Home > Religion > Blogosphere to Muslim world: “Eat My Shorts”

Blogosphere to Muslim world: “Eat My Shorts”

February 6, 2006

Writing a paper?  Huge collection of links on this issue below the fold…

The Danish newspaper ‘Muhammed cartoon’ flack is what I’d call a ‘clarifying event’ for those who think the world’s Muslims are just ‘misunderstood’.  It’s hard to see the burning embassies,  the protests, and to hear the deafening silence of the Muslim world that apparently thinks that’s just fine, and still think that the Muslim religion is all that good for humanity.

Some of the controversy seems to be that a couple of the cartoons were offensive, but mostly it’s just that images of Muhammed were made at all.  Well OK, that’s not Halal for Muslims, so I guess Muslims had better not do it.  But hey, it’s their hang-up, not ours. 

In particular some have objected to the association of Muslims with violence.  That association is made by Muslim terrorists and rioters, and by moderate Muslims who do nothing to stop them.  I have a saying; “If you don’t want to be treated as a stereotype, don’t act like one.”  Muslim society appears to be about where Christianity was when it was burning witches.  Some may long for those days but if Christianity hadn’t moved on from there, the rest of the world would have long since left it behind.  Is that what Muslims want for their religion?

Offended Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, etc. need to realize: free speech is not a little appendage to be tacked onto society when it is convenient and comfortable.  Free speech makes for a vibrant nation and world; it is the enemy of tyranny, of medievalism, of crime and corruption.  While every offended idealism tries to carve out a little exception for itself, immune from the criticism that other idealisms must endure, in the end such exceptions are both self-serving and self-defeating.  Your religion/interest-group/victim-group or whatever will only be weakened by such protection, because you’ll be less adapted to reality.

The following links were moved here from an earlier post;  Not Getting it, Muslim Style:

  • Dispatches: More on the Muhammad charicatures.  I like this quote: “No faith that believes it’s okay to murder people for blasphemy is worthy of respect. That is barbarism and it is no less so just because the belief claims to come from a holy text.”

  • Revealer: Banning Contempt
  • SEB: Islam is the religion of “peace and love” – eh, not so much
  • Muhammed Image Archive showing the original cartoons and three fraudulant (and far more offensive) ones that were distributed in a phamplet as being part of the original set.  Scroll down to Jyllands-Posten images. (link from SEB)
  • Respectful Insolence – Islam against freedom of speech
  • Dispatches: What We’re Dealing With, and The Charicatures Themselves, and The insanity continues
  • Buridan’s Ass: Religious extremism shows its true colors once again
  • Pharyngula and Dispatches disagree over the cartoons, sort of.  Then Pharyngula responds with another thread, Dispatches fires back
  • UTI: A lesson in free speech
  • Old And Evil says Muslims of the world, you can also kiss my ass (I second the motion)
  • Respectful Insolence does a good piece on Christopher Hitchens and the Danish cartoon imbroglio
  • ***Dave posts An Open Letter to protesting Muslims, covering eight points – eight chances for them to stop and get back on the right track before they make even bigger asses of themselves.  Then he turns the magnifying glass and sunlight on the free-speech issue specifically with Sacred Cows….
  • Dispatches: Vatican opposes free speech
  • DailyKos explains the (surprise!) Saudi Arabian connection and why no protest over many other representations of the prophet, in Muslim Cartoon Controversy; what the media isn’t telling you.
    • …which led to The Religious Policemen which, written by an expatriate Saudi, is a gold mine of insight and information on the issue (and bonus funny).
    • Another memo
    • INGE responds
    • The View From Denmark
    • A Memo – discussing in detail many historical depictions of Muhammed
    • Still Condition Orange
    • …and an explanation of the “Muslim Offense Level, which is currently at ‘High’ (orange), or ‘Very Offended’.  It’s very illuminating stuff!
    • Armageddon(really pissed off at those Danes!
    • Start here: Prams, toys, rattles, and dummies the RP’s post that introduces the issue to begin with.  “…there are always some Muslims on the lookout for opportunities to be offended. They scour the world’s press, in its most obscure languages, seeking something to get into a Hissy Fit about…”
  • Iran to publish Holocaust cartoons – well, it’s a step in the right direction (answering speech with speech) but I would have preferred a series of cartoons mocking Danes.  There must be something about Danes that would be worthy of satire, right?  Don’t they all dress funny or something?  Oh, c’mon, there must be something!

  • Atheist Revolution: Violence over cartoons, a new low includes a picture of a protester holding a sign which reads; ‘Behead those who say Islam is violent’.  That protester is joking, right?  I mean, could anyone really be that dumb?

  • Universist Movement: Universist Movement Statement on Muhammad Cartoon Conflict; Universists Hold Ground Under Threats of Violence reads in part:

    millions of Muslims are outraged by cartoons. Seventeen governments in the Middle East asked Denmark for “firm sanctions” on the cartoonists. As people who share a common worldview wherein individual self-determination is our preeminent value, we also have something to be outraged about. Muslims are shifting global thought about religion as you read this. We face the real possibility of seeing religious criticism become unacceptable in public. Recently, a law limiting speech in this manner was narrowly defeated in Britain. Now prominent politicians in western countries are kowtowing to the Muslim world, agreeing that their great religion must not be disrespected, even by nonbelievers.

  • Truthdig: Sam Harris on the reality of Islam reads in part:

    “In confronting the religious literalism and ignorance of the Muslim world, we must appreciate how terrifyingly isolated Muslims have become in intellectual terms.  The problem is especially acute in the Arab world.  Consider: According to the United Nations’ Arab Human Development Reports, less than 2% of Arabs have access to the Internet. Arabs represent 5% of the world’s population and yet produce only 1% of the world’s books, most of them religious.  In fact, Spain translates more books into Spanish each year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the ninth century.”

  • Boston Globe: We Are All Danes Now, reads in part,

    HINDUS CONSIDER it sacrilegious to eat meat from cows, so when a Danish supermarket ran a sale on beef and veal last fall, Hindus everywhere reacted with outrage. India recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen, and Danish flags were burned in Calcutta, Bombay, and Delhi. A Hindu mob in Sri Lanka severely beat two employees of a Danish-owned firm, and demonstrators in Nepal chanted: ‘‘War on Denmark! Death to Denmark!“In many places, shops selling Dansk china or Lego toys were attacked by rioters, and two Danish embassies were firebombed.

  • Dispatches posts The bottom line on the Muhammed charicatures which (quoting a Seattle paper) reads in part:

    what’s happening here is that a gang of bullies – led by a country, Saudi Arabia, where Bibles are forbidden, Christians tortured, Jews routinely labeled “apes and pigs” in the state-controlled media, and apostasy from Islam punished by death – is trying to compel a tiny democracy to live by its own theocratic rules. To succumb to pressure from this gang would simply be to invite further pressure, and lead to further concessions – not just by Denmark but by all of democratic Europe. And when they’ve tamed Europe, they’ll come after America.

      The post goes on to say that Hamas’ political chief says they’ll try to calm the anger on the Muslim street if Western nations will immediately begin drafting laws forbidding any offense to any religions.

  • The news isn’t all bad, though.  Former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami had some encouraging thoughts to share yesterday.  The AP article reads in part:

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Feb 11, 2006 (AP)— The Islamic world is fed up with violence and extremism in the name of religion and is ready for an era of progressive, democratic Muslim governments, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Friday.

    Khatami said current conflicts between the West and Islam have created a situation that “can only see ever-escalating violence, whether in the form of war and occupation and repression, or in the form of terror and destruction.”

    “After about two centuries of dispute between tradition and modernity in the world of Islam (there is) a high level of mental preparation for the acceptance of a major transformation in the mind and lives of Muslims,” Khatami said in a speech at an international conference on Islam and the West. link

      I’m sure Jill Carroll will appreciate the thought when she is brutally murdered on live TV in about 15 days.

  • BBC News report Muslim cartoon fury claims lives reads in part:

    “They want to test our feelings,” protester Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra told the BBC.

    “They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers,” he said.

  • There’s an interesting historic parallel to this controversy in Frontline: Death Of A Princess

  • Wikipedia article about Jyllands-Posten Muhammed Cartoon Controversy including full timeline and comprehensive references.

Categories: Religion
  1. WeeDram
    February 8, 2006 at 06:55 | #1

    OK, I am going to take a different tack on this one.

    First, I have been saddened and taken aback by the virule, violent

    responses of many Muslims.  Like many who value free speech, my gut reaction, my impulse resonse is, “Get over it… it’s an editorial cartoon, try to understand WHY someone would make this statement.”

    But let’s turn that around:  “Why make this statement?”  WHY, Mr/Ms Editorialist, make this statement?

    Let me illustrate.  While driving down the highway (in the West at least), if some idiot driver (all OTHER drivers are idiots, right?) cuts me off or
    otherwise offends me, it’s my RIGHT to give him/her a one-fingered salute.

    Right?  After all, “freedom of speech”, my right to express myself, etc.

    But why?  If the offending driver is armed and dangerous, I may end up dead.  My right to free speech is preserved, but please explain this to my
    wife, to my children.  I’m gone because an idiot chose violence in reaction to my expression of free speech.  My idiotic choice of expression.

    So, you’re thinking, I am promoting silence and appeasement of radicals?  Let yet another collective Hitler encroach, creep forward?

    No.  This is about smarts, about going BEYOND free speech, going BEYOND offense, and taking RESPONSIBILITY for steering the currents of fear,
    suspicion and animosity to a flow of dialog, trust and tolerance.

    There may be those who dismiss this perspective as naive and unrealistic.  My only response is to say “Nonsense”.  Violence and war are insanity. 
    Literally.  It is time for leadership from both sides to step in and begin moving from conflict to peace.  I am confident that G. W. Bush and Osama
    bin Laden are not those leaders.  We need Ghandis and M. L. Kings.

    “Eat my shorts” is not helpful when you are staring down rage.

  2. February 8, 2006 at 17:32 | #2

    “Eat my shorts” is not helpful when you are staring down rage.

    True, but I’m not trying to be ‘helpful’.  Instead I want to force something out in the open, which is that Islam is not a religion of peace, and it won’t be until ‘moderate Muslims’ find their backbones and put a stop to this disgrace.

    If you wade through the linked articles, the newspaper was making a very important political point, which is that censorship of criticism against Islam is enforced by terror.  And the protesters have proven them right.  They have said very clearly that they expect Europe to live by Muslim rules, and that they intend (in the long run) Muslim rule.

    Our ‘friends’ the Saudis are pushing this whole thing through proxy activism.  They went looking for this, and if it wasn’t this, it would have been something else.  Tomorrow it will be something else.  It isn’t possible to twist European or American culture enough to avoid offending those who want to be offended.

  3. WeeDram
    February 8, 2006 at 21:54 | #3

    I understand, and I have absolutely no quarrel with the need for a discussion of censorship, free speech, the current path of radical Islam, who is supporting what, etc.

    All I am saying is that something is drastically missing.  If we all continue only down the current line of discourse, we are in deep doo-doo.

  4. February 8, 2006 at 22:14 | #4

    OK, we’ll do ‘good-cop, bad-cop’.  You talk nice to ‘em, and I’ll lay it on the table.  I have a hunch both approaches are needed.  Our governments and media have been tiptoeing around the issue trying to make nice, and ignoring the elephant in the room.

    The Bush administration is condemning the cartoons and not the Muslim response.  Wrong!  Time to come right out and say (instead of talking nicely while hypocritically dropping bombs) ‘You’re a disgrace to your own religion, and bringing dishonor to Islam.’  Of course this will be a lot more effective coming from awakened ‘moderate’ Muslims, which is what I am hoping will happen.

    Speaking of Ghandi, I have learned that he is not nearly as popular in India as he is here in the states.  I had assumed he is revered everywhere and it ain’t so.

  5. February 10, 2006 at 09:32 | #5

    Blaming the messenger instead of the message is what the PC crowd is all about. I can’t understand why those who are the apologists for the Islamic can’t get it through their heads that these people will kill them just as fast as they will kill anyone else who is not a Muslim and maybe even if they are a Muslim.

    The main ting that the cartoons have accomplished is that it has shown the world that the followers of Islam are fanatics who will follow the mad Mullahs. If the majority of te free world can wake up to the fact that we are at war with Islam they will have accomplished something that made the publishing worthwhile.

  6. February 10, 2006 at 10:18 | #6

    As Sam Harris recently said, ‘the Bible would be the worst moral guide possible if we didn’t also have the Koran.’  Both books are Chok-Full O’ Violence including calls to genocide.  At one time Christianity supported the monstrous evil of slavery and the slaveholders were Christians.  Then moderate Christians woke up and took a lead role in making slavery unacceptable.  (Plus there was the little matter of that Civil War) It happened again with festering racism and it’s happpening now with pedophile priests.  Outsiders can only do so much.

    This should be a model for moderate Muslims, who have the biggest chance of living (and many are currently living) under a ‘Mad Mullah’ tyranny.  There’s only so much the non-Muslim world can do.  For every radical Muslim we kill, we radicalize one of their relatives and probably kill another innocent Muslim, radicalizing their relatives.  The best thing we can do is make it clear that Islam has cancer (and the cartoons have gone a long way toward showing this) and that Muslims are best positioned to apply the chemotherapy. And of course, try to protect ourselves from the radicals as intelligently as we can.

  7. WeeDram
    February 10, 2006 at 20:59 | #7

    I need a point of clarification from guyk…

    Are you saying I’m an “apologist for the Islamic” [sic] ?

    Also, are you saying I’m “PC”?

  8. June 3, 2008 at 20:45 | #8

    how many wars we had since the start of civilization which were based on religion? it is the most sensitive and controvercial topic. i think we should respect other religion and act accordingly.

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