Randy's Corner Deli Library

11 February 2006

So much has been written lately about the protests all over the world about the publication (in September of 2005 in a little known Danish newspaper,) of cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed that it hardly deserves more attention than it already has received. But the extent of the mob response is symptamologic of a greater problem (given the pervasiveness of Islamics in Western and especially European society) : this is a signal to everyone -- including the Norwegians who instigated a boycott of products from Israel over the so-called "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza -- that our fundamental principles, not just freedom of the press, but freedom generally, are all under attack from this element which, as Krauthammer describes, is attempting to dictate to us, through fear, how we run our lives and governments. As the Israeli experience shows, if the West lies down to this, it would be doomed, and we may as all move to Mars.

Today it was reported that Arab mobs erupted in violence in East Jerusalem over the Danish cartoons. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3214442,00.html What is the point of these protests? They happened in Denmark...and only recently were republished in other papers throughout the world as a sign, presumably, of solidarity with the Danes who have been savaged for allowing a free press.

I would say to those who don't appreciate the free press in the liberal democratic Western European countries they chose to emigrate to -- LEAVE. Go back to the bastions of liberal democracy you came from like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, etc. And this time, stay there. And leave the rest of the world alone. Just make sure that you leave the oil spigot on. God knows that we don't want to lose THAT.


Curse of the Moderates

By Charles Krauthammer

Friday, February 10, 2006; A19

As much of the Islamic world erupts in a studied frenzy over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, there are voices of reason being heard on both sides. Some Islamic leaders and organizations, while endorsing the demonstrators' sense of grievance and sharing their outrage, speak out against using violence as a vehicle of expression.

Their Western counterparts -- intellectuals, including most of the major newspapers in the United States -- are similarly balanced: While, of course, endorsing the principle of free expression, they criticize the Danish newspaper for abusing that right by publishing offensive cartoons, and they declare themselves opposed, in the name of religious sensitivity, to doing the same.

God save us from the voices of reason. What passes for moderation in the Islamic community -- "I share your rage but don't torch that embassy" -- is nothing of the sort. It is simply a cynical way to endorse the goals of the mob without endorsing its means. It is fraudulent because, while pretending to uphold the principle of religious sensitivity, it is interested only in this instance of religious insensitivity.

Have any of these "moderates" ever protested the grotesque caricatures of Christians and, most especially, Jews that are broadcast throughout the Middle East on a daily basis? The sermons on Palestinian TV that refer to Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys? The Syrian prime-time TV series that shows rabbis slaughtering a gentile boy to ritually consume his blood? The 41-part (!) series on Egyptian TV based on that anti-Semitic czarist forgery (and inspiration of the Nazis), "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," showing the Jews to be engaged in a century-old conspiracy to control the world?

A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West. And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine) as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.

Had they not been so hypocritical, one might defend their refusal to republish these cartoons on the grounds that news value can sometimes be trumped by good taste and sensitivity. After all, on grounds of basic decency, American newspapers generally -- and correctly -- do not publish pictures of dead bodies, whatever their news value. There is a "sensitivity" argument for not having published the cartoons in the first place, back in September when they first appeared in that Danish newspaper. But it is not September. It is February. The cartoons have been published, and the newspaper, the publishers and Denmark itself have come under savage attack.

After multiple arsons, devastating boycotts, and threats to cut off hands and heads, the issue is no longer news value, i.e., whether a newspaper needs to publish them to inform the audience about what is going on. The issue now is solidarity.The mob is trying to dictate to Western newspapers, indeed Western governments, what is a legitimate subject for discussion and caricature. The cartoons do not begin to approach the artistic level of Salman Rushdie's prose, but that's not the point.

The point is who decides what can be said and what can be drawn within the precincts of what we quaintly think of as the free world.The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West. The German, French and Italian newspapers that republished these cartoons did so not to inform but to defy -- to declare that they will not be intimidated by the mob. What is at issue is fear. The unspoken reason many newspapers do not want to republish is not sensitivity but simple fear. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh, who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through the chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.The worldwide riots and burnings are instruments of intimidation, reminders of van Gogh's fate.

The Islamic "moderates" are the mob's agents and interpreters, warning us not to do this again. And the Western "moderates" are their terrified collaborators who say: Don't worry, we won't. It's those Danes. We're clean. Spare us. Please.