In September, a dozen cartoons were published in Denmark critical of Islam, some depicting Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam, in an unflattering light. Many Muslims consider it blasphemy to print any image of Muhammad. One cartoon depicts Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb. Another shows him at the gates of heaven, arms raised, saying to male suicide bombers, "Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins." A third has devil's horns emerging from his turban.
The cartoons have been reprinted in Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Hungary, as well as in Jordan. Editors at papers in France and Jordan were fired for publishing them
Friday, U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said, "Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief." But he defended the right of newspapers to publish the cartoons, saying, "We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view."
Also Friday demonstrators filled the streets in the Palestinian regions and in Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia calling for boycotts of European goods and burning the flag of Denmark.
Today several thousand enraged demonstrators set the Danish and the Norwegian embassies in Damascus on fire to protest the cartoons. Chanting "God is Greatest," the protesters stormed the Danish embassy, threw rocks and broke windows, burned the Danish flag and replaced it with another reading "No God but Allah, Mohammad is His Prophet." The embassy was empty in anticipation of the protest and the Danish Foreign Ministry warned its citizens against traveling to Syria and urged all Danes now there to leave the country.
Is religious outrage reasonable? Should the threatened, and now exercised, expression of that outrage outweigh freedom of speech? How far do we go toward accommodating religious sensitivities in a pluralistic society? Is there such thing as a legitimate non-pluralistic society?
Varying viewpoints on the situation from Blogcritics:
College Paper Publishes Anti-Muslim Cartoons; Refuses to Publish Responses to Them
As I posted last week on Pink Pumps & Politics, The Communicator, Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne's student newspaper, ran the 12-cartoon anti-Islamic cartoons that have been creating controversy worldwide. No context to them. No editorials. Just a...
Posted to Culture by Chelsea Snyder on February 23, 2006 03:47 PM
Jesus Cartoons Everywhere and Christians Are Not Rioting
I "Googled" and "Alta-Vista-ed" the phrase "Jesus Cartoon" this morning and found that there were quite a few to choose from. Most were from Christian sites, some from anti-Christian sites, some were whimsical, some were coarse and degrading, many were...
Posted to Culture by Bird of Paradise on February 21, 2006 05:43 AM