A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Sunday, February 05, 2006

More on the Insanity

Protesters are still rioting and burning a Danish mission, sacking a Christian neighborhood, and behaving generally very badly over a few cartoons.

Over at his blog, And Another Thing . . ., Mark Levin has two recent posts about this:

First, Mark asks Where Were the Riots? and shows political cartoons from Arab newspapers (similar drawings appear in Arab textbooks and media) that really are offensive to Jews and Christians. Great double standard. I don't see Jews and Christians rioting and burning Muslim/Arabic buildings and neighborhoods over them.

Mark's second post is Where are the Cartoons? and focuses on the American MSM's refusal to print the cartoons.

The Big Media in this country like to talk about a free press, the need for shield laws, and so forth. But when put to the test, as they are today, they cower. They self-censor because they don't want to be criticized by the PC crowd, despite the fact that the cartoons are being used by hate-mongers to encourage violence. The Big Media have done a lousy job reporting what’s really going on here, but they can’t run enough photos and footage of flag- and embassy- burnings without real context.
Over at TIME.com, Andrew Sullivan has an excellent piece titled Your Taboo, Not Mine.

Here is an excerpt (but I urge you to read the whole thing):

The result was an astonishing uproar in the Muslim world, one of those revealing moments when the gulf between our world and theirs seems unbridgeable. Boycotts of European goods are in force; demonstrators in London held up signs proclaiming EXTERMINATE THOSE WHO MOCK ISLAM and BE PREPARED FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST; the editor of the French newspaper France-Soir was fired for reprinting the drawings; Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the publication; and protesters set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. The Egyptian ambassador to Denmark expressed disbelief that the government would not prevent further reprinting. Freedom of the press, the Egyptian explained, "means the whole story will continue and that we are back to square one again. The government of Denmark has to do something to appease the Muslim world."

Excuse me? In fact, the opposite is the case. The Muslim world needs to do something to appease the West. Since Ayatullah Khomeini declared a death sentence against Salman Rushdie for how he depicted Muhammad in his book The Satanic Verses, Islamic radicals have been essentially threatening the free discussion of their religion and politics in the West. Rushdie escaped with his life. But Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician who stood up against Muslim immigrant hostility to equality for women and gays, was murdered on the street. Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who offended strict Muslims, was killed thereafter. Several other Dutch politicians who have dared to criticize the intolerance of many Muslims live with police protection.

Muslim leaders say the cartoons are not just offensive. They're blasphemy--the mother of all offenses. That's because Islam forbids any visual depiction of the Prophet, even benign ones. Should non-Muslims respect this taboo? I see no reason why. You can respect a religion without honoring its taboos. I eat pork, and I'm not an anti-Semite. As a Catholic, I don't expect atheists to genuflect before an altar. If violating a taboo is necessary to illustrate a political point, then the call is an easy one. Freedom means learning to deal with being offended.
Over at National Review, William F. Buckley has a great piece (as though it would be anything else) titled Protecting Mohammed.

Weekly Standard has an article by Paul Marshall reminding us that Western governments have nothing to apologize for. Amen.

Finally, amid current calls for "toleration" and "respect for belief," we need to be very clear about the distinction between religious toleration and religious freedom.

Religious toleration means not insulting somebody else's religion, and it is a good thing. But religious freedom means being free to reject somebody else's religion and even to insult it. Government should want and encourage its citizens to be tolerant of one another, but its primary responsibility is to protect its citizens' rights and freedoms. The fact that people are sometimes insulted is one cost of freedom. The Jyllands-Posten affair calls us to uphold that principle internationally as well as domestically.
In the news, Syria says "oops!" about the burned "Danish and Norwegian diplomatic missions."

Photos here. Such nice, gentle, peace-loving people.

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Yes, "Peace!" Right.

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