Friday, February 3, 2006

ideas: free expression losing out to murderously intolerant and pathetically insecure Islamists

I don't believe in Islam. So its belief that the Prophet Muhammad should not be depicted, is merely an idea to me, with no a priori greater legitimacy than, say, the ideas that the religion might bear some responsibility for a subculture of indiscriminate terrorist attacks or state-enforced awful treatment of women. And certainly all these ideas are far less important to me than the idea that the expression of such ideas is valuable and worthy of protection. So if a cartoonist has something to say that might ridicule and offend Islam, well, I'll see it for myself and decide if it justifies the offense.

Apparently with the Danish JP newspaper's political cartoons, one featuring Muhammad with a bomb turban, I don't get to decide. The otherwise excellent (and great on a cellphone or PDA, by the way) news.BBC.co.uk won't print the cartoons, just analysis and commentary on the controversy.

What's staggering is how Clinton and the Europeans are abjectly apologizing to Muslim leaders for any offense. Most Westerners just want to slap them and say "Grow up, you babies!"

What's pathetic are all the Muslim comments online to the effect "Yes, freedom of speech is important, but religion must be respected". I hate to break it to you folks, but a society that compels respect is not free! The use of passive voice by these apologists is very revealing, it leaves it unclear where or how this respect materializes. From fear of mob violence?

It's clear that the protesters have no understanding about a free society, where a cartoonist and an editor can print what they like within the law, and the government and everyone else is not involved.

I found the cartoon, and it's below (the Wikipedia article has the whole set that Jyllands-Posten printed). But first some other offensive representations:

South Park's God, completely crazy

God on South Park

Andres Serrano's fairly strong Piss Christ, an art piece chock full of ideas.

Piss Christ

And here's the Muhammad with a bomb turban. It's definitely shorthand for "A lot of bombing is going on in the name of this religion", which is factually true and worthy of debate. It's grimly comical that the reaction on the street to this is "How dare Westerners suggest Islam is not entirely a religion of peace. Burn embassies and slay people who insult Islam!"

Muhammad cartoon

Predictably, people are making more depictions, like this compendium of images through history, this blog of incendiary images or this site. It's like finding out the school bully "Nate" hates it if he's called "Nathaniel", guess what happens? (I think the piling on is largely childish, but it's inspiring to see people really standing up for freedom.)



  • You should be careful, I was reading today, that Islamic Hackers were going after websites that show those cartoons.

    Just kidding, interestng blog, I'll have to add it to my daily checks.


    By Blogger Big Ford Fan, at February 21, 2006 4:35 PM  

  • Are we in such a society that has respect for nothing?. i believe respect for religion is our last hold before fully turning into a world of evil. people dont respect much of anything anymore let us atleast respect our holy belifs. maybe you should think about your life and what you actually do respect you fool.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 17, 2008 7:11 AM  

  • "let us atleast respect our holy belifs"

    No one's stopping you. The problem is compelling respect. It's fake, vacuous, pointless feel-good, Orwellian thought police.

    Off the top of my head I respect the environment, ecology, and freedom of expression way more than any system of religious belief. Tolerate beliefs: sure! respect them: not really. If that lack of respect makes me "evil", then what does killing people in the name of religion make Islamist extremists?

    By Blogger skierpage, at January 17, 2008 8:04 PM  

  • hey you atheism! fuck off with your beliefs. all people in the world needs religion. religions around the world are here to prevent satan (like you) to live in this world. All religion taught us about peace. just go back where you came from (Hell)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 27, 2008 5:29 PM  

  • anonymous, Let's take it point-by-point.
    fuck off with your beliefs
    I'm tolerant, you're clearly not. You lose.
    All people in the world needs religion
    That's just your dogmatic opinion, supported by no rational argument. And if they did, which religion? Scientology? Mormonism? Wicca?
    All religion taught us about peace
    Sure, but so do ethics and morals.
    Satan, hell, blah blah
    That's meaningless talk for people who are irreligious, and it doesn't sound very peaceful.

    I'm sure you mean well, but threatening talk from religious people is lame.

    By Blogger skierpage, at February 27, 2008 7:35 PM  

  • this is retarded. so what if you believe in freedom of speech. and so what if you dont believe in someone else's religion. its called respect. if i drew a picture of jesus molesting a little boy then there would be the same uproar umong catholics and christians. but i respect those 2 religions even tho i dont follow them. you can say that u dont have to respect that, well then the pissed off muslims dont have to respect the right to live of the westerners. this is so stupid. we should all just stop giving a shit and become atheist it would make everything so much less complicated, minus the whole going to hell part.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 27, 2008 9:13 PM  

  • you are gay
    south park is awesome

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 30, 2008 9:44 PM  

  • Wow, and I thought people were getting less ignorant these days? Psh, guess I was wrong. Idiots. Dont judge a few peoples actions from radical Islam on the entire basis of the religion. People interpret religion differently and they did the wrong way, doesn't mean that all Muslims do. Stop being ignorant. Learn before you speak.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 14, 2009 5:12 PM  

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