Saturday, September 30, 2006

One year Anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons.

World: Its been a year since the first publication of the Mohammed cartoons which lead to violence and killings that shocked the western world. The Guardian leads the way with a leader that is at best revisionist and cowardly, an Islamist apologist who can't figure out why the west hasn't bowed down and the fallout from the cartoons one year on. Leader:

"....Liberal principles matter, though common sense requires judgment as to whether an action is likely to cause damage. Free expression cannot mean carte blanche for purveyors of hatred - of which Muslims are not just victims, or indeed the only victims. Jews have protested against anti-semitic images (including in Muslim states where other freedoms are limited). Behzti, a controversial play set in a temple, was axed after it offended Sikhs. But too much caution can erode those principles. So are Muslims a special case? The sense that the 9/11 attacks and subsequent events exposed a "clash of civilisations" is sadly not confined to Osama bin Laden or US neocons. Concepts such as jihad are certainly open to caricature and misunderstanding by non-Muslims. But they have been used in support of violence in Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere - where the west needs to recognise its responsibilities, stop employing double standards, refrain from equating Islam and terrorism, and thus help isolate the fanatics who give ordinary Muslims a bad name. Tolerance must be a two-way street. Freedom of expression is vital. It is not part of a global "crusade" against Islam."
Translation: The west should bow down like us and welcome our new masters for our own safety sakes. As one commentator pointed out when a Jerry Springer play offended Christians, the Guardian was the first to say No one has to watch it. Soumaya Ghannoushi is becoming a favorite of mine because the absolute myopic vision of the world she has developed in her mind makes for a fantastic read because her intolerance sounds coherent but remains illogical.
When the controversial Danish cartoons were published last year, I saw them as a symptom of rising Islamophobia in Europe, particularly as they appeared in a rightwing paper under a rightwing Danish government notorious for its hostility to religious and ethnic minorities. And when a few weeks ago the Pope quoted a Byzantine emperor equating the Muslim faith with evil and inhumanity, I wrote that this was unacceptable coming from the representative of the largest religious institution in the world. Things are different this time. What we are dealing with is a creative artistic interpretation of the theme of the eclipse of the sacred. This phenomenon has cast its dense shadows on the western half of the European continent since the 19th century and has found its clearest expression in Nietzsche's cry of the death of God. ....Muslim minorities in the west should remember that they live in liberal societies which have their own visions and experiences of the religious, just as they have theirs. The Enlightenment tradition has given legitimacy to criticism of religion as a fundamental component of the right to free expression. This is largely the outcome of the specific experience Europe, particularly in its Catholic half, has had with religion and the ecclesiastical institution in the Middle Ages. The experience is peculiarly European and does not encapsulate all the histories of the world's religions.
The fallout from the cartoons remain clear that it seems to have awaken Europe they have a probelm. This has not pleased Guardian writer Luke Harding.
"....While Danish milk products were dumped in the Middle East, fervent rightwing Americans started buying Bang & Olufsen stereos and Lego. In the first quarter of this year Denmark's exports to the US soared 17%. The British writer Christopher Hitchens organised a buy-Danish campaign. Among the thousands of emails sent to Rose was one from an American soldier serving in Iraq. "He told me he was sitting in Iraq, watching a game of football and drinking a can of Carlsberg," Rose said. Rose is not the only person to have prospered from the crisis. Re-elected last year, Mr Rasmussen last week became Denmark's longest-serving Liberal prime minister. Danish troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than this, his sceptical line on immigration appears to have been vindicated as other EU countries follow suit. Right turn Denmark has now drifted to the right - as has neighbouring Sweden, which last week booted out its Social Democrat government. The chill hand of pragmatism has even arrived in Christiania, the Danish capital's hippy commune, as the government announced last week it intended to charge the hairy denizens rent. At the moment the assimilationists - who insist immigrants should become more Danish - are in the ascendant. The government is considering Danish language tests for foreigners applying for a passport. If anything, the cartoon row has forced Europeans to reconsider what it is that makes them European. "It provoked a debate here in Denmark about what are we really and what is our identity," Hans-Henrik Holm, a professor of international relations at Denmark's College of Journalism at Aarhus University said. "A lot of Danes know more today about Islam and religion. We have to wake up to the fact that we don't live in a Hans Christian Andersen quiet provincial country any more."

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