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Clash of Civilizations

Newspapers across Europe are reprinting cartoons that ridicule the prophet Muhammad in solidarity with papers in Denmark and Norway that have become the subjects of widespread protests in the Muslim world.

Clash of Civilizations

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Newspapers across Europe are reprinting cartoons that ridicule the prophet Muhammad in solidarity with papers in Denmark and Norway that have become the subjects of widespread protests in the Muslim world.

Germany's Die Welt published one of the offending caricatures on Wednesday's front page, proclaiming the "right to blasphemy" is a democratic freedom. Other wide-circulation papers to make the gesture include Italy's La Stampa, Le Soir in France and the Spanish El Periodico. Le Soir fired its managing director yesterday, and apologized to the Muslim community.

The French newspaper coupled the cartoons with a column by a French theologian, Sohaib Bencheikh, who wrote, "One must find the borders between freedom of expression and freedom to protect the sacred. Unfortunately, the West has lost its sense of the sacred."

Protests and boycotts have spread across the Middle East and Europe,following publication of the cartoons - which include a drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. The Islamic faith considers any depiction of the prophet to be blasphemous. Someone phoned a bomb threat into the conservative Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten. The Washington Post reports there have been calls for a religious degree to attack Danish troops serving in Iraq.

Some of the images can be found here on Uriasposten. They were first published Sept. 30. as part of 12 cartoonists' ideas of what the Prophet Muhammad might have looked like, according to a letter from the Jyllands-Posten's top editor.

Technorati says this is the most trafficked story on blogs around the world right now. Some headlines and links:

We are all Danes now.

Is there perhaps some hope for Europe now.

Radical faith and freedom of expression.

Islam is crying out for our help.

A BBC comment board brims with pages and pages of opposing views.  The most popular opinions (readers get to vote) favor publication. Ed Karten of London wrote:

Satire has been a strong and effective, yet unbloody tool for centuries. Maybe if more parties in today's global conflicts adopted this form of jostling, there'be less hate and bloodshed.

   

Puck
Posted 02/02/2006 08:23:50 AM
Whoever created the original cartoon is a walking dead man.  It may take a year but Islamics will get him.  There is no fanaticism like religious fanaticism.

Offenses against Jews are dealt with equally effectively - there are about a dozen people in prison in Europe (two of them arrested in America) for the crime of "holocaust denial."

Blasphemy has always been a crime - until recently.  Now, however, blasphemy is positively chic.  But that's only because it can be done with impunity against the tattered remnants of christianity. 

The same media that makes blasphemy against Christians chic, and makes blasphemy against Jews criminal - will soon be suffering because it miscalculated on Islam.

If there be retribution against European newspapers for these cartoons, Christians should remain silent.  The media is not your friend.

PS:  late story - the editor of a French newspaper has been fired for printing these cartoons. 

All of you people who demand freedom from offense for your little identity are responsible for this.

jay lassiter
Posted 02/02/2006 10:47:52 AM
this really is starting to *feel* like an "us" and "them" kinda thing and i hate to admit that because it sounds so bad.  but it's how i feel. (and i'm a liberal!!!)
I'm all for religious tolerance, but my values are important too. i do not fancy living under sharia law in this country, and i reckon most folks in denmark feel the same way.

jay lassiter
Posted 02/02/2006 11:12:38 AM
Dan, fix the WaPo link on this post.

Tacony Lou
Posted 02/02/2006 01:07:48 PM
It's a shame Sisu couldn't spell this website's name correctly. Could they be infidels?
Aamir Ali
Posted 02/02/2006 09:17:51 PM
If your values include unprovoked insults and attacks on innocent people and their beliefs, then your values are rotten and deserve to be eliminated. Many Westerners seem intent on fighting Muslims regardless of whether the Muslims have done anything or not, as these filthy and humiliating cartoons prove.


Sissy Willis
Posted 02/02/2006 10:35:38 PM
Spelling fixed. You'd never know I was a spelling champ in Junior High. And yes, I am an infidel, big time  :)
Ben
Posted 02/03/2006 09:31:37 AM
Good point, Aamir Ali

Let's start, then, with the filthy anti-Jewish cartoons in the Arab media- and things like the stories in the Syrian press about Jews using blood to make matzahs.  So I guess you believe Arab values should be eliminated.  How can I help?
linndc
Posted 02/03/2006 11:58:49 PM
Tonight at the top of the El steps right at the clothespin at 15th & Market two male Muslim preachers took their microphone and read from the Bible.

They were reading from the Gospel of Luke the prophecy of Christ's birth to the Virgin Mary.

Except they were reading it line by line and mocking each line after they read it, ridiculing the notion that a virgin would give birth, and as I was going down the steps to the El heard them call someone out to reveal themselves...tell them what religion they followed because the person apparently objected to their street corner blasphemy.

Unprovoked attacks and insults do not appear to be reserved solely for the Muslim community.  Perhaps I should be calling for their execution?
Puck
Posted 02/04/2006 07:04:44 AM
> Unprovoked attacks and insults do not appear to be reserved solely for the Muslim community. Perhaps I should be calling for their execution?

Perhaps - but you won't.  You'd certainly be charged with a hate crime if you did.  Lynn Abraham would have you in jail quickly.  One does not insult Muslims, blacks, Jews, or homosexuals in the city of Philadelphia.

Another reason you won't is that nobody cares really. You'd be looked at as some kind of kook.

Blackmail
Posted 02/04/2006 09:12:31 AM
Life is tough these days for white conservatives. There's always more power to be consolidated!

Also, blasphemy isn't a crime, and that's not really what's at issue past the fundamentalists on both sides. The European, Australian and U.S. record isn't exactly good on assimilating Muslim immigrants from anywhere - the riots in France and Australia, and our persistent warring interest in the Middle East doesn't improve relations from the other side.

This isn't to say that I favor condemning the free press, but a cartoon of Mohamet with a bomb in the turban reminds me of the US cartoon in which Lady Liberty lowered her torch to shoo away Russian immigrants in the 1920's. Having lived in Denmark, I know firsthand the animosity between nativist Danes and their immigrant population. This is symptomatic of more serious domestic squabbles than has been revealed in the media.
Puck
Posted 02/04/2006 08:58:24 PM
Blasphemy certainly is a crime - in Europe - and America too - it's called Holocaust denial.

I think you are missing my point.  The cartoon of Muhammed is hate speech.  I really don't care what happens to the journalists that published it.  When the Muslims come for the white liberals who have made a career out of blashemphy (usually against the easy target - American Christians) just don't ask us to die for you in another of your endless wars.

What is it they say about the enemy of my enemy??




Geoff
Posted 02/05/2006 03:26:46 PM
While we were busy appeasing the radical Muslims, telling everyone that if we simply abandon Israel we wouldn't be on the receiving end of terrorism, some have awoken. While there are people making raunchy movies and speaking there mind, there will be radical Muslims waiting to kill you.
APS
Posted 02/12/2006 01:45:56 PM
Radical Muslims seem to have no problem depicting American or Israeli leaders in far more disparaging ways than the pictures of Mohammed.  Their excuse seems to be that Mohammed was a "prophet" not a political leader.

While that may hold true for Islam, in the West he is not seen that way.  To non-Muslims, Mohammed was simply a man with a very brutal history of massacres against "Infidel" Christians and Jews.  In fact, if you take away the "prophet" part, he was simply the 7th Century's version of Bin Laden, and a prototype for today's terrorists.   So why should these cartoons be off limits to people who don't believe in his divinity?
ping: Muhammad Cartoon in Perspective -->
Posted 02/03/2006 08:49:06 PM
Photo montage of Militant Islam's Reactions and Open Trackbacks
ping: The Cartoon War -->
Posted 02/03/2006 02:15:51 PM
Never has the adage 'Information is Power' felt more critically relevant. And never has the Power of 'Dis-information' revealed its evil effectiveness more poignantly. I am grateful for a better understanding of the meaning behind these not so long ago...
ping: Furor Over Cartoons Mocking Muhammad Portends Future Problems -->
Posted 02/03/2006 12:32:42 AM
Usually cartoonists like to get a rise out of their readers. It's no 
disgrace for a political cartoonist or caricature artist to learn that a reader threw his cartoon across the room. In fact, sometimes it's welcomed like a badge of honor....
ping: Furor Over Cartoons Mocking Muhammad Portends Future Problems -->
Posted 02/03/2006 12:26:37 AM
Usually cartoonists like to get a rise out of their readers. It's no 
disgrace for a political cartoonist or caricature artist to learn that a reader threw his cartoon across the room. In fact, sometimes it's welcomed like a badge of honor....
ping: We are all Piglets now -->
Posted 02/02/2006 08:32:14 PM
While Beltway politicians discuss the pros and cons of porkbarrel spending, and porkbuster bloggers just say no, Chris Muir of day by day observes that we are all Piglets now.this really is starting to *feel* like an us and them
ping: We are all Piglets now -->
Posted 02/02/2006 06:32:59 PM
While Beltway politicians discuss the pros and cons of porkbarrel spending, and porkbuster bloggers just say no, Chris Muir of day by day observes that we are all Piglets now.this really is starting to *feel* like an us and them
-----
PING:
TITLE: Overcoming fatwah fear -->



Posted 02/02/2006 10:47:49 AM
To publish or not to publish those Danish Mohammed cartoons, that was the question. In Clash of Civilizations this morning The Philadelphia Inquirer's blog bliq -- a new discovery in our Site Meter stats -- reports:Newspapers across Europe are reprinting
ping: Overcoming fatwah fear -->
Posted 02/02/2006 10:32:23 AM
To publish or not to publish those Danish Mohammed cartoons, that was the question. In Clash of Civilizations this morning The Philadelphia Inquirer's blog bliq -- a new discovery in our Site Meter stats -- reports:Newspapers across Europe are reprinting
ping: Overcoming fatwah fear -->
Posted 02/02/2006 10:28:23 AM To publish or not to publish those Danish Mohammed cartoons, that was the question. In Clash of Civilizations this morning The Philadelphia Inquirer's blog bliq -- a new discovery in our Site Meter stats -- reports:Newspapers across Europe are reprinting
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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