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When I sent a comment to the english Aljazeera.net site...

Reader comment on item: Bibliography – My Writings on the Rushdie Rules

Submitted by Tom Campbell (Germany), Feb 22, 2006 at 15:54

I live in Europe and have seen the whole nine yards in the last few years. I sent a comment to an article where a new leader of Hamas was interviewed. I wasn't as careful with my wording as I should have been. Here is what I wrote:

First, the comment, "They were meant to insult, provoke and offend
Muslims." is not true in the least little bit. They were simply meant
to show what many in the West perceive to be true. If that is what
many perceive to be true in the West, rioting about it shows the
cartoons to be actually truer than the common European's worst nightmares.
Maybe ...(his).. perception is wrong. Secondly, "There is a conspicuous
malicious intent here.." is also false. Every day cartoonists
characterize common perceptions without the slightest hint of
malicious intent. Because we make fun of Chancellor Merkel in cartoons
does not mean we have the slightest bit of malicious intent against
her. It is looking quite like the perceptions of the vast majority of
people in Muslim countries are wrong and not the other way around.
Maybe the words of Jesus have some use here on both sides, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I really don't think it's a good idea to make fun of anything sacred and I wouldn't have drawn a picture of Mohammed to be reviewed by a Muslim. As a "common" Westerner I could not have known that the cartoonist had drawn Mohammed (with the bomb) unless I spoke Arabic or knew something more of the details in the picture. I should have made this plain. I did step on toes here (whole parts of the globe), but I thought I wouldn't get an answer. I did get an answer which turned out to be a one-liner. Which I do not feel free to repeat word for word, just let it suffice to say that Israel was mentioned as the one non-negotiable. The author was apparently so angered by my comment he let his feelings overflow to make the strongest of conclusions that only the doing away of Israel is the ultimate goal. We do indeed live in other cultures. Even in Germany, after listening to debates between a German and a Turkish (Left) Parliment member about the subject I am certain that many Muslims who have lived many years here in the West cannot fully grasp how Westerners think. They just don't get it. And we in the West don't grasp their culture to a great extent. The point is, if Aljazeera can't give objective answers (the way we in West expect them to be), can we expect the "vast majority" to be integrated into how we think (much less act)?

There is either a whole lot of work to do or bigger problems in store for this world. I am tending to think the latter is true, given the nature of man...
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