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to Bob Weiss

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: Freedom of the press v. good sense

Submitted by Sidda (United States), Feb 11, 2006 at 13:14

Bob, I agree that while the newspapers have the right to publish cartoons which are in bad taste, it is not something that should necessarily be done.

I think you are missing a somewhat subtle point here, though. There is reason to discuss the connection between Islam and terrorism/violence. You have Islamic radicals all over the world , blowing up subways, trains, buses, suicide bombers in restaurants, markets, mosques, flying planes into buildings, etc., AND claiming to do it in the name of Allah while trying to achieve a political objective.

They saw the heads off of helpless, bound victims while screaming, "Allahu Akbar." You have clerics issuing fatwas of death against those who criticize Islam or the prophet and extolling Muslims all over the world to unite in "jihad" against the West. This moves Islam OUT of the strictly religious realm, and into the political. Therefore, it is not a simply gratuitous insult to depict Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, or a cartoonist looking over his shoulder with anxiety as he draws. The cartoons are meant to spark debate over legitimate points.

If Catholics suddenly formed worldwide terrorist organizations and went around causing murder and mayhem in the name of Catholicism or Christianity, I would expect a certain amount of discussion would take place regarding that phenomenon and probably quite a few cartoons regarding it too.

There is a difference between purely gratuitous insults, and cartoons which make a legitimate point meant to spark discussion and debate. Muslims should be more outraged over the events which caused these cartoons to be drawn in the first place, than the cartoons themselves.
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