If this hubbub over the Danish cartoons isn’t disconcerting, I’m not too sure what is. Extremist Muslims have made themselves known for many many years, well before 9/11, but this cartoon stuff is really just mind boggling.
Muslim protests and “activity” has broken out all over the globe (via Mark Shea): New Zealand, Turkey, Palestine, Lebenon, Syria, Indonesia, Norway, Afghanistan and Jordan. Some of these are peaceful, many are not.
More than 700 angry Muslims marched through Auckland yesterday, many wearing black arm bands.
Pakistan Association of New Zealand president Naveed Hamid said his group had organised the march because Muslims wanted to make their hurt felt to the public.
“Something the media has to understand (is that) somebody’s religion is not for insult,” he said.
Also at the weekend, thousands of Syrian protesters set fire to the Danish embassy in Damascus; a Hamas leader in Palestine said publishing the cartoons was an “unforgivable insult” that should be punished with death; and Palestinians threw a firebomb at a French cultural centre in Gaza. There have been violent protests in Turkey and Lebanon, a peaceful protest in Afghanistan and many Muslims are boycotting Danish and other European goods. In Indonesia, up to 300 people invaded a building housing the Danish embassy in Jakarta and ripped up a Danish flag. Iran has recalled its ambassador to Denmark.
In Norway, the editor of the Magazinet newspaper, which reprinted the cartoons, said he had received 25 death threats and thousands of hate emails, while in Ireland the Daily Star joined other European papers in publishing the drawings.
In Jordan, Jihad Momani, the editor sacked for reprinting the cartoons, said his purpose had been merely to demonstrate the extent of the insult.
We condemn the shameful actions carried out by a few Arabs and Muslims around the world that have tarnished our image, and presented us as intolerant and close-minded bigots.
. . .
We apologize whole-heartedly to the people of Norway and Denmark for any offense this sorry episode may have caused, to any European who has been harassed or intimidated, to the staff of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Embassies in Syria whose workplace has been destroyed and for any distress this whole affair may have caused to anyone.
Meanwhile, the Danish tabloid Extra Bladet got hold of a 43-page report that Danish Muslim leaders and imams, on a tour of the Islamic world are handing out to their contacts to “explain” how offensive the cartoons are. The report contains 15 pictures instead of 12. The first of the three additional pictures, which are of dismal quality, shows Muhammad as a pedophile deamon [see it here], the second shows the prophet with a pigsnout [here] and the third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog [here]. Apparently, the 12 original pictures were not deemed bad enough to convince other Muslims that Muslims in Denmark are the victims of a campaign of religious hatred.
Akhmad Akkari, spokesman of the 21 Danish Muslim organizations which organized the tour, explained that the three drawings had been added to “give an insight in how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims.” Akkari claimed he does not know the origin of the three pictures. He said they had been sent anonymously to Danish Muslims. However, when Ekstra Bladet asked if it could talk to these Muslims, Akkari refused to reveal their identity.
The second of those 3 is almost undoubtably a forgery.
And finally, it seems depictions of Mohammed isn’t completely forbidden or at least is a hazy issue in the Muslim world. (via Instapundit) There are lots of images in that link, so you’ll have to give it time to load.
I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own. First, obviously it is clear the press should have the freedom to print these cartoons. Second, obviously it is clear Muslims should have the freedom to peacefully and lawfully protest these cartoons. Third, cartoons that make a mockery of religious beliefs probably are in poor taste and should be avoided. However, I would never support a law that outlawed or in other ways used the power of the state to discourage them. It should be up to the editors of the papers, the cartoonists, and the readers of the paper to determine what gets printed. It is disheartening to see such a vicious and violent reaction to what really are just bad scribblings and poorly crafted jokes. Should these Muslims really expect any better behavior from infidels? I wouldn’t if I were them. Of course, I’m used to having my religious beliefs openly mocked, scorned, and mischaracterized, so maybe the outrage of something like this could never be sharp enough to goad me into going crazy.