Friday, February 03, 2006

Cartoon Controversy

Just when I thought the Muslim world couldn't get any weirder, they exceed my expectations. Everyone has heard by now about the seething over the cartoons printed in some European publications depicting the prophet Mohammed.

A bit of background to the current controversy: Last year in Denmark, a writer was complaining that he couldn't find anyone to illustrate a book he was writing about the life of Mohammed. Islam forbids artistic depictions of the prophet as a form of idolatry. Upon hearing of the story, the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten ran a story about the author, and invited those artists who dared to submit drawings of the prophet. In September of last year, Jyllands-Posten ran the twelve drawings they'd received. There was some uproar among Danish Muslims following the publication, which appeared to subside.

Eventually, however, word spread in the Middle East of the publication, fanning the flames of outrage. To make matters worse, pamphlets were distributed showing the cartoons, plus some more offensive ones which were never part of the original publication.

Soon, Muslims everywhere were boycotting Danish goods, calling for arrests and revenge killings and threatening terror attacks in Denmark.

The Muslim reaction is hypocritical in the extreme. Icons of other religions are routinely lampooned and parodied in the western media, with little response from the members of those religions. Sure, you'll sometimes hear cries of protest from religious groups over offensive displays, but I don't ever recall a group of evangelical Christians shooting guns in the air and threatening murder and kidnapping in response to such works of "art" as Piss Christ.

Yet the religion which, as a matter of doctrine, oppresses the expression of other religions in their lands, engages in acts of terror against adherents of other religions, and is all around the least tolerant of other cultures and religions demands respect and outright submission from the rest of the world. What, to you, is more offensive: the beheadings of Catholic schoolgirls by Islamic paramilitary death squads, or a handful of drawings of Mohammed?

Does the world need any further proof that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a free society?

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