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.
I just wish they would spend the money for the huge marketing campaign on something more useful.
Especially these days where everything is very expensive and life is hard.
I have total respect for the prophet(pbuh) but i would rather think of him as a man, who would still visit his neighbor after being abused by him. and i think we should handle the cartoons and other issues regarding Islam with education. If the western world is thoroughly educated about Islam. They themselves would boycott a silly cartoon like that.
Just a thot.
Kindly find the list of other countries where these caricatures was published: Germany, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Ireland, Hungary, FYROM, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Yemen and of course Jordan.
What is the point of boycotting a country instead of a newspaper?
This boycott will have no effect on the small commercial balance between Jordan – Denmark and Netherlands. The only people affected will be the Jordanians importers of Danish and Dutch products.
It is more useful to create a sort of event, a conference, an exposition on how protect the image of Prophet (pbuh). “The Messenger of Allah Unites Us” group should rather improving education and awareness on Islam message toward western people instead of fighting against Danish cheeses.
By the same token, the west can start a campaign to support denemark and buy their products. Now the islamists are busy doing what hizballah did in lebanon which is doing the government job in the poor areas..What a better way to expand you base when people are hungry?
Check this out if you are interested in seeing how ridiculous we look: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/06/jordan_indicts_danish_cartooni.php
This, from a country that is the largest importer of Israeli products in the Arab world…give me a break.
Thanks for this great post and a much needed update on this case.
This mater must be ignored, it is used against us every time, ignoring it is the only thing that must be done, we should know and understand that this is a media weapon used against us.
Talk is not cheap, but the small one is, the one with know meaning and is only being spoken inorder to add nothingness. Its all about Ideology and propaganda, those who understand it are making thier stand by boycotting. Those who dont, are also making a stand by not standing, nor participating. And then there are those who DO understand but are not willing to stand, those are THE small talkers, yes… the cheap kind.
So please dont bother your self by being interested in a subject that your not WILLING to stand up for, at least by a word that might one day be your source of credit.
The following is for those in Jordan that support going after the people behind the Danish cartoons:
Obviously for all Muslims, Mohammad (blessing be onto him) is sacred. I am an agnostic, but I try to have respect for all religions. I have read all of the Bible and about 1/3 to 1/2 of the Quran. I have also read many other religious books.
For the vast majority of westerners â€œfreedom of speechâ€ is sacred. I would argue that â€œfreedom of speechâ€ is in many ways the main religion in western countries. It is a religion in the sense that is the thing that most westerners care the most about, and hold the most sacred. To attack â€œfreedom of speachâ€ is sacrilegious to the majority of us.
The idea that nothing is above critique is a fundamental part of western culture. Why should the Muslim faith get more protection than any other religion in western countries? If Muslims do not feel comfortable with this then they should not move to a western country and not look at western media.
Please respect our culture and beliefs and do not tell us what we cannot publish in our media. For the sake of not having a culture war please do not declare war on us on this issue that is so dear in our hearts.
I am a dual Canadian American citizen, and a proud citizen of western culture in general. If Jordan does prosecute over the Danish cartoons I will try my best to buy as many Danish goods as possible (which I already am) and boycott Jordanian goods. This is a growing trend in American and Canada. In the end this â€œwar of boycottsâ€ might in the end help Denmark and hurt Jordan?
For what it is worth, my hometown is New York City, and I was there on 9-11. Is it not true that much of the inspiration of why these believers in Islam attacked my city was because of the very things that these Danish cartoons made fun of? Therefore these cartoons were not mindless attacks against a religion, but rather a correct critique of what some who adhere to that religion believe?
In regards to the cartoons, I for one stare in shock and disbelief when I see Muslims burning and destroying because they are angry with cartoons that make fun of Muslims burning and destroying.
In any case, please do not offend us (Western people) by attacking the cornerstone of western culture which is â€œfreedom of speechâ€. We will never give in on this issue. It is the same as if we asked you to renounce Mohammad (blessing be onto him).