Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Mohammed Cartoon Flap

        I was ignoring this story, because I didn't take it seriously.  I still don't take it seriously, but it's become too big to ignore.

        If you go here, you can see the Mohammed cartoons, plus an AP photo and two AP stories on the subject.  A few thoughts:

        A) Some of the cartoons are quite harmless, by any rational standard, some are dumb, and some are deliberately offensive.  But they're all the kinds of things Muslims will have to get used to.  The right of foreigners and non-Muslims to live by their own laws is something else Muslims will have to get used to.

        B) Now that its own ox is gored, the press is beginning to realize that Islamofascists aren't quite the fluffy bunnies some in the MSM have made them out to be.  But not all, by any means.  The Associated Press still lacks the balls to refer to terrorists and terrorism by their proper names, for instance.

        C) Europe may not be doomed after all, but the issue is in doubt:
        Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said EU leaders have a responsibility to "clearly condemn" insults to any religion.  But French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said he preferred "an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship."

        D) Sarkozy joined journalists in rallying around the editorial director of France Soir, who was fired by the newspaper's Egyptian owner.  France Soir and several other newspapers across Europe reprinted the caricatures this week in a show of support for freedom of expression. . . .

        The Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, had asked 40 cartoonists to draw images of the prophet.  The purpose, its chief editor said, was "to examine whether people would succumb to self-censorship, as we have seen in other cases when it comes to Muslim issues." . . .

        Danish Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen, in a meeting with the Egyptian ambassador, reiterated his stance that the government cannot interfere with issues concerning the press.  On Monday, he said his government could not apologize on behalf of a newspaper, but that he personally "never would have depicted Muhammad, Jesus or any other religious character in a way that could offend other people." . . .

        British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw criticized European media outlets for republishing the caricatures as demonstrators prepared to take to the streets of London.

        E) I thought Jews were supposed to be smart, not idiots.  And certainly after the Holocaust, they should have learned the futility of appeasement:
        Critics say the drawings were particularly insulting because some appeared to ridicule Muhammad.  One cartoon showed the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb.

        France's Grand Rabbi Joseph Sitruk said he shared Muslim anger.

        "We gain nothing by lowering religions, humiliating them and making caricatures of them.  It's a lack of honesty and respect," he said.  He said freedom of expression "is not a right without limits."

        F) This whole episode has been valuable in that it temporarily dispelled some illusions.  That won't last, of course — human beings can't bear too much reality.  But it should help concentrate the mind temporarily.

        G) Attention Muslim terrorists: I'm in the Minneapolis phone book.

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Google's Motto: Don't Be Evil — UNLESS IT PAYS REALLY WELL!


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