Fuel to the Fire: France Prints Danish Cartoons

and the stupidity contines…

France Soir said it had published the cartoons to show that “religious dogma” had no place in a secular society.

Under the headline “Yes, we have the right to caricature God”, the paper ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian  gods floating on a cloud.

It shows the Christian deity saying: “Don’t complain, Muhammad, we’ve all been caricatured here.”

…The paper said it had decided to republish them “because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society”.

The global controversy the cartoons have provoked “has done nothing to maintain balance and mutual limits in democracy, respect of religious beliefs and freedom of expression”, it added. [source]

First, the Prophet Mohammad pbuh is a Prophet, not a “god”

Second, I don’t understand. Are these people stupid or just demented? Didn’t they just get over riots in France? Why deliberetly ignite the flame again? In the name of freedom of speech? Or in the name of increasing a newspaper’s circulation? In the name of sensationalism?

This thing is just going to circulate endlessly into a series of push and shove; action, reaction. More Muslims will protest France, then Italy prints them to spite the Muslims and Muslims in turn protest Italy and around and around we go.

To do this just out of spite, just out of thumbing your nose at the Muslim world, well that’s just hateful.

In related news, 17 Arab ministers got together to condemn the cartoons and apparently demand from the government of Denmark that punishments be carried out. Stating…

“The council of Arab interior ministers strongly denounce the offence to Islam and the prophet published in the Danish press and ask the Danish government to firmly punish the authors of these offences,” the statement said.

Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, who attended the meeting, criticised the European press.

“Why do they talk about democracy and freedom of expression just when the issue concerns Islam?” he asked. “If it concerns other religions the facts will change.”

UPDATE:

French Muslim leaders on Wednesday, February 1, denounced in unison the reprinting of a series of explosive cartoons blasphemous to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a French daily and vowed to take the case to French courts.

â??We call on French Muslims to peacefully protest this aggression on the Prophet of Islam,â? the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) said in a statement after a meeting chaired by its head Dalil Boubackeur.

apparently the paper may be using this to get their circulation up after all

The heavily-indebted paper opted for reprinting the blasphemous cartoons to boost its declining sales and shift the attention from strikes staged by its reporters and editors at unpaid salaries and unknown future, sources close to the daily told IOL on condition not to be named.

A group of editors and employees submitted a petition on December 19 to the prime minister to save their paper, which is owned by Egyptian-French Raymond Lakah, from bankruptcy as they faced sacking.

â??The paperâ??s bankruptcy, no doubt, played a key role,â? said Breze [source]

well now we’re on to something…

44 thoughts on “Fuel to the Fire: France Prints Danish Cartoons

  1. The problem is that the more you pay attention to these cartoons the more this kind of pictures will be published. There are people who wants to promote controversy and fuel the fire. They think that the problem is only that you disrespect the freedom of speech and you should learn to respect it. They regard freedom of speech much higher than anyones religious feelings. I also value freedom of speech as the basis of our culture. As Voltaire put it “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” You should also remember that freedom of speech existed in Denmark before there were any muslims living there. They voluntarily moved to the country where freedom of speech is protected by law and now they want to change it. (I truly believe that if there has not been freedom of speech in Denmark it would not have been so attractive place to muslim immigrants or any other people in the first place.) I think there are only two possible solutions: 1. We place more stricter rules for our so beloved freedom of speech to prevent the conflicts or 2. You learn to understand that freedom of speech, including its negative appearances is very deeply rooted in our culture and there is no way you can change our minds. I hope things will cool down without anymore meaningless fighting, but there are two strong camps against each other. We do not want to restrict our freedom of speech only because of you, and you insist us to restrict it to match your religious rules and values. There is no solution that satisfies both camps as far as I know.

  2. Stupid secularisim at its best!

    I guess they are being offensive, a thing they have been accusing religions of!

    This is not freedom of speech! This is stupidity!

  3. Pekka, I have no problem with freedom of speech, Muslims have been fighting and dying for it for the past century. What I do have a problem with is when it is used to incite hatred, create stereotypes and take on the form of outright bigotry. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression have their limits, countries seek to ensure that those two rights can exist with respect to the beliefs of others.

    how about solution number 3: legislate against hate speech.

  4. And the stupidity will continue to go on because no one wants to be rational and respond rather than react …
    what is the benefit of all what is happening? and who gains? think beyond a cartoon published in a paper …
    So now what? do we boycott french products kaman? ya3ny no cheese b el marra ? 😛

  5. Khalidah, well every action deserves a reaction, its the form that that reaction takes on which is questionable.

    look on the brightside, if we boycott enough countries we might actually be forced to produce something of our own.

    unforseen self-suffeciency.

  6. Did you know that last year authorities closed down a radio station in Copenhagen that was in fact doing hate speech against muslims? This was not covered by freedom of speech, by the laws of Denmark. So Mr. Moussa is badly wrong. There are laws, and they are, from my infidel point of view, sufficient. And even muslims in Denmark benefit from these laws. But I have to say, I assume there are more muslims in Europe doing hate speech againt the western world than vice versa.

    I don’t see those caricatures as hate speech. Most of them are harmless, despite the fact that they are meant to show your prophet, but your rule not draw him doesn’t count for non-muslims, and 2 or 3 simply represent the fact that in westerm world, islam has lost a lot of reputation in the last years through terrorism. But muslims won’t regain reputation by burning danish/norwegian flags (with the christian cross on it!), or demanding stricter laws in Europe.

    BTW, one turkish muslim official in Germany said in an interview today in Germany, that contrary to your prophet in your religion, Jesus is not an immanent part of christian faith. He wanted to give reasons why christians won’t react that way to cartoons. For those who think that he is right, let me say that he couldn’t be more wrong. To christians, Jesus is G-d himself (it’s a complicate story, because there is also a third power, and they are all the same, it’s called trinity). But it showed me that even people who should know better in there position are able to bring forward totally wrong arguments in this debate. So if some of my arguments are totally crap, please don’t hesitate to tell me. 😉

  7. Chris, I am totally against flag burning and any other charade over reaction that has lead to acts of violence. Also, by calling yourself an “infidel” does not help your arguement. There are stupid people in every culture and in every corner of the world. To pick out a turkish muslim official as a representitive of Islamic thought is simply absurd. It’s not about the rule of not drawing the prophet pbuh, it’s about hate speech. If Muslims in europe are in any way commiting hate crimes then they should be charged by the state; just because no one holds them accountable doesn’t serve as justification for these cartoons. What you may consider harmless will seem very offensive to others and vice versa. You may say it’s just a cartoon, and I may say it’s just a flag.

    thank you for your comment however, I respect your views on the matter 🙂

  8. Thanks for your quick response, Nas. You are right when you are saying, that things one is considering harmless may be offensive to his neighbour. But in western society, this is part of the game, and one has to cope with the possibilty to be offended by cartoons. If you express opinions, you will sooner or later offend someone, becasue you will always find someone who feels offended too soon for you to mention it. If you express opinions by drawing caricatures (that is very different from hate speech!), you will offend someone very soon. Everyone knows it, and the western world could very well live with it. Well, until now, it seems. So I must state that pekkas last sentences are very true.

  9. Can’t fathom someone saying Jesus Christ isn’t an immanent part of our faith. This Turkish official is neither a good representative of Islam nor Christianity – and no big surprise.

    I’ve written elsewhere that Christians DO challenge the many affronts, desecrations and insults we receive about our faith and our Saviour. We holler, we boycott, Jerry Falwell acts like he represents us, and the media have a hey-day even with our protests. It’s not like we don’t care, but, we are reminded by His own words not to let our anger descend to bitterness, nor fury that would cause us to sin against our accusers – Jesus said love your enemies, pray for those who revile, presecute and offend you. Turning the other cheek isn’t a popular alternative, but we trust that God will vindicate His own name in righteousness – ‘the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

    I’m not surprised France decided to do this, and feel it was a very foolish decision.

    Nas, about legislating what ‘hate speech’ is, that will be a very difficult thing. In the US, I’m sure you know, the gay rights groups have used the ‘hate speech’ tag when people quote Bible verses that state homosexuality is a sin. Just stating an opinion has become ‘hate speech’.

  10. I guess some governments plan and coordinate the effort to ignite riots on purpose for some political benefit that is still nbot clear. The french government most probably is doing this on purpose. There is most a probably a very good reason that would push them to keep these riots going… It could be that they want to change the governement, or pass a certain law… God only knows… well it is interesting and keep getting more and more interesting.

  11. Chris, yes that is true, but there is a big difference. See when an artist for example draws a portrait, some will look at it and find it beautiful and others will not, this is subjective. But when you draw cartoons with the intent to be offensive to a certain group, when you target that specific group of which all its members (or at least the overwhelming majority) will be offended, then you’ve crossed a line past the realm of subjective reasoning.

  12. Nas, about legislating what â??hate speechâ?? is, that will be a very difficult thing. In the US, Iâ??m sure you know, the gay rights groups have used the â??hate speechâ?? tag when people quote Bible verses that state homosexuality is a sin. Just stating an opinion has become â??hate speechâ??.

    Kinzi, I truly understand what you’re saying in the sense that what is considered hate speech has become a gray area. However at the very core of it’s design, hate speech legislation seeks to protect against those of a certain race or religion. So what I’m suggesting here is not something that dwells in the gray areas of social controversy, it’s a fundemental right.

  13. I find speech such as “Islam will rule the World’ to be offensive to me. Do I get to stop british imans from marching the streets of Liverpol when they carry signs such as these.

    What about “death to America”, I find that pretty offensive and hateful also.

    I would also bet that Jews find the Israeli flag desecrated with the nazi symbol to be offensive also.
    The nazis did murder a whole bunch of those people a few years back. Or is that just a myth?

    It seems Muslims are pretty damn selective about curtailing ‘hate speech’.

    I don;t believe in any god, what does that make me, an infidel or a kaffir.

  14. We have legislation against hate speech? In my opinion these pictures were far from being hate speech (that is promoting ethnic hatred.) As I mentioned, many people in the Western world think (I included) problem is your lacking sense of proportion.

    We have mockery against Islam. I admit that, though I do not see it as a problem. We also have mockery against Christianity, Buddhism, Socialism, Atheism, Capitalism, Feminism etc. If we prohibit mockery or criticism against Islam because of your demands. Whats next. Then we must equally prohibit mockery against Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism…… There goes the freedom of expression. In Middle-East Islam might have special privilege that protects it from mockery, but in the West its just one religion among other religions and world views. We see it rather arrogant that you demand special status for it.

  15. todd, with all due respect you are confusing culture, politics, individuals and Islam. sentiments such as death to america and what not are indeed offensive, as well as the use of nazi signs. however Israel is a state and a government and arabs and muslims alike are at odds with this state and government and not the religion. Also many equate the policies of Israel against Palestinians to be similar to German policies against Jews, I personally do not agree with that for reasons of historical accuracy.

    let us switch the arguement around then…if anti-semitic cartoons were published in american, french and danish papers…would Jews react or remain silent?

  16. Pekka,

    We have legislation against hate speech? In my opinion these pictures were far from being hate speech (that is promoting ethnic hatred.) As I mentioned, many people in the Western world think (I included) problem is your lacking sense of proportion.

    these cartoons without a doubt promote hatred towards Muslims and their beliefs. They were designed and published with that intent in mind as the editor of the paper admitted. and what are you refering to when you say “sense of proportion”?

    We have mockery against Islam. I admit that, though I do not see it as a problem. We also have mockery against Christianity, Buddhism, Socialism, Atheism, Capitalism, Feminism etc. If we prohibit mockery or criticism against Islam because of your demands. Whats next. Then we must equally prohibit mockery against Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism�� There goes the freedom of expression. In Middle-East Islam might have special privilege that protects it from mockery, but in the West its just one religion among other religions and world views. We see it rather arrogant that you demand special status for it.

    it’s not a matter of special status, all beliefs should be protected. terms such as “mockery” and “satire” do not fit in with the description of these cartoons which are hateful in nature.

  17. @Nas: “these cartoons without a doubt promote hatred towards Muslims”

    Sorry to ask you that, but have you actually seen the 12 cartoons? I am not speaking of the three cartoons added bei muslim hate speakers. of course! They don’t promote hatred towards muslims, but they simply reflect what many people in the western world think about your religion. It is not cartoons that promote hatred against muslims, it is the terror that is happening in the name of your prophet that promotes hatred. What do you think westerners think of a prophet whose name is constantly (mis)used for murdering, bombing, threatening?

    I will leave this blog as a comment-writer now, however a bit disappointed, I must say. We can communicate, but I doubt we will understand each other, at least I won’t understand you, which may very well be me fault. Kind regards, Chris

  18. i think the whole protest against the danes, norwegians, and now the french are overreacting. the thing is, the newspapers in denmark, norway and france are not government controled. they can’t punish the newpapers for what they publish (except for a few limited exceptions). i understand why people living in a country where the press is state controled, or at least subject to state censorship would be upset at the danish, norwegian and french governments. to them, it probably looks like the governments endorse what the newspapers are printing. that is how it would probably work in their own country. but that’s not what it means in europe.

    to boycott danish products until the danish government prosecutes a newspaper, when there is no legal basis for prosecution, is just silly. there’s no chance of success and the uproar does more to defame the arab world in the eyes of the europeans than the cartoons ever could.

  19. one more thing, regarding the issue of whether the cartoons constitute “hate speech”

    in order to be “hate speech” (and fall into the exception for the european human rights commission’s protection of free speech) they have to advocate violence against a particular group of people (or advocate for a banned political group that itself advocates violence–like the nazi party). these cartoons might be “hateful” and “intended to promote hate” but that doesn’t qualify them for the hate speech exception to the right to free speech. i’ve seen all 12 cartoons and there is no way that they can reasonably be interpreted as advocating violence.

    and i’m with pekka. all religions are regularly mocked in the western press. you can call it “hateful” if you want, but it really is not that unusual to see jesus mocked in the western media

    as i said above, the reaction in the arab world is doing far more to promote hatred and misunderstanding than the cartoons ever could. i really think the protests are misguided

  20. Chris, there is no problem if we disagree on the matter or see it from different points of view, that’s what makes the world go round. But I do like to engage in a discourse that is not based on bigotry or an exchange of insults, so thank you for your reply.

    To answer your question, yes I have seen the cartoons in question. With regards to what you said here:

    It is not cartoons that promote hatred against muslims, it is the terror that is happening in the name of your prophet that promotes hatred. What do you think westerners think of a prophet whose name is constantly (mis)used for murdering, bombing, threatening?

    excellent observation chris. and you are absolutely right, vile things are happening in the name of my religion and the prophet mohammad pbuh. but then again, if westerners feel (as you claim to) that the prophet’s name is misued for murdering, bombing, threatening and terrorism…then why insult the prophet of all muslims?

    also keep in mind that even the terrorists dont do what they do in the name of a prophet, they do it in the name of God (or at least they believe to be).

    either way, thank you for your comments

  21. Nas

    of course there would be Jews who would protest, but I doubt that Israel would withdrawl their ambassadors, or boycott products from the entire country. Nor do I think that jews in israel would hold citizens of that particular country hostage, or storm EU buildings in Israel. And if the jews/israel did any of this things, then we could add that as one more thing they are screwed up on.

    i don’t have a problem with Muslims speaking forceably in defense of thier religion. You answer bad free speech with good free speech.

    Maybe you didn;t know, but a follower of Muhammad murdered a Dane in the streets on Copenhagen in the name of Muhammad and Islam. Here is what his MURDERER said at the trial: “the law compels me to chop off the head of anyone who insults Allah and the prophet”.

    If you don’t like the cartoons, then don’t read them.

    We are free to insult and offend anyone we please. And we are an equal opportunity offender. It may not be nice, but don’t hate us for our freedoms.

    psst… the boycott is a form of collective punishment. Boycott the paper, fine. But anything Danish reeks of overkill.

  22. upyernoz, welcome to my blog, allow me to follow up on your comments.

    i think the whole protest against the danes, norwegians, and now the french are overreacting. the thing is, the newspapers in denmark, norway and france are not government controled. they canâ??t punish the newpapers for what they publish (except for a few limited exceptions). i understand why people living in a country where the press is state controled, or at least subject to state censorship would be upset at the danish, norwegian and french governments. to them, it probably looks like the governments endorse what the newspapers are printing. that is how it would probably work in their own country. but thatâ??s not what it means in europe.

    to boycott danish products until the danish government prosecutes a newspaper, when there is no legal basis for prosecution, is just silly. thereâ??s no chance of success and the uproar does more to defame the arab world in the eyes of the europeans than the cartoons ever could.

    i absolutely agree with you. you can kindly refer to my take on the reactions in this post.

    one more thing, regarding the issue of whether the cartoons constitute â??hate speechâ?

    in order to be â??hate speechâ? (and fall into the exception for the european human rights commissionâ??s protection of free speech) they have to advocate violence against a particular group of people (or advocate for a banned political group that itself advocates violenceâ??like the nazi party). these cartoons might be â??hatefulâ? and â??intended to promote hateâ? but that doesnâ??t qualify them for the hate speech exception to the right to free speech. iâ??ve seen all 12 cartoons and there is no way that they can reasonably be interpreted as advocating violence.

    I did not say the advocate violence, i said they advocate hate. i have seen many occassions where jewish or christian groups protest something which they interpret as hateful although i may not. on many of these occassions their protests are categorised as protests against hate speech and hate crimes. anti-semitism is an example.

    and iâ??m with pekka. all religions are regularly mocked in the western press. you can call it â??hatefulâ? if you want, but it really is not that unusual to see jesus mocked in the western media

    simply saying it is a usual thing to see jesus mocked in western media does not justify mocking the prophet of Islam. and in Islam mocking Jesus is just as bad as mocking Mohammad pbut.

    as i said above, the reaction in the arab world is doing far more to promote hatred and misunderstanding than the cartoons ever could. i really think the protests are misguided

    i don’t believe the protests are misguided. action was taken and a reaction ensued. It is the form of this reaction which is debatable. I personally do not see the sense in boycotting companies that have nothing to do with it, or holding a government accountable for an independent media, or burning flags or threatening people. those reactions are indeed misguided. I believe the most proper form would have been along the lines of these french muslims currently suing the paper, issuing statements, spreading knowledge, etc.

    thank you for your comments, i appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

  23. nas, thanks for your thoughtful response. it looks like we don’t disagree all that much after all.

    فرصة سعÙ?دة

  24. Todd,

    of course there would be Jews who would protest, but I doubt that Israel would withdrawl their ambassadors, or boycott products from the entire country. Nor do I think that jews in israel would hold citizens of that particular country hostage, or storm EU buildings in Israel. And if the jews/israel did any of this things, then we could add that as one more thing they are screwed up on.

    ah, then perhaps its a matter of numbers. not to mention that almost anyone who questions the holocaust even in terms of accuracy in numbers is censored. Israel demanded Iran be removed from the UN because of what their crazy president said. nevertheless my point is that everyone reacts in defense of their religion and ill explain this in the next paragraph

    i donâ??t have a problem with Muslims speaking forceably in defense of thier religion. You answer bad free speech with good free speech.

    the thing with Islam todd is that it is a religion entwined with arabism. it emerged from arab lands and arab origins and in the arabic language. indeed the same classical arabic of those times is still the standard arabic today. and being entwined with arabism it has come to define a culture and a history. to insult the prophet is like insulting the religion which in turn is insulting the entire culture. everything you are and believe in is at stake. not to mention that in terms of religion, practicing muslims are much more in tune with their faith than other peoples of others religion. Mainly because of the Islamic culture and upbringing as well as the embedded obligatory acts of culture. its the way we’re raised. in turn most muslims will probably turn the other way if you insult them personally but will take great offense to an insult thrown at their prophet.

    Maybe you didn;t know, but a follower of Muhammad murdered a Dane in the streets on Copenhagen in the name of Muhammad and Islam. Here is what his MURDERER said at the trial: â??the law compels me to chop off the head of anyone who insults Allah and the prophetâ?.

    of course i know about this story. the law he is refering to does not exist.

    on the same note, bush invaded iraq because he says God told him to. how many are dead over there?

    If you donâ??t like the cartoons, then donâ??t read them.

    its not subjective art todd. this is a people’s faith we’re talking about.

    We are free to insult and offend anyone we please. And we are an equal opportunity offender. It may not be nice, but donâ??t hate us for our freedoms.

    no one hates you for your freedoms, in fact most arabs envy it and are currently fighting and dying for it in their own country. freedom of speech is a beautiful thing but one man’s freedom ends where another man’s begins. in canada i am allowed to say what i want and do what i want because of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. this however is limited by the fact that I am not allowed to (for example) draw a cartoon of martin luther king jr looking like a gorilla or run around naked in the streets expressing myself.

    psstâ?¦ the boycott is a form of collective punishment. Boycott the paper, fine. But anything Danish reeks of overkill.

    i absolutely agree.

    psst….read this 😉

    Nas, thank you for your gentlemanly replies

    thank you for your gentlemanly replies as well sir 🙂

  25. Israel demanded Iran be removed from the UN because of what their crazy president said.

    and was it in a defense of thier religion, or because Iran’s prez said that Israel should be wiped off the map? Defending your religion and your right to exist are two different things. Besides, justifying actions based on what israel does is a very low bar.

    to insult the prophet is like insulting the religion which in turn is insulting the entire culture. everything you are and believe in is at stake.

    and in the west, we believe in certian things, such as the right of the individual to critisize religion. We, (the west) lived through a time where God was King, and blasphemy was a crime punishable by death. We decided we didn;t like it, and we shed our blood for that belief. We have faith in the individual and individual rights. I would say its as deeply held as your belief in Allah as the one true God and Muhammed as his Prophet (pbuh)

    on the same note, bush invaded iraq because he says God told him to. how many are dead over there

    I don’t think Bush ever said such a thing, but if your point is that any religion can be used in a bad way, then I agree.

    its not subjective art todd. this is a peopleâ??s faith weâ??re talking about.

    And here is where we disagree. it is not about your faith, or anyone elses. it is about my right to critize what you believe. No one is denying any muslim anything. You can worship as you please.

    no one hates you for your freedoms

    I was being snarky. i apologize.


    I am not allowed to (for example) draw a cartoon of martin luther king jr looking like a gorilla

    and why is that. Here in America you certianly could.

    It appears we agree on many things, but disagree majorly on others. So be it. Take care Nas

  26. todd

    and was it in a defense of thier religion, or because Iranâ??s prez said that Israel should be wiped off the map? Defending your religion and your right to exist are two different things. Besides, justifying actions based on what israel does is a very low bar.

    the right for a human being to exist or a state? states change all the time, nothing is static. to be exact (and i dont want to come to his defence here but…) technically he said Israel, which is just as inflamatory as saying the holocaust never happened. this is what it is equal to for muslims, every group has that equivelent.

    and in the west, we believe in certian things, such as the right of the individual to critisize religion. We, (the west) lived through a time where God was King, and blasphemy was a crime punishable by death. We decided we didn;t like it, and we shed our blood for that belief. We have faith in the individual and individual rights. I would say its as deeply held as your belief in Allah as the one true God and Muhammed as his Prophet (pbuh)

    i respect your right to criticise a religion, but within the context of discourse and dialouge. this exchange between you and I right now is an example of that. publishing cartoons depicting the prophet pbuh of all muslims as a terrorist and as evil, well thats not the way to criticise anything, that’s just a way to be hateful.

    I donâ??t think Bush ever said such a thing, but if your point is that any religion can be used in a bad way, then I agree.

    he said it during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at Sharm el-Sheikh in 2003.

    And here is where we disagree. it is not about your faith, or anyone elses. it is about my right to critize what you believe. No one is denying any muslim anything. You can worship as you please

    cool. please refer to my second paragraph

    and why is that. Here in America you certianly could.

    let me rephrase then: I can draw such a thing but I would be condemned as a racist, most likely sued and even made to apologise for my bigotry towards african canadians.

    It appears we agree on many things, but disagree majorly on others. So be it. Take care Nas

    thanks todd, you take care too. 🙂

  27. If European countries start publishing these cartoons, it will quench the fire instead of adding fuel to it, at least on the short run. It’s difficult to boycot both america and europe.

  28. What will be left of freedom of speech if all the countless religions of the world decide what is to be prohibited? The West had a long history of Christian clergy engaging in censorship, it proved to be a disaster. The Earth revolves around the Sun! That’s blasphemy! Burn him at the stake! Religious leaders have frequently proven to be very repressive when it comes to speech.

    Sorry, Christianity is regularly mocked in the West and Islam will just have to get used to that. Freedom of speech is a far more important principle that avoiding ‘hurt feelings.’

    Besides, Muslim nations routinely defame Jews and Christians. (Calling them monkeys and pigs, for instance, or publishing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.) Muslims don’t seem to be offended by that.

    See Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

    or read some of the articles here:

    http://memri.org/saudiarabia.html
    (Talk about hate speech!)

  29. Well, well, well …it’s not just France!

    صحÙ?فة أردÙ?Ù?Ø© تÙ?شر اÙ?رسÙ?Ù? اÙ?Ù?سÙ?ئة Ù?Ù?رسÙ?Ù? Ù?تدعÙ? اÙ?Ù?سÙ?Ù?Ù?Ù? Ø¥Ù?Ù?

    “اÙ?تعÙ?Ù?”

    What kind of analogy is this? Ù?فÙ? افتتاحÙ?Ø© بعÙ?Ù?اÙ? “Ù?ا Ù?سÙ?Ù?Ù? اÙ?عاÙ?Ù? تعÙ?Ù?Ù?ا” تساءÙ? رئÙ?س تحرÙ?ر اÙ?اسبÙ?عÙ?Ø© جÙ?اد اÙ?Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù? “اÙ?Ù?Ù?ا Ù?سÙ?Ø¡ Ù?Ù?اسÙ?اÙ? اÙ?ثر Ù?Ù? اÙ?اخر اجÙ?بÙ? Ù?جتÙ?د فÙ? رسÙ? اÙ?رسÙ?Ù? اÙ? Ù?سÙ?Ù? Ù?تابط حزاÙ?ا Ù?اسفا Ù?Ù?تحر فÙ? حفÙ? عرس فÙ? عÙ?اÙ? اÙ? اÙ? Ù?Ù?اÙ? اخر”Ø?

    This is beyond disgusting! What message is Jordan trying to send out?

  30. Edward, I’ve never read in an Arabic paper someone calling a Christian or a Jew a pig. I’ve heard many non-Arabs say that Arabs say that all the time, but I personally have not heard it. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen but it doesn’t make it right. In Islam Jews and Christians are people of the book and are therefore given special status of respect. To insult them in such a manner as you described is a serious matter.

    There are always of course double standards when you shy away from looking the mirror. Everyone is guilty of that. It depends on where you’re standing at the time.

    As for what is left of freedom of speech. Like I said before, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are inevitably bound by laws of every society which seeks to protect all its groups. Even in the freest of lands there are specific laws which curb freedoms in order to protect the freedoms of others. Provoking or being hateful towards a group is not considered freedom of speech, whoever that group may be.

    thank you for your comment

  31. Apparently then, Nas, you never bothered to follow the second link I posted. If you look around you should find an article concerning the Saudi government official who on al-Jazeera compared Jews to pigs and apes (along with a whole horde of other articles from the same site concerning Islamic hatred for Jews and Christians).

    If you need more help finding the article it is right here:

    http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=saudiarabia&ID=SP34302

    In any event, I just found this on another blog:

    http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2006/02/fabricated_cart.html

    This is an utterly ridiculous example of how some Muslims seek to attack the western world any way they can, even if it involves fabricating ‘blasphemy’!

    Since Danish Muslims have fabricated some of the cartoons that inflamed the Arab world, I await the demand for an apology by Muslims elsewhere in world from the Danish Muslim community. Will Muslims demand such an apology? Of course not. This whole issue has to do with Islamic hatred for the West, not with blasphemy.

  32. Edward, thank you for the reply, allow me to respond to your comment. In the first link you have a saudi official glorifying bin laden; does he speak for the entire muslim world? sir, there are loons out there who speak based on their own opinions. those that call christians and jews pigs or any other name are sadly deluded. you must seperate these people from the pack the same way i can seperate and distinguish between the Danish government and the act of a Danish newspaper. There are of course hundreds of articles out there with Muslims calling Christians and Jews names. But the same is also true of hundreds of articles out there with Christians and Jews calling Muslim names. There are anti-Christian, Islamic, and Jewish sites on the Internet.

    As for the second link, it’s an interesting post but the last paragraph about fabricating the cartoons, perhaps you can help me out and point to where there is evidence for what was being said. I think I missed it.

    But for arguements sake let us assume some of these were fabricated for the sake of enraging all the Muslims. But were those “fabricated” cartoons published in the Danish newspapers and in the Norwegian magazine? Muslims are reacting to what was printed.

    thank you for your opinion. you have an interesting perspective and i respect that. 🙂

  33. You stated: “you must seperate these people from the pack the same way i can seperate and distinguish between the Danish government and the act of a Danish newspaper.”

    That is my point. Regardless of any distinctions you might make, Nas, the Muslim world is not drawing these distinctions. Many of the same purveyors of outrageous (and all too often government-sponsored) hate speech in the Muslim world: such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Iran, etc. have taken some kind of diplomatic action against the Danish government. Many in the Muslim world are boycotting Danish businesses who have no influence over the paper in question. The Danish government is entirely powerless to suppress the exercise of a free press in their country. Protesting the Danish government is thus stupid. The Danish government distanced itself from these cartoons early on; the Prime Minister of Denmark conceded the images were offensive but stated he had no control over the publication of the cartoons. That wasn’t good enough for the Muslim world apparently.

    Muslims could have taken many peaceful actions against the paper directly. They could boycott businesses who continue to advertise in the paper, they could write to the editor, they could contact the Danish media and let their feelings be known. Instead they have directed their anger against the Danish people, Danish businesses and the Danish government. None of whom have any control over the publication of the cartoons.

    As far as our Saudi extremist goes, I must mention that Saudi governments have sponsored a great deal of hateful literature that demonizes Jews (and not just Israeli Jews) as well as other non-Muslims. For such a government then to take action against Denmark for something beyond the control of the Danish government is, well, retarded. As the link discussing the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” demonstrates, this is not limited to Saudi Arabia, either. I am not claiming that all Muslims are this way, I am sure the great majority are not this hateful. My criticism is primarily of these hypocritical Mideastern governments not of all people who practise Islam.

    I also want to state that I defend the right of Muslims to protest the Danish government in any way they choose short of directly threatening people with violence. I think they are extremely misguided in punishing the Danish nation as a whole, but that is their right. As we often say in the U.S. (at least we would if these people were U.S. citizens) I would ‘die to defend that right.’ This includes burning the Danish flag if they choose. I think that the Danish cartoonist also has a right to publish his cartoons even if they are offensive. If Danish protesters want to burn the Quran, I would have to support their right to do so as well, even if it is extremely offensive. If the Saudi commentator wants to call Jews ‘apes and pigs’ that is his right as well, no matter how repugnant it might be. I don’t want any restrictions on the ability to speak freely unless it is a direct threat to life or limb. I also support the right of anybody who wants to protest peacefully against any of the above actions. Let a free society work these things out – we need no laws against expressing thoughts.

    I must say, however, that the Muslims who want to burn national flags (thus demonstrating contempt for the Danish nation rather than simply the paper), extract apologies at gunpoint from the European Union – as if the EU has any control over the offending paper (as in Gaza), make death threats against people associated with the paper, offer rewards to kill the cartoonists (a Pakistani Islamist group in this case), issue fatwas to kill the cartoonists (a Kuwaiti cleric has reportedly done this), withdraw their ambassadors (the hypocritical Saudis among others), phone in bomb threats against the Danish embassy (as in Syria), etc. are simply confirming the Western world’s worst fears about Muslims and free society. Namely, that the two are incompatible. It has also forced those who place a high premium on freedom of speech to think that they have to respond by escalating the situation – thus the reprinting of the cartoons by papers that would ordinarily not aim to offend Muslims.

    You stated: “As for the second link, itâ??s an interesting post but the last paragraph about fabricating the cartoons, perhaps you can help me out and point to where there is evidence for what was being said. I think I missed it.”

    The article in question about the counterfeit cartoons made it clear that some of the most offensive images such as the ‘Mohammad as swine’ image were entirely contrived by a group of Danish Muslims led by an imam with ties to anti-Western Islamic extremists according to Danish intelligence. The article also indicated the Danish media had obtained a copy of the pamphlet in question. The Danish Muslims did not deny having the pamphlet, they simply stated that they (apparently verbally) informed the Arab representatives they were meeting with that not all of the cartoons were published in the magazine. Of course, this is troubling. Why would they publish both the relevant and contrived images in one document? Where did the other cartoons come from? The article in question isn’t entirely clear, but it sounds as if they produced them on their own. Why? If they did, doesn’t that constitute blasphemy? They have yet to provide an explanation for any of this. The article also mentioned that the imam, Abu Laban, has been two-faced on the issue of the boycott. This brings his credibility into further question.

    As far as how the Danish media got the document, this is easy to imagine. Most likely, Arab representatives sent a copy of the document to the Danish media asking the question: how dare you print these images!?! The Danish Muslims who furnished the document probably never thought that the Danish media would wind up with a copy. They simply didn’t plan for this possibility and are now left offering lame excuses for why they would combine relevant and irrelevant images in one booklet – or no explanation, so far. The Muslim group they met with probably provided the booklet to the Arab media who then passed the information on to Arab public.

    You stated: “But for arguements sake let us assume some of these were fabricated for the sake of enraging all the Muslims. But were those â??fabricatedâ? cartoons published in the Danish newspapers and in the Norwegian magazine? Muslims are reacting to what was printed.”

    As far as Muslims reacting to what was actually printed, I have to ask, really Nas? Are people in the Arab world really reacting to what was being printed? Reacting to what they saw with their own eyes? How many people in the Arab world saw the original newspaper cartoons before deciding to protest them? Where did they get this information? Certainly Arab countries were not reacting to what was being reprinted in their own local papers. Until the Jordanian paper published a few of the cartoons none of the actual cartoons were available in any Arabic language papers. Protests were going on before that. Most of the protesters probably never saw the original images. The original cartoons were published way back last September, there was no outcry of them at that time. It wasn’t until the Danish Muslim delegation began to publicize the fact that that offensive cartoons had been produced in a Danish language newspaper to their brethren in the Arab world did the international outcry and resultant protests begin.

    The bottom line is that we cannot have religious authorities tell us what can or cannot be published. This was tried in the Christian world for several centuries. It inhibited the progress of science among other things. Think about the Catholic Church and the heliocentric theory of the solar system, for instance. This was at one time thought to be blasphemous.

    How would such a law even work? Would a panel of rabbis, imams and Christian priests and pastors , Buddhist monks and Hindu holy men have to sit down and produce guidelines for what is too offensive to be published. How many sects and divisions of these religions would have to be accommodated? What about minority religions – Sikhs, Jains, Parsiis, Bahaiis, Yezidis, Scientologists among countless others? Here in the United States we have had neo-Nazi-oriented ‘religious groups’ such as the World Church of the Creator and the Aryan Nations (formally known as the ‘Church of Jesus Christ -Christian’). Are they to be accommodated as well? How about the Church of Satan? Them too? Can you imagine what kind of things they would utilize a blasphemy law to prevent people from saying. Church of Satan: How dare you speak negatively about Satan! Neo-Nazi religious organization: How dare you speak positively about those subhuman Arabs!
    If you don’t accommodate such groups, you run the risk of inhibiting religious freedom. Some Muslims believe the Kurdish Yezidis are ‘devil-worshippers,’ many Muslims, Christians and Jews might argue that Hindus are idolators, some Muslims feel the Druze and Bahai faiths are heretical forms of Islam. Are these groups then to be completely ignored? Any attempt to legislate religious limits on freedom of speech – short of direct threats of violence against a person of a particular religion – would lead to some religious organizations getting the shaft and to a signficant reduction in freedom of speech for all of society.

    Anyway, thanks for your time Nas. Have a nice day!

  34. Edward, I think perhaps your concluding that I support a certain stance which I don’t. please refer to my post on my own opinon.

    hopefully it will clear up some of your points because I feel you’re taking one position and thinking im necessarily on the other position when perhaps there are a few things we may agree on. give it a read and get back to me.

    also, the other link you posted (the last one) is just an example of an act that is meant to deliberetly further the offense just for the hell of it.

  35. All right Nas, I apologize. I misread what you were stating. I didn’t notice the original posting. The post you link to is fairly reasonable. I got the impression you were on ‘down with free speech, up with blasphemy laws’ side based on the article I am directly commenting on, namely, your reaction to the French daily reprinting the cartoons. I didn’t even notice your original posting. I still don’t agree with everything your saying but you seem much more sensible and logical (not to mention far less dogmatic and shrill) than most of the related Arab blogs I have been reading.

  36. I think the west is on double standards when on one hand they say that they are fighting for “Freedom of Speech” and favouring “Bomb Aljazeera” on the other and calling their reporters as “Terrorists” and even in some western countries going into extent of arresting them.

    Do the west call it FREEDOM OF SPEECH when the NEWSWEEK was asked by the western governments to be responsible for publishing the truth about the Quran being flushed inside the toilet at Gitmo.

    Why is it that there is a big cry through out the west whenever the former Malaysian president Dr. Mahathir mohammed critisizes the west.

    “Freedom”, “Liberty”. “Democracy” are all beautifull. Defaming and dishonouring the prophet whom we hold dearer to our heart and love more than our parents make us think that the west is using the so called Freedom as a tool to demonise Islam.

  37. well i dont know what exactly is going on in this world. instead of putting this fire off, you guys are asking for more. i mean i understand that there is this term “freedom of expression” that all of you respect more than your own beliefs and religion, and i am certainly surprised. if whats happening is called freedom of expression, than i might as well walk down the street and use racist words such as nigger, or redneck openely, and if somebody stops me i could ask for my right of freedom of speech or expression. France, has no right to be asking for that right in first place, cuz theyve already showed how backward theyre by stopping ladies from putting on scarf’s in their country. And when people fought for that right, they replied saying that theyre freedom cant let people do things that resembles a religion cuz its politically incorrect. So what now, isnt this stupid cheap caricature resembling a religion. isnt it politically incorrect in there point of view.. See we certainly respect freedom of expression, but not to an extent that we make fun of the prophet PBUH or GOD..our pride, beliefs and rights is definitly more important than your defined freedom of expression.. One more thing freedom of expression is suppose to be used when one is trying fight for a right or something that might be positive or good for a group of people, it wasnt meant to be used to start up a fire between different religions, or hatered amongst people.

  38. dear friends
    in fact every one can say and write what does she or he want ? but how to attack the prophet of islam and they do not know him well , i think we have to reach the past and now through a good manner , i think all muslim lost justice & equality, lets remember when one film showed the messenger of christains they broke cinema house , and when some one attack jewish people he is under law ( wanted ) if a muslim kills a jewish man they disapprove but when isreali took the land of arab home no cooment , please read the story of mohammed as man – politician – wiser – he put principles for the war , do not kill children and women and aged people – at the same time one question if we attack on the messanger of christian , what,s your reaction ? please answer frankly . the more you love people the more find friends . i want you to reach to sayings of prophets , all prophets from the same tree of humanity but
    the more you hate the more you find enemies
    ab ab del gawad

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