Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mohammed Cartoons

Thousands of Muslims around the world got all worked up about 12 cartoons published back in September in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. Outraged that some of the cartoons dared to suggest that Islam is a violent religion, many of the "faithful" have poured into the streets threatening to kill those who would utter such a slander. Others went right to the killings of random Westerners, the burning of any buildings associated with Denmark, and so on, all in the name of the Religion of Peace. Some slightly less nutty groups began a boycott of Danish goods. Gee, a person might get the wrong impression about Islam from the way its adherents overreact to such small things. Well, it's not the "wrong" impression, we guess, but a bad one anyway.

We have to admire the Danish government and the people of Denmark for refusing to cave in to the worst elements of Islamofascism. We certainly plan to keep an eye out for Danish products to buy from now on. Our favorite French politician, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, also stood up for the principle of free speech:
[Sarkozy] said he preferred "an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship."
Sarkozy joined journalists in rallying around the editorial director of France Soir, who was fired by the newspaper's Egyptian owner. France Soir and several other newspapers across Europe reprinted the caricatures this week in a show of support for freedom of expression.
Unfortunately, the US State Department opted for dhimmitude and submission over the defense of free speech:
While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility.

"Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable," Hironimus said. "We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices."
Time was when State was only openly opposed to freedom in places where it was inconvenient for the the "principle" of Realpolitik, but apparently that now includes the entire world.

Despite the big news surrounding the reaction to the cartoons, finding them in print in the US has proved fairly difficult. Fortunately, today we have the internet, and MSM self-censorship is not as big a barrier to information flow as it used to be.

Although this is the first post addressing the topic, we have been doing our small part to fan the flames by posting the 12 cartoons on our Flickr account. The link is to a "set" containing the cartoons, and some comments.

Much has been made of the turban/head bomb, but many of the cartoons are completely innocuous. It has been asserted that any depiction of Mohammed at all is forbidden, and by nature blasphemous. The definitive word on this lie is provided by Zombie's collection of depictions of Mohammed over the centuries, many of which were done by Muslims. Zombie's page also includes the inflammatory "extra" pictures that a group of Danish Muslim clerics circulated through the Middle East with the 12 real cartoons. These phony pictures were not published by Jyllands-Posten, or any other paper, and seem to have been included with the aim of causing the kind of uproar that has occurred.

Overall, the quality of the cartoons is mixed, some are sharp and humorous jabs at the kinds of people that will gleefully behead someone in defense of Islam's "good name." Others fall rather flat for us, but perhaps it's a Danish/American thing. Our overall favorite of the 12 is this one:
Cartoonist at Work
Since it took us awhile to "get" this one, we'll point out that the cartoonist is in the process of penning a perfectly harmless drawing of Mohammed. He's in a dark room, sweating profusely, hiding the drawing with one hand, and glancing furtively over his shoulder in fear. That gets right to the heart of the matter, with subtlety, sharpness and humor.

You may be wondering why 12 obscure cartoons published in September suddenly ignited an Islamic firestorm in January after being ignored for months. Good question. It's fairly obvious that "spontaneous" demonstrations in Syria (and probably Lebanon) have the hand of Baby Assad behind them. This Wall Street Journal article (subcription only, but see here for an excerpt) digs into the connections to and motives of Our Friends the Saudis and Our Good Friend Hosni in sparking the violence.

Congratulations, boys, you've made your entire religion look like nothing but a bunch of bloodthirsty idiots. When will the majority of Muslims, who aren't lunatics, take control of their religion away from those that are?

Our friend, PTG, at Plains Feeder created his own cartoon, which is the funniest we've seen on this topic.
UPDATE: See also Sobek's Piss Mohammed parody picture. Cruise the rest of his excellent blog while you're there.

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