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Understanding the West

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: You are totally wrong

Submitted by Robert Arsenault (United States), Feb 9, 2006 at 15:13

Although history suggests that the Islamic mind is not very susceptible to reason, Jamil Al-isis' submission inspired me to state a few things about the west that may clear some of your confusion.

First, "we" in the west don't always act as a unit. This means that, while some of us are practicing Christians, others among us freely create art and commentary that is critical of Christianity. This is not a contradiction; we in the west do not have one book by which we are told to live, but each use our own minds to live our own lives.

Like most westerners, I am infinitely more offended by the vandalism, murder, & intimidation of terrorists than by any form of insult (Last Temptation of Christ, Piss Christ, etc.). Why? Insults don't impact my life and well-being. A Molotov cocktail could burn down my home and kill me; an airplane could destroy my building and kill me, a lunatic could attack and kill me while I'm riding my bike – these things, and more, would be a very big problem, and have been problems for the victims of 9/11 and other incidences of Islamic savagery over the past quarter century. But a cartoon in a newspaper? Not worth my time (and not worth yours).

I'm no Muslim, but I suspect that if you respect Muhammad as much as you profess to love him, you would believe that he could not be weakened or lessened in the slightest by any criticism or depiction. For example, I am a Christian who also enjoys South Park. How is this possible? I am able to separate the significant from the insignificant; I am able to find humor in the ridiculous; I am able to recognize the fact that I am but one person in a nation of millions who do not owe it to me to share my worldview. But what, you may ask, would happen if one day South Park went too far? I'd change the channel – because I make my own decisions, just as the creators of South Park make theirs.

The Islamic inability to tell the significant from the insignificant is the problem behind all other problems related to Muslims today. It is why the Muslim answer to every problem is to burn down buildings and bomb crowds of shoppers. If you draw a cartoon to tell me you dislike me, I can continue with my life. If you blow me up, I cannot.

You've asked if you've ever insulted our beliefs or prophets. I neither know nor care about the answer to that question, because Muslims have done far more serious and horrible things that we in the west find very offensive indeed, and that is why our soldiers inhabit some Muslim lands – because of the unfortunate but undeniable Muslim inability to leave others alone.

You've stated that the cartoons can not be forgiven. Understand this: we do not seek forgiveness – but we do expect you to keep your hands and your explosives to yourselves, and you fail to do so at your own risk.
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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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