:: Monday, February 06, 2006 ::
I was going to do a long-winded post about the uproar about the Muhammad cartoons. Instead, I'm going summarise where I think blame lays and let yall investigate for yourselves. Corrections are appreciated.
The Danish newspaper who initially published the cartoons were looking to insult from the beginning (bad), but apparently were assuming a reaction comparable to what they'd get out of Christians and didn't understand the can of worms they were opening (which mitigates, very slightly). They have since apologized for the uproar they caused (good).There. If I've missed saying that one group or another has screwed up at some point during all this, please tell me. I wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.
The Danish Muslim community brought the issue to the attention of the rest of the Islamic world (undecided on this one), which have since demanded that the Danish government take punitive actions (nieve, since most EU countries have issues with interfering with the press when religion is concerned). I personally think that, like the fundamentalist Christians here in the US, many Muslim nations need to grasp the idea of a pluralistic global society.
One thing to remember is that the EU is host to a sizable population of Muslim immigrants and their descendants. Xenophobic policies in many European nations make it difficult or impossible for such immigrants to become citizens, and deny their offspring birthright citizenship, thus relegating them to second-class citizenship at best. In my woefully undereducated opinion, the riots in France last fall were probably connected to this current event at least in light of this vague xenophobic atmosphere, if not more directly.
A number of other newspapers have published some or all of the cartoons. Some merely to show their readers what the controversy is about (good, or at least not bad), others to inflame Islamic sentiments in an attempt to desensitise the community (which is exceedingly not cool, since the intent is to harm).
Many nations and other world leaders have condemned the publication of the cartoons, which is most likely a wise thing, both from a moral and political perspective. I'd be much happier if there were similar official condemnations of the violent reactions taking place, though.
In response to the publication (or republication, I'm not sure which), certain Islamic groups have issued death threats, burnt down the Norweigian and Danish embassies in Syria, and occupied EU offices in Gaza (all not cool due to use of violence).
A number of protests have been staged over the issue (cool in principle), but some have turned violent (not cool), and others involved signs supporting Sept. 11-type attacks on Denmark and other countries, as well as bringing up the Holocaust (both extremely not cool). Other instances of anti-semitism have also cropped up (extremely uncool, and definitely not called for).
Part of the impetus for this post is some ugliness I saw at a Catholic blog that shall remain nameless at the moment. ::cough::holywhapping::cough:: They, or at least one of their contributors, has gone on a Little Green Footballs-inspired "look at the Muslims do evil things" bender. Not only does this hurt their own case when they decry the depiction of Catholicism in the public media (DaVinci Code, anyone?), but such sentiments serve only to injure the other side and hinder attempts to bring the situation to some sort of resolution. To me, at least, having an attitude of "everyone's wrong, now let's sit down and fix this" is much more productive than painting the other side to be a bunch of evil people.
Am I satisfied with how this is turning out? No. Do I think this'll get much worse before some sort of resolution is achieved? Most likely, yes. But that doesn't mean that anyone should try to make the sitution worse, or do anything other than try to achieve a peaceful solution.
NOTE: Since people apparently aren't getting this, I'm not compairing the situation of Dan Brown to that of the cartoonists who drew the cartoons in question. I'm comparing Holy Whapping's depiction of Muslims to Dan Brown's depictions of Catholicism. Does that make more sense?
:: The Squire 3:31 AM :: email this post :: ::