Friday, February 03, 2006

Cartoon Protests Spread To Asia

From the IHT comes this report.

JAKARTA - Hard-line Muslims stormed a building housing the Danish Embassy in Indonesia on Friday and burned the Danish flag as Islamic outrage over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad spread to Asia.

Protests also erupted in Malaysia, where fundamentalist Muslims shouted, "Destroy our enemies!" at a rally outside the Danish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where about 500 Muslims rallied to protest the publication of the cartoons.

"The whole Muslim world is shocked and outraged," Mohiuddin Ahmed, a leader of the hard-line Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Bangladesh, told supporters at the Dhaka rally.

The Pakistani Parliament unanimously passed a resolution Friday condemning the cartoons and the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf, also expressed outrage, saying their publication could not be justified as freedom of expression.

As offended as all of these people may be, there is no turning back now. If any media outlet that has taken this stand and either printed or shown these cartoons, backtracks now, there will be no end to the pressure and attacks on free speech as we know it, today. Not only will Muslims be emboldened to contest each and every criticism leveled at it or any of its followers; any other religion/belief system can and will be able to exert pressure. And, they will do it with the expectation that they will be able to censor, whatever they deem offensive whether it's true or not.

Over at Always On Watch and at Liberty and Culture there is more coverage and thoughts about this situation. (Don't let the size of Jason's post fool you, read the comments for the meat of the debate)

In fact, most of the blogosphere and the MSM there has been much debate about this subject, whether the outlets and blogs have actually published the cartoons, or not. Why? Because no matter how offensive something may seem to a given group, the right to freely express oneself is at stake here. Freedom of speech is the one thing that defines whether a society is truly free, or not. Take that away and you have the equivalent of a Stalinist, Maoist, Fascist, Communist, form of political system that oppresses and strips the people of the pursuits of life, liberty, and prosperity.

Now before I go any further, I want to repost one comment I made on Jason's site, with some additional emphasis in italics:

I do not condone trying to offend anyone, but the freedom of expression must at any and all costs, be protected.

I seem to remember some kind controversial art display at a museum in NYC, where an image of the virgin Mary had dung all over it. (Or something like that.)

Anyway, there was an outcry for a short while. I am sure that many Catholics as well as many non-Catholic Christians were very much offended. They said their piece about what they thought of it, as was their right. But unless I missed something, no one threatened to bomb the art gallery.

That said, I do not think it is wise to inflame these already rabid dogs, especially at this point in time, just for the hell of it. I do not think it is particularly wise to do it just because you can. But make no mistake, the right to freely express oneself is a right that should never be infringed on, in any way.

If Muslims would do in the case of these cartoons, what many Christians did, when that art display came out; if they would simply ignore it, it would go away much faster. No one, I repeat, no one can offend you without your permission.

How did the art display offend the virgin Mary? It didn't. She's dead and even if she were alive, it would not have hurt much of anything , except her maybe her feelings. How did it hurt me? It didn't. It did not shake my faith, one iota. I'll simply let God judge the matter, as He sees fit.

But what did offend me, was the fact that it was displayed in a gallery that receives government funds. I don't think the government should be in the arts business, anyway. Remember, since Bush became President, the homeless suddenly reappeared after eight years of bliss under Clinton. Couldn't that money used to subsidize "shitty" art, be better used to feed the starving masses that Bush has created?

Bottom line here, Muslims should understand that the bigger stink they make about this, the bigger it will become. The more they attempt to censor, the more we that cherish freedom of speech, will dig in and fight.

I also would admonish Muslims, that "if you really want to stop this kind of stuff, you should set an example and not publish the crap you publish about Christians and Jews. Because it is just as offensive to them, as these cartoons are to you. But you do not police yourselves, so how can you expect the same courtesy here?"

In short, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Muslims or any other religious group insists on publishing hateful and offensive material about Jews, Christians, or any other religious group, they must expect that at some point others will do the same with their belief system.

Free speech works both ways. We cannot have one group dictating to the others, what they can print, say, and think; all the while saying and doing whatever they want, because somehow their way is far greater and should somehow be elevated above the rest. (SEE: Hypocrisy)

Too many people died for that right, and I will be damned if I let it happen during my lifetime. This is something that should transcend partisan politics and should unite both the left and the right, if only for one brief and shining moment.

Remember, jihad is not just a one-pronged operation. It involves much more than bullets, bombs, and innocent deaths. It also involves propaganda spewed by special interest pressure groups like CAIR and the ISNA, as well.

Here are a few other sites that are in on the fray and are well worth checking out:

Up Pompeii



Fore Left


MississippiMud said...

Brilliant post. I ponder when the Muslims will show similar outrage over Muslims in a farm in Patikul, Mindanao, and opened fire after asking residents if they were Christian. Six people are confirmed dead, including a nine-month baby girl, and five others are seriously wounded.(this happened today)

Best of wishes, I have your blog on my fav list.


LASunsett said...

Thank you, sir.

As for your statement on the incident in Patikul, there have been thousands and thousands of brutal attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims. No one gets outraged when they do, but when a cartoon appears they don't like, they are OUTRAGED.

That should say it all.

SuperFrenchie said...

For comparison, here are some cartoons that were published in the Arab press.

And FWIW, the American press is strangely silent on this one.

It's a bit easy to accuse the Europeans of being cowards, but when they actually had to do something to demonstrate courage, they disappeared!

SuperFrenchie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SuperFrenchie said...

And respecting religions? Since when do I have to respect baseless and idiotic beliefs?

I'm told that a guy walked on water, or that if every Sunday morning I eat a little cracker that somehow transforms itself into the body of a guy that lived 2000 years ago I will get a good chance to spend eternity in the company of little flying babies with feathers in their backs, or that God likes it better when the penises of newborns are mutilated, or that 70 virgins will wait for me in paradise if I blow myself up along with a crowd of men, women and children, and I am supposed to have respect for those absurdities that are the bread and butter of the world's major religions?

I don't think so!

And if Allah ain't happy about it, then someone should send a fatwah over to me and my blog, 'cause Mohamed's caricature is on it.


LASunsett said...

Super Frenchie,

"It's a bit easy to accuse the Europeans of being cowards, but when they actually had to do something to demonstrate courage, they disappeared!"

I am not disappearing. You won't see that here at PYY.

I have to admit I have been a little confused and hurt by the way things have played out between the continent and the U.S. A lot of Americans were hurt by the tensions over Iraq. I could post a whole post as to the reasons, but that is not important now. We simply must move on from the Iraq thing.

What we have to do is realize that we need each other in this fight. As you know, this is not a video game where we can hit reset. We get one shot at this, if we fail, we are history. Americans are more on your side than you think. Those that are still feeling sore over everything, will come around when the chips are down.

The American media wants a wedge between the U.S. and other countries. Conflict is good for business. Europe's media does the same thing.

Europe has a friend here at PYY, I will stand by it when I think it is right and will criticize it when I think it is wrong, just as you will.

The interesting thing is Reuters is now reporting that a state department spokesman is siding with the Muslims on this one. If this is true, I will be the first to cry, coward.

A.C. said...

Good discussion here. My initial take was that commercial newspapers should exercise the same judgement they would when deciding whether to print cartoons about race, ethnicity or those showing graphic sex or nudity.

Let's face it, there are limitations to freedom of expression in that venue. IMO those limitations should include messing with ANY religion's iconography.

SuperFrenchie said...

a.c. //IMO those limitations should include messing with ANY religion's iconography.//

Any religion?

Why are religions out of bounds?

They are already completely unchallenged on credibility, simply because they don't even claim to be credible. They claim to be based on faith.

Yet if I were to tell you that I believe Elvis is alive and is God, or that I worship little green men that talk to me in the middle of the night, wouldn't you challenge me a bit? Like, ask me for some evidence? Would you be content with a "just have faith" response? Why in the world do we stop asking for evidence when it comes to religions?

Religions make outlandish claims on just about everything that's important. And they get a pass on it. I don't think it's more deserved than giving me a pass for believing in little green men or Santa Claus. It's really exactly the same thing.

So my conclusion is this: it's not that we should not be messing with ANY religion, it's that we should be messing with ALL of them!

But that's just me! :)

Jason_Pappas said...

It's funny how we all said ten times more in the comments section than in my original post. Thanks for dropping by and furthering the debate. I didn't have time to write a detailed entry but friends did the rest for me in the comments section. And with a lively debate.

A.C. said...

Why are religions out of bounds?

Well Frenchie, I'll agree that religions should be fair game to any cartoonist if you'll agree that newspapers should have no decency standards whatsoever.

Why would it be ok to bash Christ in some cartoon but not ok to disparage minorities, for example?

SuperFrenchie said...

//Well Frenchie, I'll agree that religions should be fair game to any cartoonist if you'll agree that newspapers should have no decency standards whatsoever.//

Agree 100%.

And FWIW, I find American decency standards way too high for my taste!

// Why would it be ok to bash Christ in some cartoon but not ok to disparage minorities, for example?//

It certainly should not be against the law.

But it’s not the same thing to bash a religion than it is to bash a minority just for being a minority.

My definition of racism is when people are hated just because they’re born. That’s why I argue that French-bashing is akin to racism.

Religions on the other hand, are choices (well, at least they should be!). So it’s different. Choices that people make should be open to criticism.

A.C. said...

And FWIW, I find American decency standards way too high for my taste!

So anything goes, such as bashing homosexuals for example?

It certainly should not be against the law.

Agreed. And let me be clear, I'm not against cartoonists bashing religion per se, only the icons each religion uses. To me that falls under the same judgment process that would dismiss bashing minorities and others.

But it’s not the same thing to bash a religion than it is to bash a minority just for being a minority.

Decent point, but newspaper decency standards (which aren't laws) don't just apply to racism. There is such a thing as respect for others. For example, I doubt they could get a cartoon published that showed the Pope engaged in a sex act, etc. I think they cross a line when they choose to disparage the icons themselves, as opposed to the religion or those who follow it.

SuperFrenchie said...

Well, when I said that American decency standards are too high, I really meant that criticism standards over some institutional traditions are definitely too high.

Examples of things that are never ever criticized in American newspapers (or discussed anywhere else in America for that matter):

* Patriotism
* We support our troops
* Pledging allegiance to a flag
* The assumption that being religious is a good thing
* Constantly asking for God's blessing
* Considering America a "blessed nation"

You'll note that some of those things are very much associated with religious beliefs.

Also note that I did not say that all those things are necessarily bad. Simply that they appear to be completely off-limits to any criticism, or even discussion.

gandalf said...

Hi LA an excellent post lets hope
our "leaders" have opened thier eyes and read it.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

LA, great post and many good points.

You said to Frenchie "As you know, this is not a video game where we can hit reset. We get one shot at this, if we fail, we are history." Excellently stated. I agree that we have more of a chance of winning this battle if we have better unity with Europe. I wish they knew it. I think you are right that they are coming around.

I added a post on this after yours. Along with my comments, I show an interesting list from of all the things Muslims have not gotten outraged about. It is that Selective Outrage Syndrome I keep talking about that liberals are plagued with; only it is on steroids in this case.