You will probably recall the cartoon controversy that engulfed the world only months ago, revealing the deep-seated tensions and division between Islam and the West. For Muslims, the decision by the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, to publish the cartoons was an inexcusable assault on their core beliefs; whereas, for Westerners, it was simply the act of a free media that the Islamic world must come to terms with. Last week, Flemming Rose, the editor who chose to publish the cartoons, came out in defense of his decision.
The bottom line, according to Flemming, is that the publication of the Muhammad cartoons was "an act of inclusion, not exclusion; an act of respect and recognition."
Flemming’s profound insight into the social costs associated with the "Muslim demographic surge" that Europe is currently facing makes his article a must read for any American who is concerned with the similar Hispanic demographic surge that their country is currently facing. Nevertheless, his bottom line defense for the publication of the cartoons, as noted above, is both weak and completely unnecessary.
Flemming’s social commentary revolves around a central theme: Muslim migrants to Europe are not integrating into Western society. He blames this phenomenon on Europe’s leftist, PC mentality that promotes multiculturalism over social integration (sound familiar?). Thus, according to Flemming:
"[Publishing the cartoons was] an act of inclusion. Equal treatment is the democratic way to overcome traditional barriers of blood and soil for newcomers. To me, that means treating immigrants just as I would any other Danes. And that’s what I felt I was doing in publishing the 12 cartoons of Muhammad last year."
I entirely agree with Flemming’s notion that all people should be treated equally and that a group’s particular religious beliefs does not shield them from the same scrutiny and satirical commentary that other religious groups face. Nevertheless, using the Islamic prophet to make a point is unnecessary and understandably offensive. Flemming disagrees:
"Those images in no way exceeded the bounds of taste, satire and humor to which I would subject any other Dane, whether the queen, the head of the church or the prime minister."
Personally, I have no problem with religious satire, nor do I believe that it exceeds the bounds of taste and humor. However, the satirizing of Christianity, for example, does not require questionable depictions of Jesus Christ. That said, the depictions of Muhammad do not begin to justify the response that followed, nor can a creative imagination make it so.