Instructions on How to Burn Denmark’s Flag Properly

I’m forced to ask myself these days…

What does the Prophet Mohammad pbuh who lived 1416 years ago have to do with some crazy terrorists in 2006?

What does the Danish government have to do with a free media newspaper?

What does some food company in Denmark have to do with cartoons published by a newspaper in its country?

It makes as much sense to me as people around the world boycotting Jordan and burning the Jordanian flag because every time Zarqawi is mentioned his name is usually preceded by “the Jordanian terrorist”

So many of the hijackers on 911 were originally from Saudi Arabia. No flag burning there. And that would have been something considering what’s written in Arabic on the flag.

There is a problem in the Arab world that the west is completely ignorant and that ignorance is shared by many Arabs as well: we associate everything with the government.

We are used to the media being governed by the government. Our national resources are governed by the government. Privatization is a new thing in the context of our history. We are used to generations and generations of dictatorships, whether by our own people or the western world. If (for example) Jordanians got really angry and wanted to overthrow the monarchy in the name of democracy, we would replace a King with a President who would remain on the seat for 50 years before dying and handing it over to his son.

Thus there is a tendency to associate everything with the government. It doesn’t matter what it is: the government is responsible, the government controls it. This is of course not completely true and not completely false. Some Arab governments are very free and independent then they were 50 years ago. But the people are stuck with old habits. And hey, a few months back Jordanians burnt the Jordanian flag for the sake of Palestinian solidarity, it’s a big “up yours” to the powers that be. (Jordan is just an example here)

So we don’t hold a newspaper in Denmark responsible: we hold the whole of Denmark responsible. But don’t forget this is all new; the wound is still fresh. It took us a few years before we could say “we don’t hate Americans, we just hate their government” instead of “we hate all of America”. So it takes some time for that knowledge to spread.

But hey, we’re not the only people going through an educational transition.

The west has now discovered the splendor of depicting the Prophet Pbuh. It was right there in front of them, how did they miss it all those years!? Mohammad: such an easy target. Forget Bin Laden, Mohammad is the big fish in the sea. “He’s their ‘god’ right?”

In the years to come the Prophet will likely make appearances on South Park on the Simpsons (to boost diminishing ratings). The cover of TIME perhaps? Newsweek?

A Monty Python reunion?

Already sites are popping up where people can display their own images of the Prophet, as advertised on toilet tissue paper or toilet seats.

But back to the flag. It’s not just about association I suppose, it goes deeper than that. A few comments I read recently on several blogs and websites were related to the question of “why don’t they draw Jesus and be done with it?”. That would have been the expected proportional response I suppose; a face for a face. But in Islam Jesus is revered, so there won’t be a rash of Jesus drawings being burnt on the street anytime soon.

So we’re stuck with a flag.

The flag of a country whose population is roughly that of Jordan.

Of which we are holding all of them responsible for something terrible that was done by a number of people you could count on your hand.

So if you’re from Denmark and you take offense at your flag being burnt: if you’re asking the same questions I have about “what do we have to do with some newspaper?”, well that reply you get back from the abyss of silence is roughly the same reply I get back when I ask myself “what does the Prophet have to do with some terrorists?”

And since I won’t ever publish those cartoons on my blog, I won’t publish a burning Denmark flag either. Not for the sake of equivalency, just for the sake of allowing reason to prevail.


  • I think the whole issue is just getting more rediculous day after another. A so called artist drew the Prophet (PBUH), to them it’s no big deal, to us it is, but did we really make efforts to communicate with him and explain what it means to us and how to us it is very offensive and definitely provoking? I highly doubt it. Have we thought of what our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) would’ve dealt with this I’m sure we wouldn’t have done what we’ve done and we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now. We are talking about people who have no problem doing the same to Jesus and Christianity, people who do not know who is Mohammed, on the other side we have naive Muslims chanting, in Palestine they made it look like a gangsters thingie not a civilized demonstration at all! and others were demanding to boycott danish products. It is truely insane Naseem, what the hell are these people doing??
    We first should try EVERYTHING to educate these people, write about it first, use all the non-violent non-harmful weapons we have and most importantly use our BRAINS before we give the impression of barbaric, chaotic and blindly angry Muslims of ourselves.

    And even if we’re going to ignore the fact that it is so wrong and so not the Prophet-like to do this, when give the chance to use this against us everytime they want to provoke us and tell the world we are unreasonable and irrational.

  • Good points, nasnas! However, I still don’t understand why Jesus Christ or the Church or Christians for that matter would be dragged into this problem if those cartoons weren’t published by a priest or the Church. I mean for all we know, those that published the cartoons could be athiests!!!

  • Caren, a piaster is the Jordanian equivelent of a penny. 😀

    upyernoz, thanks 🙂

    Yasmine, i dont understand, how are christians dragged into this? good to see you around by the way

    SC, lol oh yeah, i agree with you. we’re going to enter a cycle where an offense is met with an offense which is met with an offense which is met with another offense.

  • A piaster is a silver coin from the ME, I have several from Lebanon.

    Nas, do they still use them today?

    to answer suger cubes question, even if you would of communicated your feeling to the artist, they more than likely would of done the same thing.

    Western people, myself included, are sceptical of religion. That, coupled with the fact that ‘there’s an asshole in every crowd’ means that thes sort od things are inevintable.

    RE South Park, it is notorious for poking fun at religion. Christianity, Judiasm, and Scientology have all been blasted by these guys.

    Jesus its a talk show host on South Park. God is some ugly stinky creature that eats flies. And Satan is Saddam’s gay lover on South Park.

    Islam might not be far behind.

    Take it for what it is, a sign that you are now part of ‘western’ culture. Or at least enough of a part to be lambasted. But that is the thing, in the west, people riduclue religion. I’ve done it myself to make a point at times.

  • todd, yeah the piaster is still used but it’s as obsolete as the penny. the 5 piaster coin (like the dime) is more or less the lowest common denominator.

    it’s true, perhaps we are being integrated into western culture because of recent circumstances that have changed the world. but i think there is still a vast difference when it comes to religion in the east in the west, not in terms of beliefs and ideologies but in terms of how we approach them, how seriously we take them, and how integrated they are with who we are as a people and as a culture. the west on the other hand has somewhat successfully been able to seperate religion from most things, reducing it to an inidividualistic nature rather than a dominant communal force.

    there are pros and cons to both approaches i suppose. the times are evidence of that.

  • a penny?

    That’s it?

    well, back in the day it must of been more, becuase the coins I have are silver, and would of been worth more than a penny.

    I’m sorry for the inane babbling, but it’s nice to talk about something else than cartoons

  • hmm, i guess it depends where you got them, but most of them are worth 1 of a hundredth. i dont know what the lebanese one looks like, last time i went i used american dollars. but in Jordan it looks exactly like the american penny, just a tad bigger

  • well, the coins I have are older, from the early 20th century. and they maybe not a one ‘cent’ piaster but something more like a half dollar.

    But they are cool looking, they were made when France was ‘ruling’ lebanon, and the have the cedar tree on the front and a ship ‘phenocian?’ on the back.

  • there are pros and cons to both approaches i suppose

    exactly, the zakaat is a concept we would be wise to follow, we r a greedy bunch. Muslim architecture and music are beuatiful, and the communal spirit is something we are lacking.

    however, I think muslims need to find a way to internalize thier religion.

  • todd,

    i was in lebanon last fall. i don’t think piasters are used their anymore. the current exchange rate is around 1500 lebanese pounds (lira) to a u.s. dollar. a piaster (i believe) is 1/100 of a pound, which would make it worth around US$0.0000067. considering just how expensive beirut is these days, i doubt if a piaster is good for anything

  • very interesting profile nassim.

    I think there is many things we would disagree on, but I also get the feeling we would enjoy discussing them all anyway.

    I’ll leave you alone for now, good luck with your studies!

  • Will, Iâ??m not sure I quite understand your points, but the comparisons addressed are quite irrelevant.
    If it was a case of one person or one group, it might be easier to deal with, but what weâ??re facing here now is that the IDEA it self of the absolute freedom of speech is not only accepted, but also immensely and clearly supported from the Danish government, and from the people of Denmark, and I personally think that thisâ??s more of a cultural crisis!! Yes Iâ??ll probably choose other ways of condemnations, but I thing insulting the banner of Islam is far more harmful than burning the Danish flag! and Iâ??m still holding everyoneâ??s hand to continue the campaign against Danish Ideology.. itâ??s not like starting a war or something, but Iâ??m positively convinced that such secular cultures need an fierce effort to really realize the significance and preciousness of our religion to us.

  • nasnas, wa akheeran you figured out who Yasmine is? 😉

    What I meant is that a lot of protestors now, especially those in Gaza, are threatening to retaliate by bombing Churches. A few Churches in Iraq have already been attacked. Another thing I read is that there was some kind of a drawing of the Virgin Mary (not sure how true this one is!). I read a few other things that happened in the past few days but I’m sorry my memory is failing me now. I’m with you 0 that what those newspapers did was wrong. And if it were me, I’d probably be just as furious. However, I have a problem with some of the reactions to this issue.

    And those were my girshein. 🙂

  • Edward, there’s really no need for unwarrented accusations, they don’t help any situation. especially considering that mary is revered in the Islamic faith.

  • Relax Nas, I am not claiming the story is true. I don’t even know what the story is. Yasmine could not recall. I am just stating (in rather sarcastic terms) that an image of the Virgin Mary being drawn would not, in and of itself, be very offensive to Christians.

    As the related links indicate, Roman Catholics (or at least many Mexican Roman Catholics), actually tend to venerate the image of the Virgin Mary.

    Enjoyed your post by the way, Nas. Have a good one.

  • Edward, sorry I thought you were referencing me and not yasmine. but suffice to say the way muslims and christians approach their respective religions will vary and hence applying the same line of thought to one does not output the same result for the other.

    thank you.

  • From the link with my last post I found the following in the series of
    “. . . those who insult Islam” themes (in alphabetical order):

    “Annihilate those who Insult Islam”
    “Behead those who Insult Islam”
    “Exterminate those who Insult Islam”
    “Massacre those who Insult Islam”
    “Slay those who Insult Islam”

    I think they might be running out of ideas, hear are some
    suggestions for future protests (in alphabetical order):

    “Burn at the Stake those who Insult Islam”
    “Draw and Quarter those who Insult Islam”
    “Hang from Piano Wire those who Insult Islam”
    “Kill those who Insult Islam (and then Dance on Their Grave)”
    “Maim and Slaughter those who Insult Islam”

    and for the sack of diversity:

    “Butcher those who Mock Islam”
    “Exterminate those who Slander Islam”

    More seriously, it is quite scary to think this is how British Muslims
    are behaving. Isn’t this the same community that was arguing just
    a few months ago, after the London bombings, that extremists were
    atypical of their community. The same Muslims attempted to
    reassure us that Islam is a ‘Religion of Peace’? To the best of my
    knowledge, no major media outlet in Britain has insulted these
    Muslims and I guess if any outlet does republish the cartoons in
    Britain, they had better get themselves a bullet-proof vest and set up
    a safehouse, otherwise they might very well wind up like Theo van
    Gogh in the Netherlands did.

    It is a good thing the West doesn’t hold the entire Muslim world
    responsible for terrorist acts committed by Muslims. You don’t
    Westerners parading around with signs with such genocidal slogans
    similar to:

    “Be Prepared for the Real Holocaust”
    “Europe You Will Pay. Your Extermination is on its Way”

    and, of course, who could forget

    “Euorpe You Will Pay. Your 9/11 is on its Way”

    (You knew there had to be at least one threat of a 9/11-like event
    occurring over this.)

    Hey, isn’t this the sort of incendiary speech that is supposed to be
    against the law? Isn’t this the sort of speech that Muslims are
    comparing the cartoons too. I guess at least they can’t argue they
    were denied freedom of speech. No one was arrested at this
    protest to the best of my knowledge.

  • Edward, you have your crazy people and your bigots. some of those muslims with those stupid signs are an example of that. michelle malkin is another example of that as well.

    on the other hand you have muslims currently protesting this in a civil manner.

  • The true, whole story is not being told without knowing that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were 12 … yet the Muslim world is getting crazed over 15 cartoons. The organization Islamic Society in Denmark toured the Middle-East to create awareness about the cartoons, bringing 3 additional images, which HAD NEVER been published in any media source. Evidently, the originals were not offensive enough for the trip so they had to add these three:
    The first of the three additional pictures, which are of poor quality, shows Muhammad as a pedophile demon.
    The second shows Muhammed with a pig snout.
    The third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog.

    Why Islamic society in Denmark wanted to make these additional images? Originals were supposedly not offensive enough to create raving madness in Middle East. Which I suppose was their goal.

  • NOTE: The above comment is from Pekka however I edited it to remove only links to materials which I found offensive. It should also be noted that “Edward” posted the same links a few hours ago.

    I’m sorry guys, I can’t let you post links to that kind of stuff. I havn’t posted any images which are deemed offensive to Muslims, or Danes, such as the last paragraph of this post explains.

    thanks for understanding.

    In response to the story:

    I don’t know whether those pictures were faked or even if the story is true. What i do know is that it dosn’t matter at this point. 1 billion Muslims are not mad about cartoons that they didn’t see, hear or know about that were presented at some meeting. They’re mad at the 12 published in a Denmark newspaper. That’s the story.

    If one of those 12 cartoons in the papers are fake…well then we’ve got another story.

  • I am sorry about the links. Here is a link that contains no offensive pictures.

    from the link:

    “Apparently, the 12 original pictures were not deemed bad enough to convince other Muslims that Muslims in Denmark are the victims of a campaign of religious hatred.

    Akhmad Akkari, spokesman of the 21 Danish Muslim organizations which organized the tour, explained that the three drawings had been added to â??give an insight in how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims.â? Akkari claimed he does not know the origin of the three pictures. He said they had been sent anonymously to Danish Muslims. However, when Ekstra Bladet asked if it could talk to these Muslims, Akkari refused to reveal their identity.”

    This whole mess was organized by Danish Imams, so I think the added pictures are important part of the story. Danish people have also reason to be angry to those dishonest Imams.

  • muslim unity
    Feb 3rd, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    This has really hurt our feelings. Canâ??t the Danish government stop all these things from happening?

    In Denmark we have a free press. So the Goverment has as little chance of stopping as Pres. Nixon had in stopping Washington Post from writing about Watergate as Pres. Clinton had stopping the stories about Monica Lewinsky. The free press will write what they want.

    I bet you that the primeminister would in a weak moment love to be able to tell the press what to write – but in the final analysis, we have to live with a free press, and unfortunately we have to defend it even when it is on issues we may not agree with.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire

  • You say can’t burn or make fun of Jesus, but I think you should. Blasphemy is important for people to get rid of the shackles of organized religion. There is no need for prophets, idols, gods, clergy, etc. Down with all of them! 😀

  • The story about the insertion of the 3 fake cartoons has been updated. Nas, I know it may not matter much in regards to this whole controversy, but it does raise some independent questions of its own.

    The Counterterrorism Blog was the first, to my knowledge, to report this issue and they now have a copy of a letter sent by the Danish Muslim delegation. This Abu Laban guy, most powerful imam in Denmark or not, is completely two-faced and a traitor to his country.

    Updated story:

    Original story:

    Concerning the authenticity of the story: The story is definitely true. In fact, when the BBC originally reported the story, they attributed the faked cartoons to the Danish paper. It just goes to show you how biased the BBC is when it comes to Islamic-Western relations reporting. They didn’t even bother obtaining a copy of the original paper, they simply took the complaints made by Muslim organizations at face value and ran with it.

  • All religions are equally subject to a certain degree of criticism including Islam.

    By the way, have you ever noticed all of those extremely anti-semetic jokes, editorials, and comics in most Middle Eastern newspapers?

  • Pingback: Super Blog
  • Exactly, neither Muslims nor the Danish government can and should control what everyone draws, it is simply impossible. But in this case it was in fact Muslim anger which turned the cartoons into a very very very successfull provocation! The Muslim world needs to learn to shrug its shoulders and say “that’s their problem”, or the Muslim world will contantly be worked up and hysterical about something else every day.

Your Two Piasters: