February 05, 2006

A Right to Blasphemy


NOTE: To those coming to this site looking for the Danish cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, you can see them at Human Events (and MohammedCartoons.com). Our own Mohammed cartoon is here: Image Problem.

The above cartoon was partly inspired by this Reuters photo from London (more must-see photos at Michelle Malkin):


The cartoon's title comes from a comment by the German daily Die Welt, which reprinted the Danish cartoons and proclaimed its right to blasphemy.

In the news this weekend:

FoxNews: Violence Spreads Over Muhammad Caricatures

Thousands of Muslims rampaged Sunday in Beirut, setting fire to the Danish Embassy, burning Danish flags and lobbing stones at a Maronite Catholic church as violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad spread from neighboring Syria. ...

Protesters also took to the streets by the thousands elsewhere in the Muslim world, a day after demonstrators in Syria charged security barriers outside the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus and sent the buildings up in flames. ...

Syria blamed Denmark for the protests, criticizing the Scandinavian nation for refusing to apologize for the caricatures of Islam's holiest figure.

"(Denmark's) government was able to avoid reaching this point ... simply through an apology" as requested by Arab and Muslim diplomats, state-run daily Al-Thawra said in an editorial Sunday.

"It is unjustifiable under any kind of personal freedoms to allow a person or a group to insult the beliefs of millions of Muslims," the paper said. ...

In the Afghan city of Mihtarlam, some 3,000 demonstrators burned a Danish flag and demanded that the editors at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten be prosecuted for blasphemy, Gov. Sher Mohammed Safi said.

Reuters: Militant groups in Iraq urge attacks over cartoons

In an Internet statement, the Islamic Army of Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for killing foreign hostages, urged militants to kidnap Danes and "cut them into as many pieces as the number of newspapers that printed the cartoons".

"The Islamic Army in Iraq also declares that all countries whose newspapers printed the insulting and disgraceful pictures are legitimate targets and our response will be ... tremendous."

AFP: Editor arrested in Jordan over prophet cartoons

A Jordanian tabloid editor has been arrested after his newspaper published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, while an investigation was launched into a second weekly newspaper that also printed the cartoons, a judicial source said.

The Jordanian newspapers came under fire after being the only Arab-based publications to reprint the caricatures, which have sparked protests and anger in the Muslim world.

Times Online: Danish cartoonists fear for their lives

TWELVE Danish cartoonists whose pictures sparked such outcry have gone into hiding under round-the-clock protection, fearing for their lives.

The cartoonists, many of whom had reservations about the pictures, have been shocked by how the affair has escalated into a global “clash of civilisations”. They have since tried, unsuccessfully, to stop them being reprinted.

One voice of sanity comes from Ibn Warraq, described by Spiegel magazine as a Muslim dissident: Democracy in a Cartoon (via Jihad Watch)

The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom -- freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize. ...

[Immigrants] should be taught about the centuries of struggle that resulted in the freedoms that they and everyone else for that matter, cherish, enjoy, and avail themselves of; of the individuals and groups who fought for these freedoms and who are despised and forgotten today; the freedoms that the much of the rest of world envies, admires and tries to emulate. When the Chinese students cried and died for democracy in Tiananmen Square (in 1989), they brought with them not representations of Confucius or Buddha but a model of the Statue of Liberty.


Michelle Malkin also has more on the campaign to counter the Muslim nations' boycott of Danish products: DON'T FORGET: BUY DANISH!.

(All emphasis added. Some links found via Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin, both of whom have many related links and updates.)

UPDATE I -- Feb. 6: From Chicago Sun-Times: 'Sensitivity' can have brutal consequences by Mark Steyn.

One day, years from now, as archaeologists sift through the ruins of an ancient civilization for clues to its downfall, they'll marvel at how easy it all was. You don't need to fly jets into skyscrapers and kill thousands of people. As a matter of fact, that's a bad strategy, because even the wimpiest state will feel obliged to respond. But if you frame the issue in terms of multicultural "sensitivity," the wimp state will bend over backward to give you everything you want -- including, eventually, the keys to those skyscrapers.

From Capitalism Magazine: Free Speech vs. Blasphemy by Edward Cline.

The pit felt at the bottom of many stomachs over this new demand of the Muslims is fear: fear of mindless retribution, of death and destruction. It causes those who feel it to shut up in the name of "respect" for Muslim beliefs. This is the true nature of the "respect" of major American news organizations, such as CBS, when it refused to show a single cartoon.

The pit felt at the bottom of other stomachs is resolve, of a determination to stand up now for the freedom to say what one thinks, with the knowledge that if the West capitulates to Muslim demands, it will have surrendered the key freedom that permits the fight for all the other freedoms. Many European newspapers have defied Muslim "sensibilities" and reprinted the cartoons.

And Martin Lindeskog has more links on topic.

UPDATE II: From the Telegraph: 'Cleric calls on Mohammed cartoonist to be executed.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical Muslim cleric, has said the cartoonist behind caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that have sparked outrage across the Arab world should be tried and executed under Islamic law. 

The cleric said Muslims in Britain were not allowed to kill people who insulted Islam because it was against the law of the country.

"We are not saying ourselves to go there and start to look to him and kill him, we are not talking about that. We are talking about Islamic rules. If anybody insults the prophet, he will have to take a punishment."

He said if countries refused to put people on trial for insulting Mohammed they must "face the consequences".

From CNN: Cartoon protests turn deadly.

Tens of thousands of Muslims around the world have staged new rounds of protests -- some resulting in deaths -- over published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. ...

Meanwhile in Paris, France Soir -- a newspaper that published the cartoons of Mohammed -- was evacuated for nearly three hours Monday after receiving a bomb threat.

UPDATE III: From Speigel magazine: 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam', an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. (via Free Thoughts)

SPIEGEL: But Muslims, like any religious community, should also be able to protect themselves against slander and insult.

HIRSI ALI: That's exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.

Posted by Forkum at February 5, 2006 04:09 PM