February 26, 2006

Why The Reaction?

The Leader, out of Corning, NY, attempts to explain why the violence has taken place over the Danish cartoons. In running this article, the paper (unintentionally) demonstrates that many Muslims just don't get it -- and that their world-view is antithetical to that of those who live in a free society.

What if a Muslim made a satirical comment about the Holocaust?

Uh, anti-Semitism is rampant in the Muslim world, and anti-Semitic material runs in the state-run media of most Arab countries. I've yet to see Jews rioting in the streets.

Or made a joke at the expense of Jesus Christ?

I'm not sure about jokes, but Islam itself is one giant blasphemy against Jesus Christ, labeling him as a prophet inferior to Mohammad (pubh*) rather than the Son of God. I'm offended, but have never reacted violently, and i am unaware of anyone who has.

There's a chance a Jew or a Christian would be deeply offended. That, according to Najeeb Rehman, is exactly how Muslims across the globe felt when caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were first published in a Danish newspaper last September and then reappeared in other Western media, mostly in Europe.

Fine. You are offended. So what? Get over it, just like the Christians and Jews do in the examples above. Don't act like uncivilized sub-humans.

“I believe in freedom of expression, but that right has limits,” said Rehman, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of the Finger Lakes in Big Flats. “That right ends where someone else's right begins.”

And what is the putative right that you and your fellow Islamocensors claim here? After all, there is nothing in the cartoons that limits your freedom of speech or your free exercise of religion. Do you really believe there is a right not to be offended, or a right to force others to conform to the dictates of your religion?

Muslims have decried the images - one of which shows a prophet with a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse - as blasphemous because Islam prohibits images of Muhammad and other prophets.

The images have sparked worldwide protests, some of which have been deadly, throughout the Muslim world. While there have been few demonstrations in the United States, it doesn't mean Muslims here feel any different about the cartoons.

“It may be free expression, but you can't go into a crowd and scream ‘fire,'” said Yama Osmanzai of Horseheads. “You have to have judgment.”

Fine, you believe the images to be blasphemous. So what of it? Like I said, I consider portions of the Koran to be blasphemous -- indeed, I see the entire faith as a melange of the heretical forms of Christianity that were still extant on the fringes of the Christian world in the 6th century. Does that mean that that I have a right to have to have Islam suppressed on the basis of my offense at its false and blasphemous teachings?

And Yama, before you take the "fire in a crowded theater" analogy too far, please understand that the term refers to false utterances that are likely to cause an immediate mindless panic which endangers lives -- not truthful depictions of religious figures whose followers might get upset. After all, later case law upholds the right of folks to utter obscenities and racial slurs in public places -- even if people are offended -- and to display hateful signs and symbols (such as swastikas) in the midst of communities that reject them and wish to exclude them. Thus the actual status of free speech in this country is such that I and a group of like-minded individuals would be legally within our rights to stand outside your mosque on Friday, eating bacon sandwiches and displaying the Danish cartoons and carrying signs condemning Mohammad (pubh*) as pedophile for raping the 9-year-old Ayisha.

Osmanzai said the ban on images depicting Muhammad was handed down by the prophet himself so followers of Islam would not worship him.

“We follow his teachings very closely. Islam has certain lines you can't cross,” Osmanzai said. “We don't say anything bad about the prophets, not just Muhammad, but others such as Moses and Jesus.”

And since I'm not a follower of Islam, I don't give a rat's ass wht your religion says about images of your false prophet. Don't worry -- I certainly won't be worshipping them. But since I am not a Muslim, I'm allowed to cross whatever Muslim religious lines I want. And by the way -- you just blasphemed against Christ our Lord by calling Jesus a prophet. Can I place a bounty on your severed head now, like certain Muslim leaders have upon the heads of the cartoonists?

Rehman said the Danish government's refusal to meet with local Islamic leaders there and the cartoonist's unwillingness to apologize for the images is a major reason “why this has gotten out of hand.”

“(Muslims) wanted a retraction,” Rehman said. “To come out with a cartoon this degrading is insensitive to the community.”

And Muslims were rightly told to go pound sand. After all, the Danish government had nothing to apologize for or retract. What got out of hand was a bunch of folks who still think that they live in sixth-century Arabia decided to act in a barbaric fashion.

At the same time, many local Muslims have condemned the violence of some of the protests over the cartoon controversy.

“It's sad,” said Mushtaq A. Sheikh, another spokesman for the Islamic Center. “Peaceful demonstrations should take place, but some of this has gone way overboard.”

Sheikh, however, noted that if some sort of apology were offered after the images appeared, “the matter might have gone away.”

At last, someone with a modicum of sense, someone who is not out-and-out justifying the violence, even though he still excuses it with a comment about an apology.

But why should anyone apologize if they have done nothing wrong? Did you want them to lie to you? Are you that childish?

But if that is all you want, here goes -- "I'm sorry that you are so arrogant as to think there is anything wrong with non-Muslims not following Islamic law, and that you believ that you have the right to impose your religion upon the rest of the world. I'm also sorry that your co-religionists cannot conduct themselves in a manner that even remotely approaches the bounds of civilized behavior. Lastly, I'm sorry that the concept of jihad, as practiced over the last 14 centuries (and especially over the last few decades), has resulted in the rest of the world rightly seeing Islam as the religion of terrorism, even if most Muslims do not engage in violence."

Does that make everything better now?

Osmanzai said the violent protests creates a negative image for Islam because “Muslims are a very peaceful people.”

“We want things to happen in a peaceful manner,” he said. “It's only a small number of people who are reacting violently, but the media is not doing us justice by the images they portray.”

But, Osmanzai said the reactions are indicative of how Muslims felt after seeing the images.

See my apology above.

“I don't agree with the violence, but we all feel the same outrage,” he said. “Many people's frustrations have reached a boiling point.

“Some religions teach that if someone strikes you in the cheek, you turn the other one toward him,” Osmanzai said. “But our religion allows us to be outspoken. We will defend Islam.”

Fine. Be outspoken in defending Islam.

Tell us you are offended.

Tell us why.

Ask us to refrain from offending you.

But don't demand that we conform to your point of view -- and certainly don't threaten us with death if we refuse.

And most importantly, learn a little impulse control, because there are a great many of us who refuse to curb our tongue just because you don't like our words or pictures. After all, just as you have the right to practice your faith, we also have the identical right to practice ours -- or none at all.

And if that means that I feel called (hypothetically only) to say that Mohammad (pubh*) was visited by Beelzebub and not the Angel Gabriel, that Allah is Satan (not the God of the Jews and the Christians) and that the Koran is therefore the word of the Devil himself, then you had better suck it up and deal with it. That is my right, just as it is your right to falsely call Jesus a prophet and not the Son of God and Saviour of the World.

Local Muslim Naeem Parvez noted that most of the violent protests have taken place in the eastern part of the Islamic world, where there are more people with little or no education and where violent demonstrations are a part of everyday life. In Western nations, particularly throughout Europe, the protests have been more peaceful.

“The out-of-control anger is unfortunate. No one should be starting fires or destroying another person's property,” he said. “They should express their anger in a positive way.”

Unfortunately, this guy is only half right. Yes, his analysis of the situation in countries with a majority Muslim population is accurate -- but the only reason that violence did not break out in the West was the fact that there was a heavy police presence in the streets to prevent such violence. Look at the signs from London if you do not believe that.

Rehman hopes the controversy will encourage people to be more sensitive of the community around them.

“There has to be some restraint,” he said. “We don't joke about sensitive issues.”

Hopefully this incident will teach the Muslims restraint, and make them more sensitive to the rights of Christians and Jews and others around the world -- including in their own countries, where non-Muslims face persecution and discrimination on a daily basis with the full approval of the government.

Maybe this incident will cause the Muslim world to finally catch up with the rest of the world in terms of respect for fundamental human rights. And I'm not joking about that sensitive issue, for those rights are God-given, and their denial is blasphemy.

* "Place Bacon Upon Him"

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Comments on Why The Reaction?

Its goin from bad to worse..bookstores in the States are now refraining from carryin certain books that um..expose...cough cough..I mean offend Muzzzzzliims..we aint seen nuttin yet.

|| Posted by Angel, February 26, 2006 04:08 PM ||
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