Monday, May 01, 2006

From the cartoonist's mouth

Jyllands-Posten of Denmark, the original publisher of the Mohammed cartoons, has an interview with the cartoonist who produced the above cartoon. Asked about his cartoon's intended message, he responds [all emphasis mine --ed.]:
"The cartoon is not directed against Islam as a whole, but against the part of it which obviously can inspire to violence, terrorism, death and destruction. And therefore the fundamentalist aspect of Islam. I wanted to show that terrorists get their spiritual ammunition from Islam."
When asked why he wanted to get this particular message across:
"If a religion degenerates into religious Fascism, we are faced with totalitarian tendencies similar to Fascism and Nazism in the past. It is the same situation, where people have to bow their heads and act as the regime wants them to act. I believe we have to fight against that and of course a cartoonist's weapon is the pen or pencil and a certain amount of indignation."
When asked the inane question of whether he thought the cartoon "shows sufficient respect for Islam", his response is right on target:
"It does not respect the kind of Islam which provides terrorists with spiritual fuel. I have nothing against Islam and Muslims. They are entitled to their freedom, but if factions of a religion degenerate in a totalitarian and aggressive direction, I believe we have to protest. We protested against the other isms. Thousands of satirical cartoons and other satire were produced during Communism, exposing and reacting against it."
Some other choice quotes from the cartoonist:
"We were obliged to defend our view of freedom of speech, because a religion or people practising a religion and perhaps subscribing to the more fundamentalist aspects of it have begun to demand a privileged or special position in the public arena.

"...I am not a Muslim, it is not my religion, I am in my own country, I must be allowed to follow the tradition which for the sake of freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. That must not be compromised, that cannot be right. We have had to lay down the borderlines."
Does this guy totally get it, or what?

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