Despite my infrequent attempts to ridicule the boycotting of Danish products in Jordan, I must admit that I have some level of respect for it. In the context of protesting methods akin to our region, boycotting products may just be the most civilized way of protesting, even if it does elude to our lack of understanding the extent to which a western government can interfere in its free media. But recently, things have been taken to a whole other level and it’s something that’s been on my mind this past weekend:
Amman Prosecutor General Hassan Abdallat on Tuesday subpoenaed several Danish journalists and editors involved in the republication of offensive caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
…The prosecutorâ€™s decision to subpoena the defendants was based on articles in the Jordanian Penal Code and the Press and Publication Law.
The defendants will be informed of the move and requested to attend a hearing by their embassy in the Kingdom through diplomatic channels, campaign spokesperson Zakaria Sheikh told reporters yesterday. [source]
Basically, the Messenger of Allah Unites Us campaign (MAUS), filed a lawsuit and the Amman Prosecutor General was dumb enough to accept it and start subpoening people a continent away, to come to Amman, to be judged in a Jordanian court.
I have to admit my ignorance here. I wasn’t aware that there was anything in our Penal Code or Press and Publication Law that allowed us to hold citizens of another country, who live in another country, to our own laws. All this time I was under the impression that the Penal Code and the Press and Publication Law were designed to censor and prosecute Jordanians. To say nothing of the Jordan Press Association.
While the people who are leading this campaign – being predominantly from the right-leaning, conservative Islamist background – have clear and obvious objectives, the line of thinking of the Prosecutor General, a public official, is unclear to me. This is especially true since it feels odd that Jordan, a seemingly moderate Islamic country in the regional context, is still on this issue. I have the feeling it may involve the issue of the King being related to the Prophet (pbuh) and it’s become a matter of someone who’s looking to make headlines and set themselves up for a promotion.
But wait, there’s more…
Sheikh stressed that an international law must be adopted by all countries criminalising any act deemed to be insulting to any religion, including Islam.
â€œThis is the only way to stave off any violent backlash by Muslims who feel deeply offended,â€ he added.
…â€œWe condemn the attack on the Danish embassy in Pakistan, however, we place the blame squarely on the Danish authorities for not acting decisively against those who insulted Islam by publishing offensive cartoons,â€ he added.
In other words: the only way to get Muslims to stop being violent is by creating some sort of internationally-recognized document where everyone agrees to stop attacking religion (Islam). The attack on the Danish embassy is to be blamed on the Danish government for not act against a bunch of cartoonists.
So now I’ve lost what little respect I had for the boycotts to begin with. Because now I can’t help but think to myself, wow, this is how far we’ve come. The right-leaning media, which represents and is represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an organization that claims to be representative of the majority of people in the country, yet, has no specific policies regarding unemployment, poverty, education, health care, or pretty much any of the major domestic issues that affect the majority of people in the country, is now leading a campaign to bring down Denmark…
…and the Netherlands…
Sheikh noted that on June 10 the campaign will file a lawsuit against Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who posted a anti-Islamic film on the Internet in late March.
Parallel to this procedure, the campaign will enter the second phase of its boycott of Dutch and Danish products, which will include the distribution of more than one million posters in Arab and Muslim countries, he added.
The second phase of the boycott, which will be held under the slogan, â€œLive Without Itâ€, will put the campaign in â€œfull forceâ€, according to Sheikh, who said it will include highway billboards, posters, t-shirts, bumper stickers and the like, to inform consumers not only to boycott foods, but anything associated with Denmark or the Netherlands.
Truly, there is nothing like a good bumper sticker to tell the world that you can live without Dutch and Danish products, and therefore you love the Prophet (pbuh).
I’ll place that bumper sticker right next to my yellow “I get my coffee from Kups & Kilos” one.