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Mohammad cartoons are not funny

In light of the recent unrest across the Muslim world due to the publication of the Mohammad cartoons by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, I can’t help but think that now is the time for lessons beyond showing some Muslims what freedom of speech means.

The “Mohammad cartoons” in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper were intended to demonstrate:

“The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always equally attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is less important in this context… we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him…”

Source: wikipedia.org

So, it is only fair that you must “practice what you preach” or even more importantly “if you can’t take it then don’t dish it out.”

“The Iranian newspaper Hamshari daily has stated that it will publish anti-Semitic cartoons in response to the Danish Mohammad cartoons. The newspaper, owned by the Tehran city council, says that the anti-Semitic cartoons will lampoon the Holocaust, following denials by the Iranian government that the Holocaust even happened. The newspaper has launched an international competition to find the most suitable caricatures about the Holocaust.

Farid Mortazavi, the paper’s graphics editor, said to the Guardian newspaper that “The western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons.”

Source: Wikinews.org

Again, my problem with these cartoons is not that they were printed but the real reason they were printed.

A 2004 report by the European Network Against Racism, funded by the EU, concluded that the Danish media devoted an excessive proportion of their time to the problems posed by immigrants, and most often Islamic immigrants, while often ignoring the problems that these immigrants face. They hold newspapers such as Jyllands-Posten to blame for the rise of the anti-immigrant right-wing in Danish politics.”The seeds of xenophobia, or cultural and religious intolerance have in fact been sown by a range of political, cultural and media elite for several years which have brought Denmark to the brink of violation of international and European conventions on human rights.”

As part of this study, Jyllands-Posten was singled out as one of the most anti-immigrant of all Danish papers. Over the 3 month period studied, from September 1 2004 to November 20 2004, 19/24 of Jyllands-Posten’s editorials on “ethnic issues” were negative, 88/120 op. ed. pieces on “ethnics” were negative, and 121/148 letters to the editor on “ethnics” were negative.

Some organizations, such as the Danish anti-racism group, Faklen or “The Torch” have collected the anti-immigrant editorials posted by Jyllands-Posten which have attacked or smeared Danish immigrants. They conclude that a large number of editorials have been slanted against immigrants.

Source: wikipedia.org

Tolerance does not seem to be one of this papers strong points. So, why is this paper taking it upon itself to teach tolerance to some Muslims?

And, why are these Muslims crying out and destroying and killing when they are not innocent either? Muslims have printed many objectional cartoons in the past as well as a proposed competition for 12 new cartoons by Iranian newspaper Hamshari. One of these cartoons depicts Anne Frank lying in bed with Hitler naked. Hitler is shown saying to Anne Frank, “Write this one in your diary, Anne.” I am curious to see how this one goes over in Israel.

I, also, found Wikipedia’s explanation for including this cartoon on their website interesting:

The Arab European League have stated that they expect European newspapers to reprint the cartoons, so it would appear fair use of images to put them on Wikimedia Commons.

The choice of Anne Frank for the cartoon is somewhat ironic, given that Anne was an avid supporter of freedom of expression and freedom movement, and she believed that restrictions on freedom of speech were partly to blame for the rise of facism in the 1930s. Suppressing this cartoon from public view would have been against these beliefs of Anne Frank.

Source: wikinews.org

So, when will it all stop? Where will it end?
I must admit I am not happy to be placed in the middle of two groups of extremist.

Now, how will we turn this around peacefully instead of fighting fire with fire?

People have died and buildings have been burned. There are rumors that the extreme right in Denmark is planning on burning the Koran. This has the potential to grow into something much bigger than cartoons and freedom of speech. It has the potential to grow into a war of cultures and ideas without respect for anyone or thing.

I strongly believe in freedom of speech but I don’t believe in freedom of speech when it comes out of the mouth of hate.

Think about it!

Interesting links:
Robert Fulguhm-Author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard February 14, 2006, 4:58 pm

    “I strongly believe in freedom of speech but I don’t believe in freedom of speech when it comes out of the mouth of hate.”

    You can’t believe in free speech with exceptions. You either believe in it or not. If free speech can’t offend it is not free speech.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 14, 2006, 5:26 pm

    Yes, but things are not always black or white. If it were life would be so much easier.

  • Richard February 15, 2006, 1:53 pm

    That was a bumper sticker not an answer.

    I do not expect life to be easy.

    The question is, are you for free speech or not. To say you are for free speech with certain restrictions is to say you are not for free speech.

    If everybody is free to say only nice things then free speech is, to quote former US VP J.N. Garner “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

    Garner was, of course a Texan. A swamp Yankee like me would never use such language.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 15, 2006, 4:10 pm

    “Garner was, of course a Texan. A swamp Yankee like me would never use such language.”

    LMAO :)
    …you are right it is not an answer. I don’t know…it is not easy. That is why I wrote about it. I want to come to terms with it. Finally, I must agree that freedom of speech is just that. The freedom to say anything at anytime.
    However, we are still responsible for what we say and if it is out of hate then we are responsible when that hate is returned. Being an adult means behaving like an adult.

  • Pauline February 15, 2006, 4:48 pm

    I read this elsewhere, but it pretty well sums up my thoughts on the subject:

    Yes, to freedom of speech and expression but No to abuse in the name of freedom

  • Pauline February 15, 2006, 4:49 pm

    I did want to write something longer, more profound, but I read this elsewhere today about this same subject and thought: that’s succinct and exactly what I want to say.

    Also I feel sorry for the 1000’s of more moderate Muslims who are being tarnished with the same ‘terrorist/fanatic’ brush. It’s the old saying of a bad apple…

  • Tongue in Cheek February 15, 2006, 4:54 pm

    Take the picture you have under this post, your husband and baby sleeping, the message tenderness and love. Then look at the cartoon posted of Anne Frank with Hitler, the message revenge and anger. What is freedom of speech? Is is better to say whatever you want however you want? Does being truthful mean being honest? Doesn’t anger breed anger, Compassion breed compassion? Has the world gone mad? Does one need to scream at the top of one’s lungs to be heard?

  • Richard February 15, 2006, 6:42 pm

    “I must agree that freedom of speech is just that. The freedom to say anything at anytime.
    However, we are still responsible for what we say and if it is out of hate then we are responsible when that hate is returned. Being an adult means behaving like an adult.”

    During the last several years there have been numerous anti christian insults in the popular press. The Boston Globe printed all of them in the name of free speech or artistic integrity. The Globe refuses to print the cartoons because they do not want to be offensive. The only conclusions possible are:

    a. They are hypocrites
    b. They are bigots
    c. They are cowards.

    Now I am not saying any of you posting here are that. Still, at the end of the day, you have to face who and what you are. If you are not unequivocal in support of free speech then you are for suppression of free speech and how soon after that do you get to burning “not nice” books in the name of being “adult?” How soon after that do we have thought police? It is nice to be nice, but not at the price of becoming a facist.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 15, 2006, 8:09 pm

    I completely agree with you.

    The cartoons should be printed now because it is news. I was upset at the past history of the paper that printed these pictures initially. I think it was a provokation. And, yes, of course it is the right of the paper but I would hope in todays world that people would work harder on getting along and not on fighting.

  • Richard February 15, 2006, 8:56 pm

    To tell you the truth, had I been editor, I might not have printed them either, but there is a bigger picture.

    There is Aesop’s fable of the wolf and the lamb where in the lamb logically points out why the wolf should not eat him and the wolf eats him. If that is what Islam is about then sooner rather than later it must be confronted. After all, if Petain had crossed into Germany with a corporal’s guard when Hitler remilitarized the Rhine, WWII would never have happened.

    Someone else mentioned your daughter. Do you want to see her wearing the hijab?

    No, it may never come to it. Most Muslims probably just want a job (maybe not the ones in the banileues), but then again most Germans voted for Hitler because he promised prosperity. I don’t think he ever won an outright majority in a multiparty election and he caused a certain amount of unpleasantness. The Imams who added the three really vicious cartoons are capable of any wickedness and proved the point of Jyllands Posten. The thing speaks for itself.

    For the record, so you don’t think I am a neocon and a bushite, I am opposed to war in Iraq and knew it was a scam long before it started. Heck, I knew the war in Afghanistan was a scam before it started.

  • Pumpkin Pie February 15, 2006, 10:33 pm

    I think people are mislead way too easily. I guess that is why I started my thinking thursday posting. I want myself and others who wish to participate to examine and question the craziness in this world. Nothing is black or white. However, if no one talks nothing happens. I don’t want any of my three daughters to be covered. I want them to be strong and to find their way in this world as women (someday) and as members of society.
    What scares me are the extremist on both sides. I think the sane and rational (usually) people in the middle pay the highest price because we are stuck cleaning up all the mess. Extremist just want to war.
    I don’t think you are a neocon and a bushite. My French husband made the same arguements as he and I disscussed this over the past few weeks. I appreciate your view point and hope you contribute to future thinking thursday posts. When people can come together and talk about life issues sharing opinions and knowledge then we can learn from one another and that is valuable.

  • Richard February 16, 2006, 3:33 am

    Thanks. I’ll look in again.

  • L'Amerloque March 6, 2006, 3:51 pm

    Hi Pumpkin Pie !

    Amerloque’s view is quite clear on his blog:

    //Islamic tradition apparently bars any depiction of the prophet at all, so as to forestall idolatry. Basically, it wouldn’t matter at all which caricatures the Danish, or French, or European press published or how many times they published them. Any image of the Prophet – whether complimentary or disparaging – is forbidden. Not much room for discussion on that one, it appears.

    If such is the case, then in Amerloque’s view it doesn’t really matter why the Danish newspaper published the caricatures. It could simply have been to lampoon self-censorship, as the paper asserted … or the reason(s) could have been far more sinister, with malice aforethought, so as to trigger off discord, which would clearly demonstrate that a percentage of the Muslims in the world were fundamentalists and would take to the streets, with violence. Moreover, it doesn’t really matter if the images were “in poor taste” or “upsetting” or “outrageous”. Finally, it doesn’t even matter what the day-to-day consequences of publishing the images are, or whose feelings were “hurt” or not hurt, or who was “insulted” or “humiliated” or “disrespected”: it is the mere fact that the images exist and that they were published which is at issue in the fundamentalist Muslim mind. The fundamentalists, rioters and demonstrators are asserting that because they believe something religious, others must believe it, too. No Enlightenment ever took place in the Muslim world.//

    Of course, when one doesn’t agree with the above words (Remember the Enlightenment ! Disagreeing is OK !) and feels that it’s more the “taste” of the images or “respect” that is at issue, Amerloque will immediately ask:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?
    (Who will guard the guardians ?)


  • M@ March 6, 2006, 3:55 pm

    I’m guessing this wouldn’t be the time to be making french jokes. :)

    In all seriousness, even in america freedom of speech is not absolute. Hate speech or any speech whose sole purpose is to incite violence doesn’t receive protection.

    This situation is unusual in the fact that people aren’t upset about how he was depicted, but that he was depicted at all.

    I understand some of the anger, but I also believe that the riots have very little to do with the cartoons. This is a small group of extremists leading a larger group of opportunists purposely causing unrest in the world.

  • Julie March 6, 2006, 4:06 pm

    Things are falling apart all over the world. Being a Roman Catholic, I believe that its because no one obeys the ten commandments. If we all did what was right no one would be doing what is wrong. The further we go from the truth. The further we go from peace. I think another world war is on the way. Its too bad that people have no respect for other people’s lives.

  • Julie March 6, 2006, 4:07 pm

    Ya, it is sad. My family and I were part of the small amount of people that were against the war. Bush is turning into a dictator. The future of the U.S. is a scary one. My country is making the whole world angry. The media controls the emotions of the American people. And it doesn’t always report the truth. I’m happier every day that we don’t have a TV in our home. I hear people every day talking about what they heard on TV and they believe everything. In the U.S. they kept showing the Twin Towers being bombed, over and over, and over again. It gave my Grandma depression. She couldn’t stand it. I kept thinking, “Why don’t you turn off the TV. They’re just trying to make us infuriated with Iraq.” Its a stupid manipulation tactic. Bush really wanted Americans to side with him.

  • D March 6, 2006, 4:08 pm


    Sorry to hear about your grandma, but everything you said it so true!

  • D March 6, 2006, 4:09 pm

    Unfortunately, some of the US government wants to focus on being “freedom fighters” (or oil giants) rather than concentrate on the huge problems we have back on the homefront.

    It still infuriates me how the emotions of the American people from 9/11 was used by the government as fuel to go over to get Bin Laden, which in the end turned out to be a hunt for Saddam, and WMD’s that don’t even exist.

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