Thursday, February 09, 2006
There really can be only one core reason. Fear. There is no commercial explanation. It would sell. No argument about cultural sensitivity makes any sense. It is pure blather. Anything to avoid acknowledging pure, unadulterated fear. They would publish without hesitation items of great offense to others because none of these others has threatened deadly violence. Not so radical islamofascists. The MSM should be going out of their way to publish these cartoons precisely to offend their repressors.
The MSM are dhimmis. They are caving to Islamist-defined standards of Islamic supremacy. Scared to publish. Freedom must be fought for, and the MSM has no will, no courage to fight. Only the blogosphere seems to.
If it looks like a duck...
Yep, if people do not stand up to this intimidation, do not stop dressing up their fear with some type of lame excuse, we will lose. The terrorists are the absolute worst bullies the free world has ever encountered. Stop treating them like babies.
The Islamists who started this mess don't want the cartoons published because they know doing so will expose them as frauds. Their only hope is to keep as many people as possible in the dark and hope that verbal depictions of the images as "offensive" and "insulting" continue to be accepted as true. Of course, there were three images offered up for perusal that are indeed offensive; one purports to show Muhammed with a pig's snout, an insult so severe as to be blasphemous and punishable by death under Islamic law. But what the Danish imams who started this crisis don't want us--nor their co-religionists--to know is that it was they who produced and publicized these further three images because, apparently, the original twelve published by Jyllands-Posten were deemed too innocuous.
This so-called cartoon crisis is a hoax the Western press, with few exceptions, has helped to perpetuate by not publishing the truth. And so they have put themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to hope the story they have missed, ignored, or actively suppressed just quietly goes away.
100 Enlist for Attacks Over Cartoons
Mullah Dadullah, one of the Taleban’s most senior military commanders, said his group had also offered a reward of 100 kilograms of gold to anyone who killed people responsible for the drawings. Five kilograms of gold would go to anyone who killed a soldier from Denmark, Germany or Norway — among the countries where the cartoons have appeared, he said.
A voluntary code of conduct by the press in the European Union “will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression,” European Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
As Instapundit says, "I'm sorry, but the lesson here is that if you want to be listened to, you should blow things up. That's a very bad incentive structure, but it's the one the allegedly responsible parties have created."
Elsewhere, a young person's comment: "this is dangerous topic, which is why I posted anonymous."
This is one of those rare "you're either with us or against us" moments, I think.
I differ from most people in that normally I would favor the publishing of religiously offensive cartoons. Personally I don't see any good to come from gratuitously giving offense. Sacrilege is a bad thing in my book. I wouldn't ban it, but on the other hand I see nothing wrong with saying "I have that right but that's a line I choose not to cross". But Mohammed is not God. He is a Prophet. Two very different things.
And while I'm not sure that two wrongs make a right (i.e., that you excuse a meretricious act - dissing someone else's religion - by saying, in effect, "he dared me not to"), the fact that to give in here establishes a very dangerous precedent is worth considering. So is the fact that no reciprocal consideration will be promised to the icons of Judaism or Christianity.
All things considered, I think the Reagan principle applies: the West does not negotiate with terrorists.
I don't know if those who are so magnanimous and concerned about the sensitivities of Muslims re this particular issue have ever actually lived in an Islamic country. I spent the greater part of my school years in one such country (N. Nigeria), and "blasphemies" directed toward the person of the prophet were not treated as mere infractions or artistic excesses. Muslim citizens do indeed suffer severe punishments for such "crimes" in those jurisdictions where Sharia law is practiced without deference to human rights concerns.
It is however one thing to subject the citizens of a Taliban-like state to the draconian rigors of Islamic justice, and quite another to attempt to export the same climate of threat and intimidation to Western countries under the guise of "righteous offence". In doing this, Islamic radicals seek to use our multi-cultural PC sensitivities against us and if that doesn't work there are always death threats and other types of intimidation.
There is nothing innocent about any of this; these taboos are deliberately evoked and used as a weapon to intimidate and silence.
Ironically (given that the issue of artistic rendering is central to this clash), there are quite a number of Islamic miniatures that portray a likeness of the prophet. Such representations are by no means unheard of.
This particular cartoon incident has been deliberately exploited as a political strategy in the struggle with the secular world. It is really only an early skirmish; the clash of values has just begun and those in the West who are already caving in and resorting to mealy mouthed rationales, simply don't get it.
It's not about being polite about the other guy's religion. Sure, if the other guy happens to be a mild mannered Buddhist, or any other believer whose religion is not being employed as an ideological weapon, I would agree that we should avoid giving unnecessary offence.
In the case of harder edged Islamic chauvinism with its characteristic insolence, it is naive to simply take the view that "we shouldn't offend". Excuse me - but when a Mullah in Iran issues a Fatwah on a Western based author, Rushdie, calling for his murder in a Western jurisdiction we know that it is about a hell of a lot more than wounded religious sensibilities. When a Dutch film maker, Theo Van Gogh, is slaughtered in the street for the crime of exposing injustices experienced by Islamic women, its not merely about offended male pride. When the Canadian refusnik Irshad Manji, has her life threatened for speaking about problems in her own religion, Islam, its not merely about offended orthodoxy. The impulse central to these protests is all about control and silencing any with the temerity to cross lines that have been have drawn for us, without even an attempt at polite consultation.
To simply say "we must not offend" is to be shockingly blind about what is actually going on here. Recently English Muslims were polled on the question of Sharia law, and close to 60% responded that they would like to see provisions from Sharia become a part of the English judicial system.
This is a very real fight, and those who blithely assume that we can afford to bend over backwards because our rights and freedoms in the West are immutable - or worse still - who argue for sub-clauses that designate "Muslim offence concerns" no-go areas, are in the business of selling out the very essence of what it means to be a free society.
I tip my hat to all those courageous editors in Europe - now also in the States and Canada - with the guts to do the right thing by publishing these cartoons.
The following comments are from a recent column by the Muslim refusnik Irshad Manji ...
"Muslims have little integrity demanding respect for our faith if they don't show it for others. When have we demonstrated against Saudi Arabia's policy to prevent Christians and Jews from stepping on the soil of Mecca? They may come for rare business trips, but nothing more. As long as Rome welcomes non-Christians and Jerusalem embraces non-Jews, we Muslims have more to protest than cartoons.
None of this is to dismiss the need to take my religion seriously. Hell, Muslims even take seriously the need to be serious: Islam has a teaching against "excessive laughter." I'm not joking. But does this mean that we should cry "blasphemy" over less-than-flattering depictions of the Prophet Muhammad? God no.
For one thing, the Koran itself points out that there will always be non-believers, and that it's for Allah, not Muslims, to deal with them. More than that, the Koran says there is "no compulsion in religion." Which suggests that nobody should be forced to treat Islamic norms as sacred.
Fine, many Muslims will retort, but we're talking about the Prophet Muhammad - Allah's final and therefore perfect messenger. However, Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet was a human being who made mistakes. It's precisely because he wasn't perfect that we know of the so-called Satanic Verses: a collection of passages that the Prophet reportedly included in the Koran. Only later did he realize that those verses glorified heathen idols rather than God. According to Islamic legend, he retracted the idolatrous passages, blaming them on a trick played by Satan.
When Muslims put the Prophet on a pedestal, we're engaging in idolatry of our own. The point of monotheism is to worship one God, not one of God's emissaries. Which is why humility requires people of faith to mock themselves - and each other - every once in a while."
I linked to the Manji piece a few days ago. It is excellent.
I agree with the view that good a priori editorial judgment would have precluded publishing the cartoons. In this sense, I think publishing these cartoons reflects poorly on their authors and editors.
However, similar offensive judgment is shown all the time, with regard to other culturally sensitive issues and icons. Freedom of expression means freedom to offend.
And when challenged on this subject, all those who rely on freedom of expression must support one another. If every MSM outlet in the US published the offensive cartoons, it would lay down the gauntlet and tell radicals who oppose liberty that freedom lovers will not be intimidated. Not to do so reflects pure cowardice. There is no other explanation. None.