Saturday, February 04, 2006

Why Are We Surprised?






As a general rule I try not to comment on politics here. The reason is that I can take politics & controversy in very small doses which I prefer to take on someone else's blog rather than have it hound me here.

But I couldn't let the image above pass without comment. Looking at it the first question that jumps to my mind is why are we surprised?Why are we surprised that people think Islam is a terrorist religion founded by a terrorist when we do things like that?

Someone prints something to the effect that the Prophet(pbuh) is a terrorist. As Muslims we are - quite rightly - horrified. Why are we horrified? Because we know that this is unjust, that our Prophet is being maligned. So in our concern over this distortion we do what? We issue death threats & blow up a Christian Church in Iraq & storm embassies & declare our contempt - in the name of Islam - for freedom of expression.

Am I missing something here?How exactly do such actions help to clear the Prophet's name or present the image of Islam as we would like it to be presented?

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38 Comments:

Blogger roora said...

loulou, i differ with you here

The press in the west don't only show disrespected our prophet (PBUH) but they did he same with prophet Eissa PBUH , with no respect to any prophets under the name of freedom of expression.they go so far and extend their limits. but freedon of expression and opinions went so far that it reached to total disprespect.

Those who work in the press if they want to transit messages , they have to be well informed and educated about the persons whom they are commenting about before passing on judgements and know how much he is symbolized to Muslims.

I bet if any of them give themselves a chance to read about him , they would of know that it is not true , but what can I say ?

Freedom of expression and opinions should be held accountable for what they say. Rather than just mocking and showing disrespect to our prophets or else they should change another role better instead.

2/05/2006 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Hi roora,

"but freedon of expression and opinions went so far that it reached to total disprespect."

Everyday on the blogosphere or on internet forums we meet people like that, people who have a problem with Islam or with religion in general. And we debate with them & try to change their minds. If we get tired we just stop talking to them.

But we never dispute is their right to have their blogs or write what they want in their blogs do we?We might ask them not to come to our blogs but we don't try to close their blogs. That is freedom of expression. They have a right to write what they want. And we have a right to choose to respond or not & to choose to read or not.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right for everyone. If there was no freedom of expression in Denmark it would mean that Muslims in Denmark will not be allowed to practice their religion freely - which they are. Why should the Danes - who don't believe in religion - allow Muslims to practice Islam freely?Because of freedom of expression.

"Those who work in the press if they want to transit messages , they have to be well informed"

Roora this guy did not write a book about the Prophet. It was just a cartoon - meant as a joke. Some Muslims bomb things or mistreat women or whatever & say their Prophet told them to. The cartoon was making fun of that. As you said using religious figures in mockery or satire is common practice in Denmark.

I agree that it is disinformation but if you think someone is not well-informed, the answer is to inform them - not to threaten to kill them if they don't shut up or to blow up churches or burn embassies. Just because you silence someone doesn't mean you changed their mind. We can't get angry because they call us terrorists and then behave like terrorists as a response. That makes the problem worse.

The only acceptable response to an idea is another idea - an argument. Not a bomb or a fire. I'm sorry. I just don't believe in that.

2/05/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderer said...

Let me ask you a question first.

If a man is walking down the street and suddenly his neighbor appears in front of him and spits at his face. Will you consider it Freedom of Expression.
The neighbor has the right to express his hatred the way he wants even by spitting at the guy's face!!!!!!
Now, do you expect the guy to walk away peacefully and say that his neighbor is free to express his feelings towards him?!!!!!

It is exactly what they did. They insulted us and our prophet. Their aim was mere humiliation. I have seen the drawings. They didn't express a point of view or anything, just INSULT!!!

2/05/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

loulou, freedom of opinion doesn't mean to insult , I dont see that it is right for any one whether muslim or non muslim to mock on any religous beiefs or figues for any religon holders in public out of respect for them.


we may not be convinced by what they believe but there is respect to their beliefs, and if some body mocks on religous figues and the other accepted, he/she should not be some one whom we should look up for .

Respect should be given for all the religous figures , beliefs, if they don't belive of that , it is their own choice but they should not mock or insult on our prophet (PBUH).

You dont see muslims are unionized in being angry for the press which writes article about terrorism that is done under he name of Islam , because they are addressing those who behave as terrorists.

But ALL the Muslims are angry from the mocking cartoon they did on the prophet (PBUH), maybe the west press dont know how much he means to us and that we are required to love him more than we love ourselves,and defending him is the least we can do.

I am not with the violent reactions , like destroying and fires but I am happy that some islamic countries made a move and they decided to bycott , and I am even happier by the awareness of the people here in Egypt (as individuals ) of the every day mails that come to encourge bycotting. Maybe they will think twice before doing that again.

2/05/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Roora & Wonderer,
I have to side with Lou Lou on this. Freedom of expression is a human right here in the West. I have not seen this cartoon but I understand that it was terribly upsetting and offensive to Muslims. The independant newspaper that published it has apologized again and again. I don't know what more can be done.

Wonderer, if a neighbor were to come spit in the face of another that would be considered minor assault and he would be arrested. It is a physical act.

Here in the US there is a group called the Ku Klux Klan. They hold marches and rallies. Their ideology is that only White people have any value in this world, that all other races and religions are sub-human. I find this loathsome. I disagree with every thing they say and believe in. However I will defend their right to say it. That is what true freedom of speech means. It is even more important to stand up for when you don't like what is being said.

Unfortunately this group of fanatics who are burning embassies and holding demonstrations against free speech will only give ammunition to those in the West who already have a grudge with Muslims. It will probably make even more new enemies. These people make all Muslims look bad and violent.

I know that Islam is not a religion of violence and through the blogsphere I've met so many wonderful Muslims. This event will not change my opinion. However if I were Muslim I would be angry as hell at these fanatics for their violent behavior.

Hopefully this will all blow over soon.

2/06/2006 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger roora said...

Jane " Freedom of expression is a human right here in the West." i believe it is every one right to present his opinion in pointig out on corruption, political issues , what so ever but making cartoon on an islamic figures who every body knows that he is Muslims ' prophet.
That was far so insensitive from the press and irritating for more than 1 billion of muslis here.

I am not neither with the west media that showed disprect to prophet Eissa (Jesus ) PBUH, because we are required to respect all the prophets, we are not worshipping them , but there must be respect for them.



" The independant newspaper that published it has apologized again and again. I don't know what more can be done. " I dnt think they did , beside that as they had the choice once to express their opinions , they should not blame others' responses of bycotting as well ( freedom of choice )

"Wonderer, if a neighbor were to come spit in the face of another that would be considered minor assault and he would be arrested. It is a physical act. " Let me ask you honestly if some one came and he attached your dad by drawing cartoon mocking on him in the national newspapers for NO REASON except insult and free of opinion , you won't feel it is an insult , does an insult have to be a physical act ? wouldnt your blood boils? well we as Muslims should love him more than our families. Did you undertsand why we were upset ? Because he means a lot to us.


"Unfortunately this group of fanatics who are burning embassies" I a not with the violent reactions neither but I cant deny that I a happy by some governmental peaceful rections that they took.


I know that Islam is not a religion of violence and through the blogsphere I've met so many wonderful Muslims. " Thanks , as I said I a not with violent reactions, maybe the press needs to know more about he was a great person.

2/06/2006 02:14:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Loulou,

I think it will be fair to view all pictures on Yahoo by AP, so you can get a better idea about how all protests went in the world in regards to the cartoon. 90% of the protests went without violence.

I'm glad you picked on this one because any Muslim or Arab should denounce the wordings on those banners.

I'm baffled by the term "freedom of speech" what does it mean? it means that we create a terrorist out of a prophet? or draw the virgin Mary out of Elephant feces and pictures of vaginas? Does freedom of speech glorify when they portray Jesus Christ as a womanizer and a man with lust?


What kind of a horrifying disgusting freedom of speech this is?
The cartoon clearly did portray the Prophet Mohamed as a terrorist, huge difference between making a joke of a person and a prophet. The average individual have the right to take you to court if you defame his/her character so protest, boycott and the outrage (within peaceful limits) is the right of every Muslim.

I disagree with what you say here:-

If there was no freedom of expression in Denmark it would mean that Muslims in Denmark will not be allowed to practice their religion freely - which they are. Why should the Danes - who don't believe in religion - allow Muslims to practice Islam freely?

People practice their religion freely because of human rights and liberty in the modern world. There are all kinds of religions in Denmark and Islam is one of them. The atheist Danes is not doing the Muslims a favor by letting them practice their religion.

It is time for the press to rise above such dirt and use their skills in serving the people rather than offending them

2/06/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Wonderer,

If your neighbor spits in your face that would be assault. The law would protect you & he would be arrested. However if your neighbor writes an article in the newspaper attacking your religious/political affiliation & you go & spit in his face then the law - in Europe - protects him & it will be you who will go to jail. This is the system in Europe. The law protects living people - not beliefs.

If we want a different law fine, we can have it in our own countries. But we cannot tell people in other countries to change their legal or constituational framework because we don't like it. Why should Denmark - a non-Muslim country - have to ask our permission before it prints something in its own newspapers in its own country?

A while back I remember you posting about a religious sect that you found disgusting. There it is. To its followers it's a holy, sacred religion but it disgusted you. Those were your feelings. Ish ti3mli? Why should you have to lie about them? And you did exercise your write to express your feelings on your blog. Now how would you have felt if every follower of that sect who read your post went around burning Egyptian embassies & kidnapping Egyptians all over the world or sent you death threats just for expressing your feelings about his sect?


Roora,

"maybe the west press dont know how much he means to us and that we are required to love him more than we love ourselves,and defending him is the least we can do."

I never said we shouldn't defend the Prophet. What I said was that when we do ugly things in his name we don't defend him, we insult him.

When some terrorist in a video slaughters an innocent person in Algeria or Egypt or Iraq or wherever and tells the world he is doing this in the name of Mohamed then THAT is insulting Mohamed. Why don't we defend the Prophet then?Why don't we get angry when Muslims insult him with their actions?

In Morocco we have a saying that if you don't want people to curse your parents then behave yourself otherwise people WILL curse your parents infront of you or behind your back for not raising you better. You can't silence people by force but you can control your own actions so that you give them nothing to talk about. Then they will be forced to respect you and your parents & your culture & religion.

Twosret,

"The average individual have the right to take you to court if you defame his/her character so protest, boycott and the outrage (within peaceful limits) is the right of every Muslim."

I think peaceful is the operative word here. Why can't we stick to peaceful limits?

The right way to express being offended is letters to the editor, articles/cartoons expressing your viewpoint & last, yes court action.

If 90% of the protests went without violence, many of them did carry signs like the ones you can see here, full of hate speech & death threats. In Britain - a country where official & public opinion has been sympathetic to the Muslim pov so far - Muslim protestors had to carry signs like this & other signs threatening terrorist attacks. How do you think the public in Britian are looking at Islam or its Prophet or its followers now?

"The atheist Danes is not doing the Muslims a favor by letting them practice their religion."

And Muslim Danes would not be doing the athiests a favor by letting them state their atheism. Freedom of worship is a branch of freedom of expression & everyone has a right to it.

Jane,

"However if I were Muslim I would be angry as hell at these fanatics for their violent behavior."

Thank you. I am angry.

2/06/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

I think the one thing we can all agree on is that arson and violence are wrong. I never stated that Muslims don't have the right or shouldn't defend the sacredness of their prophet but I'm with Lou Lou again here, it should be done peacefully. Take the high road no matter how angry you are. We have a saying in the US...it goes, "It's like the lunatics are running the asylum." To the non-Muslim world that is what it appears to be. It would seem that these violently aggressive people are the majority, that they are a factual representative of all Muslims. Peaceful Muslims who truly want dialogue, not war, need to stand up and be more vocal. I am on your side here, really. These rioting people are not improving the image of Islam or your prophet. Unless this blows away soon I fear it will create deeper negative stereotypes and discrimination of Muslims all over the non-Muslim world. This will only make tensions and situations worse.

2/06/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Me said...

As Muslims, I believe we have the right to be offended and angry by what has been published... but of course ya Loul we don't have the right to burn embassies and issue death threats...that is surely not the solution ... however, those who printed these horrifying cartoons must get the message that this is NOT to be accepted...

"There exists a cultural vagueness in the West. This vagueness results from the presence of two different concepts. The first is a great Western concept that we respect, appraise, and need. That concept is freedom of speech. This is a great humane and civilized concept. On the other hand, there is the great Islamic concept of dignifying Allah’s Messenger (SAWS). The problem arises due to the lack of understanding of the Islamic Civilization and the Western Civilization regarding these two concepts. The non-Muslims cannot value the rank of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS). On the other hand, due to the below-average quality of practical application of freedom of speech, Muslims have a vague understanding of the concept of respecting freedom of speech.

Accordingly, what is required now? We do not want to refuse the concept of freedom of speech, absolutely not. However, the West should alter the freedom of speech so that it does not collide with the very important Islamic value of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS). Here lies the vagueness and ambiguity. The West understands very well the freedom of speech (which we appreciate) but it does not understand Islamic values, such as dignifying the Prophet (SAWS) and other Islamic sanctities. This is where the Western cultural vagueness lies."

The rest of the article by Amr Khaled can be found here

2/06/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Wonderer said...

Jane,

"The independant newspaper that published it has apologized again and again. I don't know what more can be done"

They posted an apology for only ONE hour on their web-site, then they removed it and posted instead an article stating that they wont apologize cause it is the "freedom of Expression"

We are just asking them to write an apology in their newspaper in the same place were they posted the cartoons. Is that too much!!!

I am also aganist the acts of violence. However, if you read what is written and see the cartoon and listen to what the French newspaper editor said on Jezera Channel, Yo will understand then.

"I know that Islam is not a religion of violence and through the blogsphere I've met so many wonderful Muslims"

Thank you Jane. I hope other people would give themseleves a chance understand Islam & Muslims.

Loulou,

When I posted something about a strange sect, I didn't insult them. I only sited some facts and rituals, even people of this sect can't deny it. Moreover, after a while, I felt that it was not right to talk about them and I removed the post "el e3teraf bel7aq fadila" (It is a virtue to admit your mistakes).

BTW, check this this out,

2/06/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cliche~ said...

I totally understand where Lou Lou is coming from. She;s not dismissing the offense, she's just dismissing the reaction. THis is not a battle of emotion, its a battle of politics. IF our prophet is insulted and our reputation is doubted, a violent reaction would only make things worse. Some one said that 90% of the demonstrations were peaceful...but the other 10 speak louder coz they;'re threatening..... the danish embassies being burnt, the threats of bombing denmark.... this totally takes away the attention from the real case which is RELIGIOUS HATRED, and puts focus on the threat of attacking denmark. Thus we lose our case!!!!!!!!!

Another issue here is the cultural clash. I'm sure if u look online or at magazines, you would find many comics about Jesus which i m sure lots of people would find offensive, yet in today's world these things have come to be normal and accepted. I m not saying that we shouldn't react, but I'm saying that if we look at it from their "ignorant" perspective, we'll find that due to their culture and their norms they don't realise the signficance or implications of what's been done. And the cartoon would probably not be given much attention if it wasn't for the reaction. It is our choice to increase this "ignorance" caused by cultural difference, or respond in a way that preserves our dignity and our political bank account.


PS: mabrouk, ur wedding post was so touching..... v. culturally n socially insightful

2/06/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Meme,

7amdilla 3ala elsalama. Nice to have you back around here. I thought you abandoned us.:)

"However, the West should alter the freedom of speech so that it does not collide with the very important Islamic value of dignifying the Prophet (SAWS)."

Meme societies do not change their value system because someone from the outside told them to. Again we cannot tell others what legal or constutional framework to follow in their own countries or what values to hold.

Am going to reverse the situation here. Try to imagine that the Danish people are coming to Egypt & asking YOU to change your value system so that you no longer hold the Prophet so dear. What would be your response?

Infact something very similar happened to us in the Maghreb area. This is exactly what French colonialism was trying to do to us in 150 years - change our values, recreate us in the image of France, change the place of religion in our lives. And do you know how we responded?We fought to the death to keep our own values in our own countries. Just like Morocco will never be France, Denmark will never be Egypt or any other country that has religious taboos.

Look at history, everytime a culture tries to interfere with the core values of another culture there is war because core values are what people are willing to fight & die for.

Now in Europe, they had centuries of religious wars & oppression by religious leaders before they managed to win their freedom of expression. They consider this & the seperation of religion & state to be the basis of their modern civilization. Do you understand?It is something as sacred to them as the Prophet is to us.

Do you think that they're going to give it up so easily?No they won't.Even if we manage to get this one newspaper to apologize by using economic or diplomatic pressure or even the threat of violence, the law in Denmark & the EU will still recognize no religious taboos. It will still be perfectly legal for any other newspaper or movie director or TV channel to ridicule any religion it chooses anytime. Just like newspapers in several European countries have already chosen to reprint the cartoons.

Defending the Prophet in Denmark should be done within the context of Danish law which just like it gives others the freedom to critique or ridicule your pov, also gives you the right to respond & present the true face of your religion. This is what we need to be doing if we want to undo the damage done to the Prophet's name by these cartoons & by the actions of some Muslims. We need to go there & talk to people & tell them what we really are & that we & our religion are not as ugly as we've been painted. But people will not be willing to listen to us if from the beginning we present ourselves as being in opposition to their core values - like holding up signs saying freedom of expression go to hell.

2/06/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger BeeJ said...

Too many disclaimers and too much rhetoric in this discussion (I think this but that does not mean that).

There is one thing that is crystal clear. Vulnerable human beings are often characterised as being easily manipulated and reactive (in a very irrational, knee-jerk manner).You do the math on that one. I find it interesting how the US is just laying back and enjoying the scenery. There's a new evil in town.. the Danes...go figure.

2/07/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Loulou,

Europe have shown respect on different occasions to Jews and Christians. So no one is asking them to change their culture. We are addressing the double standard.

In Austria A British 'historian' David Irving has been sent to Jail for "holocaust denial". He does not believe the 'official' holocaust history - that is his "crime".

In Britain A few years ago the play Perdition, a play by Jim Allen was pulled off a major London theatre at the last minute because a Zionist Organization didn’t approve of it while it was not anti-Semitic, Max Stafford-Clark, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre said “I am pulling the play. Not because it contains any inaccuracies, or is in any way anti-Semitic, but because it might cause distress among some members of the Jewish community (personal notes).”

Most European countries banned “The Life of Brian”, the film was also banned for eight years in Ireland and for a year in Norway, the film was not released in Italy.

So my point is, if Europe takes all the above actions to protect the right of Jews and some Christians, it should be okay for the Government of Denmark to take similar actions to protect the rights of Muslims.

2/07/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Some one said that 90% of the demonstrations were peaceful...but the other 10 speak louder coz they;'re threatening..... the danish embassies being burnt, the threats of bombing denmark.... this totally takes away the attention from the real case which is RELIGIOUS HATRED, and puts focus on the threat of attacking denmark. Thus we lose our case!!!!!!!!!

I agree with some of what you said and I don't think violence is the answer to the arabs case. Violence though is everywhere. Two days ago 13 churches in the southern states of America belonging to African-Americans were burnt.

Most protesters chose excellent wordings please review the AP pictures on Yahoo 230 pictures two of which were offensive. On the other hand since 9/11 the main stream media in the US and other countries have accused us of being terrorists (check out the dedicated chanel of Fox owned by George Bush Cousin).

Blogs for the past two years have contained a lot of death threats to arabs (nuke them, go to war with them, kill them etc....)

I think someone who lives away from the reality of Arab-Americans and Arab-Europeans can't grasp the racist attitude of big number of Americans because of incidents like 9/11.

2/07/2006 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Excellent post, LouLou, and excellent comments as well. Nice comments on Sandmonkey's blogtoo :)

Twosret, you bring up church burnings in the US as examples of hate and bigotry, which I agree with you on. Does that mean that you believe all the violence inspired by these danish cartoons is also an example of hate and bigotry?

I ask, because that's the only correlation I can see between church burnings in the US and all this other... mess.

Same question about Fox News. Fox News is racist when it criticizes Arabs or moslems. Is Al Jazeera (and all the other ME press) racist when it criticizes the west?

By the way, I just saw a news piece that the Saudi Ambassador to the US has released a conciliatory statement condemning the violence against Denmark. I wonder what he hopes to accomplish, making this statement in America?

Wouldn't it have been better if the Saudi Ambassador to Denmark made this statement? Oh, but he can't can he? Because Saudi Arabia withrew it's Ambassador to Denmark a week ago! I'm being sarcastic, but the Suadi Ambassador in Denmark cannot do HIS JOB, right when they need him most, because KSA decided to punish Denmark by closing their embassy... silliness.

I think this statement would have been made by a senior Saudi in Saudi Arabia if they actually intended it for a Middle Eastern audience. He just wanted to show American's that the Saudis are still our "good buddies" while at home they continue to fan the flames.

2/07/2006 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Alos, Twosret, I viewed that same photostream. There were a lot more than 2 of those pictures that were "offensive" (they were almost all offensive, most of them were photos of embassies burning) but there were only a few that were ILLEGAL. Making death threats or terrorist threats is a crime.

Burning a flag is not a crime. But it is offensive. And that's really what we are discussing here... the point at which an insult becomes a crime, right?

2/07/2006 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Twosret said...

Twosret, you bring up church burnings in the US as examples of hate and bigotry, which I agree with you on. Does that mean that you believe all the violence inspired by these danish cartoons is also an example of hate and bigotry?

I think I made my point clear about violence in my previous comments. Please scroll up and read or check out Highlander blog for answers.

Fox News. Fox News is racist when it criticizes Arabs or moslems.

When America sets up an example to the world of freedom and go to war with the middle east over freedom, it should set an example of freedom itself. Fox doesn't criticizes Arabs it does way more than that.

As for the Saudi's lol they are Bush best friends and they care for him and want to make sure he understands their objection to those cartoons:) the same thing for Bush he loves the Saudis and care for their feelings :)

My reference to the photostream were mainly in regards to the banners. Please view them again and you will see that most banners were respectful and only few in England were unacceptable and offensive.

I think we had a lot of discussions about this at Highlander's blog and we do disagree about the defenition of freedom of speech.

2/07/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

"I think we had a lot of discussions about this at Highlander's blog and we do disagree about the defenition of freedom of speech."

Yes :)

Does that mean you don't want to discuss it anymore?

2/07/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Good morning Craig,

"Does that mean that you believe all the violence inspired by these danish cartoons is also an example of hate and bigotry?"

I think that's unfair. The outrage over the Danish cartoons is not inspired by hate & bigotry at all.

Am not a violent person & I certainly don't hold any hatred or bigotry towards Denmark or its people, but I find those cartoons so offensive & hurtful that I can't bear to look at them. The first time I saw them I didn't realize that was supposed to be the Prophet for a minute or two. Once that dawned on me I had to close the browser. And I still do that everytime I come across them online.

Here in Germany someone passed me a copy of the newspaper & I literally could not touch it. Just left it lying there & walked off.

It might be hard for you to understand but if the Danes had actually passed a law balantly discriminating against Muslims or if they'd gone & attacked a Muslim country I wouldn't have the same response emotionally.

On the rational level I understand the importance of freedom of expression & that we have no right to force others to respect what we respect etc... But on the emotional level it feels like a kick in the gut.

Most of the Muslims you see reacting against these cartoons are just responding to the kick in the gut. They're very deeply hurt & they can't understand why this was necessary. Then they have religious/political leaders who fan the flames & tell them that it was all done with the intent to humiliate etc....

Am not talking about the embassy torchers or those who are kidnapping or sending death threats. Those people are inherently violent & probably respond to everything in their lives in that way. They probably beat their wives & torch their neighbor's house if he throws garbage in their driveway. Those are just lunatics.

But for people like me and I think almost everyone else here - it's not about hatred & bigotry.

2/07/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Hi LouLou,

"I think that's unfair. The outrage over the Danish cartoons is not inspired by hate & bigotry at all."

I don't think so either, LouLou. I was attempting to "connect the dots" with the example Twosret used form the US. Actually, I was attempting to show her comparison was flawed, but she didn't take the bait :O

The most likely people to have burned black christian churches in the US are white christians. The clear motive is racism. It's happened before (though not lately) and the perps have always ended up being KKK types. The attacks are racially motivated, not religiously.

When I first heard this story (it was 2 days ago I think) I had thought it might be Islamists who did it, because of the timing. But then I heard the churches had black congregations and I realized that wasn't very likely that Islamists would target only black churches.

Anyway, I didn't see how her example really had a bearing to with the uproar over the Danish cartoons.

I appreciate you taking such a strong stance supporting Freedom of Expression even though you are deeply hurt by the cartoons. I probably would have stayed silent, if I was in your shoes.

Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons

I wish this tactic had been used instead, to discredit this newspaper and force an apology. They have become champions of free speech now, do to the violence that's been directed against them. It would have been so much better to just denounce them and expose their bigotry for what it was.

I've particpated in various non-violent campaigns against things that annoyed or offended me in the American press before, and I certainly would have supported the rights of Moslems to use the same measures.

2/07/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Hi Loulou, great post.I could respond to the comments, but it's probably best I don't. I have talked so much about this already and I want to detox from saying the word cartoon, you know?

But, just because I have to be me, does anyone relaize that this is all happening over a cartoon. A cartoon. They made a cartoon. Let me say it again: A cartoon. The whole muslim world has lost its head, because of a cartoon. So far 3 churches have been bombed in one country, embassies attacked in 4 others, and a catholic priest got killed in a 5th. Over a cartoon. A drawing. A freakin cartoon. How stupid is that?

People say I am oversimplifying this, but like, I am not. It's that simple: It's a cartoon. A dane drew a cartoon. A CARTOOOOOOOOOOON.

Please continue repeating to yourselves that this is all over a cartoon. Maybe it will sink in to all of you how silly this whole thing has been. You know, because, like, it's all because of a cartoon.

2/07/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger roora said...

Sandmonkey , even though I dont agree with the extreeme violent reactions but I am not with you in simplifying the issue that it is just a cartoon as you say .

You seem to be offended that people are taking any reactions whether peaceful or unpeaceful.

As I read in your post that you are not either with the bycotting.

Well let me ask you a question as long as the cartoon doesnt symboize anything to you , what do you thinking about someone who makes a cartoon about you in a way that insults you in the media ?

I am not saying you should destroy his house or burn his car,or are you gona search by all the means to sue him and to have an official appology from him ? Or Are you gona stay in your home and accept the fact that everyday mocks you as long as it is in a cartoon ?

Well whatever your answer is!

but The issue of mocking on the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) should be important to you than some one who mocks you personally.

2/07/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

SM,

I know it's just a cartoon but that's the whole point isn't it?That's where the culture clash is. In Europe religion is a joke. For us it is not. It's not something we like to trivialize or ridicule. It will never be.

That's not really the problem though. It's ok to have different values & be offended by different things. For example, I noticed that a lot of Americans and some Danes get really offended when you burn their flags. That's a bit strange for me because I could care less about my flag. It's just a piece of colored cloth to me. Don't even particularly like the colors. But I care about my Prophet. I do. So shoot me.

However since we do all still have to share the planet despite these & other differences I think a little sensitivity on one side & a lot of restraint on the other might help no?

Craig,

"It would have been so much better to just denounce them and expose their bigotry for what it was."

I didn't know that they rejected cartoons of Jesus. That is hypocritical & yes bigoted. But I still think the way we responded was all wrong & was living up to some of people's worst stereotypes of us.

2/07/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Twosret said...

I think Loulou you are overdosed by politics by now :) I will rest my case and thank God I didn't swallow the bait :)

2/08/2006 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Hi LouLou,

In Europe religion is a joke. For us it is not. It's not something we like to trivialize or ridicule.

The Europeans used to burn heretics at the stake, LouLou. They also used to torture to death blasphemers. Millions of people died in religious wars, to change that. And that history, I think, is a large part of modern contempt for religion in Europe. I'm really not sure why Religion is still important in the United States, since we share the same history with the Europeans. But I'm glad that it is, because I think human beings need to have some sort of spiritual beliefs to be truly happy.

For example, I noticed that a lot of Americans and some Danes get really offended when you burn their flags. That's a bit strange for me because I could care less about my flag. It's just a piece of colored cloth to me. Don't even particularly like the colors.

I doubt any Arab has ever seen hundreds of thousands of westerners burning Arab flags and chanting "Death to the Middle East" or other such nonsense, LouLou. Are you really sure it wouldn't bother you?

It doesn't bother me anymore, I've been watching American flags burned on TV since I was a child. It's become something of a joke. The Europeans are not used to that, though!

But I care about my Prophet. I do. So shoot me.

Both of your points are good. Have you ever seen American demonstrations where ANY flag (other than our own) was burned? I haven't.

I have a theory about that. People in the west identify themselves by nationality first and foremost. That's where their pride is. For us, there is no greater expression of hate for another nation and it's people than burning their flag. And we just don't hate anybody that much. Even, when we are at war.

My personal beliefs are very important to me, but I never identify myself as a Christian unless I am asked. It's not part of my public identity. I don't even think of it that way. If I see soembody attacking Christianity, I don't view it as an attack on my beliefs or an attack on me. It's offensive, but it's not PERSONAL. As long as somebody doesn't try to force me to change my beliefs, or impose other beliefs on me against my will - it remains impersonal. Maybe that's because most of us (including me) in the west grew up in systems that vigorously enforce freedom of religion?

Well. Whatver the cause. It seems to me (from what I've been able to pick up reading ME blogs) that most arab moslems think of themselves as moslems first, then as arabs, then as their nationality. Would you say that's right? Or am I off the mark here?

2/08/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Emory said...

It's my first time here, and I thank everyone for their calm opinions. Thank you loulou for being a wise moderator.

I have met many wonderful Muslims in the Blogosphere. It is very refreshing to hear the Peaceful side of Islam, the quiet reflectful side, the side that brings you spiritual fullfilment. I have seen too much of the negative.

I suppose if we ever get to that point where good things are "the" news, then we are all in a mess.

The placard reading "Free Speech-Go to Hell" is not offensive to me. In fact reading it enforces my belief in it. It is working as it should.

Flag burning is the ultimate offensive act of peaceful demonstration. I consider the burning of a flag second only to burning books. When I see people burning flags or books I consider tham as small-minded people. they loose all credibility with me.

Free Speech is the foundation for all other freedoms, without it we would live in fear and isolation. It is what each of us maturely exercised in the post. It is what the Cartoon immaturely exercised.

With Freedoms comes responibility. Freedoms without responsibility is anarchy. No society can exist in anarchy.

The Cartoons are legitimate free speech, and I guard free speech with passionatly. They are as Sandmonkey said, Cartoons. Given the furor over them, Muslims could consider them as irresponsible. I have not seen them so I can't leave an opinion.

"But on the emotional level it feels like a kick in the gut" - loulou.
This is a part of Islam that most (western) people don't understand. I don't understand it! I still have much to learn. But then again, don't we all!

How much can we learn from each other? And how can we begin that learning without free speech.

2/08/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Craig,

"I doubt any Arab has ever seen hundreds of thousands of westerners burning Arab flags and chanting "Death to the Middle East" or other such nonsense, LouLou."

I haven't seen Westerners do it but supporters of the Polisario Front(a movement for the independance of Western Sahara from Morocco) routinely burn or trample Moroccan flags in demonstrations both in the Western Sahara territories & overseas.

It never really bothered me that much. And it doesn't bother most Moroccans I know - whether they support the independance of Western Sahara or not. It's not really an issue that comes up much when Moroccans talk about the Western Sahara. The flag-burning I mean. And you cannot compare it in anyway to the way we'd respond to desecration of the Quran or defamation of the Prophet. That's on a whole different plane.

To my mind, we forced our soverignty on those (Saharan) people through the use of overwhelming military force in 1975 & again in 1979. We've displaced 200,000 of them. We've used napalm against their refugees, in addition to making hundreds of Western Saharan civilians just 'disappear' the way Moroccan governments tend to do when you're a political dissident. Given the fact that we refuse until today to recognize their right to self-determination & everything else that we've done to them, it seems a bit unreasonable to start complaining now that they burn our flags no?

Guess you could say like most Moroccans I don't trust my government. If I see people burning our flag my first response will be curiosity about what we might have done to them. Once I know what their problem is then I might think they have a point or I might think they have some nerve being mad at us. It's really more a question of agreeing or disagreeing with their politics than the act of flag-burning itself.

But looking at those cartoons was like seeing a deceased, beloved relative defamed & degraded. It's something I couldn't stand & look at. My knee-jerk response here will always be to turn away & try to forget I ever saw anything like that. You're right. It is much, much more personal.

"that most arab moslems think of themselves as moslems first, then as arabs, then as their nationality. Would you say that's right? Or am I off the mark here?"

You're absolutely right.

Emory,

"Thank you loulou for being a wise moderator."

Thanks but I can't really take the credit for that. Everyone here including yourself - has been polite in expressing their sometimes very different opinions. Which I think is cool.

"This is a part of Islam that most (western) people don't understand. I don't understand it!"

Not sure exactly what it is you don't understand there but I definitely agree that we all have much to learn.

Other than that I agree with most of what you wrote.

Beej,

"Vulnerable human beings are often characterised as being easily manipulated and reactive (in a very irrational, knee-jerk manner)."

Who do you mean is vulnerable and why?And who is manipulative?

2/08/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Emory said...

"This is a part of Islam that most (western) people don't understand. I don't understand it!"

Religeous beliefs are difficult for people to understand. This is especially so if you have not been emersed in a particular Religon. It's customs, tenents rules, holiday ect.

The Jewish custom of not eating pork, I recently found out is also part of Islam. Through my own ignorance I did not know this. Likewise, I did not know that any depiction of the Prophet Muhammed was frowned upon, or the reasons why it is so. I do now!

The cartoonist may have known this, but I doubt many other westerners do.

2/08/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Emory,

I think Islam & Judaism have a lot more in common than food. Ironic given the current state of affairs between their followers no?

For more on that and on Islam, you might want to check this out.

2/08/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

لِف was making a deeply flawed argument there on Haal's blog!

Emory, a while back (when there was a lot of discussion of circumcision, for some odd reason I forgot!) I had to ask a muslim friend of mine if muslims practiced male circumcision, because I didn't know. Not only did I find out that muslims do, I found out that my friend didn't know that circumcision is also a Christian tradition (but not a requirement).

It seems odd that people from 3 such closely related religions can know so little about eachother's beliefs, doesn't it?

2/09/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Craig,

"لِف was making a deeply flawed argument there on Haal's blog!"

Too bad you didn't take part back then & tell us how flawed.:)

It was an interesting & thought-provoking discussion though. It made me do a lot of research into this question of what is 'sacred' & what is 'secular' in Islamic practicies?How much is/was negotiable how much is untouchable?

I think maybe the same debate exists in Judaism & Christianity?

2/09/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger FromRiyadh said...

For all those who love our Prophet at least you must boycott. If you do not you will not.

No for Denmark

2/09/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Hi LouLou,

Your statemenst in that thread looked pretty solid to me! I do wish I'd be in that discussion though. Haal has had some good topics on religion on her blog :)

"I think maybe the same debate exists in Judaism & Christianity?"

Well, some would argue that Christianity itself arose from such a debate. Jesus was never trying to start a new religion, he was trying to "reform" Judaism.

In it's modern form, there is much debate in Christianity about what it means to be a good Christian, what the core principals of Christianity are, etc. There are so many hundreds of different sects with slightly (or drastically) different beliefs, though, I think the best bet may be for a Christian to read and study for her/himself and come to a personal understanding. Nobody has a lock on the "truth" in Christianity.

2/10/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

FromRiyadh,

"For all those who love our Prophet at least you must boycott. If you do not you will not."

Since you are from Riyadh I think my answer to you is also going to come
from Riyadh
.:)

"And just because I'm honest by nature, I will tell you that I was very upset when news of the cartoons surfaced. I love the prophet more than you, you and your mother put together, so please do not judge me, do not pretend to know what kind of person I am and deem me heretic, kufarstic, or whatever title you have brewing up there, and for the love of Lurpak, please do not remind me how I will one day bare the sins of those reading this post. Thank you."

Hear that? Farah puts it really well. More than you & your mother put together. Actually make that more than you & your whole tribe put together. It's just that not everyone who loves the Prophet chooses to demonstrate that by burning embassies or punishing an entire people who never did anything to us because of what one newspaper said.

2/10/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Farooha said...

Salam sweetie, you're free to use whatever you want! It's all yours.

From Riyadh and I don't really seem to agree, well from Riyadh: What she said!

You go girl.. you and I should keep quoting one another like this hehe.

2/11/2006 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Farooha!

Nice to see you here & thanks for the free license.:)

2/11/2006 12:24:00 PM  

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