IPFS Powell Gammill

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Cartoons of Muhammad Get Their Intended Attention

Well it has hit the fan in Europe. A few days ago a newspaper in Denmark decided to get some attention by commissioning cartoonists to draw a representation of Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) doing whatever the cartoonist wished to convey. They published 12 images on an internal page, each by a different artist. Only problem, images of Muhammad are considered blasphemous. I didn’t know that, but thinking about it in hindsight, I never saw a picture of Muhammad. Judging by the cartoons, with two or three exceptions, you cannot guess the image is of Muhammad without the accompanying article containing such a statement.

At any rate, it became clear that the publication knew this was prohibited in Islamic religion, and did it to tweak some noses. At least one of the cartoonists was properly mortified (which means the publication didn’t inform them of this religious prohibition against a graven image of Muhammad), at demeaning someone’s religion by depicting an image of their prophet. Most however, seemed quite pleased with the attention. The newspaper certainly enjoyed the complaints, responding “freedom of the press, freedom of speech.”

Now I happen to agree with these Rights. Freedom of speech is unrestricted. Freedom of the press is unrestricted. Consequences of libel, slander may be a consequence, but restrictions — never. So I support the newspapers and media in publishing whatever they choose, and offending whomever as frequently as they may.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Frankly I find it extremely bad taste to belittle someone’s religious beliefs, unless you are pointing out either hypocrisy or inconsistency. Juvenile too. The responses to the cartoons have been illuminating.

Many European papers, especially in Norway, and France picked up and eagerly re-published the cartoons stating “Freedom of the Press,” “Freedom of Speech” too. [See bad taste above.] Mainly you get the feeling they did it to rub the noses in a big pile of dog feces of any potential Moslem reader they might have. Guess they don’t want the business. Makes you think at least a minority of vocal, active Moslems have worn out their welcome in Europe, or the Europeans have become intolerant of foreigners. Sad either way.

Moslems immediately and correctly threatened and started to boycott Danish products. Then boycott any other country’s products that failed to halt, condemn, etc. the publication of these cartoons. A very good response. They are even renaming Danish pastries in Iran. [Freedom fries anyone?] Okay, this is kind of silly, but it is funny never the less, and makes a point of pure rejection.

Anyone who exports and advertises in an offending paper might have something to say with their pocketbook. Even those who don’t export products may pull advertising either in support of the boycott, or not wishing to be associated with the juvenile antics of the publication. [Regrettably, this is not a response allowed by law in the USA, post-Alar. Try organizing a nationwide boycott of a food product here and you will be sued under multiple State food terrorism statutes. Nice hum?]

So what mature responses have we seen? Unfortunately none published in the press. Of course by protesting these cartoons everyone wants to see them. And republishes them.

The predictable death threats and fatwa’s against the papers and cartoonists have been issued, that make Moslems so beloved worldwide. General mayhem and blood shed have ensued. Apparently just pulling the fingernails and eyeballs out of the cartoonists as a more humane solution hasn’t occurred to any Imams yet? Nice guys.

Remember “Piss Christ.” Publicly funded artwork featuring a crucifix in a jar of urine. Man that is art. Publicly funded art. I remember a few death threats from “Christians,” but none that anyone took seriously. God knows the Arabic media publishes anti-Zionist and anti-Jew cartoons on a almost daily basis, some that would make a Klansman or Aryan Nation member blush. No death threats or bombs seem to result from it.

Yet Iranian newspapers, demonstrating equal maturity and sensitivity as their European brethren, are now calling for holocaust cartoon contests of their own. Yet I bet no calls for death will result to those publishers, no Embassies will be sacked, no bloody riots or even protests will result. Why? Civilized. Try it.

So are Moslems pansies? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Stick to complaining, protesting, boycotts and renaming Danish pastries. It is how you learn to get along in this world.