Friday, February 03, 2006

About the Danish situation....

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

60 comments:

Anisa said...

this is a tough situation...it really offends me, though. i can't believe they would've done a cartoon like that...i mean, really, what is the point? and of course, the muslims just go crazy, adding more fuel to the fire.

good post, aisha.

say what? said...

You too :O

I am so tired right now, I cant even post something about it :(

will return after getting refreshed (A)

Aisha said...

Anisa, it feels like a catch 22 doesnt it? *sigh*

TDH: kya mutlub? "you too?" :-/

mezba said...

Aisha: Thanks for commenting - yeah, it does seem we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We are being told to pick sides in a fight no one wants to have and only zealots (on either side) have any interest in propagating.

Shabina said...

Right on, sis! This was totally bait, and we totally fell for it.

But it still sucks. My first impression was also, how is this different than when Homer prays to Jebus or when people make dirty jokes about the Virgin Mary? Perhaps Muslims have finally arrived into the mainstream...

Alas, tis not the case. It's like when Bernie Mac made all those white ppl jokes and when Ashton Kucher retaliated with black jokes, the ish hit the fan.

It's *different* when a downtrodden minority is made fun of as opposed to the status quo. That the Danes used free speech to perpetuate their messages of hate and intolerance was, in my opinion, insidious and cowardly.

Jerks.

Huda said...

I had planned on posting about this, but you beat me to it. :-)

I totally understand the anger about this; I'm angry about it as well. However, I'm also upset about the Muslim reaction. It's too much. Like you said, Allah (SWT) is bigger than all of this. Those cartoons don't hurt Him at all. If there hadn't been such an uproar in the first place, the majority of the people now offended and insulted would never have seen the cartoons. Not to mention that if we hadn't acknowledged the cartoons, the people behind them would never have had the satisfaction of knowing they got to us.

Also, interestingly enough, I'm pretty sure Arabs are considered Semites.

Reza said...

It is truly sad when someone pokes fun of any religion, be it Islam or any other religion. But isn't what islam teaches us tolerance and understanding? What would the Prophet PBUH have done in such a situation. We all know the answer to that. But what are the muslims doing now? They have made and blown the issue across cultural divides and all. I am not saying they don't have a right to be angry but there is a civilized and mature way of telling others your sensibilities have been trampled upon.

On the part of the Europeans, they have been known to insult a lot of people. But muslims are too sensitive to the caricatures and as they should be. But there has to be a civilized and dignified way of potraying your anger in the end.

Aisha said...

Mezba, agreed and thanks for the updates at your site.

Shabs exactly. Diff to poke fun at the status quo the ones who can't be affected as opposed to the downtrodden who already are vulnerable.

Huda re the arab being semites also... lol. You're right, but it seems semantics are a great game people like to play. You know, how Europe is a sepeerate continent. I feel this is just like the salman rushdie thing if his awful book (awful for its writing and plot) had been ignored... the book would have failed miserably and its the last we wouldve heard of the man. But no we raise him to cultural and historical icon.

Reza like you point out each side has their own view and their reasons for their view. We know how the Prophet would react... goodness he lived a life of constant persecution... he certainly didn't respond to situations like this.

Mansoor said...

"That the Danes used free speech to perpetuate their messages of hate and intolerance was, in my opinion, insidious and cowardly."

Was it all the Danes, or just a few?

Tee said...

That last quote is beautiful.

When I read this news yesterday my first reaction, honestly, was "Thank God it wasn't us." - I was just relieved it wasn't an American who did this because I would be so ashamed and mortified on how it would reflect on the rest of us.

I think your post was so well thought out and well put. I get these same kind of feelings - like I want to wrap my arms around the whole world and embrace it - to let everyone know I love them and will them to love each other.

I don't like to see any religion made a mockery of. It's about respect for your fellow human beings.

Your advice to Muslims not to "take the bait" was such an excellent idea. Why aren't the leaders of Islam telling the people to protest calmly?

While many non-Muslims can certainly understand the outrage, there are spectators who are too ignorant to look deep enough. All they see is an image in a newspaper or on TV of people angry and out of control, and their opinions and prejudice are reinforced.

I wish messages like yours - messages of peace and love - could be broadcast worldwide. How amazing would it be to see anger fade and people of all races and religions regard each other as friends?

Many of your thoughts remind me so much of Mohandas Gandhi. He said, "Human kind has to get out of violence only through nonviolence. Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred."

I'm also reminded of the song "From a Distance" by Bette Midler. Here's the lyrics:


From a distance, the world looks blue and green
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance there is harmony
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.
From a distance, we all have enough
And no one is in need.
There are no guns, no bombs, no diseases,
No hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.
From a distance, you look like my friend
Even though we are at war.
From a distance I cannot comprehend
What all the fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
It's the heart of every man.
God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.


...Bless you, Aisha. I hope your message is carried far and wide.

mezba said...

The khatib at our Jummah place said Muslims should demonstrate their love of the Prophet Muhammad by not burning flags but rather following his examples - of generosity, of tolerance, of good behaviour.

mayya said...

I agree with you about the bait part, so very true.
but there has to be some way the muslim world has to protest, true common citizens may have to suffer but something like economic bycott of goods, oil embargoes is necessary to pressurize the concerned print media to apologize and make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
I really appreciate Kofi Annan's effort in this regard

Raheel said...

I heard this news.. very sad!! Today world is shouting for anti-racism and in ko dekho. Its not only about Muslims, no one has no right to hurt others. If religion gets involved, it becomes a bigger offence. I think these people have forgotten the difference between politics and religion.

Aisha said...

Tee what a beautiful song. I've heard it before but ive never really paid attention to the lyrics. I fid it very interestin gthat you thought "phew thank Goodness its not Americans" because I wondered what the US opinion would be. They actually condemn it. :) Score 1 for USA:)

Mezba was this at jummah today? That's good.

Mayya I agree... peaceful protest is okay with me. Boycotts sometime have to be done to give voice to the pain that people feel.

Raheel I agree with you 100% percent thanks for sharing your insights.

estarz said...

Well written. Thank you.

Obese Girl said...

"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?"

-stumped-

gee, I'm guilty of that too...

Baji said...

Itto- "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?"

Very well put and very pro-active comentary on your part. Intersting commentary regarding the ethical responsibilities media to not promote anti-semitism.

I agree that boycotts are necessary. I agree that it is a positive and much needed act of anger. However, threats of violence and terror make me sick to my stomach.

Baji said...

That's Ditto rather than Itto :-)

Jane said...

Granted, I am not a Muslim and granted, I have not seen the cartoons. But for crying in the mud, it was a cartoon, made by one person and published in an independant publication. How is this the fault of the Danish people or government? The entire country is responsible for the work of one person? Hmm. Seems pretty f**ked up to me. Am I to apologize for every offense that any American has ever committed? Every faux pas, every insult? What happened to freedom of the press? The Ku Klux Klan is allowed to hold their marches and gatherings talking about white power and speaking against Jews, Blacks, Gays...pretty much whoever they want. Jesus is riduculed on a regular basis in the mainstream media, as you have pointed out. If this cartoon has so severely offended the Muslim community that they cannot just ignore it, then why not write letters to the independant newspaper lodging a complaint? Why boycott the industries of an entire country? Yes the zealots and fanatics have taken this and ran with it...It truly is a shame because I do think it reflects poorly on the majority of Muslims who do not advocate violence. The sad truth is that the crazy Muslims running amok in the streets will be remembered and counted against the whole community. I don't believe that the Danish people were hoping to antagonize Muslims. And to expect that a government should apologize on behalf of a free press is lunacy. Perhaps in some parts of the Middle East the concept of free press is not really understood. Freedom is many great things but it also involves unpleasant things as well. I don't always like the message I hear but I will defend the right of anyone to say it. People have the right to be as ignorant as they want to be. It is a shame that it is not just seen as that--plain old ignorance. But come on, don't hold the entire Danish population responsible for this.

mystic-soul said...

Life of muhammad teach us completely different lesson. When people threw rocks at taif on him, he prayed for them. Why muslims can't learn to "darguzar" (let it go).

Danish factories layoff hundreds of employees as production is completely on halt. What about kids/families of those hard working danish "Kaasibu-habibullahs" !!

1000 times more people saw that cartoon because curiosity was created.

This is a superficial Islam. In no way I attest to this emotional reaction of my muslims community. They need to grow up !!! - (sorry if I hurted anyone's feelings but I just express my thoughts).

Nadia said...

Good post, Jane.

Caution: My post isn't directed to Aisha specifically.
***

The problem isn't the extremist reaction because that's obviously a bit much. The problem is *your* reaction. The "moderate muslim."

Think about the newspaper's motivation for printing these caricatures. Perhaps you can argue the alleged motivation was just a cover for this anti-Islamic newspaper to express its hateful views and provoke Muslims. But the point they are trying to make should at least make you think.

They were commenting on the problem of self-censorship. This whole thing started in part because a Danish writer was having trouble finding an illustrator for his children's book on the Quran and the Prophet's life. Three artists refused to work with him FOR FEAR OF SAFETY!

You remember what happened to the Dutch filmmaker, Van Gogh. He was brutally murdered for making a video critical of muslim women's treatment in some Muslim countries.

Instead of condeming what these newspapers are doing, perhaps you should take a look at the Muslim community. Think about why this kind of stuff is so damn "hurtful" and "offensive."

Please stop covering it all up as a matter of tolerance and respect. That's not the deeper issue here.

Aisha said...

Estarz, Baji thanks for your insights.

OG: yeah it stumped me too.

Jane: Thanks for giving your input and I agree with you. "our" reaction is atrocious. I was just talking to some friends about it and how if Muslims had just looked at it and shrugged their shoulders...things would be different. The problem is this isn't the only thing upsetting them. The conditions of Muslims in those countries are deplorable. If they feel a boycott is necessary then I do support it just like the Alabama boycotting of the public tranist helped bring to light the unequal treatment of African Americans in the US. Peaceful opposition is okay in my opinion.

Mystic, thanks for your input! Well said.

Aisha said...

Jane, I forgot to add, that a boycott over this depiction, against the Danish govt is ofcourse silly and thats not what I mean when I say I support a boycott if they want to do so. The civil rights that we enjoy in the US are not afforded equally to many Muslims overseas living in non-Muslim nations. In my perspective these pictures are but another example of how they are degraded constantly in their wall towards upward mobility etc. So to me its not about the pictures, its' about the bigger situation. Also you are right just as Muslims complain about "dont judge us for the acts of others" WE as Muslims shouldn't judge all Danish people for the acts of a few in this paper. That's truly the height of hypocricy. Very good point. Thanks for the insight.

nadia said...

Btw, when I cautioned my post wasn't directed at Aisha specifically, I just meant I wasn't trying to offend Aisha.

I'm trying to talk about the problem of self-censorship.

Aisha, what do you think about that? Do you think it's an issue with Muslims?

mezba said...

Jane, boycott is a peaceful alternative to some of the threats coming from crackpots in Gaza.

Also, the Danish PM messed it up. When the cartoons were originally published in Sep, a group of 11 dimplomats from Muslim countries wanted to meet with him to discuss how increasingly muslims were being stereotyped in the Danish media. He refused to meet with them then. When the middle east boycott reached great power, then instead of meeting with muslim countries to diffuse the tension he tried to get the european council to denounce saudi arabia for initiating the boycott. Then he tried t say it was not a boycott of danish versus middle east issue, it was a clash of cultures (his words). One maynot blame him for the original cartoons but he is certainly responsible for flaming the situations. He has now got his wish, it seems.

Aisha said...

Nadia the whole point of my post if you read it was yes the pictures may be offensive but Muslims shouldn't raise such a hooplah about it. My point was react peacefully if this bothers you (and they have the right to be upset about because we all have our opinions- it just not the right to react violently and foolishly). Tolerance and rspect is imiportant and it is an issue bceause if Muslims were respected overseas as they ar respected int he US the reaction there would not be the reaction you see. Anti Islamic things go on here too but Muslims don't go out in numbers flag burning b/c we are not facing the same issues the people there face. They are destitute and uneducated facing prejiduce on a daily basis. If such pictures had been published here I am pretty sure there'd be a milliin blogs up, CAIR sending out press releases but theere would not be people in the streets burning flags. We dont nkow what it's like there. I can still remember the slums in Paris where the Muslims lived... the desolation of the people is palpable... I think even my rebuke of the Muslim reaction must be tempered with its easy for me to say as I sit here in a country that gives me opportunities compared with a country where the future looks very bleak. Understanding a perspective is not the same as condoning it. But again I didn't even say any of this in my post which was about Muslims need to chill out...

If respect and tolerance is not deep so be it... I'll stick to the shallow end of the pool.

Jane said...

Aisha I see the point you are trying to make. However the scariest reactions to this damn cartoon are not coming from the slums of Europe, they are not coming from the oppressed Muslims there....it is happening in Syria, Indonesia, Gaza City. Check out these links.
Sandmonkey
Freedom for Egyptians

Aisha said...

I looked at Sandmonkey's website and I felt sick. I will not and cannot defend or even try to rationalize their behavior. When I see these actions all I can say that however they have intereprted the religion is not my interpretation and honestly sometimes.... I feel like w're practicing different religions.... It's mob mentality at its finest.

Champ - Love Hound said...

"Freedom of Spech". it's one of basic Human Right. BUT everyone MUST know their limits. When Taliban burnt the Bible in Afghanistan 'n' destroyed the Statue of Budha, it was the same pain for Bible followers 'n' Budhists. Now a "Taliban mind Cartoonist" did the same thing to all the Muslims.

Press, Media, Country or any Group. No one should be allowed to hurt other people's Beliefs 'n' Emotions. There MUST be serious Law for this thing in UN.

May God bless all.....

P.S. Why I don't see you on my blog fr some days?

Jane said...

Ok sure. Let's get a law passed that no one can offend anyone. No one can hurt anyone's feelings. Yeah. You can have all the freedom of speech that you like as long as everyone likes what you say. No thanks. Not for me. If that is part of the new world order then "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Viks said...

'bait' it is ... and you know, we Muslims, just fail to think outside the box I guess!

I'll just paste what I wrote on my blog! My two cents:

"About the caricature; I don't know if those drawings were a right thing or a bad thing to do, but what I can say is that the specified masses behind this dubious act probably don't understand what Islam is!

... and that's something what matters to me. We Muslims may have lacked somewhere to better delineate the populace of this world, what Islam is!

... and that's what hurts - a lot!"

Raheel said...

and I forgot to say that this was the only sane post that I read about the issue.

Zak said...

Again and again I point out the obvious..how can anyone hold a demo in Syria and storm an embassy? Its one of the most controlled states in the world?

Anyways freedom of speech is fine..incitement to violence is wrong..but if you wanna be offensive..go ahead..just dont expect there not to be economic consequences

Jane said...

For anyone who is interested in reading the viewpoint of an Egyptian Muslim on this issue please check out Sandmonkey's blog. His blog is the only place that I have read a totally uncensored, unbiased, and bluntly honest take on this whole stupid thing. The posts are raw and the comments are unflinching. This whole situation has been blown WAY out of proportion.

Nadia said...

Aisha I've read your blog again, and I still don't get it.

In your response, you said "Tolerance and rspect is imiportant and it is an issue bceause if Muslims were respected overseas as they ar respected int he US the reaction there would not be the reaction you see. Anti Islamic things go on here too but Muslims don't go out in numbers flag burning b/c we are not facing the same issues the people there face. "

Aren't you justifying their reaction?

Nadia said...

Of course it is easy to say the more violent forms of reaction are WRONG. Why does everyone keep stating the obvious?

What about the underlying issue? Why is it that Muslims are even prone to this kind of behavior?? And don't tell me these are fringe elements because they aren't.

You say this wouldn't happen to Jews? How do you know this? Do you scan every paper in Europe to see who they're making fun of? I presume you say this because you've never heard of it done to Jews. Perhaps it IS done FOR ALL YOU KNOW and Jewish people just don't respond in this manner, so you never hear of it.

Aisha said...

Boxin: thanks for sharing your perspective

Raheel thanks

Viks thanks for sharing your clip and i agree these masses in my opinoin dont understand what Islam is. I visited your blog but didnts ee this post?

Zak, thank you for pointing that out! How *did* that happen? And that is one thing I agree with you on with the limits on freedom speech and incitement to violence. I guess the question is could anyone have forseen that this would be an incitement to violence.

Jane, I've been reading it. It's good. Thanks.

Nadia- I don't like your tone. How about posting your full opinion on your own site and initiating discussion.

Nadia said...

You can put up a blog and have people agree with you, and show you slightly different perspectives--all that is fine and well.

But isn't it more important/fruitful to be able to defend your views against completely opposite perspectives?

You have the right to pick apart what I am saying, tell me what is wrong with what I am saying, etc. Why not do it?

Wouldn't that be much healthier? It's not like these views aren't out there. It's not like Muslims aren't being criticized in this very same manner. Your time is better spent if you can debate the issues and critically analyze them.

Nadia said...

You changed your comment to me, but you know what you wrote--so my response should still make sense.

Aisha said...

Nadia I changed it because I realized it would be of no use. Jane expressed different viewpoints as well but is not out to look for a good fight she is not being condescending. I'm not looking for a fight with you but you want an aggressive battle. You have a view and you want to defend it to the hilt. Do it on your blog. I like engaging in discussion with people open to hearing what I have to say. But there are some people like you who just want to assert their position and deflect the other in a condescending manner. Considering you're a friend I dont expect that. I dont like agressive back and forths people. Clearly you want one, do it on your blog.

Oolon Colluphid said...

Well, Nadia, no it wouldn't be better, healthier, or more important. Scroll down the blog for a bit, and you'll see it's primarily pieces from her life and her thoughts, and her conversations with friends and acquaintances. If you want to have an argument, find a blog where there are people who take an argumentative stand. You can try it out on mine, and I would respond, but since I'm not a Muslim I don't know how interested you would be.

It's pretty arrogant to tell people that they are not spending their time well because they aren't doing what you would have them do.

Aisha,
Thank you for this excellent post. It saddens me that it would come to this.

What worries me is that it will be the excuse for more aggression in the U.S. both diplomatically and at the domestic level. I am awaiting, with dread, news stories of racists vandalizing, burning down, or bombing mosques. I don't want to sound alarmist, but I encourage you and your readers to be careful. I hope that the U.S. will not show such a reactionary side to its Muslims but I don't have high hopes.

Nadia said...

Do you only engage in discussion with people who are open to hearing what you have to say?

By the way, this doesn't exactly apply to me, because I am not trying to shut you off, I am trying to get you to see issues about this situation that you haven't considered.

I don't know where to take this from here. Whatever your purpose was in this limited discussion of the issue, have fun with it.

Nadia said...

Oolon Colluphid - A debate about taking a criticial look at yourself as a Muslim is probably not something you're interested in.

Viks said...

Oh dang! Well it should be there. I don't know which blog of mine you checked. But here: Junkbox

Jane::: I agree with you on most issues. But you said:

Ok sure. Let's get a law passed that no one can offend anyone. No one can hurt anyone's feelings. Yeah. You can have all the freedom of speech that you like as long as everyone likes what you say. No thanks. Not for me. If that is part of the new world order then "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Well, Freedom of Speech is fine with me, but to make a mockery of someone's belief - I don't know if that's a very well-thought act to carry out. Just my opine: if one really wants to criticise someone's belief, there are more civilized ways to do it.

Just a thought really, I maybe wrong!

Southern Masala said...

Are these caricatures hate speech? The rest of the world's concept of free speech (especially Europe) is much more limited than the United States. Or do these laws only apply when hate speeched is directed at groups besides Muslims?



"In many countries, deliberate use of hate speech is a criminal offence prohibited under incitement to hatred legislation. Such prohibitions have parallels with earlier prohibitions on such issues as obscenity and blasphemy, which are or were also prosecutable offences."

Some examples:

- Article (51) of Germany's Basic Code states that a citizen's right to free speech cannot be used to conflict with another's right to "personal dignity." As a result, the German criminal code condemns the making of racial insults (Art. 130), the writing or disseminating of works that incite racial hatred (Art. 131), and the trivializing or denial of Nazi atrocities such as the Holocaust (Art. 194).
(from Southern Poverty Law Center)

"- In the United Kingdom, incitement to racial hatred is an offence under the Public Order Act 1986 with a maximum sentence of up to seven years imprisonment.

- In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred against any 'identifiable group' is an indictable offense under the Canadian Criminal Code with maximum terms of two to fourteen years. An 'identifiable group' is defined as 'any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.' It makes exceptions for cases of statements of truth, and subjects of public debate and religious doctrine.

- Victoria, Australia has enacted the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001, which prohibits conduct that incites hatred against or serious contempt for, or involves revulsion or severe ridicule of another on the grounds of his race or religious beliefs."

wikipedia.com

Denmark and other European countries are signatories of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which provides:

"Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."

Aisha said...

Oolon Colluphid, thank you! I appreciate it.

Nadia, I expect respectful discourse.

Viks- I checked the wrong blog :)

Southern Masala, wow. Thank you so much for sharing all this information. I learned generally about what you talked about in my Survey of the First Amendment class (btw Gerry Weber teaches it, I heard he teaches constitutional tort litigation at Emory) but we havent gone into specifics yet. Thank you for the information.

sonia said...

Hi Aisha,

Long time no see. I just saw your blog and thought would comment briefly.

I think the issue here is twofold. Freedom of speech for some is just as important and worth defending (remember people have died for the right of free speech not just in US but in other countries including Pakistan) as the right to expect respect and sensitivity to one's religion. But I think there is a difference between an expectation of respect for our views and an expectation of freedom to practice our beliefs. It is hard to defend an expectation of respect for a religion whose practioners do not boast a single democracy (Turkey hardly identifies itself with other Muslim countries). But more important is the distinction between a right to expect respect or sensitivity for our views and a right to free practice of our beliefs. And the two cannot be confused.

It is a complicated issue. The same rights that protect the Muslim minorities and their freedom of expression (in religion) are the rights used by these editors to publish the cartoons. And are laws written to protect the rights of the people who write them or to protect and promote our "cultural sensitivity"? You are a better judge as a lawyer.

ASH said...

When a person writes an anti-semitic piece about Jews he is roundly condemned and may face conviction under hate crime legislation in the West. The same is true if you knowingly use racial slurs against African-Americans, or against Gays. Nobody defends the Free Speech rights of the narrow minded person who expresses such views as Holocaust denial, racial insults, etc.

But a newspaper insults to the core the religion of Islam, practiced by 1.2 billion people worldwide....and suddenly it is allowed because it is Free Speech? Excuse me, but this seems like a massive double standard...or are we saying hate speech (or cartoons) is okay when directed at Arabs or Muslims?

Aisha said...

Ash- you said concisely exactly what I was trying to say. Thank you.

Aisha said...

Sonia- thanks for coming to visit ad somehow coming across my site. I guess the web is a small world too :)

Southern Masala said...

check out bendib's latest cartoon on this subject--

http://www.bendib.com/newones/2006/february/small/2-5-Denmark-cartoons.jpg

He really hits on the double standard in European law, hate speech vs. freedom of speech

Aisha said...

I did check it out. I've seen it floating it around now. It's a good expression of what it sure feels like is goig on...

pleutim said...

I'm late to this. Just came via Tee at Spilt Milk today. What Huda said echoes what keeps bouncing around in my head amid all my other thoughts and reactions - she said "However, I'm also upset about the Muslim reaction. It's too much. Like you said, Allah (SWT) is bigger than all of this. Those cartoons don't hurt Him at all," and I agree with that. My God doesn't need defending; He's plenty big enough to take care of Himself and all the things that are displeasing to Him. I would imagine that Allah is the same. While I can be outraged at something that is done to Him, ultimately it's God who will have the last word. Angry action on my part will probably just perpetuate the problem.

I'm not saying that they're wrong to be angry nor am I saying that they're wrong to react. Speaking as a non-Muslim, I don't think that their reaction is an appropriate or beneficial one and I don't see how it can please their prophet.

Emotions are mighty weapons, often more destructive than good.

Aisha said...

Welcome pleutim and thanks for commenting. Allah is the arabic word for God. Muslims believe to worship the same God of Christians and Jews. The reaction is ridiculous. The parables of the prophet we learn as children is of his kindness an forgiveness. We read story after story of people throwing things a thim, putting thorns in his path when he walked barefoot... and he never ordere anyone to hurt anyone for it. And these were offenses to his person. In my opinion, if he was watching the horror of now.... he would probably weep at the state of this ummah (faith).

chez said...

Wow. I've never read such a sensible post on the entire situation! I really appreciate your views. I've signed a petition of protest on this episode. Now, the affected party seems to have turned the table on the "enemy". The Danish flags have been burnt, apparently the flag carries the cross, the most revered symbol of Christians. How do we explain this now?.

HiveRadical said...

I don't condone the provocation. But when you respond to a cartoon in a manner one expects to only see in a cartoon it gets people wondering why these people are so insecure in their religion.

This post on this blog tries to pass it off on their 'miserable' state, on their poverty, their unbearable circumstances and past.

If they actualy grew up and learned to stop doing these kinds of things and spend their extra time (which they clearly have) working harder instead of burning embassees, or vandalizing all things western, then perhapse they could get somewhere.

If actions as absured and stupid and utterly infantile and barbaric as these are simply excused because we can't 'know what they're going through' then I say why isn't that response viable in all situations? If we even try to start excusing people because of their circumstances from stupid and barbaric behaviour then when does it all end? We can trace this all the way back to the garden (Eden) folks but it doesn't do anything to make it any better.

What the media does is often stupid and offensive. I live in the state in the US that is by far and away the one most dominated by a single religious institutions. We have several antagonistic papers that publish things attacking our faith, our prophet, our beliefs, in manners just as blatantly inflamatory as the cartoons that incited all this chaos. The thing is that we realize that the only thing that will really, significantly, defame the good name of our faith is for us to act like morons rather than Mormons.

When people act like they haven't learned common human decency it doesn't matter how compelling their theology, or philosophy, is they disparage it's good name. Those who display such misdirected attempts at defending 'honor' are the ones dishonoring to a degree no infidel could the name of their prophet (Peace be upon Him) or any other part of their religion.

Aisha said...

Chez. Welcome and thanks for commenting. I dont know how we explain such jahilia. These people really make it hard for the rest of us because the world will see their behavior as representative of all Muslims. This is why they infuriate me. They make it harder for the rest of us Muslims, the majoriy.

Hiveradical, welcome as well and thanks for your very well thought out comment. You are right and I am sorry if it comes across as if I sympathise with them. I do not. This was also written well before the buildings began burning and people started dying BUT I do not in any way shape or form condone the behavior there. I did try to understand WHY they're reacting in this manner, but trying to figure out their reason is different from condoning it. This is why the entire situations saddens me so deeply... becuase I'd say the overwhelming majority looks at this and says look at the psycho Muslims and create stereotypes of us when most are like me, just living our life and peacefully practicing our religion. Muslims around the world are condemning these people, but they are a mob mentality now listening to no one and their voices drown out the moderate ones because the media focuses on them leaving many to think that Muslims just arent' condeming the situation. My post was to tell Muslims to stop taking the bait... IF they think that this was done to hurt them... God is bigger than all of this. so is the prophet (PBUH). But thank you for respectfully sharing your views, I appreciate your perspective particularly sincey ou can in many ways relate to the frustration of bias in the media towards your faith.

BrainSyke said...

The was is over resources, and its weapons are ideological, and intellectual in nature. I strongly believe there are more "empowered" , rational, intellectual, and willing Muslims with greater perspective on events than there are fanatic and foolish masses waiting to be manipulated. There are many more of us ( spectators) than the theater casts.

We either encourage a theatrical performance, or perform ourselves. What will it have to be?

BrainSyke said...

correction* = "the WAR is over resources"
O-)

Aisha said...

Brain syke, welcome. Thanks for your input. When you say the war is over resources. Are you referring to the Danish situation? What resource are your referring to?

I like how you put it. Muslims waiting to be manipulated. This Danish situation was exactly that.

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