The Danish/Norwegian Cartoon Craziness

I had planned on writing a big post on this topic. But, I’m not quite motivated to write it yet. But I’m still thinking about it. And wondering how anyone can not see the violent and oppressive nature of the Middle Eastern culture. Sure, the cartoons weren’t all that nice and would make you upset, if they were about your religion. But, let’s be bluntly honest. I don’t recall a time during my life when Christians, Buddhists, Jews or Hindus reacted, in general, with the level of anger and violence that Muslims are reacting with in response to this editorial cartoon. In fact, their reactions merely proved the cartoonists to have valuable insight (they depicted Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, in ways that indicate he and his religion are violent ones).

The French press has shown that they don’t have the gumption to be a free and independent press, there have already been two editors fired over this. The Danish and Norwegian press are hanging tough, at least so far, which is great. The AP refused to print the cartoons because they deemed them to be offensive. Many Muslims are claiming that this is similar to the behavior of the German press in the 1930’s, when Jews were constantly depicted as evil because they were Jewish. The difference, of course, is that Jews weren’t beheading kidnapped hostages on camera, blowing up civilians in local marketplaces, flying planes into buildings, blowing up airplanes and so forth. If you don’t want to be perceived as violent, don’t act with violence.

There’s a lot more that I could write, so many things are brought to light by this incident. And I’ll try to get to it soon.

Update: Because the American press is unwilling to exercise their freedoms for fear they might offend someone (in other words, they have surrendered), I am publishing the cartoons here.

Offensive Islamic Cartoon #1

Offensive Islamic Cartoon #2

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  • Cory

    I can’t figure out what the fuss is all about, because I can’t seem to find this cartoon anywhere. How about someone posting a link so I could read it and for my own opinions on the matter?

  • Jim

    I found the cartoon on

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  • Amir

    What I am wondering about cartoons and freedom of speech is this: would any of these european newspapers publish cartoons of jews that depicts them with big noses and money hungry? Would they publish cartoons that deny holocaust? It’s crime in these countries. The editor or cartoonist would go to jail. Hypocrisy? Apparently freedom of speech has limits to them.

    I want to see this question raised and explained

  • Mike

    First off, Amir, you’ll find that most, if not all of us over here disagree with the fact that in Europe, publishing a cartoon that denies the Holocaust is a crime. We (taking the liberty of speaking in the plural here…I assume most everyone would agree with me) think that one should be able to do that just as much as one should be able to publish these cartoons. It’s about freedom of speech and freedom to offend.

    As far as the depiction of Jews goes, like it or not, some people of the Islamic faith have taken its beliefs to extreme forms, resulting in lots and lots of violence. Jews, on the other hand, have not…as we know now, most of the stereotypes of Jews, such as being greedy or drinking Christian babies’ blood, etc, have been proven false. The “stereotype” of the extremist Muslim still exists, as shown every day on the news.

    You speak of freedom of speech having limits in Europe. Perhaps, but at least they have a concept of freedom of speech, and, in this case, the balls to back it up. That concept is one too rare in the Middle East. Out of all of the countries, only Iraq and Lebanon have allowed completely open uncontrolled protests against the government. 10,000+ people marched against the cartoons in the West Bank…do you honestly think 100 people would be allowed to march against Hamas?

    Finally, an example from the U.S…recently, an editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post published a cartoon that many (especially military members and veterans) considered to be offensive. However, instead of storming buildings and burning flags, people in this country wrote letters, exchanged ideas. This belief in liberal values is so pervasive that even the top generals, people with a great deal of power at their hands, did nothing more than write a letter to the Washington Post expressing their displeasure. No threats of force, no attempted coercion. Just an exchange of ideas.

    And one day, the Middle East will be the same. Liberal values are on the march, and despite the best efforts of people to stave them off, they will triumph. To paraphrase an old internet phrase, “ideas want to be free, yo.”

    There is no other way.

  • Aldo

    I very much appreciate your support of Free Speech. Thanks

  • Aldo

    I very much appreciate your support of Free Speech. Thanks

  • Eric

    Amir, how hypocritical is it to demand that someone else say what you want them to say? You are, basically, demanding that the paper that publishes that cartoon can only do so if they also publish a cartoon that ridicules Jews. That’s not freedom of speech. They are free to say what they want.

    The issue at hand is not their hypocrisy, it is the Muslim culture reacting with violence to a cartoon that says they are violent people. If your culture is not one of violence, then the cartoon shouldn’t cause people to invade hotels with assault rifles to try and kidnap people from Denmark in retaliation for the cartoon.

  • Eric

    And, to tell you the truth, I don’t see anything particularly offensive about these cartoons. I think Muslims have gone far over the top on this.

  • Ben

    Eric: Muslims are going crazy over this because drawing a representation of Muhammed is sacrilege in Islam. By all accounts, they would be angry even if the drawings had not been derogatory in any way to Muhammed, as merely portraying him at all is wrong.
    Now, that is not to say that I agree with them….

  • Eric

    Ben, most Christians consider dipping the cross in urine to be sacrilige. I didn’t see them trying to kidnap and torture people because of that. I understand some of the issue is about religious beliefs and some is about the offensive nature of the cartoons. They are busily proving the point of the cartoonist right now, don’t you think?

  • morph

    Amir, I believe denying the holocaust is only illegal in Austria. Austria didn’t run these cartoons that I know of. Countries that did run the cartoons, have no laws against depicting jews insultingly in cartoons.

  • Diego

    I agree that it is wrong to limit freedom of expression of this kind, and that it is ridiculous to blame entire countries for allowing certain newspapers to publish a racist cartoon (and I’m sorry, the first one was funny, but the Mohammed with a bomb on his head is pretty racist.)
    I also find much of the commentary here outright racist. When you say :

    “some people of the Islamic faith have taken its beliefs to extreme forms, resulting in lots and lots of violence. Jews, on the other hand, have not…as we know now, most of the stereotypes of Jews, such as being greedy or drinking Christian babies’ blood, etc, have been proven false.”

    What are you talking about? I’m half-jewish, and I know plenty of rich, greedy, big-nosed jews. Every racist stereotype is going to represent a portion of the target group. I’d say it’s about as accurate to depict Muslims as terrorists and extremists as it is to depict all Christian Americans as racist, homophobic, fundamentalists like Pat Robertson. It is simply inaccurate, and in an environment of anti-Arab racism in western Europe, it amounts to racism. Racism isn’t just about ignorance and stereotypes, it’s about context and power.

    Thus I understand the angry Muslims, but denounce their threats of violence and such, though I believe it’s a lot of hot air, and no one’s actually going to do anything too serious based on one stupid cartoon.

  • Mike

    You miss the point, Diego…the followers of Pat Robertson aren’t going around blowing up buildings and sawing off people’s heads. I’m pretty sure that in the past 20 years, the followers of extremist Islam have killed more people than the followers of Christian extremists. Also, you mention that this cartoon is the equivalent of depicting all “Christian Americans as racist, homophobic, fundamentalists like Pat Robertson.” Um…where have you been the past 15 years? Any Christian that takes a stand for their beliefs is almost always demonized in this way.

    And for the record, I’m not a racist; nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike many so-called “progressives” in our society, I am truly color blind. I like and dislike people based on the ideas they hold, not the color of their skin. I think the best way to illustrate this is to comment on my AFROTC det…right now, among my fellow cadets I have a person of Indian descent, Pakistani descent, several African-Americans, some people of Asian descent, and a few people from elsewhere in the Pacific. I have the utmost respect for each one of them because of the decision they have made to serve their country. Conversely, I have just as much hatred for the student who chose to wear a Hamas banner to dinner the night after the Palestinian elections, because I have just as much hatred for the ideas that he stands for. The color of Hamas-boy’s skin is the same as the cadet of Pakistani descent, yet my feelings for them are totally opposite.


  • Ben

    Eric, I totally agree with you. It is sad that they must resort to violence and threats of violence when faced with criticism. I was merely responding to your comment on not seeing anything particularly offensive with the cartoons. I also do not see anything offensive to me personally, as I am not Muslim. However, to a Muslim it is obviously a very offensive thing. I guess what I am trying to say is that the Muslims are not “over the top” in being very offended, but they ARE “over the top” when that offense is manifested in violence.

  • Eric

    Actually Diego, criticizing a religion is not “racist”. The second cartoon criticizes Islam through political satire. It is no more racist than a depiction of a Christian or Hebrew religious figure that is critical. Or, do you think all followers of Mohammed are of a single race, Diego? The cartoon is making a statement about Islam, not about any specific ethnic group.

    The fact is, Mohammed used violence to achieve his ends. The fact is, the vast majority of the violence and death by war and terrorism in the world in the past decade has been due to Islam. The reality is that Islam is used as the justification for incredible amounts of violence. This cartoon is using satire to make the argument that Islam is a violent religion. That isn’t racist. You may not like it, you may think it’s wrong, but it isn’t racist. But, the easiest way to try to belittle something and make it “wrong”, in our society, is to scream racism.

    Diego said: “though I believe it’s a lot of hot air, and no one’s actually going to do anything too serious based on one stupid cartoon.”

    Oh, so invading hotels with automatic weapons, seeking out westerners to kidnap, torture and kill, isn’t serious? Just what do you consider serious?

  • Eric

    Ben, I think reacting with anger and offense when someone says something you don’t like is “over the top”, whether you reflect that anger in a violent fashion, or not. When you add violence to that reaction, you go from “over the top” to morally repugnant and wrong.

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  • chie

    I don’t see any reason why this has become a reason to incite violence. As a Christian, God and Jesus Christ has been used in so many disrespectful ways and it hurts us just as much as it hurts the Muslims when Prophet Mohammed was used in the caricature. However, there is no need for the Muslims to burn or destroy properties in order to voice out their anger. It can be done in a more civilized manner. Because if we count the number of times God and Christ has been depicted blasphemously it is several times greater than this one singular cartoon.

  • Charles

    Thank God for Liberty and Freedom of speech. Do you see any other race or religion react in violence the way Islam does and how they surpress anyone who opposes their views. They also kill and maim in the name of Allah.

  • Eric

    Charles, I see every group of humans on the planet react in violence if they can get away with it. The issue here is not of ethnicity and race, but one of culture, religion and politics intertwined.

  • Bill

    The fact that so much violence is occuring over a “tradition” rather than the actual religious doctrine has me troubled the most. Nowhere in the Koran does it state that there is to be no dipiction of Muhammed.  This is a man made rule and goes to the heart of how fanatical the hard core Islamists can be.  It’s really a shame and a true perversion of religious belief.

  • Eric

    Bill, that is definitely troubling. As is the inability, or unwillingness, to control such reactions on the part of the religious and political leaders. We certainly will not encourage them to do so by rolling over and playing dead.

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