Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon-mania

I’ve been trying to avoid commenting on politics here. It’s been very difficult for me because I find global politics and economics fascinating. I’m actually contemplating starting another blog for these interests. However, In the meantime, I just can’t not comment on those Danish cartoons that have caused such an uproar in the Islamic community.

I find it very ironic that many of the very people that argue against Islam as being a violent religion are the ones with placards reading “Death to Denmark” or “Behead the Infidels”…etc...etc. How many times have we seen Muslims on TV preaching with impassioned plea’s that not all Muslims are terrorists, Islam is a peaceful religion that condems violence and suicide bombers. I’ve been watching the BBC and CNN, hoping to see Muslims coming out in droves against these people, but they have thus-far been largely silent. I’ve seen only a few mostly familiar faces on TV. I want to believe that Islam is a peaceful religion that promotes tolerance. I want to believe that Martyrdom and suicide bombers are not celebrated in their mosques and hometowns. But, and I hate to say it, based on the global reaction to these cartoons all signs point to the opposite.

“Islam is being defamed through such cartoons. It is a terrorist act,” said provincial chief minister Akram Durrani, who led the rally. “Those responsible for publishing such cartoons must be punished under international law.”

Defamation of character can be a punishable act, although it’s hard to prove. But defamation of religion? I’m not aware of any law, international or other that attempts to control peoples thoughts on other religions. It isn't even that clear to me whether Islam truly forbids images of Mohammed.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007934

The west has largely separated church and state. The US constitution prohibits establishment of a national religion and is one of our most celebrated freedoms. Religious freedom and tolerance is almost non-existent within most Arab countries. Unfortunately, freedom of speech is apparently a western idea as well……

"Two Jordanian newspaper editors who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been arrested."--BBC Web site, Feb. 4

I do want to applaud the Danish PM for supporting his countries freedom of speech and press in the face of this global backlash. Our leaders have been much less clear in their support.

Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, “What we can do is to speak out very clearly in support of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and urge understanding and tolerance — not violence.”

Are you serious? Grow a pair buddy.

Then here comes France...

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=adnp6M7heQQg&refer=top_world_news

Wow. I am pleasantly surprised that the French haven't laid over on this one.

On the bright side, I think that issues like this can often polarize and divide people in a good way. Yes I said it, division can be good. True colors can really shine through, good or bad, when something like this happens and that’s when a dialogue can really start. But it requires strong leaders who are willing to speak open and honestly, not simply speak to the cameras and react to the polls. If there’s one thing I hate it’s people who refuse to take a position. Have an opinion, take a side, argue a point. But be open to new ideas and change your opinion if warranted.

I can’t help but think that we are at or very near the beginning of some sort of religious war, Islamic world vs the non-Islamic world This is not a conventional war, because the borders are not easily defined, nor are the soldiers. If you consider the policies and actions surrounding the Arab nations over the last 100 years, it’s not hard to see why there is such turmoil today. Britians’ occupation of Iraq, the US’s first and second wars in Iraq, the US support of Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, Russia’s war in Afghanistan, France’s colonial occupation in Algeria, the Turk’s genocide of Armenians and of course there is Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian land. How many times has the “peace process” been put “back on track”? There is no innocent party here.

There is no easy solution either, and there is certainly no easy win-win solution. Any path will require serious compromise by all sides as well as recognition of past indiscretions. If we had politicians that were worried about doing their jobs rather than polls and re-election campaigns, we might actually get somewhere too.

9 comments:

Peeps said...

But there is an easy solution. No it may not be a win-win... the muslims wouldn't win. But if we just dropped an a-bomb in the middle east there would finally be peace in the world!!

Corrigan said...

Might not be a bad solution...if i had 75 virgins waiting for me i know i wouldn't mind.

Aventius said...

i think its 72 virgins

Aventius said...

I'm no religion expert and am not even religious (aside from growing up in the Catholic faith, I would consider myself an Agnostic).

I have a hard time believing that Islam is a violent religion. I simply believe that Islamists can be a violent bunch and by Islamists, I mean fundamentalists. But you know what, I think Christianists are a violent and terrorist bunch too and by Christianist, I mean fundamental Christians.

Islamists react violently and call for beheadings. Christianists, like Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of foreign presidents (Venezuela) and many other verbal acts of terrorism.

Islamists had engaged in terrorism in the name of religion, but so have Christianists. Christianists have bombed abortion clinics in the name of religion. Christianists have killed gays because their religion tells them that it is wrong, but are all Christians Christianists? The answer is a resounding "no."

People may not be protesting the actions of Islamists in their countries but who in their right mind would? In a religion controlled country, it would seem it would be against the law to oppose the Islamists ridiculous opinions.

Furthermore, you didn't see people protesting outside the CBN when Robertson called for the assassination of the Venezuelan president. But I believe that most Christians were against his comments.

Just because people are not protesting does not mean the rest of the country shares their views.

I also blame the media for not searching out and giving exposure to Muslims (not Islamists) who disagree with the Islamists. It is their duty to represent both sides in order for their audience to not get a biased view that all Muslims are Islamists. The have failed to complete their responsibilities to the public discourse.

Lastly, you keep looking to CNN and the BBC to see people coming out in droves against the Islamists, but you're not going to find it. That story is not nearly as exciting as Islamists setting embassies on fire. The only news we ever get from the Middle East is ridiculous events and news related to the America's involvement in securing Iraq's democracy.

Corrigan said...

Good points...remember the crusades? i think every religion has those few in the minority that give the majority a bad name.

Aventius said...

CNN.com has a video displaying muslim leaders speaking out against the cartoon violence. its on the main page.

Corrigan said...

Token commentators? Just kidding, Good to see for sure...

I saw some on the BBC today too. The only english channels i get are CNN and BBC..i rely more on Financial times and wall street journal europe for news.

But seriously...Islam in and of itself may not be violent. But there is a large contingency of fundementalists out there who take things to extremes. And this is where the danger lies i think. I can think of no other religion or group that condones and even supports suicide bombers. Some Mid east governments still pay the families of suicide bombers. the closest thing in modern history were the Japanese Kamikaze's...but even they only targeted military targets.
It really gives mainstream Islam a bad name to bundle the fundementalists in with them...but it's hard to seperate the two because they both claim to follow the Koran.

Aventius said...

i think we both agree here but i want to split some hairs. i think its horrible to group together muslims and islamists, even if they follow the same book. We wouldn't do it with christians and christianists (and they follow the same book) so why do it with muslims and islamists.?

Chad said...

My favorite Cartoon is Family Guy, they seem to try to offend everyone equally. Fyi, the 8th, when you originally wrote this was my 26th birthday.