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cartoons and censorship

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by petem (Ireland), Feb 7, 2006 at 08:41

Hi.
This entire controversy reeks of the hypocrisy which permeates both sides of the 'western'-Islam debate.

The Danish newspaper which published the cartoons of Mahommed previously refused to publish a 'crucification' cartoon which it considered offensive to Christians. Double standards. The Arab media which is so vociferous in condemning the Danish cartoons has no hesitation in publishing blatantly offensive anti-Christian and anti-Jewish material. Double-standards, again.

Freedom of expression must be protected. However, there are evil fundamentalist minorities in both the Islamic and 'Western' worlds who wish to foment conflict. Editors should not pander to forces who wish to put an end to the dialogue through which mutual grievances might be understood and addressed. There is a difference between gratuitous offensiveness and critical comment. The publication of the anti-Jewish cartoons displayed in this web-site and the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper are not great blows for freedom. They are merely offensive.

Much more important to real freedom is the atmosphere of fear and self-censorship which characterizes much of the US media. For example, readers' contributions to this web-site are censored to exclude comment which might question the world-view of Pipes and his ilk. This, unlike the cartoons, is a real issue of freedom of expression.

As to the demonstrations:- Western nations are entitled by force of law and sanction if necessary to insist that their liberal-rights ethos is respected by all. However, it is not helpful in selling these ideals abroad in the Islamic world when our own adherance to democracy and liberal rights, such as the right to enjoy our property without fear of expropriation by the 'man with a gun', is so inconsistent. The real test for respect in democracy is when it produces a result you don't much like. The real test of respect for liberal rights is equal respect for the liberal rights of the other.

By the way, the objectionable cartoons equating Israeli policies with those of the Nazis are mirrored by recent comment in the extremist US media portraying the Hamas victory as somehow equivalent of the election of the Nazis as largest party in the German reichstag in 1936.

Robbie Burns said it all a long time ago - "Oh that the Lord would gi'e us, to see ourselves......"

best regards petem

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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