I usually try to think of both points of view so when I first heard of the story of the Danish paper publishing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad I wondered if they just didnt realize how offensive this is. Jesus is depicted on broadway and ridiculed on shows such as Family Guy in ways that considering he's MY beloved Prophet as well makes me cringe in discomfort.... (Which by the way why aren't Muslims worldwide in outrage when depictions of Jesus are shown in most insulting ways? He is a Prophet too?) So initially I thought perhaps the cartoons were similar depictions and an honest mistake they didn't realize the enormity of.
Then I saw the pictures. If they weren't trying to antagonize Muslims then I dont know what their aim was. With the exception of one, there was no political message. It felt like a seemingly straight laced bully who knew they could antagonize the Muslims knowing their reactions would only come around to hurt them since the world already sees them as barbaric. The malice bothers me more than the actual depiction and I see the cartoon for what it is. bait. They knew what would happen and wanted it. Muslims have such a lowly status in most of the world that their reaction would just be seen with raised eyebrows and "look at those crazy Muslims" backed up with a healthy discussion of "Freedom of Speech"
But.. Muslims shouldn't be so quick to take the bait. We need to respond civilized (such as BBCD, and Mezba discussing on a website), writing letters, boycotting, peacefully protesting. We should not give them media clips of the crazy Muslims running through the streets amock. But I know I can't realize the extent of desperation of the impoverished Danish Muslims with little opportunity for upward mobility for whom this action is the straw that breaks the camel's back. The frustration is complex but at the same time I cringe seeing them dance the dance the Danes want. The flag burning, rioting, just gives the media more clips of the barbaric Muslims without a look at the real pain they feel. Can you imagine debate over whether its okay or not to put insulting racist images against Jews, or Black people? Infact in much of Europe there are anti-semitism laws. Why is the focus on who we demean and not what we say to people that is demeaning?
When I heard about Qurans defecated upon in Guantanemo Bay it made my stomach hurt but then I took a step back and thought. This is God we're talking about. He's bigger than all the games we play. He's bigger than the people doing this. One day we will answer for all of our deeds and we will be asked by Him. A Muslim should not desecrate a Bible nor a Christian a Quran. Isn't respect and tolerance and PEACE something that all religions teach at their very core? Whatever faith you practice surely looking at what is going on in our world today with people of all faiths in arms over their religion. You have to wonder what does God think of it? Does He approve of people murdering, raping, pillaging in His name? Rationalizing their atrocities on His behalf? Whatever faith you are, whatever God is to you personally, surely He does not approve of ANY of this. And though we must take steps in this life to change what is happening in this life we also need to remind ourselves of a basic belief that on the day of Judgement we will answer. He is the best Judge. We need to rememeber that as we keep perspective.
"I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way And there was nothin' anyone could do or say Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school. I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem And there'll be no barricades then There'll be no wire or walls And we can wash all this blood from our hands And all this hatred from our souls And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem..." - Steve Earle