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So We are Totally Wrong?

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by Jeff (United States), Feb 13, 2006 at 22:20

Jamil Al-isis, you asked, "did we ever reach to a level were we insult any of the other prophets like you did?"

Well, one could argue that the prophets are in fact insulted by commissions of mass murder, like 9/11, 3/11 and 7/7. But, more precisely, do you suppose the prophets were insulted when Palestianians sacked Sarah's tomb? How about when they invaded, damaged and desecrated the Church of the Nativity? Or when Egyptians attack Coptic churches and people? Or, during the frequent, almost weekly bombings of mosques and religious rites in Pakistan? (By the way, aren't there Korans in those mosques blown up by Muslims? Aren't those Korans desecrated in the explosion and fire? Where's the moral outrage? Where are the demonstrations?)

You also asked, "did we insult any of the holy books or any other religious believs you have?"

I should ask you, have you ever tried to enter Saudi Arabia with a bible in your suitcase? I don't recommend it, unless you're curious as to what Saudi prisons look like from the inside. Have any of your Christian friends entered Saudi Arabia with a cross around his neck, discreetly under his shirt? Are you honestly saying he didn't mind having the cross ripped from around his neck and crushed under the boot of a Saudi customs agent at the airport? Are you honestly saying that? Routine as this may be in Saudi airports, if anything remotely like that were ever to happen to a Muslim at an American airport, the American customs agent would be out of a job and facing a lawsuit. And then, of course, the riots, the demonstrations, the guns fired in the air, the burning flags, as millions of Muslims rush to get in on the latest nuance of victim status.

You're right that, with our freedom of speech, insults and crassness occur that the vast majority of us disagrees with. But, more typically, we also get to enjoy comedy presented in good taste. We actually had a pair of Jewish musicians who called themselves "Two Live Jews." They enabled lots of Jewish people (as well as the rest of us, who consider Jews to be human beings with whom we share a human bond) to enjoy the God-given gift of laughing at ourselves. The simple truth is, if the pope was like your "holy men," which is to say, he ordered the murder of every comedian who poked fun at the Catholic church, and we Catholics carried out the sentence, well, there wouldn't be a comedian left alive in the USA or Europe.

Yes, we also have darker sides to our freedom of speech. The American Nazi Party, and similar groups, vacillate between denying the holocaust and calling for the murder of all Jews, and anyone else they don't like. These small, fringe hate groups, with virtually no public support, persist in distributing hate filled literature and maintaining hate filled websites. (They generally publish the kind of anti-Jewish hate that is commonplace in the Middle East but very shocking to us in the USA.) Nazis occassionally march in the streets of American cities with swastikas proudly displayed. We find this celebration of hate and mass murder very insulting and it makes us unhappy (a little bit like how we felt when millions of Arabs danced in the streets on 9/11). However, we allow them their freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, knowing that bound with it is our right to disagree, to publish our disagreement, and to peacefully assemble to put forth our own alternative opinions.

All this is bound up in something we generally refer to as the "marketplace of ideas." I am not asking you to understand this concept. But, I can tell you, there are reasons why our newspaper editors are not lackeys of the government, like yours, but rather, are independent voices that frequently harshly criticize our government. There are reasons why polio vaccines, blue jeans, the lunar module and the personal computer were all invented in the west. What's been invented in the Middle East lately? Oh, right, the suicide bomb belt, worn with pride at recent London demonstrations.

You also said "what you did is way beyond the limits of apology." Well, I can't draw a thing; I couldn't make a cartoon if I tried. So who is the "you" in your statement? Strange, isn't it, that every non-Muslim in the western world is supposed to share the guilt with 12 obsure cartoonists, while we're constantly reminded again and again that no Muslim anywhere, ever shares any guilt with the perpetrators of 9/11, 3/11 or 7/7. Also, you should know, the worst of the cartoons being distributed in the Middle East were never published in Europe (or America). They were only published when Ahmed Abu Laban, Imam of Denmark, got them somewhere, added them to the published ones and published them in the Middle East. Maybe you should tell him what he did was beyond the limits of apology. I'm not interested in your forgiveness, or lack of.


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