toonophobia

Friday, March 31, 2006

Open thread

Please bring the Muslim/Cartoon discussion from the MFE blog here.

Thanks.

23 Comments:

Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

CM said...
If you think Islamophobia exists, how would you define it?

2:11 PM


Voltaire said...
Just as bigotry towards Muslims, the error of collectivisation. It's the the same as any kind of prejudice, forming inappropriate conclusions about an individual because they form part of an identifiable group.

The thing I love most about the Runnymede Trust definition is how highly Islamist extremists score on it.

2:18 PM


Luke said...
This one
3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West

seems to me the biggest problem.
At least for those who think we think so.

(I love this interview!)

2:44 PM


Ismaeel said...
Response to open letter is on our blog now, also i have refuted all of Polish solidarity's nonsense on the Aeneas post.

5:15 PM


Ismaeel said...
http://muslim-action-committee.blogspot.com/

5:18 PM


Sir Percy said...
ismaeel,

You mention in your response about the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

"He refused to meet any of them, hardly a diplomatic move."

However, I still have the original story from October 2005 which differs from yours:

+ + + + +

This from the Copenhagen Post:

http://www.cphpost.dk/get/91710.html

PM ditches Muslims for freedom of speech

Muslim ambassadors will not be granted a meeting with the prime minister on the freedom of speech

Eleven Muslim ambassadors in Denmark looking to meet with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss what they call a 'smear campaign' in the media against Islam and Muslims have had their request denied.

The prime minister had otherwise been encouraged by the opposition to meet with the group as a way to increase understanding in an increasingly controversial public debate.

In recent weeks, both the minister of culture and a Copenhagen mayoral candidate have retracted statements they made about Muslims and Islamic culture.

Most recently, national daily Jyllands-Posten has invoked international ire by publishing twelve caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, some of which characterised him as a terrorist.

Pictorial depictions of Mohammed are frowned upon by Islam.

'This is a matter of principle. I won't meet with them because it is so crystal clear what principles Danish democracy is built upon that there is no reason to do so,' said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen reiterated his message that individuals who felt offended by the tone of the public debate should bring their grievances to the courts.

'As prime minister, I have no power whatsoever to limit the press - nor do I want such a power,' he said. 'It is a basic principle of our democracy that a prime minister cannot control the press.'

Rasmussen said that though he preferred a positive debate in the press, as long as people kept their comments with in the boundaries of the law, the motives behind the comments were not an issue.

'Some people say that the press needs to be constructive, and sometimes I also think that'd be nice. But who's to say what's constructive? That's an unfair demand to make. The press needs to be critical - I need to bear that as prime minister and religions must do so as well,' he said.

+ + + + +

Freedom of speech, not diplomacy, is the principle here.

That was the reason that most of us stood in the rain and listened to speeches last Saturday.

5:37 PM


Ismaeel said...
I don't see how that differs from my story, it states clearly he refused to meet them, which is not diplomatic. If you're willing to sacrifice all values for the sake of one value, you will see civilisation collapse.

7:33 PM


Sir Percy said...
Well, you call it 'undiplomatic' - I recognise and aplaud the principled stand that Prime Minister Rasmussen took over this key issue of freedom of expression.

For what it's worth, if the two of us were to meet up for a coffee somewhere, I'm not the sort of person who would wave the cartoons in your face.

If I came into your house, I would not think for one moment that I had the right to shout obscenities in your living room.

However, our hard-won right of freedom of expression is much more important than anyone's personal beliefs when it comes into the public arena.

As I tried to say before, nobody in the UK has the right NOT to be ofended - nobody.

That's what we're saying here.

8:36 PM


Ismaeel said...
As i've said before, i'm not asking not to be offended, i'm asking for people not to come up and insult me and my beliefs. There is a big though subtle difference. I don't drink coffee but i would welcome having a cup of tea with you some time.

8:40 PM


Sir Percy said...
As i've said before, i'm not asking not to be offended i'm asking for people not to come up and insult me and my beliefs.

OK - the first part sounds promising but you need to define 'come up' a bit more.

You'll always find people who will insult other people, complete strangers, for a variety of reasons. It could be the colour of their skin, the way they dress, because they drive a hulking great 4x4. Any number of reasons.

Life is like that though. We do our best to stop that type of discrimination because we live in decent country.

Personal beliefs including religion are different though.

If I object to the BNP I have have the right to do so publicly.

If I object to the Catholic Church's stance on abortion I have the right to do so publicly.

If I object to Iqbal Sacranie's comments on homosexuality on Radio 4, I have the right to do so publicly.

No one's beliefs should be off-limits as far as comment goes on the basis they they are deeply held by that person.

Are your seriously suggesting that the film, "The Life of Brian" shouldn't have been made because it poked fun at Christianity?

Serious question - I asume that you are a deeply religious person - is there any room for humour when it comes to your religion or is it always deeply serious and possibly the collapse of civilisation if anyone mocks Islam, however slightly?

Who knows, perhaps one day we could feel confident enough to meet and discuss this over a cup of tea... and biscuits!

9:14 PM


Will B said...
since Islam is not and will never be the religion of the UK i hardly think civilisation in this part of the world will collapse.

9:20 PM


Emir of Anglia said...
But what you are asking is for non-believers to adhere to taboos that only have relevance to Muslims. If we conceed on this point it would be giving all other religious groups or any bunch with an obscure agenda cart blanche to present their demands and carp on about how such and such represents a fundamental insult to them and their beliefs.

What people need to remember is that these cartoons were not concieved as a deliberate insult to Muslims everywhere but as satirical response to a Danish author's difficulty in finding a illustrator willing to contribute to an illustrated book on Muhammed's life for fear of the response of religious extremists. The irony is that the book in question was by all accounts quite sympathetic to Muhammed, certainly I doubt a childrens book would have dwelt at any length on Muhammed's dealings with the Jewish tribes of Medina.

We all encounter things in this life that we don't necessarily like - sometimes we even say as much, by letters or protests - the point is the response should be constructive, in the way that this campaign started as a reaction to the excessive hostility shown towards the cartoons but is developing into a wider defence of the freedom of expression that all citizens of the United Kingdom should have.

In the end it has to live and let live. We have our different sets of beliefs, and as beliefs are held by us individually of our own free will we should be mature enough to accept that there will be circumstances in which our own convictions attract crticism or spark debate - I am convinced that the mature response is to argue back constructively not simply to demand that the cartoons be purged from public life and that any group of people who defend the right to view and share the cartoons be relegated to some lesser visited region of Purgatory with the BNP.

9:41 PM


Ismaeel said...
Our distinction between insult and offence.
I may find an atheist's views offensive because he denies the existance of God which he explains politley, calmly and rationally adducing evidence. However if he starts seeing your God is x, y and z and anyone who believes in him is a moronic imbecile, you can see that this isn't really going to get us anywhere.
As for humour in and about Islam, there is plenty within the religion itself and Imams up and down the country are often satirised by members of their congregations.

10:05 PM


Will B said...
To be able to debate about issues freely we must protect the right to insult.

10:10 PM


Ismaeel said...
I dont see why, i don't see what can be gained in a debate or discussion by insulting your opponant or his viewpoint, except to make him/her defensive and unreceptive to your ideas.

10:18 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
" Our distinction between insult and offence."

And OUR distinction is between speech and violence.

The cartoons were published in response to fears of violent reprisals.

You ignore entirely that this whole furore is not actually to do with freedom of expression - it is actually about the prohibition on the initiation of violence.

Measured against this, your distinction is illusory, facile and has already been dispatched by commenters above. Who is to judge where the line is between "offence" and "insult"?

10:18 PM


Emir of Anglia said...
"As for humour in and about Islam, there is plenty within the religion itself and Imams up and down the country are often satirised by members of their congregations."

Well there is hope yet then... ;)

But anyway, the place of satire in inter-comunal relations will doubtless get a look in at this public meeting whenever it progresses beyond the to be announced stage.

10:19 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
"I dont see why, i don't see what can be gained in a debate or discussion by insulting your opponant or his viewpoint, except to make him/her defensive and unreceptive to your ideas."

Absolutely true, assuming your opponent is rational and is not going to resort to violence.

This is not the point that the Danish cartoonists were making.

Where violence or even just threats of violence are being used, one should have little regard for the feelings of one's opponent.

10:20 PM


Sonic said...
Another free speech issue you can take up...

http://christopherhitchenswatch.blogspot.com/2006/03/our-friends-in-north.html

10:29 PM


Ismaeel said...
And how do you think you are going to stop violence or the threat of violence if it's not by sitting down and trying to reason with people, trying to understand why they are so upset to go that far.
The Danish cartoons were printed by a right wing newspaper deliberatly to provoke reaction, deliberatly to insult. They JP cultural editor is a fan of the arch islamophobe Daniel Pipes. They had about 2-3 points between them- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a terrorist or barbarian, satire about Islamic view on depicting the Prophet (PBUH) satire on the cultural editor himself. It is the first point which is deeply insulting and they knew it.
They are not so young to not know about the Rushdie affair.
If they wanted to satirise as has been falsley claimed terrorists using of Islam to justify their actions, there are many better and less incendary cartoons they could have drawn. Bin Laden finding himself in hell instead of paradise etc.
The cultural editor called specifically for cartoons of the Prophet (PBUH) not for satires of terrorism linked to Islam.
A cartoonist interviewed by the Guardian on the 19th Feb said he wanted to satirise terrorism whose spiritual ammunition is Islam.
Please stop hiding behing these feeble excuses and just accept they were deliberate anti-Islamic stereotyping of the nastiest type- demonising a whole fifth of humanity by their association with their Prophet (PBUH)who they love dearly with the dark identiy of terrorism.

10:33 PM


Polish Solidarity with Denmark said...
Ismaeel, thank you for the publicity!

"Ismaeel said...
Response to open letter is on our blog now, also i have refuted all of Polish solidarity's nonsense on the Aeneas post."
And actually I have just refuted your refutation.

10:35 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Ismaeel,

Do you know, I think you have got it:

"A cartoonist interviewed by the Guardian on the 19th Feb said he wanted to satirise terrorism whose spiritual ammunition is Islam."

By jingo, you've got it. The cartoons were about terrorism - you know, the use of indiscrimate violence, as discussed above. A more rational response to the cartoons then would have been to condemn the terrorists who say themselves that they find justification in Islam for the horrible things that they do.

I think the terrorists are wrong - there is no justification in Islam for what they do.

But the RATIONAL response to the cartoons is to castigate those who pervert Islam for violent ends.

You should be arguing with them not with us.

These cartoons are emphatically NOT about Islam as a whole: they are directed - as the cartoonist says - against those who abuse Islam to find justification for their violence.

This is a valid comment for a cartoonist to make. It is a necessary comment for a cartoonist to make.

But let us take your worst possible (and ludicrous, given the very pedestrian nature of many of these cartoons) interpretation. Let us say for a moment that the intention was to say "All Muslims are violent".

They do not say "go and kill Muslims". You will notice that it was anti-cartoon protestors that carried placards saying the precise equivalent: "Kill those who slander Islam".

OK, but even if you do take that line, and that the message is "All muslims are violent". Tell me: how does a staged embassy burning disprove that message?

10:46 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
"And how do you think you are going to stop violence or the threat of violence if it's not by sitting down and trying to reason with people, trying to understand why they are so upset to go that far."

Because if they are prepared to "go that far", they are unlikely to be rational or reasonable. Any attempt to reason is likely to put you in considerable danger.

So why kick up a stink?
- To show just how much ground has already been conceded to those who brook no dissent;
- To force the silent majority to take a stand and to choose which side they want to be on: the side of messy, vigorous, open, successful Danish freedom and democracy or the closed, bigotted, misogynist, violent extremists.

This is precisely what has happened in Denmark. Muslims are choosing Danish democracy over the extremist Imams who fomented the crisis in the first place.

10:56 PM


One of the Crowd said...
If anyone is interested, here is an Audio recording (right click-and download) of Dr Sean Gabb's wonderful speech that he delivered at the march last Saturday.

10:59 PM


Comment Deleted
This post has been removed by the author.

11:04 PM


Ismaeel said...
OK, but even if you do take that line, and that the message is "All muslims are violent". Tell me: how does a staged embassy burning disprove that message?

this highlights the sterotypical thinking of so many people. Some Muslims did something, so they must all somehow have had a hand in it or be responsible.

Spiritual ammunition being Islam does not sound to me like he believes that terrorism and Islam have nothing to do with each other, rather the opposite i'm afraid. Otherwise he wouldn't have a problem apologising to the vast majority of Muslims who aren't terrorists which he has refused to do.

11:05 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
"This highlights the sterotypical thinking of so many people. Some Muslims did something, so they must all somehow have had a hand in it or be responsible."

Absolutely not. I am not suggesting for a second that this means that all Muslims are violent - I am demonstrating the paucity of thinking of those that are.

You need to justify the thinking of the individuals involved in the riots if you are to rebut my point. But you can't, because each individual involved is being irrational.

Consider this as an example: If I tell you personally that I think you are violent, a violent reaction from you would not really disprove my point.

Yet each rioter individually is apparently doing exactly this: reacting to an accusation that they are violent (as you suggest the cartoons suggest) by, errmm...., being violent.

This reaction is even more absurd given that that is not what they are saying. The cartoons are themselves a reaction to violence. You have to ignore this entirely if you are to have any basis for your argument.

The point about individuals is worth discussing also: Individuals are responsible for their actions. Not groups. Not whole bodies of followers of religions. Individuals.

The cartoons criticise those that use violence and pervert the name of Islam to do so. Not any ordinary amorphous one of 1 billion Muslims - just the individuals who use violence.

If you spent one tenth as much time dealing with the extremists as you do arguing with us, I think you would find you had quite a lot of support....

11:28 PM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
"Spiritual ammunition being Islam does not sound to me like he believes that terrorism and Islam have nothing to do with each other, rather the opposite i'm afraid."

And that's a rather sad fact. The terrorist are using Islam as a justification. They may be wrong, but you can't deny that that is what the terrorists themselves do.

It is the terrorists that make this link. The cartoonists are merely repeating their words.

"Otherwise he wouldn't have a problem apologising to the vast majority of Muslims who aren't terrorists which he has refused to do."

He hasn't said anything about the vast majority of Muslims so he has no need to apologise. He particularly has no need to apologise when so many Muslims - and you are fabulous example here - miss his point so spectacularly.

To demand an apology suggests that he has done something wrong. What is wrong with condemning the use of the violence?

11:35 PM


One of the Crowd said...
If you spent one tenth as much time dealing with the extremists as you do arguing with us, I think you would find you had quite a lot of support....

100% in agreement.

Ismaeel, your time would be better spend perhaps, spreading the "Good News" about Islam, rather than defending (because that is what you do, when you live in denial that unfortunately some people "do" use Islam as a divine sanction for murder) the lunatics that several of the cartoons were mocking and criticizing. You yourself know that Islam is a pearl for you, because you would not do what those militants would do. Yet, you cannot deny that those nutters exist. Or, are you trying to censor the cartoons because you don't want to be reminded of the awful truth?

Even if countless people are led to believe that all you hold dear is a walnut,you will "know" it is a pearl. Where is the problem? Do the cartoons promote hatred against Muslims? Speaking for myself, no. Not at all. We just recognized what the cartoons were saying about certain groups of lunatics.

Why on earth are you trying to get them censored? It only associates you with their kind, instead of how you should be "dis-associating" yourself from them, by expounding the virtues of Islam instead. When you try to censor (and you are, no matter what you claim) such things, and try to use police intervention to get the march stopped or cartoons shown last saturday, then you don't do yourself any favours at all.

I would say to you "Why should anyone apologize for the truth?" when referring to the cartoons which rightly suggest that Muhammad's legacy is "abused" by certain groups of people to commit murder.

Personally,I think the fundamental misunderstanding and error of the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, has been in assuming that the cartoons were suggesting "Muhammad" himself is a terrorist. It seems that no matter "what" we say otherwise, the Muslim world won't accept the "true" intent.

For them,the cartoons say "Muhammad is a terrorist", and they won't listen to any other explanation that is given. Muslims just saw what they "wanted" to see, in the cartoons. They saw an opportunity to play the "Oppressed victim",yet again.

Europeans simply saw what the cartoonist "intended", and all this explains why the Muslim world needs to "Get with the program" about European culture, if it wishes to understand us Europeans, better.

One thing is for sure. We are not going to let Religion clamp down on our rights to criticize and mock. When the Muslim world tried that (both violently or politically) recently they declared war on western values (as far as I'm concerned) and we won't roll over and give away the freedoms our ancestors spent centuries trying to re-claim from Religion mixed with politics. Take note.

12:03 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
Just finished watching Nasfim Haque's light hearted ‘Don’t Panic I’m Islamic‘ TV show. It was enjoyable, funny, challenging, non-judgmental and positive. I especially liked the slogans, slay those preconceptions. Spread the love.

12:58 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> We are not trying to impose
> shariah law or Muslim taboos on
> you or the wider society.

http://tinyurl.com/pjwua

Ismaeel wrote: "There is no state in the world that imposes shariah law in it's entirity, instead they impose bits and pieces. In most countries family law is still in place but little else. In other places like Saudi the punishments are there but not the social, economic and political systems. Shariah law as a governing system should be applied totally by an Islamic government. The fact that no Muslim country does shows the insincerity of the rulers in the Muslim world towards the Islamic faith. That is why you are left with a very distorted picture of what shariah law and how it is applied is. If you read the history of the rightly guided Caliphs then you would find a very different story."

So Ismaeel, this is where I get very confused, if we implemented all of the Shiri'a, not just the punishments they have in Saudi we would understand it to be peaceful and loving?

> The fact that no Muslim country
> does shows the insincerity of the
> rulers in the Muslim world
> towards the Islamic faith.

I'm sorry to keep banging on about this point, but didn't they to implement the punishments, social, economic and political systems in Afghanistan?

Can you recount to me what went wrong?

Would you like to see existing Islamic states turn 100% to the Shiria?

Is that what you really mean by Global Civility?

Global implementation of the Shiri'a?

Could you please clarify your position on Abdul Rahman?

Could you please tell me where stand on the stoning of women?

Are you in fact, Ismaeel, an Islamist monster in disguise?

Please clarify, we all listening …

Cheers,

TFI
(PS. Did you know about Google cache when you deleted that page? Tricky thing this new fangled technology ...)

1:49 AM


Luke said...
Question to Ismaeel:

I found this page
http://www.fatwa-online.com/

Can you say whether this is satire or whether they mean that? I am not asking whether you agree with the page, only whether this is satire.

Thank you.

6:22 AM


Ismaeel said...
Again trying to bracket us with extremists. We now have to be responsible for every violent action done by Muslims worldwide. Yeah very sensible. Our ulema spend most of their time guiding our community to the correct teachings of Islam. They don't do it in a big fanfare because that is their everyday job.
I think if you spent a tenth of the time that you do supporting this movement on stopping your governments bombing and torturing Muslims around the world, everyone in the Muslim community would feel better inclined towards you.
Cuts both ways doesn't it.

7:29 AM


Luke said...
to Ismaeel

Thank you.

I did not think you appreciate of their definition of the shape of the world. It just was real to me, and satire to TFI. However, I will file the URL under real life satire.

Have a good day.

8:04 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
Hi Ismaeel,

I’m sorry if you find my persistent line of questioning juvenile. But for me to back your organization requires me to believe that you are Moderate and working to reduce Islamaphobia everywhere in the world, as opposed to an fundamentalist extremist that wish enforce rule #1 of Shiri’a on the rest of the world via peaceful means.

From what you have said, I am lead to believe that you think countries like Indonesia are shameful and ought install the Shiri’a in entirely: social, economic, political systems and the medieval punishments.

If you cannot make a statement to the opposite, I suggest that you step down and allow a true progressive moderate Muslim to continue your cause.

Cheers,

TFI

8:04 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Ismaeel,

"I think if you spent a tenth of the time that you do supporting this movement on stopping your governments bombing and torturing Muslims around the world, everyone in the Muslim community would feel better inclined towards you.
Cuts both ways doesn't it."

Do you know, I think you have got it again.

So: apparently you are arguing with us about our criticism of the use of violence by extremists, rather than trying to expose the extremists because we aren't criticising our government?

Ummm...... I don't follow.

Ok, let's leave aside the monstrous non-sequitur and take this at face value.

- Presumably you listen to and watch the BBC - hard to say that there isn't very stout criticism of the conduct of the war in Iraq et al.

- R4 Today programme this morning leads with inquiries into suspected complicity with US extraordinary rendition.

- No doubt you saw the size of the demonstrations against the war in the lead up to the March 2003 invasion.

Seems we are holding up our side of the bargain. Where are you?

The thing is, you see, we have and use vigorously the freedom of expression, the freedom to mock, insult and offend our political leaders to do just that.

We just don't resort to assassination or other random acts of violence when we don't get our way.

Given that I cannot resort to violence, I can only act once every five years or so with my vote to elect a government to carry out all sorts of policies covering a whole range of issues. What we can do is hold our politicians to account and shine light on their actions and decisions, the better to inform us all how to vote at the next election. I think we do this pretty well. Free speech is THE essential freedom to allow us to do this.

Suggesting, for example, that Tony Blair is a war criminal - as I think you might wish to do - is something that Tony Blair would find profoundly offensive and very probably insulting. Do you think your right to say this should be protected?

To be absolutely clear: You want all of us to say things - e.g. about the illegality of the Iraq war etc - that will be profoundly offensive about the character and motives of specific individuals. Those specific individuals will find those comments offensive and probably insulting. Yet you insist not only that you must have the right to do so, but that we all use it.

That is what free speech is for. It is why this country is free. It gives us the ability to criticise our leaders without fear.

This is precisely the freedom that you are trying to limit. Unfortunately it is indivisible. If you limit speech to remove the possibility of causing insult, all critical speech will be shut down.

CUTS BOTH WAYS, DOESN'T IT?


Now, let's account for your responsibilities as an individual. The extremists who pervert Islam for violent ends are sure as hell not going to listen to non-Muslims. The only people they will listen to are their own religious leaders. The religious leaders who provide cover for the extremists are not going to listen to non-Muslims either. But right now, rather than showing your disgust for the extremists, you are arguing with us for, errr..., showing our disgust for the extremists.

For some reason, you seem to believe that your behaviour is morally equivalent - possibly better - than ours. You could criticise the extremists, or you could criticise us for doing so. You choose the latter. That looks like support for the extremists to me.

2/10 must try harder.

8:09 AM


Luke said...
"So: apparently you are arguing with us about our criticism of the use of violence by extremists, rather than trying to expose the extremists because we aren't criticising our government?"

You could call him a leftie, coudn't you?

Sorry, just couldn't resist.

8:49 AM


mymind said...
ismael whot about quadians?
they seem to be the only ones who will contemplate change critisisem
but they are one of the most hated muslims by muslims
i am a islamophobe
i fear islam due to the lack of allowing critisisem
i dont fear muslims

8:58 AM


Anonymous said...
"Absolutely true, assuming your opponent is rational and is not going to resort to violence."

- I believe Ismaeel and MAC fit into this camp don't they?

"This is not the point that the Danish cartoonists were making. Where violence or even just threats of violence are being used, one should have little regard for the feelings of one's opponent."

True - by that measure you should have little regard for the person who threatened the cartoonist (probably an atheist anyway as the threat would be haram in Islam) but plenty of regard for people like Ismaeel and others who practice the religion of Islam and have only pursued peaceful methods of protest, and not lump them as one - as you have just done here - because well they're all muslims - well I am too!

Are you saying you shouldn't have any regard to my views because one of "my kind" threatened one of "your kind"?

Doesn't sound racist at all no...?

Get a grip guys. This debate has been way too focused on Islam and the cartoons which I personally won't be in the same room as, not because I'm a fundamentalist, but because I see them as insulting, Islam is NOT the source of all evil.

SO I gather that Ismaeel's point still stands: "I dont see why, i don't see what can be gained in a debate or discussion by insulting your opponant or his viewpoint, except to make him/her defensive and unreceptive to your ideas."

"Absolutely true, assuming your opponent is rational and is not going to resort to violence."

Well now that we have established that Ismaeel is that way there is no need to keep implying he is somehow connected to others who are less well meaning.

He is upset and registering his upset in the most appropriate and legal way, whereas by focusing on the cartoons and Islam this campaign is discrediting itself. So have your exhibition of the cartoons, in celebration of your freedom, just keep it out of my face, because I just find it intimidating.

I'm glad the BBC have made a decision not to publish them, and they obviously had a good think about that.

I'm a bit embarrased that a free expression campaign has to focus on one form of expression picking on one kind of people and unwittingly resulting in more attacks being made in the street against "our kind"

9:22 AM


Anonymous said...
"Who knows, perhaps one day we could feel confident enough to meet and discuss this over a cup of tea... and biscuits!"

From what I see on the MAC blog, Ismaeel and MAC are confident enough to do that right now. Not with the cartoons as a backdrop, but right now, have a tea or coffee, debate the issue, and explain why they find the cartoons offensive. I thought the campaign was about freedom of speech, and these are all things we have not heard.

9:25 AM


Luke said...
"I thought the campaign was about freedom of speech"

It still is. No cartoons = no freedom of expression.

The comments of those who took them down or did reverse their decision to show them usually was "the safety of our staff is more important".

9:41 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
Hi Anonymous,

I hope we get to continue discussion on the dark recesses of the Reza Moradi thread.

"I thought the campaign was about freedom of speech, and these are all things we have not heard."

You are correct, let’s address one of Ismaeels burning issues about free speech:

http://tinyurl.com/mxgnn

Ismaeel - "We asked a question about whether people had the right to question the holocaust as part of free speech. The organisers of the March for Free Speech have not given an answer. Interesting that."

I think it is fine, a bit distasteful and it will upset lots of Jewish people, but we don't mind to much as long as we speak the truth and base our arguments on historical fact.

As far as I know, you are allowed to question the holocaust in this country.

Am I mistaken?

Cheers

TFI

9:42 AM


Anonymous said...
The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
" Our distinction between insult and offence." And OUR distinction is between speech and violence.

Who exactly do you mean by OUR distinction Pedant-General? White people? Non Muslims? I have to say this is how this whole campaign is really starting to stink of racism and xenophobia so long as it remains incapable of broadening the agenda away from the cartoons and making muslims really feel welocome, which means to achieve some balance slagging other religions off far more strongly.

Muslims have had enough slagging off on this blog site for an entire year's campaign. Let's move on!

9:43 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> Who exactly do you mean by OUR
> distinction Pedant-General? White
> people? Non Muslims?

British people.

9:50 AM


Anonymous said...
"I think it is fine, a bit distasteful and it will upset lots of Jewish people, but we don't mind to much as long as we speak the truth and base our arguments on historical fact."

OK - now replace Jewish with Muslim in this comments section and see if you feel the tone of the campaign has come across equally. Now imagine you are Jewish and being asked not to mind for the sake of freedom of speech to have an exhibition of the holocaust cartoons (not photos, cartoons have more power than photos as they seek to satarise the unthinkable) - in fact, hey, bring some yourself, or the cartoons of Jews as hook nosed creatures which were required to sufficiently vilify Jews to make the Holocaust "acceptable" because hey thy weren't human! And you really wonder why many Muslims are nervous?

9:50 AM


Anonymous said...
"Well, you call it 'undiplomatic' - I recognise and aplaud the principled stand that Prime Minister Rasmussen took over this key issue of freedom of expression."

You can take a principled stand without refusing to meet and talk - just as MAC have done - they're taking a principled stand but are willing to discuss it in the open. Not being willing to engage in conversation at all only came across to the ambassadors as if he wasn't interested in dialogue with "such savages" it came across as racist. He may have disagreed with but would still have talked to a French ambassador or a German one, but he treated the Muslims like they were all savages who didn't deserve his attention.

At the same time it was a right wing paper and I suggest that some of the posters on this blog think about leaving this country and going to Denmark because you know, there's a Nazi Party there...

Racism and Xenophobia is Un British!

So anyone who still has a grudge against Muslims in general, or Muslims who refuse to stare at the cartoons and laugh in front of you, or Muslims who pray 5 times a day, and thinks such Muslims are not British and should not be in the UK.

There's the door. Get lost. Not in my Britain (and it is mine as well by the way). Nazis. Go to Denmark.

9:58 AM


Ismaeel said...
Our religious leaders are constantly teaching and preaching to the Muslim world about what is and what is not acceptable in Islam, they do it every day. The media however is not interested in that because it is not sensational.
Please stop lecturing us on our responsibilities, we carry them out, we just don't need a fanfare to do it to.
As for TFI, i believe in Shariah and would love to see the Muslim world return to it in it's entirety. However i don't believe in imposing it. When Medina accepted the rule of the Prophet (PBUH) it was totally voluntary they invited him to rule. When the people of the Muslim world are happy to live under shariah they'll return to it.
Moderate, progressive these are all western labels with nothing to do with Islam. I'm not here to be your pet Muslim, or your "good" Muslim or your "Moderate" Muslim, i'm here to be a Muslim full stop. I'm free to believe in what i want, are you going to ask the communists to get out as well seeing as we don't follow their system here either?
Also what is shariah law- shariah law is everytime someone reads their prayers, everytime they fast in Ramadan, everytime they go on pilgrimage to Mecca or give charity to the poor. Shariah is not giving and taking interest. Shariah is standing up to injustice. Shariah is everytime Muslims have weddings, funerals, birth ceremonies. Shariah is the way Muslims conduct their businesses and make their contracts. All of these things already happen in Britain without any non-Muslims being negativley affected. They happen on a voluntary self-regulating basis by those Muslims who choose to follow them. And no i am not an Islamist monster, the penalty for adultery for man or woman if eye witnessed by four adult men is stoning to death under shariah, it was only ever implemented during the Caliphate when people voluntary confessed to it and only happened a handful of times. Why did they confess, because they wanted to atone for their sins in this life and not in the next. Thats the difference we view the world from very different viewpoints, one from the viewpoint of materialism, one from the viewpoint of spirituality.

10:02 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
Hi Anonymous,

I understand that you are trying to protect your family. I completely understand. I think backing Ismeaal's is the wrong way to do it. Could you write a letter and ask for someone to be politically less motivated to be put in place, some more representative of the British Muslim?

"Now imagine you are Jewish and being asked not to mind for the sake of freedom of speech to have an exhibition of the holocaust cartoons (not photos, cartoons have more power than photos as they seek to satarise the unthinkable) - in fact, hey, bring some yourself, or the cartoons of Jews as hook nosed creatures which were required to sufficiently vilify Jews to make the Holocaust "acceptable" because hey thy weren't human! And you really wonder why many Muslims are nervous?"

You mean cartoons like this?

http://tinyurl.com/zgppc

Anonymous, who is telling you to be so afraid?

Who is stoking this fear?

Cheers,

TFI

10:04 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
Ismaeel,

Thank you for the clarification. There is a gulf of misunderstanding between and you do well to try and narrow it.

To me what you have said is a curious point of view, one that I will mull over.

@anonymous - often debate is nasty especially when tempers are high, look at the Galloway vs Hitchens debate, that drew a huge audience. Sometimes debate in the Western world is gladiatorial, have you ever parliament?

Cheers,

TFI

10:19 AM


Voltaire said...
I'm too busy today to respond fully to the MAC reply. However, I can say that dialogue means more than one party simply rephrasing their demands, on which they are unwilling to compromise or negotiate in any way. MAC are obviously unable to understand this.

Fortunately, there is a mainstream in Islamic society which does understand this, so we will be focussing on that in the future.

10:20 AM


Luke said...
"Who exactly do you mean by OUR distinction Pedant-General?"

The law. You may take someone to court. You won't even need four male witnesses.

10:22 AM


One of the Crowd said...
Indonesia draws cartoon of John Howard and his foreign minister, as fornicating dogs. Howard says : - "I've been in this game a long time. If I got offended by cartoons - golly heavens above, give us a break," he said, adding that he planned to visit Indonesia soon. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the cartoon "fell way below standards of public taste" but the democratic press had the right to publish what it wanted.

Perfect response :)

Ismaeel, take note.

10:24 AM


Luke said...
"You mean cartoons like this?

http://tinyurl.com/zgppc "

And THEY complain? ROFL

10:29 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Anon:

" " Our distinction between insult and offence." And OUR distinction is between speech and violence.

Who exactly do you mean by OUR distinction Pedant-General? White people? Non Muslims?"

Ismaeel says his distinction is between insult and offence.

The cartoons were a response to violence. This campaign supports speech over violence. So when I say "OUR" I mean those who support this campaign. I mean those who really do support freedom of speech and will not allow threats of violence to determine what views may be aired.

There is no racial, national or religious classification in this statement, nor in this campaign. There never has been.

The only way that you can criticise this campaign is by ignoring the violence, fear and threats that were the reason for the cartoons being published in the first place.

For goodness sake: many of the cartoonists now have to live under police protection. How can that be acceptable?

In order to criticise this campaign, you have to ignore the very real threats of violence. Whilst your refusal to deal with the use of threats does not make you violent per se, it appears that you condone the violence when you criticise supporters of this campaign rather than joining the campaign to criticise those who use violence.

10:31 AM


crusader said...
One of the crowd:

For them,the cartoons say "Muhammad is a terrorist", and they won't listen to any other explanation that is given. Muslims just saw what they "wanted" to see, in the cartoons. They saw an opportunity to play the "Oppressed victim",yet again.

The trouble for Muslims is that they have been found out, at least by some of us. Mohammed was a terrorist. He terrorised all the peoples of Arabia until they became his followers. Mohammed was a warlord who spread Islam by the sword not by fluffy warm words and gentle persuasion.

10:42 AM


Luke said...
"they're [MAC] taking a principled stand but are willing to discuss it in the open."
By now, we know what this means. Never ending pow-pow and distraction. And a bit of taqiyya.

Cheers,
Luke the convert

10:48 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
You misunderstand anonymous, he just wants his family to be safe on the streets which is commendable, he doesn't think that it is acceptable that the cartoonists are in hiding. He is convinced that there is a right wing plot to demonize all Muslims using freedom of speech as tool to justify it. For anonymous this is all about combating Islamaphobia.

I don't believe that he or Ismaeel are going about doing this in the right way. I think that following Nasfim Haque's lead with ‘Don’t Panic I’m Islamic’ would bear more fruit.

No its not very spiritual, but if you want to reach out to the British public, a big smile, a dose of rumour and a lack of rhetoric will take you a long way.

Cheers,

TFI

10:48 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Anon - go and get a blogger ID so that at least we can address a pseudonym (like, e.g. "the Pedant-General" - you don't have my real identity, but you can see my progress through the thread)

We have to go back to basics.

If someone makes a criticism of an idea or or a person, that person is likely to be offended by such criticism. If the criticism is biting, valid and being actively denied by the target, it becomes almost certain that the criticism will be interpretted as a direct attack.

To insist that there is no freedom to offend makes such criticism impossible. It would make the most important criticism impossible precisely because the really important stuff necessarily makes its targets distinctly uncomfortable.

Thus: free speech is only worthwhile if it very obviously includes the freedom to offend.

Now, you accuse this campaign of being motivated by latent or unwitting racism.

I reject that charge.

To be absolutely clear, I am arguing with Ismaeel here NOT because he is a Muslim, but because he wishes to reduce everyone's freedom to offend.

It is not that he takes the same position as the thugs threatening the Danish cartoonists - who wish to silence criticism - but that the position he is taking is objectively wrong for the reasons set out above.

This is not about religion. It is not about race. It is about whether you support the use of violence to silence dissent.

You have to deal with this specific issue if you are to have any credibility. The cartoons now signify much much more than mere pictures of Mohammed. Their display is a statement that views cannot and should not be suppressed by violence or threats.

That is something that any decent person should be able to get behind.

Note that your accusation that Jews would kick up a stink about cartoons about them has fallen completely flat.

Is this not a classic example of the racism and stereotyping of which you accuse us?

If not, why not?

10:50 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> Mohammed was a warlord who
> spread Islam by the sword not by
> fluffy warm words and gentle
> persuasion.

As far I understand he did both. This is naive oversimplification but Osama and the terrorist focus on the later and Ismaeel and co focus on the former.

Cheers

TFI

10:51 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> Anon - go and get a blogger ID so
> that at least we can address a
> pseudonym

That is his pseudonym, click on the click and you will see. Its just a really good one!

10:55 AM


Anonymous said...
Problem is there's just the - excuse my french - "Muslim Council of Great Britain" - that get far too much attention and coverage and have a pretty awful head honcho.

MAC have representation from Muslims across the board, both Sunni and Shia for example, and different sects in Islam as well, and they appear to recognise that Muslims are not a monolithic bloc. They're spending a lot of time and effort peacefully campaigning over an issue that I feel does affect me and my family. I doubt that I'll agree with all of Ismaeel's views or he with mine, but we are at least at one when it comes to critiquing the wave of Islamaphobia sweeping across Europe and the US, and making best efforts to correct that.

As for who is telling me to be so afraid its people involved in this campaign like http://www.islamanazi.com/ that make a pretty good start, and the experiences friends and family have had in cafes, hotels, bars and public places, which has got steadily worse since 911.

Saw the link and was interested to observe the context: "Contest open to Jew creators only! Sorry! This is Jews joking about themselves here!"

Great idea - but not the same context as a right wing paper in a country that has a Nazi party, and with people organising a rally showing the cartoons that have an agenda to deport all Muslims from Europe and with the BNP using the same cartoons in their own propoganda.

More like:

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/
6998/196/1600/jews%20communists.jpg
-and-
http://blog.chosun.com/web_file/blog/
177/22677/PosterJudSuss%5B1%5D.jpg

The Danish cartoons go much further than cartoons like:
http://static.flickr.com/22/
28865041_88738e9929_s.jpg
and
http://www.bendib.com/newones/2004/october/small/
10-27-The-Muslim-Vote.jpg

and many others

That depict Muslims as pathetic, cowering creatures or terrorists...

The Danish cartoons go further by actually depicting a taboo, that would inhibit many Muslims from feeling able to participate in any debating with them present.

How do we want to write history now? Can't we see what's happening.

So as to who is frightening me. Non Muslim friends have themselves offered a room in their house as a safe haven to hide me and my family is "things get too much" out of a concern of having been online and seen some of the violent and hateful comments.

One friend with a background in history, and a friend of the family's who is jewish, are both very concerned about my family's long term safety in the light of this kind of degenerative generalisation and stereotyping.

We could of course, disguise ourselves so that we don't look quite as Muslim. But we are reluctant to do that, while we are now considering it.

Anyway, that's why I'm scared.

The Muslim Council is a sham whereas MAC have only organised peaceful rallies, that's why I'm backing them alongside this campaign, which in principle I feel is also very very important.

11:02 AM


Luke said...
Ismeels gentle words remind me of Tariq Ramadan a bit too much.

And, Anonymous, this is also about your future safety in a democratic state.

11:02 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Anon,

""This is not the point that the Danish cartoonists were making. Where violence or even just threats of violence are being used, one should have little regard for the feelings of one's opponent."

True - by that measure you should have little regard for the person who threatened the cartoonist (probably an atheist anyway as the threat would be haram in Islam)"

This is precisely the point. You are rightly appalled by the use of violence, but you then try to deny that those who use it do so (however wrongly) in the name of Islam.

Of course the threat is wrong. But it is made in the name of and apparently for the protection of Islam.

To deny that that is what was done is pure cognitive dissonance.

You should be arguing with them not with us. It is the extremists who explicitly invoke the name of Islam, not us. It is pretty silly to argue with us about this: why not direct your attention to those who really do "slander Islam"?

That is in fact what we are doing. We are highlighting that Islam is being abused. You seem content to allow the abuse, but not criticism of that abuse.

" but plenty of regard for people like Ismaeel and others who practice the religion of Islam and have only pursued peaceful methods of protest, "

I do. I respect the fact that Ismaeel is pursuing his protest peacefully. I would defend vigorously his right to do so. Indeed, errrmmm...., that is exactly what this campaign is about. We support Ismaeel's right to campaign and to make his point heard.

But in turn, he needs to be aware that his arguments, actions and reasoning will be dissected and subject to rebuttal.


"and not lump them as one - as you have just done here - because well they're all muslims - well I am too!

Are you saying you shouldn't have any regard to my views because one of "my kind" threatened one of "your kind"?"

Nope. Not at all. The cartoons are directed at those who use violence or support those who use violence. If you don't fit into either of those categories, the cartoons aren't directed at you.

I'm not doing the lumping here. I am saying that your objection to this campaign shows that you side with those who use violence over those you use freedom of speech to object to it.

I am not making blanket judgements about "all Muslims". I am making blanket judgements about those individuals who would censor our hard-won freedoms and who it is that they implicitly support by doing so.

11:04 AM


Comment Deleted
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11:05 AM


Comment Deleted
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11:12 AM


Anonymous said...
the side of messy, vigorous, open, successful Islamic freedom and democracy or the closed, bigotted, misogynist, Danish violent extremists.

...

11:14 AM


crusader said...
Luke:

this is also about your future safety in a democratic state.

It's about more than that. It's about the very existance of a democratic state.

Don't expect to argue about democracy after we have invoked Sharia Law.

It's bad enough now trying to criticse Muslim ideology when there are only 1.6M Muslims. What will it be like in a few decades when there are 20-30M of them?

11:18 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
My favourite anti-Semitic toon was the one with the money tree, I was giggling for ages at that one.

For those that didn't realise those were drawn by Jews, whereas these were draw by Iranians and feature less humour:

http://tinyurl.com/mbkm5

(Sorry I couldn't find a better link.)

My favourite JP toon was the one about running out of virgins. That's a great target for ridicule, group sex in the afterlife for causing mass murder? C'mon!

Question: Why are cartoons so powerful and can cause so much offence? They transcend the language barrier, every human can understand them.

Personally what I think that JP failed to realise is that once made these images are everywhere simultaneously.

This issue is partly about the internet that the fact people in Iranian can now read European papers and are getting very cross about what we say to each other.

Whereas we have been ignoring they have being saying about us for years. They feel powerless and try and turn our own Muslim population against by associating the cartoons with gas chambers etc.

The Imams in this country aren't helping. As I understand it anyone can stand up and address people in a Mosque, therefore to get peoples attention it is easier to talk about shocking ideas to get attention than talking about peace and love. You've only got to watch movies to see what sells.

Anonymous seems to have bought this idea of "the coming REAL holocaust" and that shadowy figures in the British Government are plotting to get him and his family.

Cheers,

TFI
@anonymous & Ismaeel, I'm including you in 'we', and excluding you both from 'they' - I hope you both agree.

11:21 AM


Anonymous said...
"it appears that you condone the violence when you criticise supporters of this campaign rather than joining the campaign to criticise those who use violence."

No I have as I said joined both campaigns and don't condone any kind of violence - but some aspects of this campaign could result in violence towards muslims I fear. I fear how that could affect me and those close to me.

11:21 AM


Luke said...
@anonymous

The Danes have that Nazi parti because they are that liberal.
They also give immigrants the right to vote on community level just after 3 years of residence because they are that liberal.

In the last local election round, one liberal party promoted a muslim who, as soon as he was elected mayor in his town, switched party. Nice move.

11:23 AM


Anonymous said...
"It's bad enough now trying to criticse Muslim ideology when there are only 1.6M Muslims. What will it be like in a few decades when there are 20-30M of them?"

and you wonder why I feel nervous...

11:26 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
"It's bad enough now trying to criticse Muslim ideology when there are only 1.6M Muslims. What will it be like in a few decades when there are 20-30M of them?"

Crusader, you are not helping this discussion, please go away.

TFI

11:29 AM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> and you wonder why I feel
> nervous...

Mate, I do understand.

11:30 AM


Luke said...
"Personally what I think that JP failed to realise is that once made these images are everywhere simultaneously."

What they didn't realize was that there already was a campaign against them on the way. The imams have said that weekend avisen cartoons were worse (those were the absurd ones), but that they had chosen to focus on one target. They were intensely helped by the egypt embassy.
It also is obvious that their campaign would not have worked without the fakes.
In the France 2 movie I also understood that they are linked to the muslim brotherhood.

TFI, does Tariq Ramadan mean anything to you?

11:33 AM


Voltaire said...
anonymous, you seem a sincere and decent person. Have you ever seen these Danish cartoons? The suggestion that they were vile and that, by extension, Denmark is a sort of nest of Nazis is absurd.

Denmark is one of the most liberal societies in Europe with an unusually high level of immigration. The same, incidentally, is true of the Netherlands, and it has been suggested that this is why these two countries have been targetted by Jihadists.

The cartoons were not racial attacks, they were cartoons - which ALWAYS include some degree of exaggeration.

But unless we sit down with the cartoons present, we can't debate this appalling slur on a group of artists, and on a country that has an excellent record of liberal humanitarianism.

The cartoons were not an attack on your prophet - though it is perfectly legitimate for people to attack him if they wish. They showed the incongrinuity of people using bombs in the name of religion, of cynical, elderly clerics urging a martyrdom they seem in no hurry to achieve themselves on impressionable young men, with the promise of orgies with virgins at the end of it, and so on.

If you had attended the rally last Saturday, you would have been in a crowd of relaxed, friendly people. Those who observed the MAC/Global Civility rally on Feb 18th have commented on the oppressive, intimidating, threatening atmosphere.

You have been telling people how you feel threatened, and this is good. We recognised this, as you know, and made sure our rally did not seem intimidating to Muslims.

Now you need to reciprocate and understand why it is that the strident demands of religious sepremacists who want, ideally, to return to the barbarities of the seventh century AD threaten EVERYBODY else on the planet.

When you do that, when you stop pleading your own case long enough to open your eyes to how this looks from the perspective of others, then we will have made progress.

We are not telling the MAC what they can do in private. They ARE trying to tell us what we can do in private. That is monstrous, and we will have none of it.

11:37 AM


Anonymous said...
This is hilarious: "If you had attended the rally last Saturday, you would have been in a crowd of relaxed, friendly people."

I heard the reverse - I heard that about the Birmingham rally

"Those who observed the MAC/Global Civility rally on Feb 18th have commented on the oppressive, intimidating, threatening atmosphere"

And I heard THAT about the Danish - sorry MFE rally where a bunch of muslim youths were thrown out!

11:45 AM


PubSkeptic said...
It's not just Muslims, or Christians or Sikhs! We forgot one of the best examples of people being silenced which happened in a totally secular forum. 82 year old Walter Wolfgang was violently ejected from the Labour Party Conference last year and held under anti-terrorism laws. 25 year old Maya Evens was arrested under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act; her "serious crime" was to read allowed the names of the Britsih war dead in Iraq withour official permission at the cenotaph.

There are religiously motivated attacks on freedom of expression, but let us not forget that the government is at this point a much greater threat to our liberties than any religion.

11:50 AM


Voltaire said...
A group of aggressive teenagers who hid their faces were escorted away by the police. We had Muslims in the audience, Muslim speakers. There was laughter, fancy dress, funny placards... All this is well known. There's a posting on one website showing pictures from both rallies with the caption "Who would you rather have a cup of coffee with?"

Sorry, anonymous. You've just lost my respect.

11:51 AM


Voltaire said...
pub skeptic is right.

The new blog Toonophobia is for cartoon discussions now. Please move there.

I'll start an open thread.

11:53 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Anon,

Firstly, I must say that I am truly distressed to hear of your situation. This is not acceptable. I absolutely abhor the idea that you and your family live under threat.

This, if anything, underlines the importance of sorting out this dispute. We have to break down the barriers between groups in our society if we are to combat this in the long term.

That is what this campaign is about. Freedom of speech and open rational criticism are the only way different cultures can co-exist without resorting to violence.

Shutting down criticism of Islam will do nothing to reduce Islamophobia - strictly fear of Islam. On the contrary it will heighten those fears.

This is especially true when the criticism arises from the invocation of the name of Islam by those who would use violence against us.

The non-Muslim majority would greatly resent being forced to respect - as opposed to tolerate - something in which they do not believe.

Now to the content of your comment:

"The Danish cartoons go further by actually depicting a taboo, that would inhibit many Muslims from feeling able to participate in any debating with them present."

Right. Now we are getting somewhere.

Firstly let's look at the taboo issue:
Who defines what is taboo? If you allow anyone who wants to take offence to shut down debate on that topic, we are all lost. See my post above.

On the taboo topic, I will not offend you by pointing you to the links, but this is frankly nonsense. There have been images of Mohammed throughout history. Mohammed appears in the frieze above the supreme court building in Washington. It was built in IIRC 1912.

This taboo is a) relatively recent and b) generally related to hardline sects of Islam.

Next, if it is defence of the good name of Islam, why have the cartoons generated such enormous protest when real atrocity committed in the name of Islam passes without comment.

The response from the MCB to both 9/11 and 7/7 was along the lines of "This will increase Islamophobia".
In effect, the response to massive violence committed in the name of Islam is to say "Muslims are victims". This is profoundly offensive to the real actual victims.

A more constructive approach might have been to organise demostrations with placards saying "NOT IN MY NAME".

The level of noise in objections to the cartoons puts into stark contrast the total silence in the face of real actual violence - not just speech - committed in the name of Islam.

On this note,
"the BNP using the same cartoons in their own propoganda. "

Imagine what would have happened if you had said - "Show the cartoons. Islam is big enough and we are strong enough in our faith to ignore such footling provocation".

You would have taken the wind out of the BNP's sails and shown yourself to have dignity and strength in your religious faith.

This brings me to another substantive point.

In terms of resolving disputes, it is crucial that each side can replay/understand the rational basis for the position of the other.

In this example:
The Danish cartoonists and all who follow this campaign recognise that Muslims hold Mohammed dear to their heart. No-one doubts this. The followers of this campaign recognise and understand your position.

Now, please replay to us your understanding of the motives and rationale of the Danish cartoonists.

Currently all those who object to the cartoons refuse to do this. They impute bad motive onto the cartoonists and, sometimes, the Danes generally - note your references to the fact that Danes are happy to have a Nazi party in Denmark. This demonstrates a total failure on your part to understand the mechanisms of Danish society.

It is only possible to object to the cartoons in earnest by ignoring the motives of the cartoonists and the background to their publication.

We recognise your position: please recognise ours.

There is nothing more that we can do to recognise why Muslims are offended. Unfortunately, those who oppose the cartoons need to do a great deal of work to show that they recognise our concerns.

PG

11:54 AM


The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
"the side of messy, vigorous, open, successful Islamic freedom and democracy or the closed, bigotted, misogynist, Danish violent extremists."

For F*ck's sake Anon.
Show me the Danish violence?

In what way do the cartoons commit acts of actual bodily harm?

Cartoons. Speech. Violence.

They are NOT the same thing.

Cartoons are AGAINST violence, not in favour of it. Get a grip.

11:56 AM


Polish Solidarity with Denmark said...
To Anonymous and Ismaeel:

Anonymous said:

"There's the door. Get lost. Not in my Britain (and it is mine as well by the way). Nazis. Go to Denmark. "

It works both ways:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4752804.stm

Muslims 'must accept' free speech

People must tolerate things they do not like, says Sir Trevor
Muslims must accept that freedom of speech is central to Britishness and should be preserved even if it offends people, says Sir Trevor Phillips.
The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said we should "allow people to offend each other".

And he suggested that Muslims who wanted a system of Islamic Shariah law should leave the UK.

His comments follow angry protests against cartoons satirising the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

'Absurd or unpopular'

Sir Trevor told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "What some minorities have to accept is that there are certain central things we all agree about, which are about the way we treat each other.

"That we have an attachment to democracy, that we sort things out by voting not by violence and intimidation, that we tolerate things that we don't like."

And that commitment to freedom of expression should also allow Muslim preachers to make comments about homosexuality that are offensive to broad segments of the British population, he said.


There were several large protests held in London over the cartoons

"One point of Britishness is that people can say what they like about the way we should live, however absurd, however unpopular it is," said Sir Trevor.

He also rejected the idea of Shariah law in Muslim communities in the UK.

"We have one set of laws. They are decided on by one group of people, members of Parliament, and that's the end of the story.

"Anybody who lives here has to accept that's the way we do it. If you want to have laws decided in another way, you have to live somewhere else," he said.

And please do not accuse Sir Trevor of Racism.

12:00 PM


Anonymous said...
"You have been telling people how you feel threatened, and this is good. We recognised this, as you know, and made sure our rally did not seem intimidating to Muslims."

Which I really do appreciate - I thought though that this was also done to shake off the undesirable extremist element from your own campaign, which it is noted you have done pretty successfully, though we're left with a few commentators like "crusader"...

"But unless we sit down with the cartoons present, we can't debate this appalling slur on a group of artists, and on a country that has an excellent record of liberal humanitarianism."

They seemed to have managed to hold a pretty good debate in New York!?

"The cartoons were not an attack on your prophet"

I happen to think they are but anyway that's by the by...

"Now you need to reciprocate and understand why it is that the strident demands of religious sepremacists who want, ideally, to return to the barbarities of the seventh century AD threaten EVERYBODY else on the planet."

MFE cleaned up their act a bit and shook off the very far right as I understand, with the rally tactics. That's the white supremist violent right wing extremists and the MAC seems to have responded by shaking off their own extremist supporters in denouncing such openly, and publishing a speech of a moderate in which free speech is celebrated as an ideal for muslims and violence renounced.

I'd call that a step forward and into the middle for both camps.

The most positive thing would be to build on that and celebrate the center, I don't see how insulting prophets will be useful for that.

12:01 PM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
> This is hilarious: "If you had
> attended the rally last Saturday,
> you would have been in a crowd of
> relaxed, friendly people."

Anonymous, I know I've given you a hard time, I've given Ismaeel a harder time primarily because he has define me and everyone supporting the MFE to be his "enemy". But I'm a friendly open person trying to make a difference, building bridges and waving olive branches around.

http://tinyurl.com/enrrp

I'm really trying to help you understand that I nor alone else here hates or your family.

OK, so there are tw*ts like Crusader and hopefully he will go away now. Please remember people like void have said horrible stuff to us in return. When these boards were unregulated it was really nasty here. The tone has improved massively.

Please listen to the audio recording; please review the photographs of the event before you damn our rally and our damn our cause completely out of hand.

Cheers,

TFI

12:03 PM


Anonymous said...
""That we have an attachment to democracy, that we sort things out by voting not by violence and intimidation, that we tolerate things that we don't like.""

Totally agreed - so we shouldn't use the cartoons to intimidate muslims and we (whites? Christians?) tolerate things we don't like (like Muslims)

Works both ways...

12:06 PM

4:13 AM  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...
Islamic Freedom?

Islamic Freedom?

That would be the sort of freedom that gets you executed if you wish to leave?

Let's be absolutely clear:
Muslims are welcome here and free to practice their religion without interference from anyone. Indeed, their freedom to do so is protected by the state.

On the other hand, show me an Islamic society where Christians are free to do the same?

Which would you rather be: a Muslim here in the UK or a Jew in Saudi Arabia?

Unless you can answer this question honestly, you are at liberty to piss off.

I am defending your right to exist in this country and enjoy all its freedoms. Please extend the same courtesy to me.

12:07 PM


Polish Solidarity with Denmark said...
Anon, please remember it is mutual. You say "and you wonder why I feel nervous... ", but I do as well getting on a tube or sending my my children to school on a bus. Can I not feel nervous as well?

12:13 PM


TheFriendlyInfidel said...
I've copied the thread across.

No more chat about this here.

12:14 PM

4:15 AM  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Hello? guys?

Heres and interesting question, any women reading this thread?

4:16 AM  
Blogger Voltaire said...

Thanks, TFI.

4:17 AM  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

I've a joke I've just made up, its not funny:

Q - What do you say to anonymous with bananas in his ears?

A - Anything you like he'll still think you are a racist.

4:19 AM  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Anon,

"Totally agreed - so we shouldn't use the cartoons to intimidate muslims and we (whites? Christians?) tolerate things we don't like (like Muslims)"

The cartoons do not intimidate Muslims. The violence and threats of violence against the cartoonist is what intimidation is.

We have already covered the definition of "us" and "them". "us" is the supporters of this campaign. It is about ensuring that ALL enjoy the freedoms of the UK.

You still desperately need to deal with the question of reciprocation though: we understand your position - you still refuse to accept ours.

Until you can understand our reasoning - even though you may not agree with it - we will not get anywhere. We have to get to this position so that we can unravel what it is in each other's RATIONAL position that is in dispute.

4:33 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

"We have to get to this position so that we can unravel what it is in each other's RATIONAL position that is in dispute."

TFI, I think he's still got the bananas in his ears.

5:11 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

... and he will not pull them out before we have made our esxcuses.

5:16 AM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>Heres and interesting question, any women reading this thread? <<

Yes.

Probably several hours after you post, though, since I'm in the GMT + 8 time zone.

The base issues are of concern to me, because I fear for members of my community getting caught up in violent reactions, or just violence for its own sake using the issues as an excuse. I fear for the health of the Imam I know-- he's having multiple medical problems, which I'm pretty sure are exacerbated by the stress of dealing with the politics both within the local mosque AND representing Islam to the local community (he was a part-time chaplain for the US Navy, and head of a community welfare group). I also am still wondering what's happened to another Moslem friend-- who happened to have been the landlord for one of the 9/11 hijackers....

8:02 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

" I fear for members of my community getting caught up in violent reactions, or just violence for its own sake using the issues as an excuse."

Do you mean you fear as a muslim to be beaten up by fellow muslims protesting against the display of the cartoons?

8:49 AM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>Do you mean you fear as a muslim to be beaten up by fellow muslims protesting against the display of the cartoons? <<

I'm not Muslim... not even a "person of the book".... There are hotheads here that love any excuse to get into a fight with just about anybody. And this causes problems for everybody.

Right now, the "big protests" have to do with immigration issues... a constantly "hot" item here since we are sitting on a favored point of entry for illegal immegrants through our rather porous border. Bush wants to have a "guest worker" program-- but many fear this would open the door to more "terrorists" as well. After all, the 9/11 hijackers were all here on approved visas....

The Muslims I'm afraid for are ones who have already been "in trouble" with... conservative... members of the Muslim community. Dr. Sheik has disappeared-- he was a community leader... very outspoken about Islam and how he felt the Arab majority at the mosque was confusing Islamic law with Arabic custom, which did not exactly make him popular at the mosque; he was also very outspoken on other issues, so he got a lot of hate mail in general-- he had a major tiff going with a local white supremist leader, for example. In the aftermath of 9/11, he was vilified for having "harboured" a couple of the hijackers by some in the greater community, while vilified in the Muslim/mosque community for calling and reporting to the FBI about the hijackers he knew, and cooperating with their subsequent investigations. I hope he made it safely home to India....

The other Moslems I know are also caught between the "Muslim community" and the greater/majority community... and they have children in local schools. Kids can be cruel... and don't really need a "reason" to beat somebody up. Even the metal detectors and back-pack checks at some of our schools don't prevent lethal force. There are kids with no particular interest in the cartoons or their messages, that would love to excercise their "rights" to display them just to stir up trouble-- and pull off the scarves of the Somali girls, throw ham lunchmeat at the boys fasting for Ramadan, and gleefully trade blows with any and all who take offence at these hijinks. And the reactionary Muslim elements say it's the fault of the parents for sending their children to these schools-- even though there aren't really any "other choices" and it is the law that kids attend school.

4:45 PM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:29 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

1
Have you actually seen the cartoons?
http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/jyllands-posten_cartoons/

Do you think they are offensive? All of them?

2
I do not think that the long term interests of Muslims with a secular view are served by giving in to calls for special treatment for one religion.

On the contrary, I think.

Those who have beeen very outspoken and had to go into hiding have been clear on the subject: Resist.

I don't know whether you know the manifesto of some of them (they also happen to be good writers on the subject)

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/010434.php

3
In Europe we have girls in schools being abused by "minority groups" because those girls do not wear a scarf, we have "minority groups" throwing stones at girls not wearing scarves.
We have "minority groups" beating up citizens for fun. I do not think not showing the cartoons will stop that. I think, however, that showing them starts a discussion which is necessary.

4
Inappropriate behaviour and racist behaviour has to be addressed, but that is there without the cartoons. If it shows up it is the responsibility of the school or the governing body not to close their eyes. Not showing the cartoons would mean closing the eyes, I think.

5
Oh, and this is the 1st of April. I suppose I should have waited to post until tomorrow

6:55 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

Toonophobia in France

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=25&story_id=28926

11:55 AM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>1 Have you actually seen the cartoons?...Do you think they are offensive? All of them?<

Yes, I saw the cartoons. At least, I saw the Danish ones that set off the ruckus-- and I've seen quite a few that followed in response to the originals, in response to the response of the "Muslim world" to the originals, and in response to the "Muslim world" objecting to the "non-Muslim world" responses to the originals and the subsequent "Muslim responses".... I didn't find any to be personally offensive, a few were mildly "funny", some were clever, some were succinct distillations of commentary on a situation, and some were rather trite and boring (at least, when presented "en masse"). But, so what? I don't consider anyone or anything sacrosanct, nor that anybody who has been dead for several centuries can be harmed in any way by anything done or said by anybody today. Obviously, though, not everybody agrees with my viewpoint.

>>2 I do not think that the long term interests of Muslims with a secular view are served by giving in to calls for special treatment for one religion....Those who have beeen very outspoken and had to go into hiding have been clear on the subject: Resist.<<

I don't really know any "secular Muslims"-- the few Muslims I knowingly associate with are "religious", just at odds with many of the reactionary types here and elsewhere in the world. And, although "resistance" can be a great, uplifting experience when you make the decision for yourself alone... it's not so great when you have to consider the welfare and even physical safety of your family may be compromised.

>>3 ...We have "minority groups" beating up citizens for fun. I do not think not showing the cartoons will stop that. I think, however, that showing them starts a discussion which is necessary.<<

Discussions are fine. Showing the cartoons in an "adult" discussion session is probably OK, depending on the INTENT and manner of the presentation. "The truth that's told with bad intent, beats all the lies you can invent" and all that. And, you need to consider WHO the audience/participants are in order to present in a manner that gets across the message you want to send. From my point of view, the "problem" with the Danish cartoons is that either there was a "bad intent" in how/why they were presented, and/or that there was little consideration re: them getting beyond a limited Danish readership, and possible consequences of exposure to the
populations the cartoons were critisizing.

Should these, or similar, be allowed in K-12 schools? No.

Discussions there should be more general-- what constitutes "rudeness" and is it "OK" to be rude? Why or why not? What is a "proper" response to rudeness? Why? When does one person's right to "free expression" violate another person's right to freedom from fear/harassment? How should we resolve diametrically opposed differences of opinion?

>>4 Inappropriate behaviour and racist behaviour has to be addressed, but that is there without the cartoons. If it shows up it is the responsibility of the school or the governing body not to close their eyes. Not showing the cartoons would mean closing the eyes, I think.<<

Confiscating "innapropriate" material (and weapons...) is how our K-12 schools try to keep a measure of control over these situations. If Johnny arrives wearing a "provacative" t-shirt, make him change it (no uniforms at OUR public schools, but there are some dress codes). Don't allow "objectional" messages to be posted... or drawn on notebooks, arms, desks, walls, walkways....
"Little Johnny" doesn't care what the cartoons "mean"-- he isn't passionate about the viewpoints they espouse, nor the whole "free speech" issue. He just wants some excitement... maybe get a couple days of "suspension".... And, Ali, who doesn't like Johnny, or school, anyway, was just waiting for an excuse to punch him out... now he has one that won't get him in trouble at home... and he will have all the joys of a jr. martyr while he waits out HIS suspension. Too bad for their classmates, and teachers, who had their rights to a safe learning environment violated, huh?

Over all, I'd say it's much better to stop the cartoons... the swasticas (even if they ARE Hindu and Buddhist religious symbols)... the cell phones... lap-tops... "Raider jackets"... "do-rags"... etc. at the doors. The students can excercise their "right to free expression" outside of school.

>>5 Oh, and this is the 1st of April. I suppose I should have waited to post until tomorrow <<

That's OK-- I replied on your posting's "tomorrow".

8:00 PM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

You are calling for a restraint in criticizing views or behaviour. That's the argument of the Quran, which usually adds "or else.."

11:49 PM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>You are calling for a restraint in criticizing views or behaviour. <<

At K-12 schools-- yes, indeed!!

For PRIVATE clubs, workplaces, whatever-- there only should be as much as desired/allowed by those who are "in charge"-- and liable. As a free adult, if you don't like the rules, you don't have to be there. Some govt. agencies do have such restrictions, as well-- e.g.: it is against federal law (in US) for a member of the military to make derogatory remarks about his/her seniors... including the Commander in Chief. Doesn't matter how many other Americans make "Dubbya" jokes-- a soldier or sailor can get stockade/brig time for repeating one (unlikely, but possible).

Public arenas are the appropriate places for "free speech" and/or non-intrusive behaviors. But remember--your right to swing your fist ends where somebody else's nose begins. Behaviors thus must have some controls imposed; what, and how much would depend on venue, even in a public setting. Public rally? Great-- but don't let it interfere with traffic or emergency vehicle access... and make sure people who just happen to be walking past the area CAN walk by without interference if they aren't interested in attending.

>>That's the argument of the Quran, which usually adds "or else.." <<

All behaviors have consequences. Every action, a reaction. As an adult, you should be "mature" enough to realize that, and plan for consequences. If there's an "or else", ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" before you act, not complain about "unfairness" afterwards. British history is as full as US history of examples of people who knowingly broke laws to protest rules, situations, customs, etc. they felt to be wrong. But, they did so knowing there would be retribution and willingly "paid"-- check out the sufragette movements, for example; "Mrs. Pickering has been clapped in irons again!" was one of the British suffragette battle-cries, if I remember correctly.... And her followers were jeered, spit on, beaten, pelted with gabage, etc. by members of the populace that didn't want "votes for women". But those ladies still marched, even knowing what was likely to result.

You doubtlessly have a pretty good idea what is likely to happen if you, say, print a "Danish cartoon" on a t-shirt and wear it out in public. Depending on where you walk around, and which cartoon, reactions could range from giggles, to a head-shaking, to getting you and your friends, family and neighbors killed. It's your "right" to wear it-- are you prepared to take *responsibility* for your actions and accept the consequences?

4:13 PM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:17 PM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

I understand. Appeasemnt is your way.
Last time Chamberlain and Clemenceau did that there was a war. I think it was a larger one.
If one doesn't counter the development under way, then appeasement is the order of the day, of course.
I understand

9:26 PM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>I understand. Appeasemnt is your way.<<

We must be working from very different dictionaries....

1. Remember, other people have rights, too. Exercising your rights should not interfere with theirs.

2. Think before you act. Consider possible consequences of your actions. Don't expect life to be "fair"-- base your plans on what *is*, not just what you think *should be*. If you're playing on somebody else's field, with their bat and ball, you don't get to make the rules for the game.

3. Take responsibility for your actions. Don't snivel. Pay your own way, and clean up your mess afterwards.

4. Children are not adults, nor should they be expected to think, act or react like adults. They need external controls.

How does any of that meet your definition of "appeasement"?

9:29 AM  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

1 is playing victim
2 is a threat
3 is a threat
4 is a diversion

All of them are usually applied exactly the way you do it by Tariq Ramadan & co. I had my suspicions, and see them confirmed.

Have a good day.

12:14 PM  
Blogger kaytee said...

>>1 is playing victim<<
It's "being a victim" to be considerate of others? "Being considerate" doesn't mean to do everything somebody else wants, but you should not be so selfish to expect to get everything YOU want no matter how it affects others, either.

>>2 is a threat<<
Thinking is a threat? How... interesting... life with you must be!

>>3 is a threat<<
Growing up may be painful at times, but few would consider it a threat. Those of us in Western society often have the privilege to extend our childhoods into our legal majority, but eventually most do find they must mature or lose their place in society. Neverland Ranch is closed now... and the Lost Boy is hiding in Bahrain, last I heard....

>>4 is a diversion<<
It's not a diversion. It's a major counter to your thesis that "free expression" means "anything goes, anywhere, anytime". And it's what I've been stating since the start of this discussion.

>>All of them are usually applied exactly the way you do it by Tariq Ramadan & co. I had my suspicions, and see them confirmed.<<

Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.... But consider your statements-- you sound like an overgrown baby having a tantrum because you can't have everything the way you want it, right now, without any effort on your part. Come to think of it... you sound a lot like my son, Luke... except you are a better speller and grammarian....

>>Have a good day. <<

Thank you. You, too.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

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4:34 AM  

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