TCS Daily


Cartoonish Hypocrisy

By J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss - February 9, 2006 12:00 AM

With all due respect for people of all religious faiths: what in Heaven's Name is going on?

The level of hypocrisy in both the protests of the Danish cartoons and the apologies for those cartoons borders on the absurd. The following is a sketch of how bad things have gotten, along with evidence of the hypocrisy.

The reaction from the West has included kowtowing to the violence:

  • France's Carrefour supermarket chain has removed Danish products from their shelves in an effort to appease their Arab clientele.
  • The managing director of France Soir, a paper that had reprinted the cartoons as part of its reporting of the controversy, was fired for allowing them to be published at all "as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual."
  • Speaking earlier this week in Doha, Qatar, former President Bill Clinton averred that the cartoons were an "outrage" to all Muslims, thereby buying into the excuses proffered for the violence, if not quite justifying them.

The reaction of the Muslim world is frightening, if not revelatory:

Protesters are boycotting countries and kidnapping their nationals for acts taken by private individuals. Neither Denmark nor Norway is a totalitarian state where all newspaper content represents national policy. The failure of protest-leaders to recognize this fact is either willful denial of the tenets of liberal democracy or cynical and conscious duplicity.

Moreover, outrageously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel editorials and cartoons in the Muslim world are published on an almost daily basis, by official press organs that in fact do represent official government policy. Here are a few sample statements broadcasted on the official television station of the Palestinian Authority (PA):

• "The Hour [of Resurrection] will not take place until you will fight the Jews and kill them."
-- Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halabiyah, member of the Palestinian Sharia [Islamic religious law] Rulings Council and Rector of Advanced Studies at the Islamic University, July 28, 2000.

• "The Hour [of Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them. The Muslims will kill the Jews, rejoice!"
-- Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris, Head of Association for Memorizing the Quran at the PA Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, September 10, 2004.

• "...and the rock and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"
-- Dr. Hassan Khater, founder of Al Quds Encyclopedia, January 10, 2005.

Nor are these instances isolated. The official PA daily, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, observed the Jewish Passover by defaming the festival in an article published on April 15, 2001:

"The Jews until today keep the rituals of Passover... from which they derive their attitude to foreigners...[Let us] understand these religious rituals and their significance in order to understand the racist behavior of the Israelis against the Arabs. This holiday has various meanings... Murdering foreigners is a Godly virtue that should be emulated... There is nothing in history more horrible than the theft, the greatest crime in history, that the Jews did the night of their Exodus [from Egypt]... In other words, robbing others is not only permitted, it is considered holy. Especially since this thievery was done under the direct command of God, the God of the Jews."

The PA paper's cartoons also regularly debase Jewish religious symbols. While blaming Israel for the drug problem in the Palestinian areas, for example, it reprinted a cartoon originally run in Kuwait's Al Watan that depicted the Jewish religious symbol, the Menorah, with the seven flames replaced by seven syringes, accompanied by the text: "The Israeli drug smuggling network."



Hamas, the freshly-elected majority in the PA legislature, graphically peddles on its website the notion that God demands the killing of Jews, and promises entry into paradise to those who would carry out that diabolical command: "We shall knock on heaven's doors with the skulls of Jews."




Another favorite theme is the blood-loving or blood-thirsty Jew, a sickening recycling of the medieval Christian anti-Semitic libel that saw Jews as requiring Christian blood for their Passover Seder. In today's Arab world, this image of unbridled hatred has mutated into the Jews' alleged quest for Palestinian blood. The blood-drinking Jew is a regular feature on the pages of Al Ahram, one of Egypt's leading dailies. On April 21, 2001 -- again, during the feast of Passover -- the paper published a cartoon showing an Arab being put into a flatting mill by two soldiers wearing helmets adorned with the Star of David. The Arab's blood pours out and two Jews with kippot and Stars of David on their shirts drink the blood laughingly.



What is remarkable about all these incidents in the Arab media is that no one remarked about them. While the images were certainly offensive and outrageous, there were no boycotts organized of Egyptian goods anywhere in Europe. Angry Israelis did not gut the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv. In fact, the State of Israel continued to transfer funds to the PA, even as its press organ slandered Judaism during a holy season -- just as the Israeli government turned over $54 million to allow the PA to meet its payroll.

No Western leaders expressed anguish over the display of profound disrespect for an ancient faith. If anything, the same leaders who today trip over each other to placate the "Arab Street" -- as if there were such a united entity -- were quick to shrug their shoulders and argue individual responsibility and avoid any semblance of collective judgment for official anti-Semitism. Maybe it's a small thing, but we think we'll protest this double standard by eating some Danish butter cookies -- there are even kosher and halal varieties.

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are academic fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


7 Comments

Respectfully Disagree
Freedom of Speech is a good thing, but teasing a major world religion with which our society is already at odds is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. I am neither a Muslim nor a Christian, but I can imagine the reaction in this society if such vicious fun were made, not of the Pope nor Pat Robertson, but of Jesus Christ himself as some sort of fop. Although our own culture isn't wound quite as tight as the Middle East, the reaction could easily reach the halls of Congress and the streets of America. Freedom of speech is actually weakened by those who irresponsibly use it to foment upset and disorder for the sake of nothing more than a snicker. And religious beliefs run deep. They deserve more respect than George Bush's ears or Jimmy Carter's front teeth.

Immature behavior of white people.
So many nicknames are given to westren people, some say white people are curse to mankind, some say they are cancer to mankind, now I nickname them immuture people, they must understand that whole muslim cummunity is backward, they donot understand the mordon culture,they are blind to tomorrow`s world, they want to live in middle age, if any community donot want to change, want to live in dark age let them live, why westren intelligent want to educate them , if they donot want to change let them suffer, why you worry about them,and making unnessary riot, murder unrest in whole world?

Nonsense
It's not the same thing as yelling fire in a crowded theatre. There is no false danger involved that would create a real danger of people being trampled. All it was is that someone's religious sensibilities have been offended. That's all. They have to kearn how to tolerate things like that.

If some Middle Eastern newspaper published a caricature of Jesus or Moses or David or any Christian or Jewish religious figure, the most we'd hear about it would be some isolated protests, if even that.

Westerners are nowhere near as thin-skinned about religous matters.

There is a reason why Muslims won't lampoon Jesus or Moses. Muslims consider them to be prophets, just not as big of prophets as Mohamet. They borrowed a lot from Christianity and Judaism, including prophets. So they are not likely to disparage that which they regard as holy.

in full support
taking from my blog at www.danielbelangeronline.com

"Yesterday’s Bush attempt to moderate the definition of freedom of expression stating that one must do it so, without insulting another, and President Jacques Chirac firmly condemning the re-publication of the cartoons, which have been the source of such violence around the world, prove how the Extremist Muslim community has officially taken hostage the Western countries.

Hostage : one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence

Ever since the beginning of freedom of expression, people, parties, groups and religions have all been the source of one or more instance of parody. Every day we see drawings depicting serious matter into profane images. Every day we hear jokes on television, on radio, in the movies, or at the theatre with a comedian on stage, made to insult another. This is a reality we have come to accept. Everybody is free to choose their religion, their believes and everybody is free to disagree and express their own believes. Our society even gives us tools to raise to the occasion and firmly oppose someone who we think, to our judgment, might have cross the line. All, in a civilized way.

The issue with the violence over the cartoons is more than just freedom of expression. With globalization of communications and the global economy, it has become difficult to establish a line of civilized conduct.

Last month, Hamas, a religious group that preaches solving through violence, was elected through a democratic process. What has become a risk for the Western Countries is the impact of their believes into a world with no boundaries and where people with no civilized sense of confrontation can disrupt the delicate international balance over personal religious faith.

“It was no big deal until the Islamic conference when the O.I.C. took a stance against it,” said Muhammad el-Sayed Said, deputy director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. “

“Sari Hanafi, an associate professor at the American University in Beirut, said that for Arab governments resentful of the Western push for democracy, the protests presented an opportunity to undercut the appeal of the West to Arab citizens. The freedom pushed by the West, they seemed to say, brought with it disrespect for Islam.”

The Pope came forward last month preaching against the libertinism of our culture and the non-respect of the values of the Church. He is surely aware of the blasphemy done to his church over the world. Although he denounces such behavior, he does not call for death and destruction.

The United States of America became hostage to the terrorists after 9/11. The industrial world is hostage to the OPEC and the ones controlling the oil resources. And now the media and governments have become hostage of Muslim religious believes. And since all those are links together – terrorist/Muslims/oil – the world is now walking on eggshells, careful not to wake up a sleeping giant that holds so much power."

speech
are you arguing that freedom of speech only exists until someone feels offended?

If so, nothing will ever be said again.

speaking of immature
If the muslims can't take a little criticism, then these anonymous whites that you keep refering too, appear to be correct.

It's the muslims who are demanding that everybody respect them. Even though they have done nothing to earn that respect.

It's the muslims who demand that their sacred cows be respected by the rest of the world, even as they go around insulting everyone who isn't a muslim. I've seen what passes for political cartoons in the muslim world.

The stuff that's "causing" the muslims to riot is extremely mild.

There's a word for someone who can dish it out, but can't take it. It's immature.

Why can only muslims be offended?
I've noticed several depictions of Jesus in what christians consider to be blasphemous cartoons, and flash videos, yet many of these haven't even warrented a complaint. So why is it that certain religions are able to influence change where as others are not. It would appear to me that a minority is trying to and succeding in forcing a majority to bow to their wishes with the threat of screaming racism.

It's a pretty stupid situation in my opinion...and for the sake of all humanity, would people stop stating that Jesus is not saterized.

Not to mention...Jesus is God, Mohamud is just a prophet.

From Canada;
Stanislaw

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