TCS Daily


Cartoon Rage

By Val MacQueen - February 3, 2006 12:00 AM

When I first commented on the Danish newspaper publishing the 12 Mohammad cartoons in mid-December, I predicted that the editor of the Jyllands-Posten would not apologize for running them despite the dispiriting and disproportionate outrage of Danish Muslims and the Arab world in general.

Regardless of the fact that Denmark is a Western democracy, ten ambassadors from Islamic countries, plus the Turkish ambassador (Turkey is officially secular, which made its protest all the more curious), apparently under the impression that the prime minister was the boss of newspaper editors, tried to get an appointment to see Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Explaining that he had no control over the press and nor did he seek any, the prime minister declined to see them. This caused further offense and the ambassadors and a ragtag bag of members of various Muslim councils, mosques and spokesmen got together a hasty petition to the UN. To add extra piquancy, they included three very intemperate cartoons of Mohammad they'd found on the internet and presented these as part of the offending package.

With Muslims in other European countries joining in the protest, we seemed to be approaching a defining moment. Over the ensuing six weeks, Muslims who have never seen the cartoons have worked themselves into a lather at the "insult" to Mohammad. The consensus in the Arab world in particular, is that in a mad moment, the country of Denmark decided to issue a blanket insult to the world of Islam.

The cartoons had been solicited by the cultural editor of the Jyllands-Posten in response to a complaint from the author of a children's book on Mohammad that he couldn't find anyone who would agree to illustrate it. The self-censoring had disquieted the editor and he had put out the call.

Meanwhile in the seething community, they were burning Danish flags and issuing threats of violence. The Indonesian government condemned the cartoons. The Jyllands-Posten building has had to be evacuated at least once due to a bomb threat. The editor and the cultural editor have received death threats.

The biggest Danish food company is Arla and there are now boycotts of its products - among them Lurpak butter, Rosenborg blue cheese and Havarti. A group of women who had never seen the cartoons held a protest march in Yemen carrying a giant banner that said, Boycott Denmark. A Saudi supermarket swept all Arla products from its shelves, and two Arla employees were beaten up by a crowd. The company has just announced 125 layoffs. "A store in Saudi Arabia had a sign up noting "We do not sell Danish products". Many of us hadn't realized that the Middle East is mainly Anglophone. And Saudi Arabia has banned insulin from Denmark, which manufactures 80 percent of insulin in the world.

None of those protesting or issuing death threats is able to grasp why the cartoons were run. The universal misconception appears to be that the editor of the Jyllands-Posten was seized by a sudden whim to insult Islam.

Meanwhile, Denmark weathered the rising storm alone with no voices of support from other democracies. The newspaper editor sensibly refused to release the copyright on the cartoons unless the purchasing periodical agreed to translate the accompanying article and run it in full. Only a small magazine in Norway agreed to the terms, and it was a matter of nanoseconds after publication before the Norwegians, too, faced a storm of hysterical protest.

And still, Denmark labored on almost alone, supported now only by fellow Vikings, the Norwegians. There was no support from the press in other democracies.

A few days ago, fearing for the safety of the paper's employees, the editor of Jyllands-Posten offered an apology skirted round with reservations. What he said in effect was, he was sorry to hear that some people had been offended. The Danish prime minister also said he was sorry that some people had been offended, but maintained that in a democracy, freedom of the press could not be compromised. The Norwegian magazine that had reprinted the story issued a statement saying it "regretted offending Muslims" but stopped short of apologizing. And the Norwegian prime minister, like his fellow Viking in Denmark, maintained that freedom of the press was paramount.

And there they were. Two small northern European countries, isolated and fighting alone for democracy and freedom of the press.

And then an extraordinary thing happened. On the same day, big name newspapers in France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy, Norway and Iceland ran some of the cartoons. Suddenly, it was too many countries to fight. A storming of the EU headquarters in Gaza by around 20 armed Palestinian gunmen came to, well, nothing.

Sadly, no paper from the traditionally robust and irreverent British press had joined in, having been whipped back by Tony Blair's Incitement of Religious Hatred bill. But along came plucky little Jordan, shining through. Al-Shihan, a gossipy tabloid, decided to run three of the cartoons, knowing that the violence was mainly being perpetrated by people who had never seen them. "Muslims of the world, be reasonable," begged the editorial. The editor was fired on Thursday and all copies of the paper were withdrawn.

When the editor-in-chief of France-Soir went into his office the following day, he was fired by the newspaper's owner -- Egyptian magnate Rami Lakah. The day following that, the man named to replace him resigned from the paper.

It has indeed been a defining moment.

Val MacQueen is a TCS contributing writer.

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25 Comments

What if???
What if Christians threatened innocent muslims every time an imam denied the divinity of Christ?
What if Jews ransacked government offices each time Muslim clerics referred to them as apes and pigs?
What if Americans boycotted Arab products when Iranians burn Uncle Sam in effigy to chants of "Death to America."
Our world has two choices: either the Muslims join the 21st Century or we all join the 16th century.

Insecurity?
Such an outragous response suggests a high level of insecurity in their 'faith'.

Should really get Joint Chiefs on board on the cartoon issue
They just freaked out about a Tom Toles cartoon in the Washington Post. Do they really not have more important issues to attend to?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/cartoonsandvideos/toles_main.html?name=Toles&date=01292006

Freaked out?
You equate the writing of a letter of protest and the complete descent into insanity that has gripped Muslims the world over?

The JC's have a duty to protect the morale of their troops as well and I am very sure that them defending the troops who have been injured has done just that.

You are that completely anti-military that you can't see the difference? Any evidence of your intelligence has just been thrown out the window.

speaking of freaks
I don't see anyone freaking out, other than you.

The letter by the JCS was calm and reasonable.

Of course to your average left wing nut case, any criticism of their actions is an unholy over reaction.

over reactions
Over reacting to criticism is about the only intellectual exercise most liberals get these days.

The Disabled Vets have a different view
They say they have more important things to worry about than cartoons.

Liberals like the Joint Chiefs, I guess
Or maybe you're talking about illegal t-shirts.

Freaking out??
The JCS expressed their opinion, I expressed mine. You're the one throwing around language like "nutcase"

No Subject
The previous posts are very entertianing,but are off topic.The JCS did not call for the deaths of those responsible for the creation and publishing of this truly offensive cartoon, as have the Islamic world over what can only be discribed as a honest preception of the Islamic faith/culture by western societys that have suffered death and distruction at the hands of these, "True Believers".It is darkly amusing that they believe that the depiction the profit to be offensive,but the call to murder those who created and published it is not. Islam's intolerence of other faiths and cultures is illistrated in their over reaction this this simple exercise of freedom of expression.Islama-racisim/facisim hold a less than optomistic future for the entire world. Soon they will have the bomb. Sleep well.

You're right, however
Obviously, the reaction in the Islamic world to the Danish and other cartoons is totally over the top. My comment about the JCS was just an aside. But as an aside, the cartoon did not offend the group representing disabled vets, a significant number of whom have been disabled precisely because of the complacent and fatuous policies of Rumsfeld, the target.

Responses to cartoons compared
I saw the cartoon the Joint Chiefs wrote their letter about. And read their letter in my local paper. Of a quadruple amputee veteran lying in a hospital bed. The caption was something about, "he's a battle hardened veteran now." Yes, the cartoonist has the right to say that. Doing so displays all the artistic merit of the brat who farts in church and is very pleased with himself. Also noted that one of the veteran's groups said it didn't find the cartoon tasteless. That is free expression as practiced in a culture where that has been the norm for hundreds of years.

Compare the jihadist response to the cartoons in the Danish newspaper. A crowd of Muslims protesting, carrying various signs of the timber of "Europe take a lesson from 9/11." If you haven't seen it elsewhere among others it's on Boston Criagslist RnR 130966827.

I have had more than enough of those people trying to intimidate us. Trying to intimidate me. My response to that particular sign would be:
O jihadi, take a lesson from Hiroshima.

Interestingly enough, this is not just some isolated wanker squeaking from the safety of the internet. French President Chirac, in a statement that disappeared from public discourse surprisingly fast, warned the islamofascists that France reserved the right to respond with nuclear weapons to a terrorist attack in France.

Is anyone else tired of being threatened? Europe you'll get yours? Behead this one and that one? If it were up to me I would nuke a few million of them, who cares who they are, upon the next 9/11.

CARTOONS/ASIDE
The disabled vets who found no offense to the cartoon demenstrates that they understand the nature of their sacrifice.Freedom of expression is a keystone of our value system.This is why many serve.It is o.k. for others to be offended.This is also part of our values.Your comparision of the two cartoons is fair.The entire point was the reaction to each.Although I do not subscribe fully to your opinion of the policys of the present administration,the views of all must be respected,this is something that our Islamic,"friends",have absolutly no concept of.This is why they are extremly dangerous.For this cartoon to draw a response from the JCS shows the impact of the burden carried by this commanders who must send american servicemen to suffer this mental and physical pain. The JCS fully understands that american servicemen are killed and horribly wounded by the decisions they make.They need no reminder.This cartoon makes light of this,it gives the impression these commanders could care less.It is obvious they do.

No disagreement there
> do not subscribe fully to your opinion of the policys of the present administration,the views of all must be respected,this is something that our Islamic,"friends",have absolutly no concept of.

I agree, that's the problem, and that's what's troubling.

that said, with respect to the cartoon:

>This cartoon makes light of this,it gives the impression these commanders could care less.

It's not "these commanders," it's Rumsfeld. That's who's in the cartoon. That's who's being quoted.

Imagine
the response of the Islamic fundamentalist if they had access to Nukes.

Buy some cheese
The current year in the Muslim world in 1427 H.
What were Christians doing in 1427 AD?

Support the Danes by buying some cheese.

hey there all
you are all sooo funny....whats more helarious is that you you consider yourself 'civilised' and supportive of freedom of speech......yet all you are is a bunch of materialistic and selfish sponges that soak in everything the media gives you. You really have no opinion of your own, you simply reformulate whats presented to you!!! and if the 21st century is all about sleeping around desperately and sticking your heads in the toilets on friday nights then i think what you are living in is a state of hell!lol! Additionally if you want to criticise Islam i suggest you actually look at genuine sources before you go on with yourselfs....and insecurities are all in the western world-thus the economy is in a boom....you go buying all the products you can and where do you end up??? you sad beings with your heads in the toilet...and lonely old people with no one to take care of you, with no real friend and RESPECT for others.

MWAH. xxx:)

Buy Some Cheese
http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/21097.html History News Network. This directly from the site:
"So, here is a plea from my Danish friends:
If you Americans look with this great sympathy on our case, couldn't you then raise a consumer support of DK in the US? The opposite of a boycott. A movement of: "Buy Danish!" Please?
You can easily eat and digest all our famous Danish cheese at your millions of breakfast-tables from Seattle to Atlanta. Then the boycott (which is escalating fast down there now) will be harmless.
Well, we can and should. In fact the idea immediately occurred to the readers of Charles of LGF who was kind enough to post the news about the Saudi boycott on his popular site. They recommended you buy not only the always delicious Danish butter cookies but also:
Danish Havarti cheese
Carlsberg and Tuborg Beers.
Arla owns White Clover Dairy, a Wisconsin company so buy that brand. It comes under White Clover and Holland Farm.
Danish Crown hams ( DAK (sold at Sam clubs)... baby back ribs, because they come from Denmark.
You shop online at The Danish Foodshop and Danish Deli Foods.
You can also buy gorgious Danish porcelain and LEGO for the kids."
I did go on line and placed an order at The Danish Foodshop which is overwhelmed with the response! Jerri

Buy some chees
Unfortunately I use cheese as a staple in my diet and select Havarti cheese exclusively so I can't increase my consumption. I don't drink alcohol any more but when I did I chose Tuborg when I had the option and the ability to excercise it.

If you haven't tried Harvarti cheese already try it. It's a more delicate flavour than say a cheddar and infinitely superior to processed cheese.

As for Tuborg beer, Americans might find it bit robust. But non Americans regard U.S. beer in the same light that Americans regard various near beer concoctions.

Ask your local store if their Harvarti is genuine Danish or a cheap knockoff trading on the superior re****tion the genuine article. You know, the kind of thing America complains that the Chinese etc. do all the time.


Northern guy

Buy a clue
"if you want to criticise Islam i suggest you actually look at genuine sources before you go on with yourselfs

Buy a clue: most people aren't criticizing "Islam." People are criticizing what people are doing in the name of Islam.

Danish cartoons nominated for best Cartoon of the year!
The cartoons printed in the newspapers are actually the images in the minds of many Americans and Europeans. The bombing of innocent women, children, babies paints a picture that is not flattering to islam. The cartoon of mohammed with a bomb turban is a mirror image of the islamic doctorine and is very accurate for the real world.
You may call them fundamentalists, extremeist, but this is really mainstream islam. Maybe Europe is awaking up to the truth!

Lesson for Christians
Judging by the response of many media outlets and the US State Department to the 'offense' taken by Muslims, namely to cave in to Muslim demands, Christians, next time you are offended by 'art' or removal of the Ten Commandments or by Supreme Court rulings restricting your freedom to practice religion, start a riot.
It works for Muslims.

Idolatry? Too Late?
From Webster's Dictionary, one of the definitions of 'idolatry' is "Blind or excessive adoration or devotion."

It seems to me that kidnapping people, threatening people, hurting people, and destroying other peoples property, all because of some pictures, might just fall under the above definition.

eric's getting his daily excercise
How is writting a letter to the editor "over reacting"?
Unless you are taking the standard lunatic liberal line that any criticism of a lefty is impermissable.

As to the t-shirt. It's been House policy for over 100 years that you are not allowed to demonstrate in the gallery. Sheehan went to cause a scene, and she did. Just not the one she was hoping for.

eric's lies
Eric is claiming to talk for all vets again.

I wonder who he's going to channel next. Maybe it will be Eleanor Roosevelt?

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