Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Michelle Malkin has an in-depth discussion of the current "Mohammed cartoon" furor. (Briefly: a Danish cartoonist ran a series of twelve cartoons, depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed in various situations. This has portions of the Muslim world in an uproar, resulting in boycotts of Denmark, attacks on Danes, and the burning of the Danish flag, among other things.)
Ms. Malkin reprints the cartoons, so that we can all see for ourselves. Check them out -- they're not innocent, but they're not that incendiary... particularly compared to the antisemitic and anti-Christian cartoons regularly seen in the Muslim world.
(Later -- originally I did not post the cartoons themselves, but now I think it's important to do so. Here they are. Some extended commentary on how and why they were drawn can be found here.)
Ms. Malkin makes several important points. For example, some Muslims are objecting to the depiction of Mohammed, which is against Islam... but this is, of course, nonsense. (Since when have Muslim laws applied to non-Muslims, except in the fevered imaginations of fanatics who dream of imposing sha'aria over us all?) Ms. Malkin also links to a long list of images of Mohammed, going quite a ways back in history -- and yes, some of the images were drawn by Muslims.
She also points out that the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has courageously refused to capitulate, explaining quite lucidly that, in a democracy, the government does not censor political speech. (If you follow the link, you'll also see that the Danish public are also solidly behind this position. Good for them!)
Does this matter, other than the "theoretical" issue of freedom of speech? Yes, it does. For one thing, it sets a dangerous precedent, in terms of what Islamists will not permit us to say about them (while remaining utterly uninhibited concerning what they say about us). The issue has also gone far beyond the merely theoretical, as Ms. Malkin points out with chilling photographs:
This is a serious issue, and I'm glad that the Danes are taking a stand -- more so, it seems, than the United States did, over that silly flush-the-Koran-down-a-Guantanamo-toilet controversy last year.
Some commenters to Ms. Malkin are advocating that we purchase lots of Danish butter cookies. (Yum!) Others suggest that you buy Lego -- lots of Lego. Or simply show the flag.
Regardless, let's remember the stakes here. No one ever promised Muslims -- or anyone else -- freedom from being made uncomfortable. And a cartoon, published in an independent, non-government-affiliated newspaper, is no reason to boycott an entire country, or to beat up that country's representatives.
Did Israel threaten to boycott the United Kingdom over this cartoon, for example? Or this one? No, she did not. And British antisemitic cartoons are usually pretty mild, compared to those in the Arab press, which amount to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for Dummies", in James Lileks' memorable phrase.
Congratulations, Denmark! You proved your bravery, and your humanity in the face of evil, in WWII; and today we can see that you haven't changed. Bravo.
UPDATE: This issue has taken off in many directions. The Islamists' rhetoric has gotten angrier, which is not encouraging; but more and more people are standing up for the Danes, which is encouraging.
(Except for France, which so far seems eager to live up to the stereotypes about her.)
I've added an "I Support Denmark" image to the sidebar, which I got here. (The one below it, in Arabic, links to Ms. Malkin's reposting of the original 12 Danish cartoons.)
I was also toying with the idea of jumping into the fray with my own Mohammed cartoon, but Cox & Forkum have done a much better job than I could ever have done!
UPDATE II: Not all Muslims support the madness of their brethren, thank goodness. Solomonia points to the Free Muslim Coalition, who appear to have their heads on straight here. My buddy Sam is, uh, rather more blunt and graphic on the matter. Start with his "Stop Being Retarded" post and go forward from there. (Not entirely work-safe; don't say I didn't warn you. Have fun!)
UPDATE III: Solomonia links to a Bahrain cartoon in response to the Danish ones:
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!"
(If you're curious about antisemitism in the Arab world, there's plenty more where that came from.)
The Danes, I hardly need point out, are overwhelmingly not Jewish. (Take another look at their flag.) So far as I know, the controversial Danish cartoonists were not Jewish. So there was no reason to slam them with antisemitic slurs... except that, as Sol points out, in the Arab world, that's the way you insult someone -- by calling him a Jew, or worse yet, a Zionist.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with antisemitic editorial cartoons, is there? Anti-Islam cartoons are abhorrent, but this is just fine... isn't it?