Thursday, February 02, 2006

NY Times On The Danish Cartoons

The NY Times weighs in on the reaction of Muslims to cartoons depicting Mohammed.
In Gaza, masked gunmen swarmed the European Union offices on Thursday to protest the cartoons, and there were threats to foreigners from European countries where the cartoons have been reprinted. The gunmen stayed about 45 minutes.
Don't Gazans have more important things to do than protesting cartoons and threatening the foreigners who could actually be trying to help them transform the sh**hole that they live in into something resembling a functioning political entity?
A newly elected legislator from Hamas, the radical Islamic group that swept the Palestinian elections last week, said large rallies were planned in Gaza in the next few days to protest the cartoons, which depict the Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. Merely publishing the image of Muhammad is regarded as blasphemous by many Muslims.

"We are angry — very, very, very angry," said the legislator, Jamila al-Shanty. "No one can say a bad word about our prophet."
Is any religion as chauvinistic as Islam? Should the whole world bow to the standards of one faith? Why don't we see this type of anger about the depictions of Christians and Jews that are made every day in the media in the Muslim world?

Here's a bit of sense:
Most European commentators concede that the cartoons were in poor taste but argue that conservative Muslims must learn to accept Western standards of free speech and the pluralism that those standards protect.
My favorite section:
Many Muslims say the Danish cartoons reinforce a dangerous confusion between Islam and the Islamist terrorism that nearly all Muslims abhor. Dalil Boubakeur, head of France's Muslim Council, called the caricatures a new sign of Europe's growing "Islamophobia."
Wow. Okay. Where, may I ask, is the anger of Muslims towards the Islamist terrorism that they abhor? Look at the reaction, or lack of a reaction to terrorism versus the overreaction to cartoons. Could this so-called "confusion" be somewhat understandable?

Could this blood lust spanning many countries, and caused by drawings, result in this Islamophobia, if it does exist?

One question confronting Europe is whether Western society, with its principles of liberty and freedom of expression, can co-exist with a religion that requires submission to the faith. If there are any moderate Muslims out there, it would be nice to hear from you now. The rest of the world would greatly appreciate it.

Of course, none of this is new. Just ask Salman Rushdie.