Skip

Depictions of Mohammed Throughout History
February 4, 2006 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Depictions of Mohammed Throughout History This page is an archive of numerous depictions of Mohammed, to serve as a reminder that such imagery has been part of Western and Islamic culture since the Middle Ages -- and to serve as a resource for those interested in freedom of expression.
posted by Postroad (168 comments total)

 
Nice post. Thanks for this.
posted by sveskemus at 2:38 PM on February 4, 2006


Great post.

As I understand it, all the Qu'ran actually says is that Allah cannot be properly captured in a drawing:

"[Allah is] the originator of the heavens and the earth... [there is] nothing like a likeness of Him."

Beyond this, the jumps of reasoning that many believers use are:
1) that it is therefore sinful to attempt to draw Allah,
2) that it is therefore sinful to attempt to draw Allah's prophet,
and, among the stricter believers, 3) that it is therefore sinful to attempt to draw any of Allah's creation, limited to living things. Abstract shapes are fine.


posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 2:45 PM on February 4, 2006


This just in: Religious Dogma Irrational. More at eleven.
posted by odinsdream at 2:47 PM on February 4, 2006


Why in the traditional works is Muhammad so frequently depicted as having been burninated?
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 2:49 PM on February 4, 2006


On a related note, am I correct in saying that the interpretation of Moses's commandment "make no graven images" to mean "don't worship icons" is purely one of convienience? It would seem that the Torah/Bible is more explicitly restrictive than the Qu'ran on this matter.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 2:58 PM on February 4, 2006


It would be like a cauliflower-head to call people raisin-heads.
posted by baklavabaklava at 2:58 PM on February 4, 2006


Well, some argue that the heavenly reward for martyrs referred to in the Qu'ran is not 72 virgins, but 72 raisins. Put like that, raisin-head is a supreme compliment.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:01 PM on February 4, 2006


How again was this controversy at all related to "freedom of expression"? Oh, that's right: It wasn't. People just tried to turn it into an argument about that, so as to further reinforce the notion that Muslims "hate our freedom."

"to serve as a reminder that such imagery has been..."

Not quite. None of those images at all resembled the crap that the Danish newspaper published. And while the Danish editor can make statements such as, "'This is not just about cartoons, but standing up for our values," and "We do not apologise for printing the cartoons. It was our right to do so," it behooves any rational person to question whether insulting the religion of more than a billion people because of the acts of a very small number of claimed believers reflects upon Danish values at all, or whether believing you have the right to do something automatically means that you should never have to apologize for doing it.

Who cares if the paper had the right to print the garbage? It was offensive, racist, poorly drawn, and unfunny. There was no reason for it to exist in the first place, let alone a reason not to apologize for its existence.
posted by dsword at 3:03 PM on February 4, 2006


It wasn't. People just tried to turn it into an argument about that, so as to further reinforce the notion that Muslims "hate our freedom."

Only a fool would say that Muslims have no right to be offended. However, many of them are calling for the death of those responsible. It is that which turns it into a question of the freedom of speech.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:06 PM on February 4, 2006


Right, I mean in this case the reaction makes almost anything else justified. Which is the irony of the whole thing. Sad world we live in. Still, it behooves to remember that this has much more to do with people feeling powerless and angry then anything else.
posted by cell divide at 3:08 PM on February 4, 2006


Ah Islam, the most hate-filled religion, for the moment. I'm sure the Christians won't let this stand for long.

Isn't religion beautiful?
posted by 517 at 3:09 PM on February 4, 2006


"Religion: This has much more to do with people feeling powerless and angry then anything else."
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:09 PM on February 4, 2006


Politics aside, this is another area where Jews and Muslims have striking similarities in belief. Ever seen a Hebraic visual representation of Yahweh? My sense is that portraying Mohammed isn't that bad if it's done respectfully. Allah, however, is verboten.

I'm pretty sure Michelangelo took some heat for depicting the big guy as well. But I wonder why Christianity is less vehemently opposed to representing the G-dog.
posted by bardic at 3:16 PM on February 4, 2006


Lenny Bruce, as part of his comedy routine, would call out the word "nigger." Then he would point out that it is only a word and none of us should be held captive by its power.

There is some truth to that, but make no mistake, these cartoons are shouting "nigger" and then being shocked that the person has offense. Just because it doesn't meet our cultural definitions of an epithet, doesn't mean it doesn't meet theirs.

We mock our prophets. Fine. I do it. But even if that does represent my freedom of religion and expression, it doesn't make my stand or our culture morally superior to theirs. As with every aspect of culture, you gain some things and you lose some things. We are blind to what we lose (as are they).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:16 PM on February 4, 2006


these cartoons are shouting "nigger"

?????
posted by billysumday at 3:19 PM on February 4, 2006


it doesn't make my stand or our culture morally superior to theirs.

Yes it does. The principle of killing people for what they say or believe is morally inferior to the principle of tolerance. It is also inferior in terms of the range of artistic works that will be created by society as a whole. More is better.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:21 PM on February 4, 2006


>>It was offensive, racist, poorly drawn, and unfunny.

I'm so sick of this multi-cultural crap that liberals always knee-jerk to. That fact that embassies have been burnt down over this should be a big hint over who is seriously in the wrong here and needs big lesson in tolerance and general "learn how to stop being crazy fundamentalists."

What isn't there to mock in Islamic society? They have theocracy. They have serious subjection of women. Barbaric punishments. Sharia. Its like some people in the west decided to stop holding their tongues out of fear of being the next Salmon Rushdie. Kudos to them.

Then again, the Arab world is used to high-quality reporting, right? And has high journalistic standards:


“The festival [Purim] begins on the 13 th day of March with a fast in memory of the Jewess Esther. The following day the Jews wear masks and costumes, drink large quantities of wine, commit adultery and behave wildly. The blood used in baking the cookie must come from a non-Jewish youth, that is, Christian or Muslim, and their religious scholars knead it into the dough. As for the Passover [Matza; i.e., unleavened bread], the blood [needed for its preparation] must come from a Christian child younger than 10 years of age .”
That's not ground for outrage? But a political cartoon expressing the real and obvious connection between Islam and suicide bombing is suddenly the worst thing in the world.
posted by skallas at 3:21 PM on February 4, 2006


cell divide: "Right, I mean in this case the reaction makes almost anything else justified. Which is the irony of the whole thing."
The newspaper has definitely taken the stance of "We won't be intimidated into behaving in a dignified manner." It's idiotic.

POTEOA: "However, many of them are calling for the death of those responsible."

How many? All of them? Most of them? That's more than 500,000,000 people! That's a lot!

Or was it just a few, maybe even ten? In that case, I agree: to hell with the other 1,000,000,000-plus people the paper insulted... Ten people pissed them off!

POTEOA: It is that which turns it into a question of the freedom of speech.

How is that?
posted by dsword at 3:22 PM on February 4, 2006


he would point out that it is only a word and none of us should be held captive by its power.

Spoken like a true caucasian.
posted by bardic at 3:22 PM on February 4, 2006


sunday: They are shouting "nigger" in the sense that this is something they take with equal offense.
I am making no apology for violence that this sparks.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:25 PM on February 4, 2006


I think there are actually two components to the outrage against the Mohammed caricatures:

1. The religious taboo. It's an absolute no-no under Islam to paint a likeness of the prophet Mohammed (pbuh). It's basically a deadly sin in Islam. OK.
But this is irrelevant to all of us non-Muslims. Why should we be forced to observe *their* religious rules? Next thing you'll know is that they'll ban alcohol or pork because it is against their religion.

2. The provocation. The perceived sleight. The offense to all Muslims.
This, I say, they will have to live with and is covered by freedom of opinion/press. Looking at those drawings, I don't think that their primary intent was to offend Muslims. Some of the drawings likened religious die-hards to terrorists, but looking at the current climate in Muslim countries, I tend to think that those drawings weren't so far off the mark, if not actually spot-on. Talk about living the stereotype.
Also, there are lots of caricatures in Arabian newspapers showing Jews with grotesque hooknoses, so complaining about the stereotyping here strikes me as more than just a bit hypocritical.


Finally, what's with this demanding an apology business? How can the Danish (or any) government apologize for something done by its citizens? If an apology were in order here, well, did the Saudi-Arabian government ever apologize for 9/11, which was largely perpetrated by Saudi-Arabians?
And this, I think, puts the whole thing into perspective: Why all this hoopla over a few stupid drawings? Where is the outrage in those countries over really important stuff, such as the suicide bombers, the torture going on in their prisons, the corruption, the misogyny, etc. etc.?

In the end, I think it all boils down to this huge inferiority complex that Muslim people feel when they deal with the West. And rightly so, since they are stuck with a belief system and moral values that are outdated by 1500 years or so.
posted by sour cream at 3:26 PM on February 4, 2006


dsword is a troll, in the sense that he is intellectually disingenuous in his argument. Do not respond.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:27 PM on February 4, 2006


Excuse me, dsword, but the one about heaven being out of virgins was pretty funny.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:28 PM on February 4, 2006


Why in the traditional works is Muhammad so frequently depicted as having been burninated?

Most likely it's a halo, which artists have used since Egyptian times. More at Halos in Western Art (although they lack any references to Mohammed):
Typically surrounding a godly or enlightened person, a halo represents holiness. Christian artists believed that the halo was symbolic of the light of grace bestowed by God. Before the rise of Christianity, pagans used halos to signify not only divine influence but also power, majesty or prominence. In Roman times, emperors were depicted with halos. Even in the Christian Era, the symbols were used for famous personages until 1600 AD when Pope Urban III forbade the use of the nimbus for persons who are not at least beatified. They have also been placed around men of genius, presumably to represent divine inspiration.
There wasn't any inspiration on the part of the Danish media, however. Freedom of the press is not a license for inflammatory words or pictures.
posted by cenoxo at 3:28 PM on February 4, 2006


Freedom of the press is not a license for inflammatory words or pictures.

That is precisely what it is. It doesn't make those words or pictures worthy of respect, but it makes them worthy of tolerance.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:29 PM on February 4, 2006


skallas: ...liberals always knee-jerk... What isn't there to mock in Islamic society?

I would reply, but I'm just confused as to whether your "knee-jerk" comment was meant as a joke.
posted by dsword at 3:30 PM on February 4, 2006


I wrote:Next thing you'll know is that they'll ban alcohol or pork because it is against their religion.

I think this wasn't entirely clear. What I was trying to say is that the next level of forcing their taboo of not painting a likeness of Mohammed on me would be that they try to keep *me* from drinking alcohol or eating pork because it violates *their* religious sensitivities.
posted by sour cream at 3:30 PM on February 4, 2006



"You've gotta respect people with deep religious convictions, cause if you don't, they'll kill you ." Richard Jeni

One thing is certain, religious muslims are the most easliy offended people on the planet.
posted by wayside at 3:31 PM on February 4, 2006


...he is intellectually disingenuous in his argument

Actually, my point was that the "freedom of speech" argument is intellectually disingenuous, which it is.
posted by dsword at 3:31 PM on February 4, 2006


A couple of months ago a Danish publishing house was about to release a children's book about the life of Mohammad. But they couldn't get anybody to illustrate it because all the illustrators were afraid to depict Mohammad even for something as innocent as a children's book made to ease integration by teaching the Danish children a little bit about their new muslim neighbours' religion.

So some editor at Jyllands-Posten decided to print a couple of drawings of Mohammad in order to spark some public debate about this issue.

The reason it took four months before a part of the muslim world went totally bananas and started the boycott on Danish goods (Arla, Denmark's biggest exporter of dairy products, has already laid off more than 100 workers which is kind of a big deal here) was that some muslim religious leaders living in Denmark began touring the Middle East presenting some drawings that were far more provoking to the religious leaders (i.e. Mohammad as a pedophile, links on the bottom of this page).

As I write this the Danish embassy in Damascus is in flames, presumably because SMS's claiming that the Quran was to be burnt at Copenhagen's central square today had been flourishing in Syria.

It's tempting to think of this as a situation of 'us' vs. 'them' but I don't think we should. Instead I think this is a case of a lot of people being assholes and everybody from the political right to the media to the religious fundamentalists having their own agenda and not much common sense.
posted by sveskemus at 3:32 PM on February 4, 2006


These people don't need a dsword, they need a Luther. Or a Hobbes. Or a Voltaire. Were their works any less "offending" to the powers that were?

I wonder how many potential enlightened Arab thinkers hold their tongues because of the collective bullying by Islamic authorities.
posted by skallas at 3:35 PM on February 4, 2006


One thing is certain, religious muslims are the most easliy offended people on the planet.

I'm pretty sure it's a tie with fundamentalist Christians.
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:36 PM on February 4, 2006


If the act of calling for people to be killed doesn't make this a question of the freedom of speech, then the act of burning down the embassies certainly does.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:39 PM on February 4, 2006


I'm pretty sure it's a tie with fundamentalist Christians.

Though I'm no fan of fundamentalist Christians, I don't think anything they've done in recent history equals the level of absurd mob lunacy exhibited throughout the Muslim world.
posted by wayside at 3:39 PM on February 4, 2006


wayside: "Though I'm no fan of fundamentalist Christians, I don't think anything they've done in recent history equals the level of absurd mob lunacy exhibited throughout the Muslim world."

Well I don't know about that...
posted by sveskemus at 3:42 PM on February 4, 2006


"How again was this controversy at all related to "freedom of expression"?"

The cartoons were originally published last september to highlight the problem that no-one was willing to draw illustrations for a children's book about Muhammad because of fear of Muslim reprisals.
posted by Auz at 3:45 PM on February 4, 2006


Well, I need numbers here, when we start lumping people into some big group called "Muslim".

(a) What percentage of Muslims are out on the streets shooting guns, burning down embassies, burning Danish flags?
(b) What percentage are pissed off and disagree with publishing the cartoons, but are dealing with it sensibly and not violently?
(c) What percentage are pissed off, but understand and accept the right to publish the cartoons?
(d) What percentage don't give a shit?

These questions need to be answered before we start talking about a "clash of civilizations" or any such thing. The Muslims I work with didn't spend yesterday running around the office declaring death upon the infidels...
posted by Jimbob at 3:47 PM on February 4, 2006


Here we have a fine example of Western hypocrisy and fundamentalism in all its glory. Imagine the following images -

1. a picture of Jesus caressing a little girl's thigh
2. that photo of a middle eastern soldier using a live dog as bayonette practice
3. a picture of Laura Bush being beheaded in front of her children
4. carcasses of cats and dogs hanging up in Asian markets
5. a live animal having its heart pulled out and eaten
6. Janet Jackson revealing her breast in prime time

All of these are perfectly acceptable in some parts of the non-Westtern world. How many would YOU find offensive? How many would be instantly pulled off the air with an ensuing major public outcry and public inquiry?

So enough with the "oh we are soooo much more rational and open in our country" and start trying to see over the other side of your fence.
posted by DirtyCreature at 3:47 PM on February 4, 2006


The question is not whether we would find the images offensive. The questions are, how many would result in a mass boycott of the "offending" nation's goods? How many would result in closing our embassy in that nation? How many would result in burning down that nation's embassy in our own nation? The answer in all cases is zero, because we have something resembling freedom of expression.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:53 PM on February 4, 2006


Next time I see Janet Jackson's boob on TV, I'm going to burn down a fucking embassy, so help me Allah.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:54 PM on February 4, 2006


Well I don't know about that...

Well...

We went to war in Iraq based on lies and an agenda hidden from anyone who choses to believe what their government tells them.
It was an act committed by Americans of all religious persuasions, and not an expression of religious intolerance (Bush's Jesus fetish notwithstanding).

Political cartoons do not equal burned embassies. The lack of proportionality, and the visceral, irrational nature of the response, are what make this situation unique unto itself. Apparently the only thing that will satisfy the throngs of wailing zealots is if the people of Denmark commit mass suicide, after first converting to Islam.
posted by wayside at 3:54 PM on February 4, 2006


DirtyCreature: How many would YOU find offensive?

Uh, I don't know if I'd find them offensive. In any case, I wouldn't be offended enough to spout death threats and start going all medieval over some country's embassy. That's for people with a minority complex and a small dick.
posted by sour cream at 3:56 PM on February 4, 2006


DirtyCreature , which of those resulted (or would result) in embassies being stormed and burned down by irate fundamentalists?
posted by baklavabaklava at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2006


because we have something resembling freedom of expression

I don't think it's because we have that. Freedom of expression doesn't determine the personal responses of others. It's more that we don't care as much, I think, aren't as easily angered, or aren't looking for excuses to be angered. But once again - the exact same people who are protesting, and making death threats, are the same fundies who run around burning Israeli flags, or waving around pictures of Osama. A vocal, extremist mob. It's like they're programmed to react like this, and it has nothing to do with any great schizm between cultures.
posted by Jimbob at 3:58 PM on February 4, 2006


Who cares if the paper had the right to print the garbage? It was offensive, racist, poorly drawn, and unfunny.

You have it exactly the other way round. It's: who cares if it was offensive or racist*, or even just careless and inappropriate, the paper still had the right to print it, and of course anyone had the right to complain, protest and boycott anyting they want.

What no one had the right to do is, in increasing order of insanity, demand apologies from the government (and that of another country to boot, and one not subject to Islamic laws), send death threats, threaten terrorist attacks, kidnap people, and burn embassies.

It's as simple as that - and it's about both legal rights vs. legal offenses, and ethics and principles of democratic societies.


*(offensiveness is a relative concept anyway, plus the target was a religious figure; and if mocking religious figures and leaders was always equal to mocking an entire community then we'd be arguing that caricatures of the Pope as a nazi or Darth Vader are racist towards all Catholics, or even, Germans...; that caricatures of Sharon are racist towards all Israelis; that caricatures of Bush as a monkey are racist towards Texans/Americans; etc.)

Anyhow, Here's a good read on the topic (English version of an article in Die Zeit). One very important point:

The affair has made more moderate Danish Muslims hostage to the trouble-makers.

Notice, indeed, that the biggest protests, and the violence, have been taking place in the Middle East, not in Europe. Do you think the agitators - the imams and political leaders - who exploited this issue for their own political gain and whipped up all this furore over a bunch of silly cartoons actually care about the ordinary Muslims in Europe? I don't think so.

Both the Islamic fundamentalists and the far right groups in Europe couldn't have asked for a better gift.
posted by funambulist at 3:59 PM on February 4, 2006


The Guardian writes:

"At this point a group of ultra-conservative Danish imams decided to take matters into their own hands, setting off on an ambitious tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a dossier containing the inflammatory cartoons.

According to Jyllands-Posten, the imams from the organisation Islamisk Trossamfund took three other mysteriously unsourced drawings as well, showing Muhammad with the face of a pig; a dog sodomising a praying Muslim; and Muhammad as a paedophile. "This was pure disinformation. We never published them," Lund complained. But the campaign worked. Outwardly the row appeared to be calming down. But in Muslim cyber-chatrooms, on blogs, and across the internet, outrage was building fast.

From Denmark, the pictures were being pinged by SMS from Kuwait to Palestine. Then last week came the diplomatic explosion. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark for consultations, Libya shut its embassy."

Here are the cartoons from Jyllandsposten. Can somebody explain why they think they are "offensive, racist", "shouting n*gger" etc?
posted by iviken at 4:00 PM on February 4, 2006


The questions are, how many would result in a mass boycott of the "offending" nation's goods?

Instead the US and others attacked another country and killed tens of thousands of innocent people because of a fallacious Chinese whisper about weapons.

Look I am not revealing my views about war, images, religion, weapons etc. What bugs me is mass elitism, blindness and hypocrisy.

Instead of questioning the universality of your own values, such heated responses by some sectors of the Muslim population make you fly the flag of your own fundamentalism. There is little hope for avoiding a major conflict here.
posted by DirtyCreature at 4:01 PM on February 4, 2006


Freedom of expression doesn't determine the personal responses of others.

I think it does to a large degree, because a person's exposure to a wide range of ideas increases the tendency for those ideas to be tolerated. That's why they made the "It's A Small World After All" ride.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:02 PM on February 4, 2006


That cauliflower dog is so cute!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:03 PM on February 4, 2006


I guess on second thought, DirtyCreature's got a point. If someone drew a picture of Laura Bush being beheaded, I'd probably shoot off a few rifle rounds, set fire to buildings, walk around London with anti-free speech placards, burn flags, torch embassies, have newspaper editors sacked or imprisoned, pledge to "give my blood", make veiled threats about mass murder of civilians, throw eggs, throw tomatoes, and replace embassy flags with flags of the host country (??).
posted by baklavabaklava at 4:04 PM on February 4, 2006


... and the Arab governments and most of all the regimes in Saudi and Iran, of course. It's a perfect diversion from all those little pesky political and human rights issues that are obviously of far less gravity than a drawing of the holy prophet with a bomb in his turban.
posted by funambulist at 4:04 PM on February 4, 2006


wayside: "We went to war in Iraq based on lies and an agenda hidden from anyone who choses to believe what their government tells them."

That was kind of my point. The people who burnt down the embassies did so based on lies (see my comment above) and an agenda hidden from anyone who chooses to believe what their religious leaders tell them.

I think both are bad, I just DO think that something fundamental Christians (Bush and the American religious right) have done in recent history equals the level of absurd mob lunacy exhibited throughout the Muslim world.
posted by sveskemus at 4:05 PM on February 4, 2006


"I think, aren't as easily angered, or aren't looking for excuses to be angered."

Right, when you're told all your life by the government and other powerful authorities about the worthlessness of infidels, how taking life in the name of religion is par for the course, the drinking of blood on passover, the validity of a jihad/fatwa, how holy texts cannot be questioned, and beheadings for blasphemy make perfect sense (and happen all around you with nary a protest) is EXACTLY the "the great schizm between cultures."

Like I wrote earlier these people need a Hobbes or a Voltaire. Was Voltaire any less "offensive" and "disprespectful" of the "beautiful religions and authorities" of the times? Thus the REAL difference in culture.
"This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
Imagine the Muslim version of this guy. How long until his beheading? Who would defend him? Who could?


Don't believe me, ask Salmon Rushdie. Its kinda sad to see spoiled westerners rush in and claim "No, wait, this is just part of a wonderful and beautiful religious culture you have no right to criticise!!!"

More on the Muslim double standard here. England dealt with these very issues a year ago.
posted by skallas at 4:11 PM on February 4, 2006


Bear in mind, even if the ridiculous belief that Denmark was publically burning Qu'rans really was widespread prior to the destruction of the embassies, it still refers purely to an act of expression, albeit a deeply offensive one.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:11 PM on February 4, 2006


If someone drew a picture of Laura Bush being beheaded, I'd probably shoot off a few rifle rounds, set fire to buildings,

In Australia, someone threatened to blow up an Indonesian embassy after Schapelle Corby was convicted. I would like to see statistics about how many times the Saudi Arabian, Iranian and Syrian embassies have had bomb threats in the past 10 years in the US and other Western countries. I suspect these threats just don't make the front page of every major news outlet.
posted by DirtyCreature at 4:12 PM on February 4, 2006


sveskemus, don't mix geopolitics with religion. If you think the war in Iraq is some new Christian crusade, then well, you're simply not paying much attention or are being purposely disingenious to support the "we're as bad as them" argument thats a soothing, but false, middle-ground.
posted by skallas at 4:12 PM on February 4, 2006


Ah, Americocentrism alert! I understand the temptation but for once, please try and see things in their own context rather than having to compare everything to things in the US.

The US has nothing to do with the whole mess, this time. Relish that rare opportunity, at least.
posted by funambulist at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2006


Imagine the Muslim version of this guy. How long until his beheading?

Treating the Muslim world as a monolithic entity harms your argument. You should use the word "Saudi" instead, for instance.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2006


Muslim minorities didn't invent and don't have a monolopy on anger in the world.
posted by DirtyCreature at 4:14 PM on February 4, 2006


>>I suspect these threats just don't make the front page of every major news outlet.

Right, the media conspiracy argument. Yet the embassies are burning as I type this. Kinda makes that point moot. Not to mention the embassy bombings of 1998. Remember that World Trade center bombing? Or the USS Cole?

There is a difference between saying and doing. Media conspiracy? Not so much. If anything, if these stories get more press its because these events are more likely to happen by Islamic fundamentalists.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on February 4, 2006


Are Christians burning down Kanye West's house for posing as Jesus Christ in Rolling Stone?

No apologies for freedom of expression or for freedom of press.


posted by billysumday at 4:17 PM on February 4, 2006


The questions are, how many would result in a mass boycott of the "offending" nation's goods? How many would result in closing our embassy in that nation? How many would result in burning down that nation's embassy in our own nation? The answer in all cases is zero, because we have something resembling freedom of expression.

That's bullshit.

Okay first of all, who's "we" and "our"? Americans? "Westerners"? (Does that include Western muslims?) Christians?

Next, let's realise that the small group of people who are burning buildings down, or whatever, are going to be the most extremist of the offended Muslims, and likely (as it tends to be) the poor, uneducated, disenfranchised, etc.

Next, I think it's important to realise that the outrage in the Muslim world isn't that one newspaper published one offensive image - it's this rumour-spread idea that newspapers are publishing offensive image and are applauded for doing so, that this sort of offensive imagery is being produced by "Danish society". People are pointing out how ignorant it is to be asking the Danish government for an apology for the work of one newspaper - well exactly. There are lots of people who are ignorantly interpreting these actions as representative of Danish and Western society. And - hooray! - now that all sorts of newspapers (and Wikipedia) are prominently reprinting the images, this view is beginning to almost be justified!

So - imagine that there is news being reported that a country or group of countries are publishing in their mainstream press images that are extremely offensive, and that this behaviour is being abetted if not applauded. And that these countries are richer than you and seem emblematic of certain ongoing social/economic ills.

So imagine, say, Brazilian Christian groups hearing about a bunch of caricatures in Portuguese newspapers of the Portuguese governmental leaders pissing all over the faces of Brazilian saints. Or the response of American fundamentalist Christians if there was a spate of Canadian caricatures with Dick Cheney sucking Pat Robertson's cock, Jesus splooging on their faces.

You are saying there wouldn't be a push for boycotts? There wouldn't be largescale protests that would, in certain areas, be enough to shut down representative institutions? You say there's "zero" (!) chance of this? What utter bollocks. The only difference is one of degree - I too am surprised that stuff's being burnt down, blah blah blah, - but it's not this huge categorical difference.

And finally, given the number of orthodox Muslims in the world, and the (tiny) amount of violence that has occurred, it seems really insulting to be viewing the worldwide "Muslim response" as one of extremism and anti-free-press.
posted by Marquis at 4:18 PM on February 4, 2006


And photographs of nutjobs with nutjob posters is such a bullshit argument tactic. I marched in Montreal against the war in Iraq and saw at least a couple Star of David = Swastika posters, but that doesn't mean that I - or 99% of the marchers - were remotely sympathetic with that message. In fact, most were probably hostile to it.
posted by Marquis at 4:21 PM on February 4, 2006


No prophet cartoon for SA newspapers

"Sunday newspapers will not be allowed to publish controversial cartoon depicting prophet Mohammad after a Muslim pressure group was granted a court interdict."

So much for our much venerated Constitution.
posted by PenDevil at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2006


btw, a lot of those photos have been photoshopped to say different things. I haven't seen that one before but I have seen others from the same protest.
posted by skallas at 4:22 PM on February 4, 2006


It's not a bullshit tactic. Should I post the fucking pictures of embassies burning to the ground? The comparison of Jesus splooging all over Robertson's face to a picture of Muhammad walking a mule as the sun sets is a bullshit argument tactic.

Keep apologizing for the dispshits that want to cut your throat. Sympathy for fascists.
posted by billysumday at 4:24 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis writes "So imagine, say, Brazilian Christian groups hearing about a bunch of caricatures in Portuguese newspapers of the Portuguese governmental leaders pissing all over the faces of Brazilian saints. Or the response of American fundamentalist Christians if there was a spate of Canadian caricatures with Dick Cheney sucking Pat Robertson's cock, Jesus splooging on their faces. "

The actual Danish cartoons came nowhere close to this level of offense.

The thing that gets me the most about this situation is that the most offensive thing about the cartoons was that they linked Islam to violence. Which, yeah, we could argue about. But there are people who are responding to this offense by...wait for it...committing acts of violence in the name of Islam. What the hell are they thinking?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:24 PM on February 4, 2006


skallas: "sveskemus, [...] If you think the war in Iraq is some new Christian crusade, then well, you're simply not paying much attention or are being purposely disingenious to support the "we're as bad as them" argument thats a soothing, but false, middle-ground."

I just re-read my comments and I see that I come off like I am trying to argue that 'we' are as bad as 'them'.

Please let me clear that up. The point I was trying to make was that 'we' are not all good nor bad and neither are 'they'. The people responsible for the war in Iraq are bad. So are the people responsible for the embassy burnings.

I don't think the war in Iraq is a new Christian crusade. What I do think is that Bush and the rest of the administration have been misleading much of the American population into believing that it was the right thing to do just as I think the religious leaders in Syria has been misleading much of the Syrian population into believing that burning down the embassies was the right thing to do.
posted by sveskemus at 4:26 PM on February 4, 2006


For comparison, in 2003 The Independent published this cartoon.

What happened?

"The Independent's cartoonist Dave Brown has won the Political Cartoon of the Year award for a controversial depiction of Ariel Sharon apparently eating a Palestinian baby a day before the Israeli elections."

No embassies were burned down. Nobody demonstrated. Nobody boicotted British products.
posted by iviken at 4:27 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis, that 'stuff being burnt down' is thousands of people in Damascus torching the embassies of two European countries.

Plus the death threats, gunment assaulting the EU offices, Islamic Jihad issuing ultimatums, etc.

There is quite a huge difference with people burning Beatles records or picketing a Scorsese movie.

If you really want to insist on comparing everything with a US context, that is. Personally I hate both the "we're sooo much better" or "we're reaaally the same" cos it's all instant generalisations and the events are serious enough here to deserve to be understood and considered on their own merits.
posted by funambulist at 4:28 PM on February 4, 2006


Cenoxo: Freedom of the press is not a license for inflammatory words or pictures.

POTEOA: That is precisely what it is. It doesn't make those words or pictures worthy of respect, but it makes them worthy of tolerance.

True, the press has the right to publish whatever it likes, but doing so is not always wise. It also has a responsibility to understand its audience, and an appreciation for their possible reactions.

If a publicly-voiced opinion is a stinging slap in the face to someone's closely-held beliefs, don't be surprised at their angry and unequal reaction. The ensuing uproar then drowns out any possibility of mutual tolerance as each side quickly forms ranks.

A lack of intelligence about the other side is how wars get started, yes?
posted by cenoxo at 4:31 PM on February 4, 2006


iviken:
while I am not condoning the actions of those who have rioted, the cartoon is not in the magnitude of this offense. By creating all such depictions as off-limits, any individual presentation carries a huge weight. If that cartoon was the only such depiction in let's say, twenty years, and it was taboo, and. . . well it's hard to translate offense.
The Muslim world already views the Western world as full of Boykins and Robertsons.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2006


cenoxo: "True, the press has the right to publish whatever it likes, but doing so is not always wise. It also has a responsibility to understand its audience, and an appreciation for their possible reactions."

I think it's worth noticing that these drawings were made in a Danish newspaper. In Danish. In Denmark.

The audience was Danes (including Danish muslims). Nobody could have suspected the outcome.
posted by sveskemus at 4:36 PM on February 4, 2006




Two Jordanian newspaper editors who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been arrested.
Jihad Momani and Hisham Khalidi are accused of insulting religion under Jordan's press and publications law. ...

Mr Momani's paper, Shihan, had printed three of the cartoons, alongside an editorial questioning whether the angry reaction to them in the Muslim world was justified.

"Muslims of the world be reasonable," wrote Mr Momani.

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?"
posted by funambulist at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2006


The actual Danish cartoons came nowhere close to this level of offense.

See, your cultural biases (and I don't mean that in a particularly relativistic sense) are coming through. Homosexuality and ejaculation are really dirty things in Judeochristian (and muslim) cultures. Thus the idea of Jesus doing that stuff is really offensive. Compare this to the image of an ejaculating Krishna, or, heck, Kronos - I doubt it would be perceived as nearly so heinous as the Jesus thing. What so many people seem to not be understanding is depictions of Mohammed, (especially intentionally inflammatory ones!), are really, genuinely offensive to devout Muslims. They're not just trying to make up shit to get mad about (although some demagogues probably are). Just as Christians may be insulted by Jesus with a boner, Muslims really don't like to see caricatures of their most holy prophet.

I think it's really disrespectful that people won't acknowledge that this is genuinely offensive. What makes me even more angry about it is that you can acknowledge that it was deeply offensive and still support its publication.

I think the press has a right to print whatever it likes. Similarly, I have a right to say whatever I like. But if I say something that offends people, and what I did was justifiably offensive, I think I'd probably apologise. My response would be a more humble one that: "That fucking offended you? Suck my cock, moron! Hey guys, why don't you all repeat the offensive thing I said - it will insult them some more!"

Marquis, that 'stuff being burnt down' is thousands of people in Damascus torching the embassies of two European countries.

Plus the death threats, gunment assaulting the EU offices, Islamic Jihad issuing ultimatums, etc.


Let's accept for the point of argument that all these things are exactly as you say. How many Muslims are there in the world? How many devout Muslims? And where is this happening? Oh yeah, in some of the most insane-o, uneducated, bigoted societies in the world, irrespective of their religion.

I'll say it again - the "overboard" Muslim response has only arisen, at least loudly, in a few tiny instances, in the most extremist parts of the world. And yet people are taking to the rooftops for a chance to indict all of Islam, yet again.
posted by Marquis at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2006


"Muslims really don't like to see caricatures of their most holy prophet. "

Then they don't have to look at it?
posted by PenDevil at 4:44 PM on February 4, 2006


I'll say it again - the "overboard" Muslim response has only arisen, at least loudly, in a few tiny instances, in the most extremist parts of the world. And yet people are taking to the rooftops for a chance to indict all of Islam, yet again.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees the awful irony of this statement.
posted by billysumday at 4:47 PM on February 4, 2006


POTEOA, sorry for my curt response earlier. I was on the way out. I'm also sorry if my sarcasm seemed like a personal attack. It wasn't meant that way.

My basic problem with this thread and the last one about this topic is that many of the comments demonstrate an eagerness to dole out punishment to an entire group of people based on the actions of a few people that we have decided belong in that group. And I'm ignoring comments like those of skallas, which simply reflect unabashed racism and a lack of understanding about fundamental concepts such as the difference between the words "Muslim" and "Arab."

The comics themselves reflected this eagerness. They published a cartoon that equated the most revered religious figure in the religion of some one billion people with terrorists. Never mind that essentially none of those billion people have ever had anything to do with any terrorist act, and that a significant portion of the ones that have were trained to engage in such actions by the United States government... The newspaper felt like it was perfectly reasonable to accuse nearly a quarter of the Earth's population as being barbaric, savage, and of having on regard for human life.

Naturally, many of those people weren't amused by the cartoons, and, also quite naturally, most of them let it go. But whenever you start attacking groups with large numbers of people (say, a billion), you have to deal the tail of the distribution in terms of human behavior. It has nothing to do with Islam or anything else, but is merely a statistical fact: a very small percentage of people are prone to react violently when criticized, particularly when the criticism is baseless.

And so, the newspaper found that indeed, there exists a tail of the distribution, as pretty much anybody could have predicted. And they found out about this tail in the form of a handful of death threats.

Their response was, "We had every right to publish this." Which is perfectly true, but it's not a defense. They shouldn't have published it, and it's as simple as that. Their actions can't be justified a posteriori, but they tried to do that anyway, still ignoring the fact that they had unjustifiably insulted a very large portion of the world.

It worked. People bought it. Western rights are universal and should be exercised... period... without regard to whether or not doing so harms others. And part of the reason people bought it was because of the actions of those statistical outliers. "'They' made death threats?!?! What about freedom of the press?!?!" This is my problem with this thread.

In summary:
If one agrees that publishing the cartoon was reprehensible precisely because it treated a few outliers (the terrorists) as representatives for more than a billion people, it defies logic to claim that the behavior of very few individuals justifies publishing the article a posteriori. In essence, by exclaiming "freedom of the press," the paper repeats its previous act of holding a large group of people responsible for the acts of very few individuals.
posted by dsword at 4:52 PM on February 4, 2006


But the point, billysumday, is that I expect a more balanced, intelligent and non-knee-jerk response from the people who understand the idea of a free press, and of satire.

Then they don't have to look at it?

They are not angry that they saw it; they are angry because they feel that the publishers were using it as shorthand for a "fuck you!", and this "fuck you!" offends them.

That's why the Wikipedia discussion is interesting. Trying to balance the desire to put the issue front-and-centre, while also trying to do it in a way that isn't a "fuck you!"
posted by Marquis at 4:52 PM on February 4, 2006


Well Marquis, if you are saying that people need to watch what they say so as not to offend Muslims in general, then your statement is a condemnation of all Islam.

OTOH, If we really are just talking about nothing but a small group of extremists, then who gives a shit if they're offended? That's like worrying whether your t-shirt offends Jerry Falwell when you get dressed.
posted by boaz at 4:53 PM on February 4, 2006


No, Marquis, your point is to rationalize why many people in the Muslim want to kill people who offend or mock their religion. I don't care about rationalizing it. It's fucked up. It has no place in a modern society.

You say that this is another excuse for people to lump together Muslims and claim that they are inferior. Don't you see that what this is is a chance for militant Muslims to pick something largely insignificant to them, lump the entirety of "Western Culture" and "Europe" together, and call for its destruction?

When I make my totally awesome, secular, enlightened, humanist paradise in outer space, you're not fucking invited.
posted by billysumday at 4:56 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis: I think the press has a right to print whatever it likes. Similarly, I have a right to say whatever I like. But if I say something that offends people, and what I did was justifiably offensive, I think I'd probably apologise. My response would be a more humble one that: "That fucking offended you? Suck my cock, moron! Hey guys, why don't you all repeat the offensive thing I said - it will insult them some more!"

Jyllands-Posten's editor in chief, Carsten Juste, has apologized (article in Danish) for offending the Muslim world.

My translation from Danish: "We are sorry for having violated the many muslims as the reactions have clearly shown that we have. It was unintended. We had no idea that it would cause so much anger in the muslim world. We apologize for that."
posted by sveskemus at 4:58 PM on February 4, 2006


So who's to blame for the Mohammed cartoons? The jews, of course. (Akhbar al-Khalij, January 29, 2006, Bahrain)

"As the Islamic world reacted with anger to caricatures of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper, this cartoon claimed the controversy was a result of “The Penetration of Zionism to Denmark.” The cheese, shaped like a Star of David, is labeled “Danish products.” The text on the far left reads, “Boycott it!”

More happy fun anti-jewish cartoons here.
posted by iviken at 5:01 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis, like I already said, I am not interested in generalisations or "indicting all of Islam", I even pointed out this is making it harder for all the ordinary Muslim people especially in Europe, and that this thing has been exploited by religious leaders and politicians.

So yeah. Of course it is a minority. But you were saying you don't see a "huge categorical difference" with non-violent boycotts and that it's only a question of degrees. No uh.

I don't care in the least about the macrogeneralisations and I don't have time for peopel who are only interested in this story for that purpose.

But this is a serious situation. It's not something that can be shrugged away or compared to hypothetical other situations that have *not* even happened.

The border between complaints and protests and boycotts, and violence and threats and intimidation, is very clear and has been crossed here.


Perhaps you haven't been bombarded by the news updates as much as we have here, especially if you say this:

Let's accept for the point of argument that all these things are exactly as you say.

I don't know what you mean there exactly, but if you're suggesting I was making that up, it's all stuff that has been all over the news and papers for the past three days, and it's all online too. I'm sure everyone has heard it already but here you go, quick random rundown:

Gaza gunmen surround EU offices

Islamic Jihad occupied the office of the EU ... Two gunmen seized a German citizen, Christoph Kasten, 21, from a hotel coffee shop in the city of Nablus and took him to an empty field before releasing him ... Earlier, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed faction in the Fatah movement, threatened in a news conference to kidnap citizens of France, Denmark and Norway if they did not leave Nablus within 72 hours

... death threats in some Arab nations

Danish citizens in Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories have been forced to leave after death threats.

The youth organisation of the Pakistani fundamentalist party Jamaat-e-Islami put a bounty of 7,000 euros on the Danish caricaturists' heads. The Danish police recommended that these artists lay low for a while.

Plus the ongoing torchings...
posted by funambulist at 5:02 PM on February 4, 2006


well, now that the hotheads on the fundamentalist side are burning stuff down in the name of their prophet ... (and i know an orchestrated campaign when i see one) ... the hotheads on the internet are starting their own little campaign of deliberate offensiveness ... example (muslims are strongly advised not to look ... you WILL be offended)

on another note, the jack chick publication referenced in the fpp page is absolutely batshit crackers

it would appear that the dickheads of the world are bound and determined to kill each other ... i wouldn't care, except that they're going to take the rest of us with them
posted by pyramid termite at 5:02 PM on February 4, 2006


If by "rationalize", you mean "understand", then yeah. And I think less of you if you don't want to understand why some people are angry.

I agree that violence in response to this is fucked up. It seems pretty clear that they don't understand the concept of a free press, and it's important that we continue to try to express this stuff. I applaud the Jordanian journalists who were talking about those issues, and think it's awful that they've now been arrested.

The other big cause of the violence, though, is that like I said, the images are being interpreted as "fuck you"s. This was innaccurate - the Danish paper wasn't trying to offend Islam. Now, however, clearly tons of people are trying to offend devout Muslims. And this is totally counter-productive.

The problem is, like you say, "militant Muslims". But this successful "fuck you" to a few thousand "militant Muslims" is not something I can support when it's simultaneously a cocky, self-righteous and nose-thumbing "fuck you" to tens or hundreds of millions of Muslims who are not and would never call for violence against cartoonists - or governments - in this situation.
posted by Marquis at 5:03 PM on February 4, 2006


And yeah, the response from publishers was definitely *not* fuck you, but an apology, though they did stood by the legal right to publish.

Here, from the very front page of the JP site (and of course they printed it too):

Open letter to Fellow Muslim citizens - please read
Also other European papers who published some of the cartoons didn't do that out of a fuck-you reaction.

At the very least, people should see what the protests are about and none of the original cartoons involved stuff like Mohammed depicted as a pig or being fucked by a dog or raping a child, as those three "extra" fake cartoons the Danish imams sent around the ME claiming they were published by that Danish paper.

Maybe it's best to have all the facts before commenting - I don't mean this snarkily, just literally. There's so much that has been misrepresented here already.
posted by funambulist at 5:10 PM on February 4, 2006


Yeah the hotheads and their orchestrator need to get a life or get lost or just stop being themselves...

... yet, some of the directors of the newspapers who printed the "comics" knew exactly what the effect could have been. Curiously enough, when times come to print a story that could affect their owners they know how to censor themselves oh so quickly and efficiently...so they evidently are not so naive.

It's kind of selectively choosing when to enjoy one own freedom , at one time to irritate a bunch of _dangerous_ hotheads with the pretext of exercising free speech..that would normally be a childish act , but there is property damage and death threats being made ; at another time, they are so free they choose not to irritate their masters, thus giving the fundies MORE reason to consider them ass lickers.
posted by elpapacito at 5:12 PM on February 4, 2006


I believe in absolutes. I don't believe in many of them, but here are two. Firstly, I believe there is no human right to not be offended. Secondly I believe that there is a human right to criticise the beliefs and practices of others.

Marquis, it doesn't matter how deeply offended Muslims are by the very existance of these pictures. Those who are, are wrong to be offended. Actually, genuinely, absolutely wrong. They need to re-evaluate their beliefs and learn to deal with the reality of the situation, which is that their reaction damages the image of Islam far, far more than the cartoons themselves.

There are many things which Western civilisation has got wrong; but freedom of speech is not one of them. It has taken many hundreds of years and much bloodshed to teach us the lesson that we must tolerate opinions different from our own. Culturally, this lesson has not been learned in the Middle East. It is one area where Western culture is actually, genuinely, absolutely superior.
posted by thparkth at 5:12 PM on February 4, 2006


This is not about cartoons.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:14 PM on February 4, 2006


Now, however, clearly tons of people are trying to offend devout Muslims.

No they aren't Marquis - not just the publishers, but many politicians, intellectuals, non-Muslim religious figures, journalists in the mainstream have literally been bending over backwards to apologise and say that yes freedom is important but no one should offend things held sacred by a religious group and so on and so forth. And even those who are more worried about the freedom of the press than about offenses are realising this needs some diplomacy now.

That's at least the moderate mainstream.

Since you're so rightly keen on not confusing the extremists in Islam with the majority, perhaps you can do the same for moderate non-Muslim Europeans and not imagine that everyone is being seized by a Le Pen/BNP/Volkspartei frenzy to exploit this to reinforce their racist populism.
posted by funambulist at 5:17 PM on February 4, 2006


funambulist: dude whatever publication of pictures, even if NOT made with the intention to offend , but with the intention to document...will be considered or constructed by spinners as an offence.

It's not like we are dealing with people that is different from these camping outside clinics protesting abortions and menacing doctors..it's the same people, only different religion.

Consider this : I punch you in the face and say "oohh sorry I didn't want to ! " yet while bowing to you to apologize I punch you again ...I'd be either an idiot or doing that on purpose.
posted by elpapacito at 5:19 PM on February 4, 2006


It's good to be reminded that even if, by some cosmic revolution, the ideologies of the secular left completely annihilated the ideologies of the religious right, we'd still have to turn right smack back around again and fight off advocates of censorship without even getting to breathe for a minute.

I agree with everything thparkth just said. I can't allow Muslims the right to be free from offense or sacrilege because I can't allow that from Christians or anyone else.
posted by furiousthought at 5:20 PM on February 4, 2006


but thparkth, think of all the things Westerners lose by having freedom of speech and all the things people under theocratic regimes gain by not having access to freedom of speech. Or such was the tone I got from someone upthread.
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:20 PM on February 4, 2006


Consider this : I punch you in the face and say "oohh sorry I didn't want to ! " yet while bowing to you to apologize I punch you again ...I'd be either an idiot or doing that on purpose.

Who punched a Muslim in the face? Did the editor or the publisher? Or the politicians? Who physically assaulted a Muslim? Because that would actually be wrong.

This is not about cartoons, to repeat _sirmissalot_.
posted by billysumday at 5:23 PM on February 4, 2006


sveskemus: ...these drawings were made in a Danish newspaper. In Danish. In Denmark. The audience was Danes (including Danish muslims). Nobody could have suspected the outcome.

Of all people on the planet, newspaper editors had better know what effect their chosen words and pictures will have. Danish Muslims weren't offended?

Considering that Denmark is only about 500 km from Amsterdam, apparently the newspaper did not know its audience or its geography very well.
posted by cenoxo at 5:23 PM on February 4, 2006


Considering that Denmark is only about 500 km from Amsterdam, apparently the newspaper did not know its audience or its geography very well.

You bring up a good point. Let's not forget the barbaric way in which Theo Van Gogh was murdered for daring to make a film that offended Muslims.

Not about cartoons, people.
posted by billysumday at 5:25 PM on February 4, 2006


True, cenoxo. And your words offend me. Considering you know the audience on Metafilter, you can't be surprised that I might shoot you with eight bullets from a Croatian handgun.
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:25 PM on February 4, 2006


I'm buying Lego this weekend as my own personal counterbalance to this idiotic boycott, just like I made a point to buy French products during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Rock and Roll baby, Freedom of speech!
posted by Scoo at 5:26 PM on February 4, 2006


funambulist - Although I appreciate your links, I must admit to being insulted by your condescension. I'm sorry if this has made me testy. I know about the violent stuff that's happened (although not about that brought-to-a-field one -- yikes). I know about the original editor's apology. And I know about the number of people coming forward to try to explain things. You in turn know about the number of Muslim figures and organisations who are condemning all the violence, right?

My assertion about it being only a tiny group of militant Muslims stands.

perhaps you can do the same for moderate non-Muslim Europeans and not imagine that everyone is being seized by a Le Pen/BNP/Volkspartei frenzy to exploit this to reinforce their racist populism.

I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. I never meant to suggest that "everyone" was doing this. My problem is with the ongoing "fuck you"s. The tabloid publishers and internet cretins who are following on from thparkth's position --

[Muslims are a]ctually, genuinely, absolutely wrong [in their being offended by this image]

and using the disguise of" ournalism as an excuse to print front-and-centre an image which they intend to mean as "fuck you, ragheads!".

I pointed to the Wikipedia Talk page because there too, in the votes about the position of the cartoon, you see in the "front and centre" camp this mixture of the people who want the images given #1 prominence because they're the most important part in reporting on the topic (a position I can accept), and those who want to make sure it's front-and-centre in order to offend all those who are "actually, genuinely, absolutely wrong"
posted by Marquis at 5:30 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis, you either believe in freedom of speech, or you don't. Is free expression only to be permitted by people who's motivation you agree with?
posted by thparkth at 5:33 PM on February 4, 2006


What's wrong with saying "fuck you" to people who wish to impose Islamic law over the entirety of the world? Because I'll say it right now. Fuck you. Your insinuation that those of us who would say that are racist or that we think people from the Middle East are ragheads is what is insulting.
posted by billysumday at 5:34 PM on February 4, 2006


Oh, and before I get jumped on - I do think the following things are wrong:

1) Blaming anyone other than the cartoonist/publisher for the publication of the cartoon.
2) Acting on one's offense in a way that harms or intimidates others.

I just don't think the following are "wrong":

1) Feeling offended by a given thing (although I personally am not offended by a secular depiction of Mohammed, and I think probably people should get over it).
2) Interpreting some of the cartoon reprints and intentionally inflammatory.
posted by Marquis at 5:35 PM on February 4, 2006


Wait, I thought Sharia law was applicable in Europe and on Wikipedia, hence the furor.
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:37 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis, you either believe in freedom of speech, or you don't. Is free expression only to be permitted by people who's motivation you agree with?

No, you're again conflating separate issues. I believe tabloids have the right to publish numbskull points of view. But I will condemn their decision to do so as being stupid.
posted by Marquis at 5:38 PM on February 4, 2006


The Muslims and other organized religious groups should be made fun of with much more regularity. They deserve far more derision than is dished out for sociopathic behavior. Offensive comics leading to death threats? Laughable.
posted by philmas at 5:38 PM on February 4, 2006


"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO UP TO THAT WOMAN AND SAY SHE LOOKS LIKE AN UGLY COW."

Yes, you do. But you're an asshole if you do.
posted by Marquis at 5:39 PM on February 4, 2006


I'm not personally offended by websites describing the events of Tiananmen Square, but Chinese officals might be. Good thing Google erred on the side of caution!
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2006


I should back off a little from what I said above. Of course nobody is wrong to be offended. I'd even say there is a right to be offended :) What I mean is, there is no right to be protected from offense. The fact that something offends you doesn't give you the right to its removal.
posted by thparkth at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2006


AND THAT LAST EXAMPLE IS NOT MEANT TO BE AN ANALOGY FOR THE ORIGINAL JYLLANDS POSTEN PUBLICATION, BUT RATHER FOR SOME OF THE PUBLICATIONS SINCE.
posted by Marquis at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2006


xposts, sorry. the caps were kinda in context at the time. :)
posted by Marquis at 5:41 PM on February 4, 2006


This is not about cartoons (as has been said several times).
posted by stirfry at 5:42 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis: don't you realise how offensive posting in all-caps is to we followers of Kibo? :-p
posted by thparkth at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2006


quick, thparkth, burn down the Chilean embassy!
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2006


Now if you would like to see Muslimn reactions in full, check out this video et al by clicking here
posted by Postroad at 5:48 PM on February 4, 2006


baklavabaklava: the Chilean embassy in in Damascus has already been burned down. The Chilean and Swedish embassy were in the same building as the Danish embassy.
posted by iviken at 5:53 PM on February 4, 2006


What so many people seem to not be understanding is depictions of Mohammed, (especially intentionally inflammatory ones!), are really, genuinely offensive to devout Muslims.

What so many people seem to not be understanding is unveiled women (especially those who intentionally flaunt their bodies!) are really, genuinely offensive to devout Muslims.

Why, why can't you all understand???
posted by Krrrlson at 5:56 PM on February 4, 2006


Marquis: sorry, I didn't mean to be condescending -- but you said "let's assume for the sake of argument all that stuff is exactly as you said", how else was I supposed to read it other than you doubted what I was saying about the violence was true?

We have a misunderstanding here, let me clarify...

You in turn know about the number of Muslim figures and organisations who are condemning all the violence, right?

See previous comment, that link to that article from Die Zeit and the 'important point' about how it's making it more difficult for the moderates (the article also cites a Danish Muslim MP, who is indeed an outspoken, visible moderate - and needs security for that reason).

My assertion about it being only a tiny group of militant Muslims stands.

Ok, like I already said, "of course it is a minority". I never disputed that.

I was arguing with your other contention that these protests weren't such a huge categorical difference from etc.

My problem is with the ongoing "fuck you"s. The tabloid publishers and internet cretins (...) and those who want to make sure it's front-and-centre in order to offend all those who are "actually, genuinely, absolutely wrong"

I understand what you mean there. But the point is *still* that those are not the majority of reactions in the mainstream at political level in Europe! Of course you'll get people jumping in with an even bigger provocation intent, especially on the net. But which counts more, the words of government leaders, EU leaders, the publishers, papers or comments on the Wikipedia talk page (no offense to Wikipedia but you know there's a big difference there)?

Besides, I personally do understand the fuckyou reactions too, even if I may not approve them. At least a fuckyou is not costing anyone their job, or their embassy, or their security...

Of course, people with actual responsibility outside the internet - politicians, editors, journalists, etc. - have to balance the desire to not be intimidated with the desire not to escalate this insanity even further. Hence all those apologies and diplomatic efforts.

Which are sad anyway. They may be appropriate and necessary and wise, but it's still fucking depressing.
posted by funambulist at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2006


Frankly, as a non Muslim, and a citizen of a nation in which free speech is an enshrined right, I can honestly say that I don't give a sweet God damn what offends Muslims.
posted by slatternus at 6:13 PM on February 4, 2006


And to clarify further:

I believe tabloids have the right to publish numbskull points of view. But I will condemn their decision to do so as being stupid.

I absolutely agree with that as a principle, Marquis. Even if I don't think those cartoons were that vicious (there's been a LOT worse in politics said against Muslims) so I wouldn't say it was deliberately incendiary or stupid to publish them.


But even if they'd been as extreme as they're made out to be, the point for me is, I stop caring about how stupid any publisher's decision may have been, or how numbskull their point of view may be, when those who are 'offended' are busy trying to turn this into something FAR worse than another Salman Rushdie affair.

Principles of freedom of the press come before any issue of potential offenses. That principle needs defending, period -- independently of the content that caused offense. At least, short of content directly inciting violence or anything already forbidden by law.


And what bothers me a lot is the whole political exploitation by Arab regimes and radical imams and armed groups. These are the last people on earth who should be speaking on matters of offensiveness and freedom of the press, or speaking for European Muslims for that matter.
posted by funambulist at 6:20 PM on February 4, 2006


Those poor baby, oh so sensitive Muslims. I'll attempt to restrain my tendency to assholery so as not to offend. Heaven forbid if I should offend someone who might go all apeshit and burn stuff and threaten to kill poor me.

And I'm the loony???
posted by stirfry at 6:30 PM on February 4, 2006


I try to take this seriously, but you know, it's Denmark. When I see protestors burning American flags, I'm like, 'Okay, maybe we sold someone an M-16 that shot that guy's son or something.' But burning a Danish flag, WTF? If you can't get along with Denmark, seriously, it's time to check your ass into an anger management clinic.
posted by boaz at 6:39 PM on February 4, 2006


baklavabaklava: True, cenoxo. And your words offend me. Considering you know the audience on Metafilter, you can't be surprised that I might shoot you with eight bullets from a Croatian handgun.

I know the MeFi audience a little bit, but I don't know you at all. What on Earth are you talking about?

(BTW, Croatian handguns, not to mention your aim, must not be very good if it takes eight shots.)
posted by cenoxo at 6:43 PM on February 4, 2006


Please read sveskemus' comment.

It's important to remember that these people did not just decide these cartoons are offensive and that they ought to get angry about it.

Their leaders showed them the cartoons and said:

"SEE! See what they think of you?! Don't be fooled!"

"They think you are scum and your prophet is a terrorist!"

"They invade Iraq, occupy Palestine and Kashmir!"

"They rape our women and children in prisons!"

"They rape our men in prisons and defile them, force them to drink menstrual blood!"

"They shoot 10 year old girls in Palestine!"

"They talk about invading our countries, killing our leaders, and converting us to their religion!"

"They keep us poor and oppressed!"

"They HATE the one thing you have going for you, Allah, and they openly mock your prophet in their newspapers. We NEVER mock Jesus or Abraham in ours"

...

Anyone who thinks this is about 'cartoons' is an idiot. This is about divisive leaders trying to gain power, or deflect the problems they've got in their own country.
posted by cell divide at 6:45 PM on February 4, 2006


100+ comments, and not a word about the moderate muslims who have spoken up in defence of free speech. Not a word about the differences between Shia and Sunni attitudes towards idolatry. Plenty of the usual "All Muslims hate women and westerners and free speech" nonsense, and some pictures of idiots waving idiotic banners.

Maybe less Muslims would have been insulted by these cartoons if they didn't believe the whole of the western world viewed them as a homogenous evil blob bent on world domination.

This discussion could have been had if it wasn't for a minority of people on both sides who have an agenda which involves conflict, and the majority of people on both sides who believe that these minority views represent everyone on the other side of the fence.
posted by seanyboy at 6:49 PM on February 4, 2006


Plenty of the usual "All Muslims hate women and westerners and free speech" nonsense, and some pictures of idiots waving idiotic banners.

And, unfortunately, plenty more of the usual "All of you who criticize those extreme Islamic fundamentalists who wish to impose their will on others are criticizing all Muslims" nonsense. And heaven forbid someone link to PHOTOGRAPHS! Photographs that... prove their point!

Maybe less Muslims would have been insulted by these cartoons if they didn't believe the whole of the western world viewed them as a homogenous evil blob bent on world domination.

You're right. Their leaders need to stop circulating false information about Israel and the US and Europe. Starting with the concocted images that many in the Mideast believe were printed in a Danish paper, but which were created by others and dispersed throughout the Mideast.
posted by billysumday at 7:23 PM on February 4, 2006


Isn't it up to the Muslim community to more aggressively put forward an image that contradicts the perception of fanaticism? Isn't the depiction of Muslims as hapless victims of Western bigotry just as disempowering as the image of the raving Jihadist? To be honest I find this facile deflection of blame onto the allegedly ignorant uninformed westerners to be both insulting to westerners and patronizing to Muslims.
posted by slatternus at 7:24 PM on February 4, 2006


Ibn Warraq on the Islamization of Europe and why the cartoons must be defended.
posted by showmethecalvino at 7:25 PM on February 4, 2006


Freedom of expression uber alles!

I demand public cafetarias serve more dog meat!

You don't have freedom of speech at all. You just believe that the expression outside the boundaries of your country's legal speech must be universally offensive.

Ignorance and/or arrogance in the extreme.
posted by DirtyCreature at 7:31 PM on February 4, 2006


Here's some Flickr pics of a protest in Denmark.
posted by showmethecalvino at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2006


Ignorance and/or arrogance in the extreme.

Again, irony wins the thread.
posted by billysumday at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2006


Charles Moore writes in the Telegraph:

"It's some time since I visited Palestine, so I may be out of date, but I don't remember seeing many Danish flags on sale there. Not much demand, I suppose. I raise the question because, as soon as the row about the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten broke, angry Muslims popped up in Gaza City, and many other places, well supplied with Danish flags ready to burn. (In doing so, by the way, they offered a mortal insult to the most sacred symbol of my own religion, Christianity, since the Danish flag has a cross on it, but let that pass.)

Why were those Danish flags to hand? Who built up the stockpile so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of "spontaneous" Muslim rage, the odder it seems.

The complained-of cartoons first appeared in October; they have provoked such fury only now. As reported in this newspaper yesterday, it turns out that a group of Danish imams circulated the images to brethren in Muslim countries. When they did so, they included in their package three other, much more offensive cartoons which had not appeared in Jyllands-Posten but were lumped together so that many thought they had.

It rather looks as if the anger with which all Muslims are said to be burning needed some pretty determined stoking."


It seems the cartoons from Jyllandsposten serves the same purpose as Emmanuel Goldstein did for the Party in "1984", and the demonstrations and embassy burnings is their extended version of 1984's daily "Two minutes hate".
posted by iviken at 7:38 PM on February 4, 2006


Anyone who thinks this is about 'cartoons' is an idiot. This is about divisive leaders trying to gain power, or deflect the problems they've got in their own country.
posted by cell divide at 6:45 PM PST on February 4 [!]


Not my fault what goes on in the UsofA. Its all the fault of my nasty gummint. Admin, please hope me.
posted by stirfry at 7:42 PM on February 4, 2006


iviken ... yeah, i was kind of wondering where all the danish flags came from myself ... i don't even know where i'd get a danish flag in my city ...

like i said, orchestrated
posted by pyramid termite at 7:46 PM on February 4, 2006


A summary thus far in the February 5th Independent: The pen & the sword: The inside story of the newspaper cartoons that inflamed the Islamic world:
...it is a sobering thought to realise that the whole saga began as the liberal idea of just one well-meaning man.

And yesterday, he sat with The Independent on Sunday in his modest flat in Copenhagen and spoke of his feelings at the conflagration he has unwittingly started. He is Danish author Kaare Bluitgen who, last summer, conceived a children's book on the Prophet Mohamed.
An unintentional proof of the law of unintended consequences?
posted by cenoxo at 8:06 PM on February 4, 2006


I'm so happy that all the posts are in text and not audible words.

*sigh*
posted by stirfry at 8:09 PM on February 4, 2006


non-prophet orginization gets the for-prophet crowd in a frenzy.
posted by Balisong at 9:28 PM on February 4, 2006




pyramid termite, I'm with you. This is hella orchestrated.

I'm not entirely sure by whom, or for what, but it's clear -- for example -- that Syria is fully capable of protecting an embassy from being occupied if it wants to [cf. Tehran, 1979]. It's long been observed that the lack of political freedoms in some Muslim, and especially Arab, nations leads to the necessity of providing outside enemies.

It's also conveniently timed for HAMAS, who are suddenly at odds with the EU and other funding providers for the PNA, and have found monies instead in Jiddah. If the EU won't be underwriting the civil government anymore, why not kick them -- and their pesky auditors -- out?

Ultimately there must be an aim of driving a wedge between Western/Mideastern interdependencies. Parts of the EU will be on renewed suicide bomber alert, and increasingly suspcious of their Muslim minorities. This will radicalize the youth who already feel rejected by two worlds, and marginalize assimilated immigrants.

Denmark -- a country by all accounts tolerant and friendly toward Muslims -- is the helpless sap in all of this.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on February 4, 2006


cenoxo said: What on Earth are you talking about? (BTW, Croatian handguns, not to mention your aim, must not be very good if it takes eight shots.)

I was continuing your reference to thinking about how Muslims in Amsterdam would react by making a reference to Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Muslim who killed Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam by shooting him eight times with a Croatian handgun.
posted by baklavabaklava at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2006




(Yes it's photoshopped. And it satirizes the direct link between Islamic fanatism and violence, just like some of the Danish cartoons did.)
posted by sour cream at 10:49 PM on February 4, 2006


Denmark -- a country by all accounts tolerant and friendly toward Muslims -- is the helpless sap in all of this.

You just made me squirt red wine out my nose. You owe me a new keyboard.
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:54 PM on February 4, 2006


Okay, all this stuff about orchestration is very interesting. I remember thinking, when seeing the first pictures, my, how handy, Danish flags to burn. Shades of American-style talking points... not produced at our industrial rates, but still. Hmmm.
posted by furiousthought at 11:07 PM on February 4, 2006


I have nothing to add here, except to mention that the chick.com page linked to by pyramid termite has apparently been blocked by the Media Development Authority in Singapore.

Not as if Singapore is a beaconing light of freedom, publishing inflammatory speech here on the web is considered a seditious act, but this is the first time in five years that I've actually encountered an MDA-blocked site. And I thought I spent a lot of time on the Internet, hmmmm.

And oh, does anyone else feel like wearing that blackboard cartoon, or the one where the beard-guy stops folks with swords, from the original set? Would make a wonderful point, methinks, it's about wearing your freedom on your chest.
posted by the cydonian at 11:45 PM on February 4, 2006


Do many in the Mid-east see the Danes as being so tolerant towards them, as many have claimed here? Denmark, a country that sent troops to Iraq, would be considered as being on Team Crusader, or?
posted by romanb at 1:39 AM on February 5, 2006


cartoon of Martin Luther King Jr.

caption "nigger"

in the new york times

riots in the richest country in the world?
posted by cell divide at 1:52 AM on February 5, 2006


1. a picture of Jesus caressing a little girl's thigh

If Jesus had taken a child bride, then surely nobody would object. In fact, fundamentalists everywhere would be exhorting us all to do the right thing and go marry ourselves a twelve year old.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:30 AM on February 5, 2006


The people who burnt down the embassies did so based on lies

That in itself seems to be a good reason for all those newspapers that haven't already published these pictures to do so immediately.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:35 AM on February 5, 2006


cell divide: your analogy is not correct. You should have asked:

twelve cartoons of Martin Luther King jr.

some of them unflattering, some less so

in the New York Times

months later, some unknown person

makes tre _different_ cartoons,

one depecting the subject as pedophile, with the caption "n*gger"

one depicting the subject being raped by a dog

one depicting the subject as a pig

distributes these cartoons around the world, claiming they were printed in the New York Times

to people who don't check for themselves if the New York Times actually printed them, and believe that the New York Times refused to apologize for the three most offensive cartoons.
posted by iviken at 2:48 AM on February 5, 2006


It seems that freedom of the press is far from secure here in the UK.

Unchallenged, a man poses as a suicide bomber. Police stop press taking pictures
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:04 AM on February 5, 2006


cartoon of Martin Luther King Jr.

Imagine a stage play in which:

Jesus Christ appears on The Jerry Springer Show wearing nappies.
Jesus Christ confesses to being 'a little bit gay'
Springer tells Christ to 'grow up and put some fucking clothes on'.

Imagine this play being a West End smash, winning over 14 awards and being shown on prime-time BBC national television.

Were Christians offended? Of course they were. But they were expected to suck it up and move on.

Muslims need to do the same.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:20 AM on February 5, 2006


It seems that freedom of the press is far from secure here in the UK.

Why do you say that, PeterMcDermott?

The article reporting on the event is there, including a picture of the guys all ready in their suicide gear.
Note also that the police obviously didn't have a problem with them posing as terrorists, which is testimony to the high level of tolerance there.

There is another photo with an officer motioning the photographer to back off, but we don't really know what's going on there, since there seems to be quite a bit of commotion. It certainly seems to make little sense to allow the demonstration but try to suppress press coverage on it.
posted by sour cream at 3:22 AM on February 5, 2006


Buy Danish!
posted by shoos at 5:21 AM on February 5, 2006


Let's try to reframe and see what are the issues from many point of views, right ?

Facts:
1* Extremist Muslims play the "offended, anti-god" card to justify their violent actions
2* Extremist Christian/Jews/Evangelical whatever will play or played exactly the same card, of something god-offending
3* Newspapers should be free to publish whatever
4* Publishing whatever is just exercise of freedom it doesn't enhance or defend the right in itself
5* Newspaper can practice self-censorship and do practice it when an article could offend the interest of newspaper owner

So what with the choice of publish something offensive, cartoon or article ? It could be a wise choice, but also an unwise
one depending on some factors

A: will this publication benefit or damage a certain political party / ideology / stream of opinions ? How is this going to
affect me ?
B: Will this increase the sales or maintain a level of the sales of the newspaper ?
C: How will this publication affect the image of the newspaper , as perceived by my target readers ?

When one takes all of these into account, one have quite a puzzle and a big conflict of many interest that need to be appeased.
Not necessarily all at the same time, but ideally so.

Indeed, the publication of the supposedly offensive cartoon by some newspaper like Libero o La Padania on frontpage (two italian newspapers) is just the pretext that some agitator is using to further their agenda. I think newspaper should NOT be forced to
publish according to what some political interest says (unless they are evidently party journals) not even to sedate a revolt.

YET choosing NOT to exercise some right is not the same as giving up the right..that works for patent and maybe for copyright, but
not for every right and thankfully so. The newspaper could have choosed to publish a lenghty, ten pages article about how stupid
is some people that follows religions and how many intolerant bigots inhabit our world..instead of publishing some toons.

Why so ? Because the idea that images/toons representing Allah or Muhammed are forbidden wasn't invented yesterday..it's an ages old
idea I don't agree with, yet it is not like it was invented yesterday ; what's the point of attacking or discussing about some religion when you don't even know that publishing toons would cause the participant of THAT religion to stop reading you ?

I don't get it. It will increase sales among people who like to hate muslims or whatever target. If this is the target audience I would
prefer publishing pictures of people having sex and naked titillating girls...at least it is not exploiting hate.

----

On preview: nice thread. To these saying "you don't have a right to be offended" I kind of agree with you, on the ground that
nobody is forcing them to read the offending newspaper.

I submit this to you : supposed a newspaper you are not forced to read writes "workers rights are for idiots and sissies, people
deserve only what they can obtain with their own means without help. Pension shouldn't exist as it would only make miserable
life of elders longer".

Now would you start up demonstrating in the street if that newspaper had even a minimal audience ? Do you think these idea should
be opposed and how would you oppose that ?
posted by elpapacito at 6:05 AM on February 5, 2006


From the Telegraph article -- so predictable: The Vatican, while deploring violence, said that certain forms of criticism represented an "unacceptable" provocation. "The right to freedom of thought and expression cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers," a statement said.

Yes in fact it can. How easy they forget that it's not up to them to define what is acceptable or unacceptable, since they are no longer a monarchy dictating laws. Says a lot about how the separation of church and state is never to be taken for granted.

The Vatican are also not a disinterested party in this debate. Unprincipled hypocrites. They can call gay people sick and disturbed but you can't make a caricature of a former Hitler Youth?

It's scary to think how it takes centuries for progress to take place, and then things can degenerate and regress so quickly.
posted by funambulist at 6:59 AM on February 5, 2006


I submit this to you : supposed a newspaper you are not forced to read writes "workers rights are for idiots and sissies, people
deserve only what they can obtain with their own means without help. Pension shouldn't exist as it would only make miserable
life of elders longer".


would it shock you if i told you that similar sentiments are published in american newspapers fairly often? ... especially the phrase "people deserve only what they can obtain with their own means without help"

people respond by writing letters to the editor that disagree and in a small city newspaper, there's a good chance they'll be published
posted by pyramid termite at 8:10 AM on February 5, 2006


A few comments from Syrian bloggers writing in English (recently featured on Yahoo News - Kevin Sites in the Hotzone):

Hawa: Denmark (Europe) VS Muslims .. Who's behind !?

The Damascene Blog: Yes, Boycott Danish Products

The Damascene Blog: Shame (for the embassy burnings)

Bits & Bites of Syria: Ashamed of being Syrian (ditto)

Front Bumper: Yes, we have the right to caricature God!
posted by funambulist at 8:38 AM on February 5, 2006


people respond by writing letters to the editor that disagree and in a small city newspaper, there's a good chance they'll be published

Excellent, glad to hear there's no repression going on in U.S small city little newspapers.
posted by elpapacito at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2006


ops on review

billysumday : horrible picture, these provocators ruin islam for the others. I wonder if they are friends of this most likely religious shooter
posted by elpapacito at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2006


Low IQ Westerner : I am a peaceful, rational person and war sucks.
Low IQ Muslim : I am also a peaceful, rational person and I agree war sucks.
LIW : I believe X is moral and Y is immoral. I have a very deep conviction in my soul about this. The truth is self-evident and is reinforced by everything I have ever known.
LIM : I believe Y is moral and X is immoral. I have a very deep conviction in my soul about this. The truth is self-evident and is reinforced by everything I have ever known.
LIW : Yes well that is because you are an unprincipled, uncivilized savage.
LIM : Yes well that is because you are a morally corrupt, self-destructive infidel.
LIW : I will not stand by and let the innocent victims of Y be harmed like that.
LIM : I will not stand by and let the innocent victims of X be harmed like that.
==> War

Where can I find a forum where intelligence is a prerequisite for posting rights?
posted by DirtyCreature at 1:47 PM on February 5, 2006


Postroad: Thank you for posting this.
posted by semmi at 9:17 PM on February 5, 2006


Denmark -- a country by all accounts tolerant and friendly toward Muslims

LOL!
posted by mr.marx at 4:50 AM on February 6, 2006


Well thank Allah that Denmark is now taking lessons in tolerance and friendliness from paradigms of democratic government such as Syria, Lebanon, Saudi, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and the splendid newly liberated no-talibans-left Afghanistan...

Maybe when the Danes start torching Syrian embassies under the passive eyes of local authorities, everyone will be more understanding of them.
posted by funambulist at 6:11 AM on February 6, 2006


DirtyCreature, awesome! Except there have always been high IQ, low moral types willing to exploit the sentiments expressed by LIW and LIM. Wars need profiteers after all.

My question: Why the prohibition on drawing Mohammed? I thought idolatry applies only to G-d. Was it against the law to look at Mohammed back in his time?
posted by MarkO at 2:29 PM on February 6, 2006




If you don't want to go through Salon's ads, that interview with Hirsi Ali is also in the Spiegel (English edition).
posted by funambulist at 1:17 AM on February 7, 2006


By the way, on a somewhat related note, anyone noticed something peculiar about all those protests and riots against the cartoons?

Something so obvious, and something we're so used to, no one even bothers to point it out anymore?

What's missing from those pictures and footage?

Duh...
posted by funambulist at 1:19 AM on February 7, 2006


Meanwhile, in India...
posted by homunculus at 5:43 PM on February 7, 2006


« Older We Just Performed a Quirkafleeg: ZX Spectrum...   |   Later on, Koza killed & ate Cairo Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post