February 06, 2006


Bad Religion, Part II

Reuters Photo

...The Islamic cartoon war is still waging, with some militants calling for a “European 9/11” and other militants staging attacks in Beirut, where thousands of Muslims set fires, destroyed shops, and vandalized cars. Resident Naji Korom didn’t understand why they had been the targets of the Islamic violence and asked, “Why did they attack us? Why?”
...This situation is becoming more violent and more irresponsible as each day passes. At the same time, it’s important to see two of the discussions that these barbaric atrocities have spawned.
Free Speech vs. Offending People
...Since justification has become a huge issue for both sides of this story—on one side the newspapers that printed the Mohammed parody and on the other the Muslim terrorists who feel the need to seek revenge on any and all non-Muslims—it’s important to see how each side wants their view to be the only one that is embraced.
...The newspapers that have printed the caricature of Mohammed have said that they have free speech on their side, as the press cannot begin to hold back on printing things that might offend certain segments of the world’s population. If that were to happen, real news would never be reported and real dialog over pertinent issues would never be discussed. The news would essentially become bullshit that could be enjoyed by only those wearing rose-colored glasses.
...On the opposing side, Muslims are arguing that free speech has no place in the media if it offends them. Don’t believe me? Click here to read a story about two Jordanian newspaper editors who were arrested for publishing the Mohammed cartoon. They were said to have committed an “unnecessary abuse of freedom of speech.”
...An opinion Website for the BBC has an interesting thread of comments, but two of them stuck out the most. One was the usual “you must not offend us or you’ll suffer the consequences” kind of comment, while the other summed it best by making the astute observation that such back-and-forth dialog wouldn’t even be happening if it were not for free speech.
...Even so, in Australia, the president of The Islamic Council of Queensland, Abdul Jalal, wanted an apology from papers that printed the cartoon there and said, “I was hoping, praying that our media people would have more—I hate to use the word—more sense, in not trying to agitate the situation in the local scene here in Australia.”
...Jalal thinks that there’s no sense in printing a cartoon but there is sense in using violence when you’re offended?! I’m not surprised, and that brings us to the second issue in this mess.
...The same people who are committing violence after being offended by a drawing are the same ones who have no problem with kidnapping and beheading innocent people or murdering dozens of innocents via suicide bombers. In fact, such killing will supposedly get them into heaven where they will receive 72 virgins and various riches.
...“But suicide is forbidden in Islam,” you say. Suicide (qatlu nafsi-hi) is forbidden in the Traditions, but a nice way around it is to call suicide bombers “martyrs” and say that they’re dying for the noblest of all causes. How convenient.
...Things are going to be said that we don’t like to hear, but—so long as the speech isn’t false—we can’t censor ourselves for fear of violent reprisals. No matter what religious or political affiliation a person has, it doesn’t give them the right to perpetrate savagery against those who say something that they don’t like. They must counter with non-violent discourse and free speech of their own.
...Of course, that’s assuming that that particular group actually knows how to carry out anything that doesn’t involve violence.


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