Jordanian Parliament, Islam & Danish Cartoons

Last Monday, Jordan’s Lower House condemned the cartoons that have been published in Danish and Norwegian papers over the past few months.

In a statement they said:

â??The Lower House of Parliament expresses its utmost anger and absolute condemnation of this despicable cowardly crime, which does not reflect any sense of thought or knowledge,â?

…â??This practice is a manifestation of hidden hatred, racism and sick-mindedness that tries to insult the Prophet whose message was based on respect for all prophets and religions,â? [source]

This condemnation came by way of a signed petition from 63 deputies in the House.

Natasha and Haitham on the Jordanian blogosphere have done me the favor of already writing about the background of these cartoons so I can talk about this from another point of view.
The parliament, as I see it, is asking for condemnation from the governments and the punishment of that artists. I’m guessing by punishment they’re implying a fine or at the most some sort of action to prevent this from happening again. Keep in mind this condemnation comes by way of the parliament and not the official government in Jordan. So there’s a difference. Jordan joins the list of some 11 other countries to condemn this.
I don’t see the point behind this but I understand it. It’s a duty for them to stand up and condemn such actions even though it’s a futile attempt.

Though zooming out we see a much larger condemnation coming from religious communities all over the Muslim world. Recently, The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) threatened on Saturday, January 21, to call for a boycott of Danish and Norwegian products. The IUMS is chaired by the prominent scholar Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

So I’m assuming that Jordan’s parliament is moving on the council’s request, which asked that Arab and Muslim governments to exercise all possible political and diplomatic pressures on the Danish and Norwegian governments to grind to a halt such organized anti-Islam campaigns. This assumption is based on the fact that I didn’t here parliament complaining about these cartoons in September.

Mona Eltahawy wrote an interesting piece in The Daily Star stating that Muslim’s are throwing this all out of proportion. Some of her arguments I have to agree with and others I do not. In the article for example she states:

Muslims seem to forget that just because they are prohibited from representing the prophet in any way, this does not apply to everybody else.

I have to agree with this. We do tend to forget that but at the same time this doesn’t just boil down to the fact that someone drew the Prophet pbuh. It’s understandable that non-Muslims do not know that Muslim’s are not allowed to draw or depict the Prophet pbuh in any form as a measure to avoid him being idolised or worshiped as has happened in many religions. It’s even understandable that they don’t respect this Islamic law. But what this does boil down to is what these cartoons depict. Perhaps there wouldn’t be as much call for boycotts and condemnation had these drawings not been an attempt to humiliate Muslims and their Prophet pbuh.

Mona also discusses the lack of Muslim leaders or Arab leaders who condemn anti-semitic cartoons in their lands. I do agree with this to some extent, all though there are those that do but we don’t pay attention. Also anti-semitic these days includes anything anyone says against Israel. If you say Israel sucks then you’re an anti-semite. To depict Sharon or any Israel leader is to be anti-semite. There was a time when a Semite also included Arabs.
The most interesting part of the article however had to be this:

Of all the issues that plague the Muslim world today, are our priorities cartoons published in a newspaper in a country inhabited by less than 6 million people? If we really want to pick a fight with the West, have we forgotten that 500 Muslim men continue to be detained without charge at the makeshift prison run by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which last week marked its fourth anniversary?

Nothing could be more true. But let’s be fair here. Muslims are fighting many wars with the west these days and there are battles we just can’t win. Will condemning Guantanamo release it’s prisoners? Cartoons may not be a priority but to remain silent the issue is to allow it to grow through lack of acknowledgment. And then years later the Muslim world will be blamed for not coming out against such cartoons from the start, at which time it will have been too late.

More importantly this is an issue of being anti-Islam. The cartoons are without a doubt offensive to millions and millions of people. Is it wrong to bring this matter up with the west and say, hey, we’re offended. Israel does it all the time and cartoons are definitely the least of its problems. The point is, if this is based on ignorance in the sense that the artists or the west in general is not aware of its actions, then someone needs to say something, to inform, to teach. And perhaps it can be avoided in the future.

Mona goes on to say how Fadi Abdullatif, the spokesman for the Danish branch of the militant Hizb-ut-Tahrir organization, used the Quran to justify killing members of the Danish government and encouraged Muslims to go fight the Americans in Iraq (there are 500 Danish troops in Iraq). Abdullatif has a history for inciting violence justifying it with freedom of speech. Well, ok, arrest him. Condemn him. He’s a retard. But so are the cartoonist who drew those cartoons. Its two different matters.


  • This somehow reminds me of Salman Rushdi. An Indian writer, that didn’t sell copies of his book, until who wrote the book that gave him free publicity and huge sales thanks to those who made Fatwa of killing him. He became a VIP in Paris and London as a fugitive.

    I think that those who are spending time and effort into discussing and condemning and so, are actually giving a little known newspaper and cartoonist the publicity anyone is looking for. I found it shameful that our Parliament spend time discussing this, wasting time payed by our taxes on this non-sense, and free publicity for those they think they are attacking.

  • Isam, I think if you want to condemn something, free publicity is unavoidable. at the same time its a message that says that such things will not be met with silence.

    although the whole sulman rushdie think was iran’s craziness. you can’t just declare fatwas like that. it’s like bin laden.

  • I think you’re right in thinking that there should always be pressure on sources of information that can be described anti-Islamic, even if such pressure will never add up to stopping those sources from producing whatever material it is that is objectionable. The reason is, that while it doesn’t put an end to it, it helps reduce the prospects of things getting much worse in the future.

    That’s why I, like you, understand the voices of anger in the Muslim world about those cartoons, and I was angered myself when I saw them, but I do understand that they are something that we will probably never be able to stop.

    By the way, there have been many publications in the past that depicted the prophet (PBUH) and they all went unnoticed and even when they were noticed they weren’t made a big deal out of by anyone in the Muslim world. Simply because they were depictions in history books. They didn’t picture the prophet (PBUH) in bad ways, they just tried to put a picture next to the text, that sort of thing.

  • Thanks for posting on this topic. The Danish newspaper which published the original cartoons has been forced to apologize. The Brussels Journal blog which has led the reporting of this attack on free speech is now receiving threats. Given the state of free speech in Europe as evidenced by the Italian “prove Christ existed” case, I expect Brussels Journal to be forced to remove the cartoons and their reporting. To guard against that possibility, I have reposted the cartoons and the Brussels Journal reporting thread on my blog. I urge all bloggers who care about free speech to do the same. See Farenheit 451 Alert

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