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There is nothing good that can be said about the entire affair of the Danish cartoons of Muhamed, and it gets worse from day to day. An Iranian newspaper announced a contest for Holocaust denial cartoons. In the Arab and Muslim world, rumors circulate that the editor of the Jyllands Posten is a Jew named Rose, and that the whole decision to launch the campaign was his - proof that it is a Jewish-Zionist plot presumably. The Muslims who are so respectful of the dignity of Muhamed circulate these cartoons on the Internet while feigning outrage at others who do so. The Muslim world version of the cartoons includes one of Muhamed with the face of a pig, and others of Muhamed performing indecent acts. However, the editors of the Jyllands Posten deny that they ever published such cartoons. The extra cartoons that were particular insulting were added by the Islamisk Trossamfund, a Danish group of "conservative" Imams who sought to stir up trouble between Muslims and the West.
The American Free Press had this to say about the controversy:
"Agents of certain persuasion" are behind the egregious affront to Islam in order to provoke
Muslims, Professor Mikael Rothstein of the University of Copenhagen told the BBC. The key "agent" is Flemming Rose, the
cultural editor of JP, who commissioned cartoonists to produce the blasphemous images and then published them in
Denmark's leading morning paper last September.
(republished in many places including "http: // www.mathaba.net/0_index.shtml?x=508448" )
The cartoons were the initiative of Carsten Juste the editor of Jyllands Posten, according to the Guardian. His views regarding the Jewish question are not stated.
Western and Jewish reactions to the burning of embassies and the anti-Semitic campaign that has been, inevitably, spawned by an incident that had little to do with Jews, have been remarkably mild and more than tolerant. In Ha'aretz, Bradley Burston took the position that the publication of the cartoons was a new variety of anti-Semitism. Edgar Bronfman, writing in Saudi Arabia's Arab News, asserted that "Muslims Deserve the Same Respect as Christians or Jews." He surely meant to write that Muslims should be treated respectfully, and not what he wrote. When the Jordanians conquered the old City of Jerusalem in 1948, they destroyed all but one of the synagogues there and used the gravestones of the Jewish cemetery in the Mt. of Olives. Much more recently, the Taleban destroyed two venerable statues of Buddha. Perhaps Buddhists don't deserve the same respect as others. In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper published an article claiming that Jews make Hamentashen (Purim holiday pastry) from the blood of Christian children. Christian religious services are not permitted in public in Saudi Arabia. Do Bronfman and the Saudi editors of Arabic News want us to treat Muslims like that?
It is difficult to be wise about this miserable affair. We have to deplore intolerance and those who stir it up, whatever the source and whatever the reason. At the same time, we have to support freedom of expression: "Die Gedanken Sind Frei." Freedom is not just for the American Free Press. We have to support the principle that people, including Ariel Sharon, are innocent until proven guilty. The American Free Press forgot that one too. At least the same exercise of responsibility and good taste that should have prevented publication of the cartoons, should have prevented the editors of American Free Press and so many others from publishing their gratuitous speculations about connections between the publication of the cartoons and "Zionist" conspiracies, dressed up with irrelevant accusations against "known war criminals" who were never tried except in the pages of degenerate journals. The same tolerance that should have restrained the circulation of the cartoons, should also deplore the waves of violence and race hate that they evoked.
If we are looking for the roots of intolerance, then we have to ask, who fanned the controversy over some some cartoons in an obscure Danish newspaper into an international incident and what does it prove about intolerance and race hate?
A particularly perceptive commentary by Irshad Mani, below, originally published in the Wall Street Journal, explores the disparity between Muslim respect for other religions and Muslim expectations of respect from other religions. It is written with wisdom and compassion, both of which are sorely needed, and good-natured humor as well. Let's learn to love the best in people of other religious beliefs. The decent people of all faiths and nationalities are united in their beliefs about the essentials, as this article proves.
The above commentary is copyright 2006 by the author.
Cartoon Fun - Irshad Manji: Impure Islam appears at Zionism and Israel Information Center at http://www.zionism-israel.com/ezine/manjiIslam.htm and should only be circulated by email with this note, giving the sources and copyright. Other uses require permission.
See Also - Cartoon Crackup
By Irshad Manji
At the World Economic Forum in January, I observed something revealing. In a session about the U.S. religious right,
a cartoonist satirized one of America's most influential Christian ministers, Pat Robertson. In the audience, chuckling
with the rest of us, was a prominent British Muslim. But his smile disappeared the moment we were shown a cartoon that
made fun of Muslim clerics.
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