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2006-02-08 | |
Clearly, the cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad that several European newspapers have republished recently are politically incorrect, highly offensive and downright provocative. And I am saying that Muslim indignation is understandable to a certain point. Much too often, editorial cartoonists come with deliberately inflammatory images, meant to elicit strong opinions from their audience. It just does not matter if the readers agree or disagree, all that matters is that we have a good heated argument and everybody gets high on adrenaline. If the cartoonists have crossed the line and went right into the woods, their editors are quickly deluged with angry letters, contracts are terminated and the trespassers are free to pursue other financial opportunities. And this is how things are usually done. Or is it?
In the case of the controversial drawings republished by France Soir and several other European papers last week, most cartoonists aimed for public acclaim of their inspirationā¦ or lack thereof. One depicts Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, while another has him crying out to suicide-bombers waiting to be admitted to heaven: āStop, stop! We have run out of virgins!ā. The cartoons were presumably intended as a comment to extremists who sanction murder in the name of faith. Instead they suggested that the entire Muslim religion is based on violence and self-righteous terrorism. In hindsight a no-brainer.
But the fiery reaction of radical Muslims is equally lacking judgement: there have been death threats, attempts to kidnap foreigners, to date several embassies have been sacked and set ablaze, all while the crowds were chanting about the (!) Greatness of the Almighty. Some clerics have gone so far as to recommend that the offending cartoonists should be captured and beheaded. Pray, good people, havenāt you ever thought of cancelling the papers or suing the editors? Is it that you need cartoonist heads pinned to the walls to get your point across? If a paper publishes offensive matter, do you need to curse the whole nation, Europe, the race and all their descendants to the last of kin? There surely must be some less retarded ways.
An exasperated Muslim Canadian Congress spokesman, Tarek Fatah, pointed out last Thursday that Muslim extremist are re-stoking the fires of anti-Muslim hatred. āItās falling straight into that trap of being depicted as a violent people and proving the point that yes, we are.ā Unfortunately, in the turmoil generated by the troublesome depiction of the Prophet, nobody has stopped to question the validity of this fine argument. Or is it just the fact that any depiction of the Prophet would have had the same results and none of the rioters were actually hurt by the comment on their violent actions?
What I am trying to say is that poking fun at God and religion is certainly not going to build a better world. But neither is crime aimed to punish blasphemy. Ironically enough, all religions hold dear principles such as āThou shalt not stealāā¦ or killā¦ and the rest of them. Moreover, I suspect that God can take much more than we could ever take in His name. And besides, if The Lord can stand it no longer, He will certainly find a way to tell us.
NBC recently cancelled a TV series called āThe Book of Danielā, which centered around a drug-addicted priest and his funny-and-equally-dysfunctional-family. Iām pretty sure that more than a few righteous souls were angered by this depiction and pushed for cancellation, hard as they could. But none of them threatened to burn the NBC headquarters down or kill the head of NBC, the director and the cast. Just a different way of doing things, eh?
Unfortunately, much of the Muslim world has no concept of freedom of the press and the separation of religion and state. Muslim state heads do not seem to understand why European state heads are unable to cancel offending newspapers and sentence provocative cartoonists to life (or worse). For them it is just another sign that the western world is forever lost to sin and decadence.
To end my story, I chose to quote those eloquent France Soir infidels who defended their decision to run the cartoonsā¦ and I sincerely hope that my readers do have a sense of humourā¦ āImagine a society that added up all the prohibitions of different religions,ā they wrote āWhat would remain of all our freedom to think, to speak, and even come and go?ā Well, I pray for that kingdom not to come.
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