February 05, 2006

What's Up Mohammed?

From the Study of Revenge Blog

When the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten, published the 12 caricatures satirizing the prophet Mohammed, it unleashed an unbridled fury over the Muslim world condemning the Danish blasphemy. The reason why they published it is because they wanted artists to show that they don't have to be afraid in illustrating sensitive Islamic themes like Allah and Mohammed. Norwegian, French, German, and Spanish newspapers followed suit and reprinted the or or two of the caricatures sparking a domino effect of hate across the Middle East. Of course, the Danes took the brunt.

The European alliance of journalists rallied around their kin proclaiming that secular and democratic societies (like Denmark) have freedom of expression and according to a German newspaper, "the right to blaspheme". While it is true that western journalists bank on this statute, they did not foresee the backlash their cartoons would unleash. They should have been more circumspect and sensitive to Muslim sentiments because they're targeting a people whose religion has been fanaticized and radicalized into Medieval zealotry.

And do Muslim zealots, moderate or extreme, respect "all" forms of free expression? No. They are acutely sensitive towards Western criticism and anything that ridicules them, they immediately give a knee-jerk reaction. And criticizing Mohammed may have been their "Jollibee" (see preceding entry) of some sort. If the Danes caricatured the Pope or Jesus, can we expect people joining rallies? No. It's because the enlightened West has separated the issue between Church and State, and has the wisdom to protect the rights of man. L' Droit d' Homme! However, if one goes to repressive states such as Saudi Arabia where women are treated a little better than cattle, how can we expect them to respect the freedom of the press, much less the freedom of self-expression? It's only natural to see such mobocratic rhetorics inciting to jihad to come from repressed rogue countries. The Europeans should have known better.

What I find disturbing is the fact that the current Islamic interpretation of the Quran "espouses" violence and annihilation as a form of retaliation towards any religious criticism. It is all an "appeal to force" as the fallacy of Ad Baculum would say. With such a Muslim line of argument, how can one then, diplomatically rebut? I'm not sure if words would be enough in quelling the anger of the insulted. And Denmark and Norway have already apologized (reluctantly) for their actions but still, the rage goes on.

The contention here being that it is supposedly blasphemous to depict Allah and his prophet in any form of illustration because it will lead them to idolatry. Huh??? They why don't they look at their own historical manuscripts again and see how the Persians and the Ottomans have handily drawn Mohammed. Why was there no complaint over them? Then why don't they burn them first before rallying against the West? It smells a bit of double-standard, don't you think?

Borrowed from Mohammed Image Archive

In the name of Allah the merciful, can we just get along?

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