KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
Posted: March 9, 2006 -
יום חמישי, ט'
Intellectual honesty and freedom of speech
inhibited by fear in the backwash of the Danish Cartoon riots.
back, the deaths, personal injuries, damage to property, burning of
embassies, and harm to international relations as well as the potential
long-term polarization of Muslims, caused by the Danish cartoon riots, demand
a full scale international inquiry into the underlying causes.
Among the factors which must be considered
are why so little was published about
a) the calming influence of Moderate Muslims, such as the newly founded
"Moderate Moslem"-Network's response to the cartoons in which they
b) the orchestrated incitement, which
evidently sparked the furious riots a full four months after publication of
the original cartoons in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.
- "We declare, today, that now is the
time for dialogue, rather than digging trenches. We call on the Moslem
countries, the Danish imams and the government to enter into dialogue, to
settle this conflict.."
According to the French "La
Premiere Agence de Notation des Medias
twelve cartoons published on September 30, 2005 provoked very limited
protests, which appeared to have been satisfactorily dealt with at the time.
In the ordinary course, the matter would have rested there, but in October,
the Danish prime minister was unable to acceded to a request by eleven Muslim
ambassadors to urge government action against Jyllands-Posten, because the
courts, not the government, govern the Danish media.
- "It is now proven that the outrage
wasn't so much caused by the initial twelve Danish cartoons, but by three
additional and gravely insulting cartoons, added by Abu Laban to the
portfolio he showed to Arab Muslim authorities…The use of inflammatory
fake images has been a well-known strategy to whip up the Middle East into
Instead of appealing to the Danish courts
the matter was internationalized by a delegation of Danish imams who traveled
to the Middle East in November and December. To fan the flames they added
extremely obscene fake drawings that had nothing to do with the newspaper, but
which would offend any sensitive person. One depicts the prophet as a
pedophile, another shows a praying Muslim being sodomized by a dog and a
third, which purported to show the prophet with pig ears, was reportedly
purloined from an Associated Press photo of a man wearing fancy dress.
In an editorial Jyllands-Posten
Editor-in-Chief, declared that if these had they been offered to his paper, he
would have refused them because they violated its ethical code.
The danger is that the threatening
atmosphere, including the offer of a million dollar bounty for killing the
Danish cartoonists has served to intensify the already apparent fear of openly
criticizing Muslim extremism in academia and mainstream media.
In Britain, both the Spectator and The
Liberal magazine withdrew offending cartoons from their websites due to fear
of reprisals. The Liberal's editor stated: "Despite our wishes and
convictions, for reasons of safety the magazine will no longer carry the
In the USA, "The Phoenix", a
Boston newspaper admitted its reason for not publishing the cartoons was fear
of being terrorized, adding "..this may be the darkest moment in
our 40-year publishing history".
Against the background of claims by
academia and the media of their dedication to freedom of expression, this
self-censorship is disturbing. Journalistic integrity may not require
publication of the cartoons, but it certainly does require thorough
investigative journalism into the relative culpability of the Danish newspaper
and those who actually stoked the fires by distributing the incendiary fakes.
The question arises whether it is this
same fear of reprisals which prevents media, academics and human rights
activists who spend great efforts in demonizing Israel, from openly
criticizing the rioters or by the same token, organizing mass protests against
Muslim atrocities in Darfur. Perhaps the inconsistency is explained by the
fact, that while it is dangerous to express views about Islam, attacking
Israel is not only safe; it is popular and even attracts encouragement from
Unless the media, church leaders,
academics and human rights advocates address the extremist Islamic threat to
Western civilization, with fervor, equal to that applied to their attacks on
Israel, their claim to moral clarity, intellectual honesty and
even-handedness, must be suspect, more so in view of their silence about the
protestors blatant incitement to kill. In London, for example,
protestors carried placards reading, "Butcher those who mock
Islam" and "Massacre those who insult Islam".
But most importantly, in dealing with this
highly explosive subject, it is essential to distinguish between the angry
mobs and moderate Muslims, whose voices are being drowned by the highly
Yes Muslim moderates do exist. Referring
to the fact that so many Muslim countries feel insulted Naser Khader, a Muslim
member of the Danish Parliament wrote
Mr. Khader's complete
commentary is well worth reading. It may be found on the web at http://www.khader.dk/flx/in_english/commentary_i_feel_insulted/
- ".. We cannot as Muslims dictate
that non-Muslims comply with the allegedly prohibited depiction of the
prophet. .., as a Muslim and a democrat, I want to stress that: I (and
many others) do not feel offended by the drawings.. I find it insulting
that we in Denmark hear demands for an apology to Saudi Arabia's
fundamentalists instead of demands for democratic freedoms for everyone,
Muslims included. ..]
- If anyone should apologize it is Saudi
Arabia. Apologize for its open contempt of human rights, its scorn for
freedom of religious expression, and its systematic repression of equal
rights. For taking away women's right to vote, for refusing them a
passport without the husband's consent, for crediting their testimony
with the validity half that of a man, and for forbidding them something
as trivial as driving a car. For the poor and underpaid Philipino
Christian guest workers put in jail merely for possessing a personal
bible. Apologize for punishment under Sharia. For punishing theft by
amputation and alcohol consumption by whipping. For stoning to death for
adultery and homosexuality - I could continue."
more articles by Maurice Ostroff
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