Monday, January 30, 2006

 

Where The Anger Is

Its endemic to one side

Denmark is under fire from Muslims offended by a cartoon:
Denmark has warned citizens not to go to Saudi Arabia and Gaza gunmen said any Danes or Norwegians who came there would face attack, as Muslim fury mounted over newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Denmark has defended the Jyllands-Posten newspaper's right to publish the satirical drawings that seemed to portray the prophet as a terrorist and which a Norwegian paper has run too.

Some Muslims, who deem images of prophets disrespectful and caricatures blasphemous, have reacted angrily, threatening Danes, calling for goods boycotts and demanding an apology.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its envoy from Denmark, Libya has closed its embassy, and thousands of Palestinians marched in protest yesterday.

The Danish Foreign Ministry warned against non-crucial travel to Saudi Arabia and urged Danes to be cautious in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.
Danish media are under cyber attack; the AP reports:
Angered by the drawings, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday. Islamists in Bahrain urged street demonstrations, while Syria called for the offenders to be punished. A Saudi company paid thousands of dollars for an ad thanking a business that snubbed Danish products.
Michelle Malkin has a complete roundup, which includes the offensive cartoons. Verity offers some background details:
This is in response to the Jyllands-Posten having published 12 cartoons of Mohammad after a Danish writer complained that he couldn’t find anyone to illustrate a book he’d written about him. The cultural editor of the newspaper put out a call to illustrators, twelve responded and the paper published the cartoons. They were pretty tame stuff, but have rocked the Muslim world because under Islamic law – which they now seek to apply in the West – renderings of Mohammad are illegal.

The cultural editor of the Jyllands-Posen has remained unapologetic, saying he put out the call in response to a worrying trend he had observed in the Western media: self-censorship. The paper has received bomb threats and the editors and the cartoonists have received death threats from adherents of the Religion of Peace but all have stood their ground.

With great bravery, so has Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Rasmussen, who declined a requested meeting with the ambassadors from 11 Muslim countries, saying he has no control over Denmark’s press “and nor do I want such”.

This was last September and the Muslims aren’t letting this issue go away. They’ve already lodged a somewhat florid protest at the UN, where they got the sympathy of a tranzi ear or two. But their aim is an abject apology from Denmark for breaking an Islamic taboo - or else. They grow more threatening and the courageous Anders Rasmussen calmly declines to change his mind, saying publishing cartoons is not against Danish law, which is the law that applies in Denmark.
Given the European penchant for appeasement, one can't wonder how much longer this will be the case. Offensive speech is in the process of being criminalized in Western societies. In the process, Wretchard notes "whole categories of discourse are now being outlawed in the West." His post concludes:
Blasphemy is the end of argument. The high priest rent his clothes as though it settled something. The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.
Verity wonders where the anger about all this is. To me, the answer is as obvious as it is frightening.

UPDATE: From Doha, Bill Clinton offers his thoughts on the matter:
"So now what are we going to do? ... Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?" he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

"In Europe, most of the struggles we've had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism," he said.

Clinton described as "appalling" the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

"None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions ... there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark ... these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam," he said.

The cartoons, including a portrayal of the prophet wearing a time-bomb-shaped turban, were reprinted in a Norwegian magazine in January, sparking uproar in the Muslim world where images of the prophet are considered blasphemous.

Clinton criticised the tendency to generalise negative news of Islamic militancy.

"Because people see headlines that they don't like (they will) apply that to a whole religion, a whole faith, a whole region and a whole people?" he asked.
Via Bryan Preston, who comments:
That’s dhimmitude in action. Clinton has never once publicly criticized any of the left’s appalling attacks on Christianity—the art exhibits featuring Mary made of dung, Piss Christ, any of that. Not one time, because he knows that Christians aren’t going to do much about it other than maybe send off a strongly worded letter to the museum’s curator, which will be ignored. Yet Clinton singles out a set of cartoons published in Danish newspapers as “appalling” because they offended Muslims. Which was the point of the cartoons, actually—to test and see if Muslim sensibilities pose a threat to European values like free speech. Guess what? They do. Yet it’s not the knee-jerk outrage that appalls Wild Bill, it’s the newspapers’ temerity to exercise its right of free speech.
The Black Iris has much more, including this about an apology from Jyllands Posten:
The newspaper attracting the widespread reaction of the Muslim world with the cartoon titled, "Mohammed's Faces," finally took a step back and published a letter with "an implied apology". The letter signed by Editor Carsten Juste was also translated into Arabic.

Jyllands Posten, earlier insisting on its attitude, apologized politely and admitted it had unintentionally offended all Muslims.

The letter read: "We are sorry that the incident reached this point. We want to express again and again that our goal was not to offend or disrespect anyone. We respect freedom of religion just as Danish society does."

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Möller had asked the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission to convene urgently following the boycott against Danish products that started in Saudi Arabia and spread to Kuwait and Egypt.

Möller said the boycott quickly broadened and he will bring the subject to the fore at the European Union if necessary. The opposition replied the biggest responsibility in this issue rests with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister.

Danish Industrialists, intervening as the boycott against Danish products launched in Saudi Arabia started to quickly spread, made the following address to Jyllands Posten:

"Freedom of expression requires responsibility. This responsibility requires Jyllans Posten to sympathize with the people offended by the cartoons published. It is time to break the silence." The newspaper's editor Carsten Juste rejecting the DI's claims said: "The DI blames us for keeping quiet. But, why were they quiet until now? They step in only now that the discussions are affecting their trade."

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