Writing on this subject this past week has felt longer than the OJ trial.
Yesterday the French paper France-Soir published the cartoons in an attempt to either promote free speech or thumb their nose at Muslims. Today the editor was fired from his job.
“We express our regrets to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication” of the cartoons,” Egyptian-born Raymond Lakah, the paper’s owner, said in a statement to Agence France-Presse. He decided to “remove Jacques Lefranc as managing director of the publication as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual.” [source]
Around The World:
In Jordan, Shihan newspaper published the cartoons to show how offensive they were and urged reason to prevail. However the editor was fired by the company and the issue was pulled from the market. On their website is a letter stating what actions were taken and their condemnation.
In a more targetted boycott Morocco banned all sales of France Soir on its territory.
In Indonesia, dozens of people picketed the governor’s office in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar during a visit by Danish Red Cross secretary-general Jorgen Paulsen.
“Please tell your country that we condemn the action,” protest coordinator Das’ad Latief was quoted by Detikcom news Web site as telling Paulsen.
Speaking to the protestors, Paulsen, who was to discuss assistance related to the handling of floods in the province, described the publication of the drawings as a “stupid action,” according to the state Antara news agency.
Joining the outcry, Pakistan’s madrassahs (religious schools) called for withdrawing ambassador from Denmark over the cartoons.
“We demand the Pakistani government withdraw its ambassador from Denmark for allowing blasphemous cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” Qari Hanif Jallundhari, a senior leader of the Ittehad Tanzeemat Madaris (madrassahs union), said in a statement.
“These blasphemous caricatures have hurt millions of Muslims in the world. We demand a clear and public apology from the Danish government for the crime which had hurt Muslims,” he said.
“If Denmark failed to act, we would be forced to call for a boycott of Danish products like other Muslim states,” the federation leader said. [source]
One of the craziest reactions has come by way of Palestine where…
On Thursday, two armed Palestinian resistance groups threatened to target Danish, French and Norwegian nationals in the occupied Palestinian territories unless their governments apologize for insulting cartoons.
“All nationals and those who work in the diplomatic corps of these countries can be considered targets of the Popular Resistance Committee and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,” the two Palestinian groups warned.
“We give the Danish, French and Norwegian governments 48 hours to present their apologies,” the two groups added.
Columnist Mohammad Kharoub in the Jordanian daily Al-Rai agreed.
“They promote their hatred under the pretext of freedom of expression and turn a blind eye to the crimes that are committed in the name of Christianity and more dangerously Judaism.”
But one of the best quotes I’ve seen today…
“It is discouraging that the collective energy of the Muslim world is consumed punishing a small European country over a drawing, while US military bases infest the heart of the Arab world,” Palestinian-American Ramzy Baroud said in Egypt’s English-language Al-Ahram Weekly.
Well what more is there to say. I’m secretly relieved that more European newspapers are publishing these cartoons just to get back at Muslims. It sort of balances out the reactions of the Muslim world a little. It would’ve seemed more absurd to have all of this rage be concentrated on just one newspaper somewhere in Denmark. So now it’s more of a combined effort to provoke and react. Hey, who says the east and west don’t play well together? As far as the provoking goes, I don’t know if that will end soon or if it’s just begining. The U.S. media has just started to pick this up so I expect this to hang around for awhile but hopefully I’m wrong. As far as reactions, Friday prayers are tomorrow so I expect more demands and protests. Some Imams will call on Muslims to practice common sense such as suggested here. And other Imams I’m sure will call on Muslims to invade Denmark. It all depends on where you live, who you listen to, and just how illiterate you are.
What is interesting however is that most of the media has switched to arguement over to freedom of speech. I’m watching pundits on TV discussing whether or not these cartoons are actually offensive or not. None of them are Muslim of course but all of them evidently have art majors so they sit there on live tv desecting the cartoons. All the media seems to focus on is the fact that sharia law doesn’t apply to freedom of speech in the west; that just because Muslims are not allowed to depict the Prophet doesn’t mean the west can’t. Yeah, I don’t think at this point Muslims are too worried about the west depicting the Prophet, but if I were to take a wild guess I’d say it has something to do with just how he was depicted.
No one is suggesting that these cartoons are just a little tiny bit anti-Islamic in nature. The most aggressive word used to describe these cartoons that I’ve heard thusfar? “A Little Mean”.
I think Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj makes a valid point in today’s cartoon:
top right: “This is Anti-Semtic!”
top left: “And this is Racism!”
Bottom: “And this is Freedom of Speech!!”