Muslims can't take a joke


[Link to dutch blog with all 12 images]

Apparently, there’s one more thing the Islamic world doesn’t understand. Humor. The recent flap over the cartoon pictured here illustrates this. Now let’s get one thing straight: Islam has become inextricably associated with terrorism. This meme will perpetuate for centuries after the last terrorist bombing occurs (whenever that is). It doesn’t matter what cartoons are or are not drawn, this is a fact, and one that every Muslim lives with every day. Instead of getting upset with the messenger, why not go to the heart of the message? Why not work even harder to rid Islam of this association by DEEDS including GLOBAL renunciation of violence? Why do Muslims think cartoons like this are drawn in the first place?

In their typical extremist non-nuanced way, Islamic protesters have now targeted the Danish government over the actions of an independent newspaper. This nonsense is threatening to blow up into an international political crisis.

The "Organization of the Islamic Conference" (OIC) is even trying to get a U.N. resolution passed banning attacks on religious beliefs! So I guess they want the UN to try to take away half the world’s press freedom to appease the thin-skinned religious ‘sensibilities’ of the world’s most backward societies. Right.

An article on correctly states:

Clearly, this is not at all a reasonable response. The newspaper in Denmark that published these cartoons is not owned by the government. The artist who drew the cartoons was not paid by the Danish government. Yet the intolerant Muslim masses have reacted with threats (and actual violence) over some drawings that were published on another continent.

And it isn’t just the kooks in the "Muslim Street" who are going bonkers over this. In Pakistan, an official spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry said, "you cannot hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims in the name of freedom of press."

Well, actually, yes we can. That’s what "freedom of press" is all about.

Indeed. While we do have laws in the West against hate speech, these usually protect persecuted minorities from the tyranny of the majority. These protections make sense. But freedom of the press to skewer and criticize those in power is a long-protected tradition that goes back as far as the American Revolution, and probably to English common law. (And Islam quite rightly qualifies as a target for criticism, being that it holds almost total power over 1.3 billion adherents.) We have to remember that where Islam is concerned, the clock is turned back at least 700 years. We’re dealing with a society of fanatics that hasn’t even recognized the principles of the Magna Carta, let alone the European Convention on Human Rights or the US Bill of Rights. The key feature of all of these documents is that the law be applied evenly, regardless of sentiment. That was the genius. That certain ideas were more important than personalities. The reverse, which involved vendettas, witch burnings, mob rule, and silencing of critics, was characteristic of the dark ages that preceded these recognitions of universal rights. Apparently, Muslims want to continue to live this way.

I personally enjoy listening to them howl and whine about this. They are so fucking clueless about what it means to live in a modern, diverse society. (My favorite is the obvious irony of their deploring of mere insults, while members of their religion murder and throw bombs!) Imagine if they were christian and had to endure Andres Serrano’s "Piss Christ." You gotta give America that–we protect unpopular expression for the most part–even if the government is sometimes unwilling to fund it.

Even worse than the Muslim fanatics are the western multicultural apologists for this nonsense. They will opine that Islamic violence is not religious, that it’s in response to specific actions by the West, that we have no business claiming our societies are better than theirs, etc., etc… To which I respond: go back and read your history of the middle ages, when our ancestors were doing the same thing. Would you argue that we are not justified in making the claim that we’ve indeed evolved, and that it’s a good thing? (This gets right back to the same old philosophical arguments of subjective measures of a society vs. objective ones.)

In any event, I’m very glad I don’t live in Europe. Because in Europe, Islam has demonstrated that it is trying to reinstate mob rule, and silencing its critics through intimidation. In certain parts of Europe, I might have to fear for my life for even writing this blog entry. I sincerely hope that the authors of the cartoons in question do not suffer the fate of Theo Van Gogh.

Comments (4 comments)

Mike Bommerson / January 31st, 2006, 2:05 pm / #1

Yesterday I read the entire cartoon affaire is becoming an economic disaster for Denmark. Time to realise the influence of big money! Obviously some countries have become too independent on a few wealthy buyers.

These days we read in the Dutch papers that “sometimes we are a bit short tempered” (it’s a national campaign). But…

Only a few months ago the Prime Minister of the Netherlands demanded a total stop of all satire about the Royal Family. A little while thereafter a Belgian minister compared him to Harry Potter and Europe became too small for both of them. Official excuse was demanded and the Belgians “feared for the economic relationship”. In the mean time the minister had only muttered what everybody else was saying all the time.

Now comes a muslim who is upset about someone drawing a portrait that is supposed to be the prophet Muhammed. The guy tries to explain that making a portrait of any living being is not done according to his belief. And especially not of the prophet since he thinks that comes close to deification already.

How is this different from a christian who tries to convince his neighbour that he should not swear? (we have campaign posters all over the country)

And what about a Prime Minister who uses the power given to him by the people to punish someone who steps on his very personal toes?

I too hope that nobody gets murdered like Theo van Gogh.

I also hope no other film makers will bash their colleagues the way he used to do in his internet column.

BlackSun / January 31st, 2006, 4:02 pm / #2


I think it’s appropriate if someone doesn’t like something said by another to mount a boycott, respond verbally, or take other actions permitted under the law. I’m not arguing that speech be consequence-free: You are free to bad-mouth your employer, and he is free to fire you.

So in no way would I argue with the political consequences of free-speech. Just that people need to respond in kind. Satire for satire. Insult for insult. Diatribe for diatribe. I’m cool with that.

But when words get you killed, we’ve lost all pretense of civilization.

(p.s., I’m not trying to bad mouth Europe–you guys are much more progressive than the US on most fronts. It’s just that you are a lot closer to Islamic countries than we are ;-)

Safiyyah / January 31st, 2006, 4:16 pm / #3

“(And Islam quite rightly qualifies as a target for criticism, being that it holds almost total power over 1.3 billion adherents.) We have to remember that where Islam is concerned, the clock is turned back at least 700 years. We’re dealing with a society of fanatics that hasn’t even recognized the principles of the Magna Carta, let alone the European Convention on Human Rights or the US Bill of Rights.”

You’re asking Muslims to be more nuanced, and I agree with you there, but your own view of Muslims is rather simplistic. There is no central authority in Islam, unlike that of some other faiths. Moreover, it would be unfair to say that many Muslims in the West do not recognize the principles of the Magna Carta, US Bill of Rights, et cetera, when in fact they live in accordance to those principles.

BlackSun / January 31st, 2006, 4:22 pm / #4


You are right of course. But Muslims who live in the west and espouse western values are not part of the problem. I’m addressing those who DON’T recognize those documents or live according to the principles of secular rights or freedom of expression.

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