More on the Mohammed cartoon controversy
The whole thing gets bigger, messier and more horrible.
I think the opinion I've read which most closely approximates my own is this one from Steve Gilliard (thanks to August who pointed me to it):
While the cartoonists have the right to say what they want, and no one should bow to terrorism, the problem with the cartoons was that they were genuinely offensive, bigoted, actually. Many suggested that Muhammad was a terrorist or approved of terrorism. It's easy for people in the West to assume Muslims are not rational people, who get upset at the slightest mention. But this isn't that case.
These cartoonists went out of their way to find the most offensive way to depict Muhammad and then sat back, stunned that people didn't like their uninformed takes on Islam.
It's really a slap in the face to law-abiding, hard working Muslims and says "this is what they really think about you".
What truly offends me is the way people are saying "well, they have the right to say it". We have the right to say many things, but why avoid the responsibility for your words.
Exactly. The whole "let's rerun these 12 cartoons over and over" thing just feels like a lot of right-wingers wiggling their fingers on the sides of their heads and saying "nyeah nyeah nyeah" to Muslims just to get them mad, which in the context of current intercultural relations (and that whole war on terror business) is ridiculous, to say the least. All it will do is bolster the Islamic fundamentalists case that Westerners are a bunch of callous assholes with no respect at all for Muslim people.
I'm not saying the papers should apologize. but their whole huge "you have no right to be offended by us deliberately violating one of the hugest taboos of your religion" cause is a bit weird. I thought the right-wing accused Newsweek of killing people for printing an article about Korans being flushed?
The violence that has erupted as a result is just awful, too. These gunmen and many of the protestors are asking governments to censor the press, and it just doesn't work that way. Blaming the citizens of an entire country for the decisions of a few newspaper editors makes no sense. But as a commentator I saw on MSNBC last night pointed out, there's nothing illegal about choosing not to buy Danish products or burning flags.
I'm an atheist myself. I'm freaked out by religious fundamentalism of all kinds. But I am really sick of all this "all Muslims are crazy suicide bombers, let's do whatever we can to piss off Muslims" bullshit. Because a lot of the anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe (and here!) is not just directed against right-wing fundamentalist leaders and radical Islam, it's everyday bigotry and racism and mistreatment of Muslim immigrants and support for bombing the crap out of Muslims everywhere. Europe has to find a way to better integrate Muslim immigrants, there need to be some serious attempts at diplomacy and cultural understanding and communication on both sides, and this kind of thing really does not help.
Speaking of intolerant assholes of both the Muslim and Christian variety, have I mentioned that the U.S. sided with Iran on excluding gay groups from the U.N.?