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A Billion Hypocrites?

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Two Danes Dispute your Comments.

Submitted by ron thompson (United States), Feb 5, 2006 at 23:15

I am dismayed to see the flap over the Danish cartoons framed as a question of allegedly gratuitous inflaming and offending all Muslims with regard to their prophet.
In fact I am doubly dismayed.

First, I don't think the issue should be accepted as one of blasphemy, but rather as to the truth of the cartoons, especially the one suggesting Mohammed was a terrorist. If a cartoonist should caricature Jesus as a terrorist, believers (of which I am not one) would be less advised to work themselves up about "blasphemy" than about the lie in the cartoon.

But with the charge of Mohammed as a terrorist, well, have any critics of that cartoon actually read the life history of Mohammed?
For instance, several histories of at least standard competence report that Mohammed ordered the execution (not the killing
in battle) by decapitation of 600-800 bound Jews in Medina, after which he distributed their property among his believers,
and on the night after the full day of butchery, he took to bed one of the Jewish widows.

Mohammed seems to have disliked poets, and ordered several who were critical of him to be murdered. And of course, an "uppity",critical female poet - well she was forthwith ordered killed. Given that Mohammed seems to have, on extremely credible evidence,behaved much like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane after he began to acquire political power, where is the impropriety, or justified outrage, if he is portrayed as a terrorist?
Of course, Mohammed's malevolent and enduring genius was to claim he was doing all this in the name of the same God as of the Christians and Jews, only now 'God' had perfected his message in its final, unalterable, eternal form through Mohammed.

Therefore, is not depicting Mohammed as a terrorist entirely consistent with what so-called extremist (i.e. really theological mainstream) imams, like Zawahiri and self-appointed religious authority bin Laden, over and over again proclaim as proper behavior by all good Muslims. On this reading, all Muslims who proclaim a desire for peace, goodwill, tolerance, and brotherhood between religions, may be good people, but are they not bad Muslims - indeed heretics - for proclaiming such wickedly "unIslamic" views?

Which comes to the second point.
Instead of accepting the terms of debate of outraged Muslims - these cartoons are a provocative "blasphemy" - why not publish some of the hundreds of cartoons in government supported papers throughout the Muslim world with their routine portrayals for decades past of Christians and Jews as pigs, monkeys, and sons of dogs.

Indeed, I'd like to see in the Washington Post and the New York Times, whole pages of, first, the choicest and most widely
circulated cartoons about Jews, a second about Christians, a third about the West, and fourth and by no means least, a full page of the choicest cartoons that appear is the Palestinian press toward Israel, the United States, and the West.

I think it can be argued it is a shameful failure of responsible journalism that this has not happened already. Indeed, the whole psychology of Muslim outrage may smack of the guilty being called to account by their own means.

But of course this is not entirely true, when the subject of Muslim cartoons is unadulterated racism and bigotry, and the cartoons of Mohammed just happen to be pointing out and ridiculing what is .... true about contemporary Islam.
What the Danish cartoonists have done is bracing, clarifying and useful to any rational debate about how to deal with the Muslim world.

One can only hope that the new signs of backbone among Europeans in defending their actions and standing up to the profoundly hypocritical outrage of the Muslims does not turn out to be ephemeral.
Ron Thompson.

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