied a 1000 times when someone burns your national flag.

    Or the way I feel when someone blows up two buildings?

  87. umayr says:

    No one is defending the roiting here, yes its retarded..

    The long and the short of it is that the West and Islam on both sides of the issue have what you might call a massive PR problem. One I don?t see being quickly resolved if ever. There has been an escalation of animosity between the two cultures perpetrated by those least accountable to the groups represented. This is known. This is fact and yet the majorities of these groups continue to follow, as sheep, down a long deadly road.

    I totally Agree And i agree with all that you have pointed out .. This is what shouldnt happen.The moderates do try to walk that correct path, but unfortunately the attention war is always in the favour of the fanatics.

  88. umayr says:

    Joen said:

    umayr said:

    First of all, anyone, and I do mean anyone

    (including countries) are allowed to sue the newspaper, heck even the

    danish government, for breaking the law you mention. Seriously, take

    the newspaper to court and have them pay damages! (That is, if the one

    suing wins the case).

    Yup that is what the local muslim community should’ve done in the first place. I am not really sure if they still have done any such thing.

    To elaborate a bit: if it was the clear intention of the newspaper

    to incite riots and to single out muslims, then I have no doubt the

    Danish government would have condemned the newspaper before you could

    yell ?racism?. But this was not the case. The newspaper wanted to

    discuss the act of drawing religious symbols in a satirical context. So

    they drew many different religious symbols, not limited to Muslim symbols such as Muhammed.

    Well i believe what you say, it does seem like stupidity, but the thing you say about drawing different religious symbols, since you are a danish and probably read the paper or have read it you know better. But from what i got to read and hear this started off with the childerns book issue and issue of self censorship and the specifically did a competition for these cartoons.. and published some cartoons which used the image steriotypically..

    seriously enough, the cartoons wont dent my faith or the faith of so many more but the cartoons have pretty much been an insult to our pride.. maybe it is something like youd’ feel multiplied a 1000 times when someone burns your national flag.

  89. Anders Rask says:

    A friend of mine gave me this link: “We were brought up to hate – and we do”

    I think the anti-semtism that is being discussed is a little bit different, in that it is direct assaults or threats on people. I have never seen any furore over satiric cartoons of jews, jewish leaders, og figures from the bible, of which there by the way have been plenty. As mentioned before, satire, cartoons, and satiric cartoons are overwhelmingly commonplace in European culture.

    There cannot be a shadow of doubt, from people who live within the European culture, that assault or threats on muslims will be treated precisely as serious as if it were jews or if it were in fact anyone.

    However, one of the main problems here as it seems, is that a large groups of muslims equate these cartoons to threats, violence, persecution. And for me it is a little bit difficult to see and understand why!?

    umayr, and everybody else, please believe me when I say that I truly believe in miracle of Jesus – BUT that I can’t give a hoot about how anyone whereever they may be, could come up with a comic, satirical, or demeaning drawing of him. So I can see that apparently many muslims are badly hurt by these drawings, but I can’t really, no matter how much you ask me to see things from your side, understand or agree the slightest bit with the feelings behind it.

    Instead I can see dictatorious and corrupt regimes continuing to fuel a hate for westerners, playing the population as a lame fiddle, so that they may continue their wrong-doing uninterrupted.

    umayr, you mention a reaction several times, that people have the right to reaction and bla bla, though you seem to think it went over the top. But really, the only form of reaction that would have been appropriate was one that was non-violent, completely within the law, and ONLY DIRECTED TO THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY: JYLLANDS-POSTEN.

    And this is what is totally cocobongers about all this, that the reaction has been directed towards the whole west, as if this is yet another advance in the western world’s war against all of muslims. No! It’s all in your head!

    While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can be debated, and indeed they are widely debated (to say the least), it is not so simple as to say it’s the West against the Muslims. I can’t believe that it can take many brain cycles to realise that if the west really wanted to wage a war on all muslims, that it would be just a tiny tad easier, as Chris put it, to turn the whole Middle East in to a piece of glass.

    And by the way, Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia, the wars and the crimes against humanity there were stopped by military intervention by Europe and America.

    Peace takes two, and while the Israelis have committed a lot of wrong, so have the palestinians and the other parties who have chosen to be a part of this conflict, and I want to tell you straight out, that even if you just believe it is solely the fault and now the responsibility of the Israelis, then you are part of the problem of people dying and living lives without hope.

    Could everybody just get of their asses, tune down their sensitivity, and start WORKING for a better world where we all live together!

  90. Chris says:

    And this is what is totally cocobongers about all this, that the reaction has been directed towards the whole west, as if this is yet another advance in the western world?s war against all of muslims. No! It?s all in your head!

    First off, “cocobongers” is a great word.

    Second, I think you hit the nail on the head regarding West/Islam relations. The idea that I sit up nights worrying about terrorists or Islam or how best to further ruin their day is ridiculous but the impression I get is that’s what Islam thinks I’m doing. I’m not.

    I could give a hoot about Islam. That’s your religion? Good for you. Have fun with that. Am I nightly planning world domination? Um… no. My biggest concern in life right now is getting a new site design finished and keeping my girl happy. Allah and Mohammed are way down on my list of priorities.

    And, Islam, if your response is that I should be thinking about you more and that’s the problem; you’re wrong. Maybe you should be thinking about me a little less and instead concentrating on what really is important for you.

    A couple things you could focus on other than me:

    • Muslims killing Muslims
    • Massive governmental corruption
    • The will of the people being ignored by those governments
    • The usurpation of Islam by extremist factions
    • The horrid nature of economic disparity in Muslim states
    • The utter disregard for civic and equal rights in Muslim countries
    • That many Muslim states control most of the oil yet the people are dirt poor
    • A pretty girl named Fatima

    Just a few things that from where I’m standing are far more important than some cartoons depicting the Prophet who, I’m guessing, would be ashamed by the way the Islamic peoples have fallen since their heyday as leaders in science so many centuries ago.

  91. Anders Rask says:

    In Nigeria, Muslims protesting the cartoons attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings, The Associated Press reported.

    Mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, with machetes, sticks and iron rods, The A.P. said. One group threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.

    Source: Italian Quits Over Cartoons; 15 Die in Nigeria

  92. Rob Mientjes says:

    Don’t forget that this isn’t about following the oh-so sacred/holy/blessed/superior Qur’an, it’s about being a general asshole about being insulted. General asshole for taking it quite badly and blaming the whole Western world. For burning buildings over a cartoon. For trying to impose your religion upon non-believers. Remember what the Book said, then. Those’ll be taken care of. I don’t believe that will happen, but since you’re a Muslim, Umayr, you should, so that should take care of it all.

    And again, like Chris says, don’t blame the entire West for what one Danish newspaper did, ignoring their intentions and everything else.

    (I haven’t read the Qur’an myself, but will when I get the time, if people keep killing other people because they apparently read that they had to in a very old book.)

  93. Umair says:

    //

    While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can be debated, and indeed they are widely debated (to say the least), it is not so simple as to say it?s the West against the Muslims. I can?t believe that it can take many brain cycles to realise that if the west really wanted to wage a war on all muslims, that it would be just a tiny tad easier, as Chris put it, to turn the whole Middle East in to a piece of glass.

    //

    If it really were that easy, it would have been done so by now. And yes I am challenging the West’s military might and will to sacrifice it all only to dominate a region militarily which they already do politically. OIL!!!

    Muslims as a general rule dont really fear death. That doesnt mean Muslims dont enjoy life. It means that we dont FEAR death. If it were to come to a point where its either the West or Muslims, rest assured it wont be as easy as it was in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    IF the west can understand and respect that, then we can see some normalcy in this world where actions arent taken uninformed and in haste (like the danish newspaper) and the actions are interpreted as an all out attack on a civilization (like it was perceived in the Muslim world). Respect and understanding has to be both ways. I can understand and even respect to some extent the value of freedom of speech … the opposite cant be said of the West with regards to the severity of the reaction in the Muslim world.

    Turn the ME into a piece of glass? Fucking LOL! If thats what you really believe you cant really respect the Middle East and Muslims on a whole. Without respect you CBA to understand the differences and avoid conflicts such as this one. A clash of civilizations is inevitable if even one party has this sort of a mindset.

    —————–

    Knowingly or unknowingly the danish, norwegian and other newspapers insulted Muslims everywhere. While it may be ok in some religions to portray their god or prophet, it is not so in Islam. They should have researched that little bit and weighed in all the options.

    Hiding behind the argument of freedom of speech is wrong. They should have owned up and apologized if they really felt bad about hurting Muslim sentiments.

    If they dont … and it has been made abundantly clear with the way newspapers all over Europe have reprinted the offensive material, then they should tell each complainant to go F themselves and get on with their freedom of speech loving and carefree ways and not care about the political and economic sanctions and what not.

    Muslims have the right to protest what they deem to be an injustice to them. They CAN boycott products of a country if they think thats the only possible way to protest. And in most cases it is. e.g. in Pakistan we have a sham democracy backed by none other than the champion of democracy … the USA. The public have no way to influence the decisions of their government. If a whole society/country suffers due to this boycott, so be it. Its not like they cry a tear everytime an Israeli bulldozer razes the home of a grieving Palestinian family whose son/daughter just blew himself/herself to ensure that their land isnt forgotten in this modern world.

    Diplomatic sanctions would do ok as well. It just means that the public wont go up against the government and the illegit government can save face.

    ——

    I am OK (like most moderate Muslims I imagine) with peaceful ways of demonstrating. I am OK with economic and diplomatic sanctions. I am OK with discussions such as this one. I am even OK with people making general statements about Islam based on what little they have seen on the boob tube and read in their newspapers cuz my faith isnt affected by them.

    I am not OK with people gaining political mileage out of it. Most of all however … I am not OK with people getting killed in protests … Muslim or otherwise. The killing of Christians and burning of churches if done is WRONG and there is NO justification for it. The people perpetuating this violence should look at the history of the Islamic empire when the Islamic rulers provided safety to non-muslims in their domain to practice their religion freely.

  94. umayr says:

    Anders Rask

    I think the anti-semtism that is being discussed is a little bit different, in that it is direct assaults or threats on people

    Anti-semitism when practiced was usually aimed at the masses, to insult them .. there were propaganda on the newspaper, there were books published and what not. Now in the modern world it is taken as a direct assult or threat on people. Now look at the current situation logically, antisemitism hurt the jews in some way or the other, direct or indirect it is now outlawed. Everybody now understand anti-semitism clearly, im not quite sure that would’ve been the case a couple of decades back, but it is now. So now with 1.5 billion people showing that it has hurt them in some way and they find it offensive why cant it be accepted that maybe just maybe its not a retarded reaction, maybe it has hurt some core value of thiers. Maybe not outlaw it but atleast be civilized about it.

    umayr, and everybody else, please believe me when I say that I truly believe in miracle of Jesus – BUT that I can?t give a hoot about how anyone whereever they may be, could come up with a comic, satirical, or demeaning drawing of him. So I can see that apparently many muslims are badly hurt by these drawings, but I can?t really, no matter how much you ask me to see things from your side, understand or agree the slightest bit with the feelings behind it.

    Instead I can see dictatorious and corrupt regimes continuing to fuel a hate for westerners, playing the population as a lame fiddle, so that they may continue their wrong-doing uninterrupted.

    umayr, you mention a reaction several times, that people have the right to reaction and bla bla, though you seem to think it went over the top. But really, the only form of reaction that would have been appropriate was one that was non-violent, completely within the law, and ONLY DIRECTED TO THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY: JYLLANDS-POSTEN.

    Yes i agree that instead of making it a public issue and distributing the cartoons all around the world and creating a demand for the cartoons, the local community should’ve taken the newspaper to a court and put there case. But i guess there were politics invovled with all of this. Personally believe it or not, i feel more pissed off on the people who took the cartoons all over to make a big issue out of them than rather just dealing with them in a court of law.

    and i agree with your last line, the need is to start working togather rather than open new fronts, it requires sensitivities from both sides.

    now Chris

    again you are generalizing, no islam is not like that and not every muslim is like that. So kindly do not generalize with me vs them sorta points.

    A couple things you could focus on other than me:

    haha

    * Muslims killing Muslims

    You are pointing towards the sects fighting, this isnt a historical issue with islam this is actually quite new and quite new, as new as the cold war. The shi’a sects were backed by iran which was backed by KGB/russia at that time and the sunni factions were backed by saudia backed by CIA/USA, and mostly this type of voilence is used to destabalize governments or to infuse fear in the people. Makes them feel really unsafe if they are believers. And btw this all started with the afghanistans occupation by russia.

    * Massive governmental corruption

    This is again generalization of an issue of most of the third world, yeah they are curropt but most of the third world countries are..

    * The will of the people being ignored by those governments

    Again generalizing, Muslims do have governments they are content and happy with, and like all other countries of the world .. political struggles will continue for what they beleive is right or wrong, isnt really about islam or the way muslims work.

    * The usurpation of Islam by extremist factions

    Again the extreemist factions , well most of them created for the afghan cold war and still used for destablization of governments, they have nothing to do with popular muslim belief.

    * The horrid nature of economic disparity in Muslim states

    Well middle east is rising, Qatar, UAE, jordon, even pakistan has some positives, indonesia is recovering from the tusnami, malaysia is doing pretty well, egypt i guess is progressing too , so yup they are still developing , but again that was a generic comment. I think you are confusing Africa with Muslim states.

    * The utter disregard for civic and equal rights in Muslim countries

    Well this is part myth part reality and its rapidly changing all around the muslim world, take UAE for example take Qatar for example.. take the prime example of malaysia.. the popular view of all muslims is pretty much the same about civic and equal rights, what you mostly hear on the media is what makes good news .. the hardline conservatives.. and well the conservatives are losing this battle. Since islam does beelive in civic and equal rights.

    * That many Muslim states control most of the oil yet the people are dirt poor

    There is a very nice program on BBC called Doha Debate, they had this question asked and well there were plenty of facts and figures going around and what came out was that now the governments unlike the previous were actually putting alot more into thier own economy rather then putting the money in the US or european economy.

    * A pretty girl named Fatima

    I know her she’s really sweet 🙂

    Anders Rask..

    yup its sad, but do you see how these protests have turned into voilent deadly protests only around the beging of feburary. This isnt because muslims were pissed off just now, its because this political party called ‘jamat’e’islami got into this, and this is what they are good with. These folks are pretty much present all around globally and are very organized, this was the main islamic force that america had used against the russians in afghanistan. They mostly try and represent muslims all over the world and are seriously dangerous.

    Rob Mientjes

    if 1.5 billion muslims would’ve come out to setfire trust me plenty of stuff would be burning, so please dont generalize.. you fall into the same pit of generlizing.. these people burning down embassies or killing people have nothing to do with the cartoon or the protest they have thier own agendas and they persue it.

    and rob if you do seriously want to read the Quran go for muhammad asad’s translation of it, since it is somewhat a more accurate translation of the arabic.

  95. Rob Mientjes says:

    if 1.5 billion muslims would’ve come out to setfire trust me plenty of stuff would be burning, so please dont generalize.. you fall into the same pit of generlizing.. these people burning down embassies or killing people have nothing to do with the cartoon or the protest they have thier own agendas and they persue it.

    Sorry? First of all, I may seem to generalise but I mean it only to make the point, not to pull in all Muslims of the world. It’s merely to illustrate rather than insult or literally generalise.

    Secondly, what do you mean by that last sentence? The people burning down embassies or killing other people have nothing to do with the cartoons? They are pursuing their own agendas? Their agendas consist of plans to burn an embassy or to kill a Christian? What is that about then, and why do they say it’s out of anger over the cartoons? Are they joking?

    Is violence a trait, according to the Qur’an? Or is the Qur’an irrelevant here?

  96. umayr says:

    Rob Mientjes said:

    if 1.5 billion muslims would?ve come out to setfire
    trust me plenty of stuff would be burning, so please dont generalize..

    you fall into the same pit of generlizing.. these people burning down

    embassies or killing people have nothing to do with the cartoon or the

    protest they have thier own agendas and they persue it.

    Sorry? First of all, I may seem to generalise but I mean it only to

    make the point, not to pull in all Muslims of the world. It?s merely to

    illustrate rather than insult or literally generalise.

    Secondly, what do you mean by that last sentence? The people burning

    down embassies or killing other people have nothing to do with the

    cartoons? They are pursuing their own agendas? Their agendas consist of

    plans to burn an embassy or to kill a Christian? What is that about

    then, and why do they say it?s out of anger over the cartoons? Are they

    joking?

    Is violence a trait, according to the Qur?an? Or is the Qur?an irrelevant here?

    Well quran is irrelevant really, Quran has nowhere promoted any sort of voilence.. if someone pastes you some verses from teh quran and tries to prove it , its wrong, since you need to read the whole book and know the history to actually understand what it is about..

    To understand my last sentence, look at it from a different point of view. The people in muslim countries feel hurt and do want to voice thier protest. The political parties around mostly in opposition or the conservative right find this an ample time to pressurize the government. So they take out to the streets form a mob and burn down buildings public properties and embassies… now if they do successfully burn an embassy, dipolomatically the government is in a mess .. and when they do gather up a mob they do just that.. This pressure then makes the governments buckle under pressure. This is exactly what is happening…

  97. Chris says:

    On generalizing…

    You’re missing my point, I think.

    Islam is your religion. When these lunatics attack the West they claim a right backed by Islam and the people that practice Islam. What I’m saying, the problem is that I see way more Muslims chanting for my doom and damnation than I see chanting for my salvation. It has nothing to do with the media only focusing on the bad. If you’re thinking I get my news from FOX you’re off your rocker.

    As far as generalizations about Muslim governments you’re right. From what I can see Jordan isn’t so bad. Turkey is mostly okey-dokey. And, sure, there may be some others. However, that doesn’t forgive Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    The Saud family is an embarrassment. Why Arabs haven’t risen up and taken back their nation I will never understand. And, I believe Iran closed over 300 newspapers not long ago to stifle the very freedom of speech that we Westerners are so attached to.

    Eureka. Here’s the thing, Westerners place a value on freedom of speech comensurate with the apparent value Muslims put on the Mohammed (PBUH) imagery. Immovable object vs. Unstoppable force.

    …they have nothing to do with popular muslim belief.

    While I will go with the idea that extremists are reading from a backwards version of the Quran the idea that they have nothing to do with popular Muslim belief is laughable. They might not affect your belief but they do affect my perception of that belief.

    And, isn’t my perception of that belief part of the issue here?

    …and well the conservatives are losing this battle. Since islam does beelive in civic and equal rights.

    They’re not losing fast enough.

    Bottom line, the view of the average American on the street is this:

    • Islam is a religion of women hating, freedom hating thugs.
    • Not all Muslims are like that. But most are.
    • These recent events in Denmark (a country most USians can’t identify on a map with labels) only further to cement that view.

    Those aren’t my opinions. Those are the opinions of the vast majority of Americans. The reason that’s the opinion of the vast majority of Americans is because the only Muslims we know are the family down the street that own that convenience store and Osama.

    If you want that view to change then you, my friend, and more Muslims like you are going to have to stand up and introduce yourselves.

  98. umayr says:

    Chris there are two people i think you are mixing up here.. an umayr (thats me) and Umair..

    Chris what you have pointed out is the problem, i guess on both sides. they have a generic preception of each other and its sticking. These preceptions cant be broken until a serious effort is done from both sides.

    but preconcieved ideas have to be let go . . the americans see islam as a backward and terrorist threat.. and attack iraq and probably will attack iran too .. and in return in the muslim world it is seen as a misuse of power..

    Anyway that aside, Saudia’s current king is quite progressive, has started up the process of change.. there have been plenty of new laws implemented.. and trust me i have personally seen the change in that country. There is a great possibility of an election being anounced in the next year or so..

    But again all of this is irrelevant, if the americans or the europeans expect that all the people around the world will accept thier point of view and abandon thier own views , i think it might be a mistake.. there has to be a tolerant solution to all these issues.

    And seriously enough , the current problems in the muslim world are created via the super powers around.. Osama was CIA .. so were most of the other issues around.. Iran was mostly backed by KGB… and after the cold war was over they just left em stranded causing problems for the world..

    But my point being.. to make the change both sides will have to try.. it wont really be solved by terrorism or attacking countries..

  99. umayr says:

    oh btw let me introduce my self.. im Umayr Masud from Islamabad Pakistan, and im trying to understand the current problem of modrenity and islam.. 🙂

  100. muslem says:

    it is abad thing from those dainsh to say that it is a freedom of speach…

    becaus no one accept that thing…

  101. Rob Mientjes says:

    it is abad thing from those dainsh to say that it is a freedom of speach… becaus no one accept that thing…

    Well, that’s part of free speech: it’s not about accepting but about doing it regardless. Of course, people can not accept it, but that’s not a contradiction to free speech.

  102. muslem says:

    Rob…there is nothing in the world make this thing a freedom of speech..it is not agood to them: danesh..to drow . nothing in religion have fun

    are you agree with me?

  103. sumaya says:

    I dont blame us muslims for feeling angry…..we are angry because we know that prohet Muhammad has nothing to with terorism. its we muslims today who are doing wrong and not following the way of prophet muhammad peace be upon him. We wouldnt have minded if it was an ordinary muslim man dressed as a terrorist….we might have agreed…….BUT NO they had to take the piss out of the last messenger of Allah( which means god in arabic by the way) A prohet muslims love more than their lives!! we also would be mad if jesus peace be upon him was potrayed like that and even Moses peace be upon him.

    It was wrong the way we acted to the situation……The prohet muhammad peace be upon him was also ridiculed at his time? what did he do? ignored them and carried on being kind.

    thats the way we should have reacted…….

  104. Joen says:

    Sumaya,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I do not disagree with what you have to say, and muslims have every right to be angry.

Comments are closed.