Thursday, February 09, 2006

A couple of revealing links: Hypocrisy on both sides of the Muhammad cartoon war

I came across a couple of interesting links concerning the big cartoon kerfuffle which appears to be raging unabated. I think these link show the hyprocrisy that can be found on either side of the cartoon issue. Hopefully they'll give hotheads on either side of the issue some pause.

The first link reveals that an Egyptian newspaper El Fagr actually published the controversial cartoons in October, 2005 without provoking any widespread protests within the country. To be fair, the cartoons were shown with Arabic commentary describing them as examples of Islamophobia and intolerance. But then again I'm sure some of the other papers that republished the cartoons condemned the offensive and provocative nature of the content even if they defended the right of a newspaper to publish them. Is it time to boycott Egyptian goods too? :)

The second revealing example of hypocrisy comes from the original offending newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, itself. Apparently, only two years prior to their publication of the Muhammad cartoons, the same paper refused to publish some Jesus cartoons which were much less offensive. I think this tells you a lot about the underlying attitude and motivation of the paper. Yes, it is true that they did publish the original Muhammad cartoons on the grounds that they were fighting against intimidation of the free press by extremists. However, the Guardian article clearly demonstrates that the editors were willing to restrain their free speech when it involved Christian sensibilities, while they actually went out of their way to provoke Muslims with the Muhammad cartoons. In light of this, it's not believable that Jyllands-Posten's underlying motivation was solely to champion free speech, since if they were truly free speech champions they wouldn't have rejected publishing the Jesus cartoons on the grounds of them being too offensive. I think it's ridiculous to deny that part of what motivated the editors of Jyllands-Posten to print the cartoons was some degree of contempt for Islam and the Muslim immigrants of Denmark.

By the way, here is one of the more insightful and measured assessments of the whole cartoon controversy that I've seen so far. I don't agree with everything she says, but I think her entry is one of the more reasonable I've seen out there so far. I plan on posting some more of my own opinions on this issue soon.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mohamed cartoons were published in connection with a specific issue (self-censorship of the Danish cartoonists for fear of retaliation). The Jesus cartoons were an unsolicited submission, in connection with nothing at all. I do not see how this makes the newspaper hypocritical. Many, if not most, newspapers refuse unsolicited submissions all the time.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Shas said...

I dnt get it? Wat did Our beloved prophet (SAW) do to u ppl out there? Did he cause any harm??
Islam asks us to respect other religions and prophet, peace b on all of them.
But u ppl out there take advantage of this and try to insult us muslims??
Let me give u an example.
Lets say someone u love dearly, ur mom/ wife was walking down the street and suddenly this ur neighbour comes over and insults her infront of public.
U c ur neighbour wid his friends...wat do u do?
Smile and greet him or punch his lights out b4 he opens his mouth???

11:59 PM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Shas, is that comment directed towards me or the poster of the first comment? Were you offended by the South Park cartoon?

12:45 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

In response to anonymous...
While you're correct that they sought out the Muhammad cartoons while the Jesus cartoons were unsolicited, I think the hyprocrisy is revealed in the reasons given for not running the Jesus cartoon. If they were truly such strong advocates of free expression then presumably they wouldn't have cited 'offensive to their readers' as one of the reasons for not running the considerably less inflamatory Jesus toons. The whole point of their running the Muhammad cartoons was presumably to show that freedom of expression ultimately trumps any religious sensibilities- but their response to the Jesus cartoons belie this.

At the very least, I think it shows that they're attitude is as much anti-Muslim as it is pro-free speech. Yes they might be intertwined, but there is a difference. Going out of there way to provoke the Muslim population is not equivalent to protecting free speech. I suppose I'm saying there's a good dose of the former as well as the later underlying their actions.

6:44 PM  

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