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The Recent Cartoon Controversy in Denmark

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?

Submitted by Aidan Maconachy (Canada), Feb 1, 2006 at 20:23

I have tried in posts on Daniel Pipes and elsewhere to make a clear distinction between radical Islam and mainstream Islam.

One reason I have attempted to avoid blurring these distinctions is because here in Canada we have had very little overt tension due to real or perceived threats coming from any in the Muslim community.

However this recent hysteria over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that were first published in Denmark, is seriously testing my wish to err on the side of tolerance.

In the west we have both the right and the freedom to depict God in any way we choose, both in written form or as an image. We have the right to use satire - as the movie The Life of Brian by Monty Python clearly demonstrated - in offering a comedic version of the life of Jesus.

Muslims cannot presume to dictate what we can and cannot do in our own societies.

The Islamic groups offended by this appear to include Muslims from all walks of life. Don't they understand that that "freedom of expression" is part and parcel of democratic way of life? They may not like these depictions and are free to write to the editors to lodge a complaint, but who are they to threaten bombings and suicide attacks as a result of a cartoonist exercising his write to express himself however he sees fit within the borders of his own country?

This type of spectacle makes it very hard for those in the West who are looking for a way to bridge the divide. It creates the impression that Muslims are seriously unhinged and somehow imagine that Islamic law should apply to what goes on in a european jurisdiction.

I'm glad these cartoons have been picked up and published in many other papers in europe. Muslims who are offended by this, are welcome to be offended and should lodge complaints - but they will never get anywhere with threats and abuse.

Such activities as flag burning and a call to boycott Danish products, will simply make those in the West all the more determined to defend our rights against a religion that sadly at times, gives signs of incubating the worst types of intolerance.

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