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  • Intelligent views from the blogosphere

    by Sunny
    8th February, 2006 at 6:05 pm    

    Arabist - Danish cartoons: the Egyptian angle
    I certainly don’t think non-Muslims are in any way obliged to respect the Muslim tradition of not depicting the prophet (or God, for that matter). And, on freedom of expression grounds, I think the Danish newspaper can do what it wants within the limits of national law there. Only after reading a little bit more into it did I realize that, by organizing a competition for the cartoons, the newspaper was engaged in a shameless publicity coup that was tantamount to inciting Islamophobia and needlessly encouraged people to draw provocative, or insulting, pictures. I am more depressed, however, by the street protests, raids into the EU delegation in Palestine, and general agitation this is causing, which is rather pointless and self-defeating.

    Dis-illusioned Kid
    Our mission (should we chose to accept it) is to defend freedom of speech while doing everything we can to scupper the plans of those who would abuse it to peddle their racist dross. Same as ever really.

    The cartoons weren’t funny and the visual portrayal of Mohammed was done just to “be an asshole” without any larger point to it. It’s like parading around in blackface just for the hell of it. There’s no point other than “I’m doing this to see who I can piss off.” I certainly defend the right to piss people off, though not always the decision to do so.

    This, IMO, gets to the heart of why the Right Blogosphere is obsessed with this story, the way they were obsessed with the recent French riots. They want a holy war against Islam. They are itching for it. Not that any of them would volunteer to fight, of course [Via Al-Mujahid]

    Blood and treasure
    As far as sympathies go, can I just say that if you side with a group of effete right wing pseudo intellectuals in making sport of a decent, inoffensive and hardworking group of people like my Muslim neighbours, then you ought to be fucking well ashamed of yourself. Repeat this statement on your own website. Refusal to do so is equivalent to self-censorship.

    Unity at Talk Politics
    But it continues, still in full predicability mode, as the bandwagon jumping starts in earnest on the pretext that this is all a matter of the right to free expression - no it isn’t, its about flogging newspapers and cheap publicity. None of that matters, of course, because by now a few newspapers in other countries have decided that there’s plenty of room in the hornet’s nest to fit their dicks in as well, enough cheap ‘heat’* to go around and enough punters dumb enough to buy their rags just to see what all the fuss is about to make reprinting these cartoons worth their while.

    Shakespeare’s Sister
    I’m a bit concerned that in our attempts to rebuke the rightwing onslaught to denigrate all of Islam as fundamentally violent, we have begun to minimize the reality that there is indeed a segment of Islam that actively seeks to convert infidels and slaughter those who refuse. It strikes me as dangerously naïve to ignore the ambitions of an extremist Islamic element who, given the first opportunity, would happily impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us, and just because a jihadist hasn’t knocked on one’s door peddling their wares doesn’t make it any less true.

    David Aaronovitch
    It was right to publish and sell The Satanic Verses, and one day we will almost certainly be called upon to defend a play, probably written by a Muslim, that features the Prophet and that raises questions about belief. The impulse that created The Grand Inquisitor, currently being performed in London, will have an Islamic equivalent, and the row will be huge. When that happens there will be a lot of explaining and listening to do. We can all get through it, if we’re prepared to avoid switching to a default mode that declares that they’re bad and we’re good. I think democracy, liberty and Islam can coexist. [via Clive]

    Chick Yoghurt
    This whole thing is the equivalent of Little Johnny being given detention because he drew a knob on his pencil case (which is actually funnier than these cartoons). It’s childish, it’s puerile but the seas didn’t boil and the skies didn’t rain blood. The people who drew some these cartoons are arseholes but, in what we laughingly call our liberal society, we must defend their right to be arseholes. So scribble away lads, somebody, somewhere must find you funny.

    First, the Arab European League decide to test the boundaries of free expression by publishing a few anti-semitic and holocaust-denying cartoons on their website. And now Iranian newspaper, Hamshahiri, is holding a holocaust-denying cartoon competition.

    While these cartoons will undoubtedly be hurtful to many Jewish people - just as the Mohammed cartoons were hurtful to many Muslims - it will be interesting to see how many death threats the AEL will receive, and how many Iranian embassies are torched as a result.

    This posturing by Arab governments and Islamist movements is not in the tradition of Islam. These zealots should ask the question: What would Prophet Muhammad have done when faced with this insult?

    He would, I suggest, have said a prayer for the cartoonist and “turned away from the ignorant,” as Allah commanded him to do in the Qur’an.

    The view from Fez
    The scenes of embassy burnings and calls for beheadings are playing right into the hands of the Islamophobes who want to create as much friction from the situation as possible. At the moment the Islamaphobes have gathered a lot of support from the Islamic reaction. Calm heads are needed. Dialogue and connection are what is needed now, not more provocation.

    Ceridwen Devi at Radical Ranter
    What would the midnight’s children who lost their lives after the birth of the Republic of India make of all this? Has not enough blood been spilt already? Is all this hatred worth it? The boycott of Danish products is a great idea. Let them pay for their folly. But please Muslim brothers and sisters, shed no blood over Flemming Rose, the editor of Jyllands-Posten.

    Outlook mag: Are Europeans So Out Of Touch?
    The Mittal controversy and the cartoon crisis both show today’s Europeans unable to understand the world around them, amidst them and beyond them. All major European countries have large Muslim populations — but mostly unintegrated and largely ghettoised. The cartoons have given obvious fodder to the clash of civilisations school, raised the heat several notches up and provided leaders like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to issue new threats.

    And bored “Saudia” Arabian chick Farooha reckons Denmark should run for president. Ahem.

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    Filed in: Media,The World

    4 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. El Cid — on 8th February, 2006 at 9:22 pm  

      Nice selection

    2. jamal — on 9th February, 2006 at 12:28 am  

      Yeah. Good selection of views.

    3. Siddharth — on 9th February, 2006 at 10:11 am  

      The Dis-Illsioned Kid quote could be the strapline of a good blog. Its also a distillation of any sensible person’s view of the racist cartoons.

    4. Amit — on 10th February, 2006 at 3:32 pm  

      Yep some great points in there and it’s good to see muslims taking a more neutral stance as I also suggested on

      Protests of an agressive nature are abosolutely unnecessary as is the burning of Danish flags.

      The drawings themselves were derogatory towards islam and the Danish should have the sense to withdraw them and apologise.

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