06 February, 2006

Danish issue: Editor's words

I came across an interview published in Newsweek of Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who made the original decision to publish the cartoons.

What was your thinking behind the decision to publish the Muhammad cartoons back in September?

ROSE: I was concerned about a tendency toward self-censorship among people in artistic and cultural circles in Europe. That's why I commissioned these cartoons, to test this tendency and to start a debate about it.

But you depicted Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, armed with a knife and with a broken halo that resembled satanic horns.

ROSE: The cartoon with horns didn't arouse special criticism; it was the other two. The one with the bomb in his turban doesn't say, "All Muslims are terrorists," but says, "Some people have taken Islam hostage to permit terrorist and extremist acts."

Didn't your newspaper commit blasphemy by depicting Muhammad?

ROSE: Danish prosecutors determined around a month ago that the cartoons were not blasphemous.

Will Jyllands-Posten apologize?

ROSE: For what?

**********
In the course of the interview, he also says that "We do have laws against racism and blasphemy"; which contradicts an earlier statement that was making the rounds, about 'freedom of speech' including the 'right to blasphemy'.

Apologize for what? After all this. Can someone draw a window out to this four-walled office. Let some reality in.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry "Neglected-ism" but I'm not sure of what you're trying to say when you finish off - who should apologize? The publisher or the people burning down the embassy?

To me the publisher has done what he should, say he's sorry that the cartoons caused offense but not apologize for publishing them (as far as I understand it that's what they've done anyway).

But what has been clearly lacking in in the muslim world is outrage over what's been done to Danish people, Danish embassies, and other westerners that have nothing to do with these cartoons. A german guy kidnapped, Scandinavians threatened, etc. That only helps promote the picture of Islam as a violent religion in the eyes of the non-muslim world, something I would think muslims would want to avoid at all cost.

This whole issue to me seems to have gotten so out of hand on the muslim side. How is burning flags, walking on flags, threatening physical injury, burning embassies, kidnapping, etc. in line with muslim values and traditions? I don't get it...

In the Gulf News, for example, one day there was a large photo on the front page of people protesting against the Cartoons. The next day, when the first Danish embassy had been attacked and torched, there was no photo, just text. I guess the editor thinks a burning embassy is less valuable than a couple of people holding up signs...

If the muslim world wanted to show they are peaceful they should strongly, publicly, officially condemn any violent action against anyone. We have peaceful (legal) ways of protesting against that we think is wrong. I think it's stupid to boycott Danish goods because it hurts the wrong people, but I think is in muslims' full right to do so. Burning embassies and flags, that's a whole other matter...

I'm more and more getting the feeling that this is less about cartoons and more about ignorance throughout the muslim world about what's really happened. And it's about using the cartoons as an excuse to chastise the whole of the west for what a few did.

Where is the discussion in the muslim world about the terrorism that is carried out in the world in the name of Allah? Now that's something I would want on the front page of Gulf News...

Anonymous said...

"anonymous" again... after writing the first comment I was pleased to see that Gulf News has an editorial condemning the recent actions of violence, and that the OIC "deplores" the attacks on embassies. That's certainly steps in the right direction although the reaction was quite delayed, it seems.

clayfuture said...

I don't eat butter anyway.

Anonymous said...

Blasphemy...apostasy...these things can only be committed by adherents of the religion in question...

An atheist is incapable of blasphemy...because he doesn't believe God exists...blasphemy to him is actually claiming there *is* a God...

Remember, the whole world doesn't believe that the Qu'ran is the inspired word of God...they are not under Shariah law...One cannot go to Denmark and tell them what amounts to blasphemy and that they, Muslim or not, are bound by those interpretations...

By the same token, if a Muslim man were to say that Hindu* gods are not really gods but stone idols, that would be blasphemy to the Hindu...should the government of the country to which the first man belonged then come out with a public apology and "punish" their citizen...?

(And should all Hindus all over the world go on the rampage?)

Somebody...please open the windows and let some reality in...

*random example.

BD said...

I have been told directly by some Muslim believers that such a serious insult (as the cartoons are considered to be) calls for a severe measure of retribution. Without quoting, suffice it to say that the retribution suggested included acts of vandalism and violence toward, if not embassies or governments, then at least those who are directly responsible for the cartoons.

Hearing this sort of thing gives the sense to me that Islam is so much about retribution. It isn't even "an eye for an eye" that I hear people talking about but a much greater degree of retribution and retaliation. So when people talk about peaceful Islam I find it hard to see when at the same time retribution is heralded as such a high principle.

Even if it is not terrorism, there seems to be a high regard in Islam, or at least among its adherants, for the notion of retribution that they as a group or as individuals have a duty to carry out.

e3ashig said...

Burning embassies and threats of physical abuse in response to what has been happening is plain stupid. Muslims are entitled to excercise their right to boycut Danish products and lobby for pressure on governments to do whatever, but killing people and burning embassies is stupid and more dameging to us than the west. It proves nothing other than that we are angry, outraged, and we are nor smart enough to fix things in a civilised manner.

BD said...

You are right, e3ashig. If it were just the boycotts or other peaceful forms of protest I would have no negative comments to make. There are so many ways that protests can be channeled peacefully--and the boycott in fact does send a powerful message.

Surely--as far as I know--there have been no such threatening or violent protests in the UAE, which does say something about the civility that exists in this country--a country I might add where so many people of so many backgrounds live in relative harmony.

That being said, I still find people who seem otherwise totally mature, rational and kind-hearted expressing support for the notion of violent retaliation for the sake of honoring Islam.

BuJ said...

nice one Neglected-ism!

redstar said...

Why should Rose apologise for that fact that lots of the people who are 'offended' (and who doubtless haven't even seen the cartoons) are behaving like idiots?

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with voting with your feet. By which I mean a boycott. In fact, this can be done even if the cartoons had not been published, as it is an individual right. I can choose what I want to buy, no questions asked.

However, as "bd" pointed out, it seems that violence is inherent in the "religion of peace".

Not surprising many of us post as "anonymous".

Tim Newman said...

I'd like to say that I have been very impressed by the comments made by Muslims on the UAE blogs. They seem far more reasonable and sensible than what seems to pass as mainstream Muslim opinion, as depicted by the media. Perhaps Muslim blog commenters are just that bit smarter, or maybe the media is doing its usual job of printing bollocks in order to sell more papers.

John B. Chilton said...

Good backgrounder on events leading up to this week:
Guardian Unlimited Politics Special Reports Child's tale led to clash of cultures

(((dXb))) said...

Read the comments made by Americans (I assume) on this issue:

SFgate.com

I wonder how one can reconcile the Muslim world and the west.

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