Sunday, February 26, 2006

Don't Hurt Us -- Take the Cartoonist

Doug Marlette, a political cartoonist, has an article in Salon (free for now). While many liberals are making excuses for Islam, noting that the Cartoon Jihadis represent an extremely small portion of the Muslim population, Marlette wonders why no one is standing up to condemn the violence. He blames the moderates, and he excoriates the Western media for cowardice and hypocrisy. They pretend that this is about redneck disregard for the feelings of others, when it is actually about high regard for their own necks and low regard for Danish necks.

... Danish cartoonists were not only exploring issues of self-censorship and intimidation but also depicting the hijacking of Islam by fanatics like the tormenters of Salman Rushdie and the murderers of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. I would further argue that publishing those cartoons was an act of democratic inclusiveness. In a society of laws, all are treated equally under the law. Law is "insensitive" that way, as is intellectual inquiry, as is satire. By engaging satirically with Islam, these brave artists included Muslims as peers in the tradition of satiric self-examination and irreverence that we have until recently taken for granted in the West. And Denmark's Muslims might have simply expressed their displeasure through the accepted democratic avenues of their adopted country if their unscrupulous imams and the corrupt Arab governments whose tyranny they serve hadn't manipulated the cartoons (by, for example, disseminating some offensive drawings that were not part of the original, rather tame, Danish package) to ignite riots across the Muslim world. ... [Emphasis added]

2/26/2006 12:06 AM

St. Petersburg Times has a human interest story about two reasonably unreasonable folks.

2/26/2006 12:25 AM

Here is a Somali Muslim who begins to understand the fundamentals of liberal democracy. I’m hoping it’s not a forgery.

2/26/2006 12:53 AM

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At Sunday, February 26, 2006 4:57:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

The point that the extremists are hijacking Islam is very relevant. Unless the moderates will stand up and say "this is wrong" the "excusable reactions" will continue.

I am wondering if the moderates are afraid that standing up to the radicals somehow makes them feel less Muslim?

At Sunday, February 26, 2006 4:57:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

BTW...that was a great story in the ST Pete paper

At Monday, February 27, 2006 1:23:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

That's an interesting idea Mallory. I know that black people in America are often subjected to the charge of not being "black enough". They refer to the "crabs in a barrel" phenomenon where they keep each other down because of envy. Maintenance of solidarity is a critical function of any group if it is to maintain its structural integrity. Most Americans and Europeans don't even acknowledge that need any more because we assume that there is no threat to our group. Why can't we just be nicer and more inclusive? That's certainly been an effective strategy to date, which is why many people doubt that any threats exist.

In the past, Americans have felt threatened by one group or another only to gradually assimilate them. There are, however, groups which won't assimilate, such as the Amish, some Orthodox Jews. Fortunately, violence is not a big issue with these groups and we've been able to co-exist with some adjustments here and there. I do think that Muslims are going to have to embrace religious diversity and make positive efforts to accommodate the Freedom of Speech. In order to do that, they are going to have to confront their recalcitrant members. When they stop blaming everything on Israel you'll know that peace has a chance.


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