Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Muslim cartoon fallout:

Here is a roundup of what is currently happening around the world:

SPIEGEL Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali: 'Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam':
"Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician forced to go into hiding after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, responds to the Danish cartoon scandal, arguing that if Europe doesn't stand up to extremists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades in Holland will spread in Europe."

Suspicious package found at the Danish embassy in Auckland, New Zealand:
A Defence Force bomb squad has been called to a downtown Auckland building, after Danish trade officials reported today that they had received a suspicious package.

Iranian paper runs Holocaust cartoon contest. Boy, they will be sadly disappointed if they think the West will throw a temper tantrum. The contest is shocking. But the response? Yawn.

Iran’s biggest-selling newspaper has chosen to tackle the West’s ideals of “freedom of expression” by launching a competition to find the 12 “best” cartoons about the Holocaust, the Associated French Press reported on Monday.

Farid Mortazavi, graphics editor for Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, said that the deliberately inflammatory contest would test out how committed Europeans were to the concept freedom of expression.

“The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,” he said.

While the Media wrestles with publishing the cartoons.....the National Post says this:

"On the question of can we run it, yes we can," Douglas Kelly, editor in chief of the National Post, wrote in an editorial last week. "The question is, should we run it? The depiction of this image in a newspaper is offensive to some readers and that is of concern."

How about some Western solidarity with those kicking around the Danes?

Meanwhile, Iran has cancelled trade with the Danes. But will the Danes cancel trade with Iran?

The BBC asks and answers
their own questions regarding the cartoons:

What are the issues raised by the cartoons?

In many European countries there is a strong sense of secular values being under fire from conservative Islamic traditions among immigrant communities. Many commentators see the cartoons as a response to this.

There are also issues of integration - how much should the host society compromise to accommodate immigrant populations, and how much should immigrants integrate into the society they are making home.

Some commentators have defended the cartoons, saying they address fault lines in changing European societies that need to be discussed more openly.

The BBC also interviews a fellow, literally, a visiting fellow at Oxford, is right and wrong:
Tariq Ramadan, visiting fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, argued that Muslims had overreacted: "The idea that this is a clash of civilisations is to be driven by extremist views and emotional statements. The Muslim reaction is far too excessive and not the way forward."

I agree, Muslims are being "far too excessive" in their violence. I disagree with his assessment that this is not a clash of civilizations. I mean, what more clash do you want? A war between East and West? It is not an extremist view. Sure, we may briefly riot if they cancel Guns-'n'-Roses on us....but at the end of the day, Western culture does not throw violent hissy fits all over the world over an insult or offense. By the virtue of opposite reactions to similar problems do I conclude that there is indeed differences between Western values that amount to a clash from time to time. Is it so hard to believe?

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