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A New Cartoon of Mohammed Printed in French Paper:

BareKnucklePolitics quotes Reuters:

A French satirical weekly reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday and published one of its own on its front page, further angering Muslim groups which say the caricatures are blasphemous.

French Muslim organizations tried to prevent Charlie Hebdo reprinting the 12 cartoons, which were first published by the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, but a court rejected their suit on Tuesday on a technicality. . . .

The new cartoon was on the front page, "depicting the Prophet Mohammad burying his face in his hands and saying: 'It's hard to be loved by fools.'"

Greedy Clerk (mail):
Hmm, what is with the conservative blogosphere's obsession with this story? I mean I have seen more posts here on this than any other story in the last few days. Even Prof. Volokh is posting constantly on it, and it is far from his "expertise." He has not posted on the wiretapping issue at all (which is not his expertise either, but probably closer to it). Of course, he has no obligation to post on anything so don't bring up that straw-man argument. I am just interested in why the immense interest in this throughout the conservative blogosophere?

I agree in part with Publius over at Legal Fiction in this post. Here's a short taste: "So here's my point -- similarly to the way that certain regimes and fundamentalists are stoking the fires for ulterior motives, I think that the Malkinites' rage also serves purposes other than defending press freedom or liberalism. In fact, I think part of the Malkanites' outrage-at-the-outrage serves deeper psychological needs -- specifically, it reduces cognitive dissonance. . . . Don't get me wrong -- the riots need to be strongly condemned and even ridiculed. But just like it's unfair to lump Christians in with Dobson, or Democrats with Michael Moore, or Group X with nominally-aligned fringe member Y, it's unfair to use acts of idiot fundamentalists as a pretext to open fire on Islam as a whole. Getting back to the Malkin-o-sphere, the interesting question is why it has seized upon these cartoon riots to "protest too much." Psychologically speaking, I think that Malkinites need the fundamentalist riots. Specifically, they help reaffirm certain pre-existing views that are rooted in base prejudice. Better yet, let's just say that Malkin and LGF are not exactly beacons of shining liberalism on issues of race -- especially when Muslims are involved. LGF in particular is infamous for including posts about Muslims that cannot be distinguished from late German fascism quotes about Jews . . . Of course, no one wants to think of themselves as prejudiced. There's cognitive dissonance there."

This explanation I find persuasive as to the (not so subtle) racists like LGF and Malkin. But I don't find it persuasive as to those posting here. Why is this story so fascinating to the posters here? I mean, there's nothing new here -- Muslim fundamentalists are not a tolerant bunch. They reject classical liberal values and will resort to violence when people express opinions contrary to theirs. I mean that's old hat -- that's why we are fighting them, and why most of the country agrees that they are worth fighting (though there is substantial dissagreement as to how to go about doing it of course).

2.8.2006 2:47pm
Broncos:

Even Prof. Volokh is posting constantly on it, and it is far from his "expertise." He has not posted on the wiretapping issue at all (which is not his expertise either, but probably closer to it).

Isn't freedom of speech one area of his expertise? http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/

And isn't it equally reasonable to ask why dailykos has remained quiet on a major political story with global implications?
2.8.2006 3:00pm
Nobody Special:
How is anti-Islamic sentiment "racist," when Islamic nations comprise a huge variety of races, from jet black, to some variety of brown (Pakistan), on through Oriental Asian (Western China), Semitic/Causcasian (Arabs), and whites (Bosnians, for example)?

Or is it "racist" because racist has come to mean simply "stuff we think is bad directed at different cultural groups"?
2.8.2006 3:02pm
Oh my word (mail):
Lighten up, Sam. This story is very big, and it's pretty telling how extreme the reaction is to a bunch of cartoons. Anything to do with Muslim-West relations is big stuff.

Personally, I find this latest comic quite clever, a lot moreso than the others. Ruh roh.
2.8.2006 3:04pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Greedy Clerk:

You and I agree on many things, but I think there are some explanations beyond the "this issue makes the entire Islamic world look like dangerous fanatics that must be crushed."

First, Eugene V. has in fact written and thought a lot about free speech issues: when people should have a legal right to say things; what the proper form of opposition should be when you disagree with what other people say or think what they say is dangerous; how to deal with speach that offends religious sensibilities, etc. So I think this issue is within his area of expertise.

Second, liberal readers of this blog have to expect that the issues will be framed, at least to some extent, along conservative/libertarian lines. Thus we see threads like, "All great artists are inherently right-wing, right?" "Just how much ARE war opponents damaging America?" "Jews are liberal? How puzzling!" and "Isn't it true that everybody on the Hollywood Blacklist was a dangerous traitor?" Anyone familiar with law school will recognize the technique of influencing the direction of a debate via the questions asked.

The question for liberal types is whether there enough high level debate and discussion to make it worth it to hang here. Of course that doesn't mean that folks like you shouldn't call people on this when they see it.

In related news, I'm still waiting for the debate over Ann Coulter calling for the poisoning of Justice Stevens' tea.
2.8.2006 3:06pm
Steve:
And isn't it equally reasonable to ask why dailykos has remained quiet on a major political story with global implications?

Sure it would be reasonable, if that were true, which it isn't.
2.8.2006 3:09pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Greedy Clerk:

(1) Professor Volokh is a free speech theorist. It IS his area of expertise.

(2) I disagree with publius here (I publish as mouthwash destiny over there). I don't think that Malkin et-al are reacting out of a subconscious distaste for Islam. As I explained on the previous thread I think (a) Malkin does not understand that it is the act of depiction that is offensive, not the content of the depiction; (b) journalists have an understandable cognitive bias in favor of free speech over other institutional interests, since they exist in service of that particular institutional interest; and (c) there's a certain pent-up part of some people that is constantly looking to thump their chests and say "look how not racist I am," "look how tolerant I am," and "look how much important free speech is," without a particularly nuanced approach to when or where that fidelity to principle is most desirable.

Michele Malkin is hardly anti-Islam, and that's exactly what she wants people to accuse her of. She believes in the idea that you can say what you want when and where you want and she's right about the content of that idea. The best way to promote the idea that "you can say what you want when and where you want it" is sometimes to do that which the idea embodies - say what you want when and where you want it - but in limited circumstances it's not. I don't disagree with the idea itself. But I think the notion that the best way of promoting it is to necessarily run around and use it to antagonize is tactically misguided (even if the objects of the antagonism are crazed fundamentalist rioters). Reasonable minds could disagree on that though. Malkin's failure isn't that she's anti-Islam, it's that I think she fails to see the fissures of that disagreement.
2.8.2006 3:10pm
Jimbeaux (mail):
I'm a little tired of the racist canard (applied to Islam) myself. Personally, I have a lot more contempt when someone raised in the US (of any race) converts to radical Islam because he's trying to "find himself" or some such. I have more sympathy for the poor bastards who were born into it and don't have much choice in the matter.
2.8.2006 3:11pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Free speech is indeed my core areas of expertise. So's the interaction between law and religion. In particular, I've writing an article that discussed, among other things, blasphemy prohibitions. I've also written not just about governmental speech restrictions, but also about the proper role of various sorts of private retaliation against speech (see, for instance, here and here). My post immediately below this one points to a related L.A. Times op-ed that I've written on the subject.

As to wiretapping, my coblogger Orin Kerr has not only covered the matter, but covered it superbly, contributing a good deal of legal analysis that's been hard to find elsewhere. When a coblogger of mine who's an expert on a subject is covering it in substantial detail on this very blog, is it really that odd that I might leave the matter mostly to him unless I find that I have something novel to say on the subject?

More broadly, as to why the story is so fascinating to me -- well, let's start with free speech, religious violence, a war of sensibilities between cultures (including our own) that shades into the actual shooting war. Seems to me that this is enough.

I like to think that it's pretty good for people to speak up in defense of free speech, and to cricitize people who are trying to wrongly suppress free speech. If Greedy Clerk finds something sinister about it, he's quite free to read other blogs that are giving this story a miss.
2.8.2006 3:12pm
Justin (mail):
http://www.dailykos.com/tag/cartoons

Wow, 7 diaries on the subject today. DailyKos is clearly ignoring the subject completely. (This ignores searches for "mohammad cartoons", "muslim cartoons", "danish cartoons", "denmark", etc., which raises the amount of diaries probably to the double digits).
2.8.2006 3:12pm
Kovarsky (mail):
And yes, that comic is awesome.
2.8.2006 3:12pm
Justin (mail):
It's pretty clear that Eugene Volokh's interest in the story is different than Jonah Goldberg's or LGF's, or the "nuke Mecca" commentators at RedState.
2.8.2006 3:13pm
mynewsbot (mail) (www):
Havnt we had enough of cartoons already .. a few poor souls die in Afganistan for what, a cartoon. Give me a break.
2.8.2006 3:16pm
Broncos:

http://www.dailykos.com/tag/cartoons

Wow, 7 diaries on the subject today. DailyKos is clearly ignoring the subject completely. (This ignores searches for "mohammad cartoons", "muslim cartoons", "danish cartoons", "denmark", etc., which raises the amount of diaries probably to the double digits).

I've been checking in on www.dailykos.com, and that's been pretty silent. (there was one link in the main section yesterday, about a hero.) I haven't been checking to see what all the readers of dailykos might post. I didn't know the way that dailykos was constructed; i.e. anybody just posts. (how do you get it to go up on the side to a high-profile spot?)
2.8.2006 3:28pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
A couple points:

1. I do not read Daily Kos regularly, but if the assumption behind the question asked about it were true (which it apparently is not), I would say it's a fair question. I do read several liberal blogs regularly, however, and I would say that they have not really discussed the issue in depth much at all. Personally, and I am sure some disagree, I think that the reason for this is because of the overly-partisan knee-jerk reactions of the blogosphere (on both sides) that if the other side is making a stink over an issue, they must be wrong. It's an unfortunate problem inherent in the blogosphere, but the benefts of the blogosphere outweigh those costs to me.

2) Indeed, the free speech angle is correct and I hadn't thought about it in much detail. I guess I just thought that the issue is so clear-cut -- in my world, newspapers have a right to publish or not publish what they want, and the way to deal with stuff you don't like is not to threaten beheadings.

3) As to the Professor's comments, I frankly did not see anyting sinister in the postings as my link to Publius was followed by a sincere (though I can see how it could have been misunderstood given my often sarcastic comments here) question re why there was so much interest in it here, by people who I genuinely do not think are unduly prejudiced against Islam itself.

4) Expanding on the last point and to answer the comments that I should go somewhere else to read a "liberal" take on things: I agree, and I do go to liberal sites to read liberal points of view more in line with mine. But I come here to read usually thoughtful conservative views. I posed a question as to why the interest and got an answer. Nothing much more to it.

5) As to the use of the word "racist," I actually agree that a commenter makes a good point that it is not a correct word as Muslims are of all different races. There is no word like "anti-semitic" to use for the same type of irrational prejudice against Muslims, so it seems people just fall into the familiar term "racist." (And I recognize that Arabs, though not all Muslims, are "Semites" whatever utility that word has anymore -- and I think none as it actually traces to Shem, Noah's son in the Bible.) But putting aside the word "racist" I would say Malkin and LGF attitudes towards Muslims is comparable to an anti-semites attitudes towards Jews. Let's call it irrational prejudice against Islam. Here is the test. I suggest you take a look at it -- it is quite damning. Though I scored 70 percent so at least I can usually tell the difference . . .
2.8.2006 3:32pm
Steve:
This excerpt is from a front-page post at dkos, which got almost 500 comments:

In the span of two days, protestors have burned the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus, and the Danish embassy in Beruit. Kidnapping and burning embassasies over a cartoon? How incredibly fucking stupid...

While only 12 cartoons were intially published, there are fakes circulating which are incredibily inflammatory. Extremists have taken advantage of the situation and have fueled the flames with fake cartoons and dangerous rhetoric. But I don't care how damn offensive you find a cartoon, violence is unacceptable. Period.


I haven't read all the comments, but I don't think any were along the lines of "Nonsense, we must stand up for our ideological brothers in extremist Islam!" Which may disappoint some.
2.8.2006 3:35pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
It's pretty clear that Eugene Volokh's interest in the story is different than Jonah Goldberg's or LGF's, or the "nuke Mecca" commentators at RedState.

Precisely, and that's why I raised the question as to the difference. I got an answer, and although the answer was obvious to some, it was not to me.

2.8.2006 3:35pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
I only got 62% at the littlegreenfootballs vs. late German fascist quiz. Gotta work on it.

I wouldn't lump Jonah Goldberg in with the worst of LGF commentors.

Thanks to Greedy Clerk and Prof. Volokh for their dialogue. I see GC's point, as it's not a big surprise that freedom of speech is low on the list of Treasured Values of the Islamic World, but it's not stunning that Volokh would find this story interesting. Why is it that the blogosphere is so partisan, as Greedy Clerk points out? Are there any blogs anywhere dedicated to courteous, thought-provoking, multi-party discussion?

Also, this new cartoon is very funny. But it's still the wrong thing to do to publish it right now (though of course they have the right). People are, albeit wrongly, all primed to be pissed about blasphemy right now. So, let's be mature, love our enemies, and not blaspheme, for the moment.
2.8.2006 3:49pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Bob,


I think any blog of the type you would hope for would have to forbid pseudonymous posting. I think the ability to mudsling on these things is a function of the accountability for what you say beyond the blog itself.

Don't get me wrong, that's a great thing. People can say what they want and not fear reprisal, damage to reputation, etc. But sometimes the idea that you have to see or interact with someone in meat-space constrains you from frivolous accusations of extremism, etc.

Out of curiousity, is there any blog that forbids pseudonyms? If there is such a blog, does anybody know whether the tone DOES markedly differ from some of the markedly pitched exchanges between avatars here?
2.8.2006 3:54pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Kovarsky-- Well, I think you're full of shit.


Kidding, kidding. It's a good point about anonymity leading people to take extreme positions and become enamored of their zero-cost, zero-risk toughness. But I think a site that is set out for the purpose of calm, rational debate might be able to overcome that problem, tho it might take serious willingness to moderate.
2.8.2006 4:08pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Following on Kovarsky's comment, I make it a point to post under my real name not because I think anybody reading this should know or care who I am, but rather because I suspect that at the margins, it helps keep me more civil.
2.8.2006 4:10pm
Justin (mail):
I wouldn't lump Jonah Goldberg in with the worst of LGF commentors.

In my defense, I only lumped Jonah Goldberg in with LGFs itself, not the worst of the commenters. But Jonah "Libearls are Fascists" Goldberg does little to discern himself from those worst-of-the-worst, except for a passing (though not receptive, and certainly not in a way where he later represents their arguments fairly) interest in what liberal intellectuals have to say, and an ability to read and write using proper grammar and syntex.
2.8.2006 4:16pm
publius (mail) (www):
to be clear, i'm not associating this site (at all) with the nativist wing of the right blogosphere (LGF, Malkin, and sometimes Instapundit). also, criticizing the riots is certainly not in and of itself a sign of deeper psychological issues. it's an interesting issue on many different levels - and one worthy of discussion

but if you read the nativists like Malkin reaction, you get a sense that something very different is going on than merely defending press freedom. my post was about describing this subset's motivations.

also - regardless of what one thinks of the riots, I think it's inappropriate for people like Malkin to lead a "Mohammud cartoon blogburst" trying to get as many blogs as possible to post images of the cartoons. the "piss christ" stuff is just different. images of christ are not exactly taboo (see eg, catholic church)
2.8.2006 4:19pm
Rossputin (mail) (www):
Here's my view on why US papers shouldn't print the cartoons of Mohammed...probably not the reasons most people think:

http://rossputin.com/blog/index.php/a/2006/02/08/
2.8.2006 4:24pm
tmittz:
A friend of mine who knows some French said that the comic should probably be translated to use a harsher word than "fools"...anyone fluent enough to confirm or deny that?
2.8.2006 4:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I don't think that Malkin et-al are reacting out of a subconscious distaste for Islam.

Right. Delete the "sub-" prefix.

Naturally I endorse the right of the Volokh Danish Conspiracy to cover what they like ...

More seriously, free speech is a ridiculously recent idea, and our well-directed contempt for the violence of some protesters shouldn't keep us from remembering just how recently blasphemy, etc. were illegal in many nations of the enlightened West. We shouldn't act as though the position we've fought so hard for should be blindingly obvious.
2.8.2006 4:51pm
Dimitri (mail):
Kovarsky and Publius,

I don't mean to be a Malkin appologist (and nor do I read her more than every so often) but I think the gist of her complaining is not so much about the right of free speech, but to the Muslim world's reaction to it (the cartoons and the press's insistense on it's right to publish uncensored). I would guess she would have a different tune if the Muslim reaction limited itself to demonstrations and economic boycott.
2.8.2006 4:53pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Rossputin,

I know I just made a point about civil posting, but your # 2 is flat out vulgar. just so people know, here are his two reasons:

1) We have troops in two Muslim countries where our work is already hard enough, and a big part of improving the situation depends on gaining the trust and assistance of locals. This is a strategically terrible time to annoy them.

2) We should not divert the attention of the hateful, violent islamofascists from Europe. This is not because we couldn't handle similar attention but because it is the European focus by the radicals which is our best chance for Europe to move closer to our position on dealing with radical Islam. Europeans are so prone to appeasement that it is only a threat of the most intense nature which gets or hold their attention. We should not lessen the intensity of the heat they now feel by attracting some of it toward us, regardless of our ability to take it, lest they lose their budding resolve.


with respect to his (1), sure. it's a variation on the theme that republication creates costs sustained by those not republishing. i agree. troops shouldn't have to take a bullet because malkin is doing their free speech balancing for them.

but (2)? come on - let's be frank. the idea you're promoting is that we use the violent extremists to our own ends - to intimidate the europeans into seeing things our way. if there exists a less appealing reason to avoid republication, please tell me. that rationale effectively recasts the purveyers of the most recent wave of extremist violence as the engines of american sympathy in europe.

gross.
2.8.2006 5:01pm
A.S.:
Prof. Volokh writes: Free speech is indeed my core areas of expertise. ... As to wiretapping, my coblogger Orin Kerr has not only covered the matter, but covered it superbly, contributing a good deal of legal analysis that's been hard to find elsewhere. When a coblogger of mine who's an expert on a subject is covering it in substantial detail on this very blog, is it really that odd that I might leave the matter mostly to him unless I find that I have something novel to say on the subject?

What I would have hoped Professor Volokh could add to the wiretapping discussion is the free speech implications of the provisions of 18 USC 798, which makes publication of "any classified information... (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes" a crime.

The issue: has the NYTimes, by publishing information about the NSA program, committed a crime?

A post by Scott Johnson (here) discusses the question in detail.

This would seem to be right in Prof Volokh's area of expertise, and I would think that he certainly would "have something novel to say on the subject"...

What about it, Professor Volokh?
2.8.2006 5:07pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Anderson,

O wholeheartedly admit - and publius will confirm - that I routinely come off as hopelessly naive when it comes to people like Malkin. But in this particular instance I do think she's baiting the left to call her anti-Islam. In any event, I really don't think you should strike the "sub" from subconscious. I don't think she would self-identify as anti-Islam, nor do I think, if given a test measuring her bias, would she score far out of the mean. Her aggressive self-involvement with the controversy is as - if not more - consistent with my explanation, I think, than with the idea that she's got some subconscious score to settle with Islam. I might be wrong, though. Has she done anything in the past to suggest my reading of her is incorrect?

Dimitri,

Her position involves the Muslim world's reaction to the free speech principle carried to a logical extreme. Her point is more than just that the reaction is wrong, however. Her point is also that the best way - tactically - to go about correcting that reaction is to republish and republish the offense in the first place, which of course derives from her position on free speech.
2.8.2006 5:11pm
Kovarsky (mail):
A.S.,

Except the Senate hearings and the issue people are most interested in now does not involve the leak, it involves the program.

The leak is the administration's obsession right now, not the public's.
2.8.2006 5:15pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Rossputin, why don't we just have the CIA burn down the Reichstag and blame it on the Muslims? That'll get 'em on our side!
2.8.2006 5:21pm
Mark B (www):
Most of this discussion is really missing the main point, in my opinion.

The point is vehemently not about different ideas of free speech, as such. Different groups will of course want to draw the line between free speech and prohibited speech in different places. This is normal, and should be a subject for civil debate. Different countries will naturally draw the lines differently.

The issue here is not about where to draw that line, though. It's about what comes next: what constitutes a legitimate response to prohibited or otherwise outrageous speech?

Taking the proposed flag-burning amendment as an example: if it were passed, then if someone were to burn a flag he could be charged, tried, and if found guilty, punished by fine and/or prison. No one is seriously proposing that flag-burning should be punished by vigilante murder outside the justice system.

If the US were to pass a law banning the depiction of Mohammed, then anyone who drew a picture of Mohammed could, again, be charged, tried, and punished, perhaps even by death if that was what the law allowed and due process was followed. Outrageous and unlikely, but within the rule of law.

But that is not what the cartoon protestors are calling for. They are not chanting "Charge the Danes with Blasphemy! Try them before the World Court!" They are chanting "Kill them!" "Behead them!" and encouraging terroristic vigilantism.

That is the essential issue here. It's not really "free speech". It's really an issue of Rule of Law.

Yes, free speech could be argued to extend to the protestors' own exhortations. Except they are not arguing rhetorically. They really are killing people over these cartoons.
2.8.2006 5:21pm
Dimitri (mail):
Kovarsky,

I don't mean to nitpick (that's why I'm not a lawyer) but if you speak and I try to get you to stop through intimidation, continuing to speak seems to be a better way to assert your right to speak (rather than to stop speaking and write an article defending your right to speak, for example).
2.8.2006 5:24pm
Kendall:
Meanwhile, NBC Abandons Plan to Attack Christians With Spears Where's the outrage over this?

In the wake of reports about NBC's plan to air the offensive "Will and Grace" segment, affiliates nationwide had already begun to act in response. According to a Tyler Morning Telegraph news report, one local network official -- Mike Delier, general manager of the Tyler, Texas, NBC- affiliate station KETK-TV, said if such a segment exists, his station "would absolutely not run it."

And, having spoken with other executives at affiliate stations around the country, Delier said he could avow that he was not the only local official expressing shock and disappointment with NBC. The network, the Tyler station manager emphasized, employs many Christians and people of other faiths who genuinely desire to offend no one.


It seems to me this is somewhat analogous to a newspaper refusing to print an editorial cartoon because it might offend some religious sensibilities. Now, of course newspapers have the same right to control content as a TV station does why bash one and not the other? why cover one story and not the other?
2.8.2006 5:41pm
RandallS (mail):
More "Hate Speech" is Needed In This Clash of Ideas Subsumed in the Practice of Religion and Liberty
For religions to coexist in a civilization with ordered liberty, it must be acknowledged that your religious beliefs are to me but one set of "ideas" in the "marketplace of ideas."

Depictions of Islamic Prophet Muhammad will lose their perceived negative power if more speech through publication of such images are allowed, not less.

Islamic faith prohibits creating images of Muhammad. As a direct result, Muslim clerics, commentators and well educated members of Islamic society are implicitly if not explicitly legitimizing the world wide manifestations of street violence in response to the depictions of the Muhammad by attempting to label the depictions as so much "hate speech:"

'.....fighting' words--those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.'[Justice Murphy in Chaplinsky]

Mere publication of such images has a substantial social value: Liberty.
Justice Brandeis' oft cited writing in Whitney provides guidance here &bares repeating once more:

"It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears....Those who won our independence.... did not exalt order at the cost of liberty....They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.....If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

Riots or no riots....irrational fears of ideas should not cause us to choose to diminish our natural freedoms in the face of threatened or actual violence. To the contrary. The national and world press that has had the courage to reprint the images involved are acting in the highest interest of liberty and the collective best interest of the world community, and of all faiths and beliefs, secular and otherwise.
2.8.2006 5:43pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Dimitri,

I hope my explanation did not come off as a legal one. I think the better example would be if I tried to stop your speaking not through intimidation, but by killing 4 unrelated people.

My point was merely that Malkin's response assumes that shes incorporated the interests of the 4 other people - as if she's gathered them in a room and they've all decided to make the sacrifice. But that's not what she's doing. She's making the decision on behalf of people that have a lot more at stake than she does.
2.8.2006 5:48pm
Aaron:
"NBC Abandons Plans to Attack Christians With Spears"

See? Gun control laws do work.
2.8.2006 5:57pm
Unnamed Co-Conspirator:
Wretchard at Belmont Club has posted a comment by an Egyptian blogger who informs us that several of the original dozen cartoons were previously printed -- by Egyptian newspapers, as well as by other newspapers in Muslim countries. It's a set up. A manufactured controversy, using an extreme, not a mainstream, interpretation of Islam's prohibition against idolatry. According to the blogger quoted by Wretchard, it was perpetrated by Muslim Brotherhood, among others, seemingly with the complicity of at least a couple of regimes (Syria, Iran) who are desperate to find a scapegoat against whom they can rally their discontented masses. It makes sense, particularly in light of the fact that the three truly offensive cartoons from the original set weren't actually published by the
Danish papers, but were fraudulently included among the cartoons by the extremist clerics who started the brouhaha. Wish Emily Latella was still around to set things straight.
2.8.2006 6:00pm
Federal Dog:
tmittz-


The word cons in French is properly translated as "asses" ("It's hard to be loved by asses" would be a correct rendering). It is stronger than "fools."
2.8.2006 6:00pm
Broncos:
Prof. Volokh;
I second A.S.'s motion. Maybe a little something with the Pentagon Papers?
2.8.2006 6:09pm
Houston Lawyer:
Now that we've established that the Muslims are immune from criticism, can we go back to offending Christians full time? Remember, the EU has proposed a hate speech law that would likely make these cartoons illegal. We apparently still have a majority of our Supreme Court more interested in foreign precedent than domestic. The threat to our freedom of speech is not theoretical.

It's also interesting to see how easily the MSM can be bullied into submission.
2.8.2006 6:19pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Houston Lawyer,

I'm not sure that citation to foreign laws has much role in anything other than 8th and 14th amendment jurisprudence. Am I missing something about the Supreme Court's treatment of the 1st?
2.8.2006 6:25pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Now that we've established that the Muslims are immune from criticism, can we go back to offending Christians full time? Remember, the EU has proposed a hate speech law that would likely make these cartoons illegal. We apparently still have a majority of our Supreme Court more interested in foreign precedent than domestic. The threat to our freedom of speech is not theoretical.

Republican talking points 101 -- are you Glenn Reynolds or Rush Limbaugh? Who said that "muslims are immune from criticism"?

2.8.2006 6:48pm
David Matthews (mail):
Bob Bobstein:

"Kovarsky-- Well, I think you're full of shit."

Now THAT's funny.
2.8.2006 6:49pm
Kendall:
Now that we've established that the Muslims are immune from criticism, can we go back to offending Christians full time?

Is it ok to offend Muslims but not ok to offend Christians? Or in fact does the first ammendment protect both offensive speech and the right to be offended for and against both groups?

Remember, the EU has proposed a hate speech law that would likely make these cartoons illegal. We apparently still have a majority of our Supreme Court more interested in foreign precedent than domestic. The threat to our freedom of speech is not theoretical.

Yes. what does one have to do with the other? I'm certainly opposed to a law banning "hate speech" but as you said this is the United States and any such law has no effect on our first ammendment rights.

It's also interesting to see how easily the MSM can be bullied into submission.

And how quickly conservatives can forget. At the beginning of your post you mentioned your awareness of offensive speech in regards to Christian teachings and Christianity. I'm reasonably sure that multiple Christian groups have multiple times called various things blasphemous over the years, condemning them and their authors for various crimes against religion. The only substantive difference in fact to the current situation appears to be the level of violence, not the existence of protests.
2.8.2006 6:54pm
Fire Marshall Bill (mail):
Just in case anyone is in the market for a Mohammed-shaped* Dorito chip . . . no reserve!


*N.B. Factory flaw, not an artist/human being's rendition/depiction.
2.8.2006 7:06pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
How much would it cost to hire Monty Python to produce an Islamic Life of Brian? Now THERE would be an amusing test.

Iraqthemodel suggests that any adult male Moslem knows a collection of raunchy jokes about Mohammed and Allah that would put the cartoons to shame.
2.8.2006 7:06pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Federal Dog's answer to tmittz' question is incomplete at best. French 'con' does not mean 'ass' in the usual sense (buttocks or anus). It is a crude word for (how to put this?) the female genital orifice. I don't feel comfortable writing the English equivalent myself, and I suspect EV may not want me to, either, but it's four letters and begins with C and ends with T. Both the English and French words are related to Latin 'cunnus'. Clear enough?

However -- very important -- the French seem to find their c-word much less offensive than we do ours. They certainly use it a lot more to refer to losers, jerks, and (to put it politely) a**-holes (the people, not the orifices). 'Diner des Cons' is a hilarious, and far from X-rated, movie. So I suppose the closest English equivalent, offensive but not extremely offensive, and with the same general meaning, would be calling someone a "pussy". It's certainly cruder than calling someone a mere "fool". Hope this helps.
2.8.2006 7:28pm
Ian B (mail):
Mark B said:

Different groups will of course want to draw the line between free speech and prohibited speech in different places. This is normal, and should be a subject for civil debate. Different countries will naturally draw the lines differently.


In my view, this is actually the most important issue raised: Different countries will naturally draw the line differently. If Islamic countries wish to ban depictions of the Prophet, fine. If they want to enforce that by law,fine. I mourn their lack of freedom, but its their country.

BUT: What right, whatsoever, do they have to expect, or far less force, us to live by their standards? And this is what the demand from Muslim groups and leaders that Western governments intervene to prevent publication of the cartoons amounts to.

The demand that Western governments apologise (as if they bore responsibility for what appears in the Free Press of their countries!) and prevent the repetition of such events, amounts to nothing less than the demand that Western countries conform to the beliefs of the Islamic world in issues of free speech, and of government censorship of publications. This demand must not be conceded to or allowed to have any validity if we wish our countries to continue to protect freedom of speech and belief for all groups, religious and secular.

What appears in a Danish newspaper must primarily be the concern of the citizens, media and government of Denmark. This of course includes Danish Muslims, and they had a perfect right to state their objections, and to provoke and participate in a debate in Denmark on the issues of freedom of speech, respect for religions, blasphemy etc. But by taking the cartoons "on tour" around the Middle East (along with several others which are far more crude and offensive, and had never been published in any European newspaper as far as can be ascertained...), they - not the Danish newspaper or "the West" - chose to make this into a "clash of civilisations" issue. They have now provoked a movement in the Muslim world which is essentially calling for the rest of the world to obey Muslim standards on freedom of speech, blaspemy and government censorship.

This cannot be allowed to be unchallenged by those who believe in freedom of speech, and i think it is recognition of this fact that has been significant in the decision of many other european newspapers to publish some or all of the cartoons.

I am British, and as yet the only paper in Britain to publish any of the cartoons has been the student paper of Cardiff University... But there the Student Union intervened, withdrew all copies after less than 200 had been released and suspended the editor..."How are the mighty fallen!"...student radicalism is clearly a thing of the past!

Ironically the newpapers Welsh title "Gair Rhydd", translates as "Free Word".

The British press are presenting their collective decision not to publish as "restraint" and "tolerance". I wish i could believe it was that, and not fear.

Ian Barrs (British postgraduate student)
2.8.2006 7:48pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Federal Dog's answer to tmittz' question is incomplete at best. French 'con' does not mean 'ass' in the usual sense (buttocks or anus). It is a crude word for (how to put this?) the female genital orifice. I don't feel comfortable writing the English equivalent myself, and I suspect EV may not want me to, either, but it's four letters and begins with C and ends with T. Both the English and French words are related to Latin 'cunnus'. Clear enough?

Dare we say you are a cunning linguist?

My late father in law noted that the equivalent of the four letter word was commonly used in one Italian city, between women, as a jovial term of address. In all other cities, it was an insult. He had a dictionary of (if I remember) French, Italian, Spanish and English, in which certain terms in each language were marked with four tiny dots in a square pattern. The mark was a warning that in certain areas where the language was spoken, it was considered profanity or an insult, and should only be used if the speaker knew the local dialect or was speaking among close friends (who presumably would be forgiving). He also pointed out that about a tenth of the words had that mark, in one or another language!
2.8.2006 8:27pm
minnie:
The cartoon jihad was not purely a spontaneous outbreak of Islamic rage, as we've noted in several LGF posts; it was deliberately incited by a delegation of Danish Muslims who toured the Middle East and met with many of the highest Islamic clerics, showing them faked images in addition to the real ones published by Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. Michelle Malkin has more info on this outrageous deception today:

First, I too was wondering about all the "cartoon" threads on this blog. I was far more interested in the illegal surveillance issue. But Eugene's explanation explains it well. Thanks, Eugene.

The above quote I copied from the distasteful LGF site, which I first heard of and visited today. I then saw mention on this thread of Michelle Malkin, as there.

My conclusion is that these were hardly "a delegation of Danish Muslims." They were yet another band of the undercover neocon activist group, headed up by people in our government whom I hardly need name. Dressing up as the enemy is hardly a new concept in life, or in fiction. Michelle Malkin's urging that more and more American newspapers publish offensive cartoons hardly derives, imo, from her defense of free speech. This is the biggest boon to the world domination, imperial Presidency, neocon crowd since 9/11, and they're obviously going to milk it for all it's worth, to get the people in the other Western nation on board. Hers is a very irresponsible position, btw, doing nothing to advance the intellectual argument for free speech, but much to endanger the lives of Americans in a volatile time, no doubt hoping to sniff out a few Islamic sympathizers in this country, also, whose increased activity pursuant to widespread American publication of the cartoons would not be unexpected.

Since I am a rational person, I need hardly assert that I am in course 100% in favor of the big three: 1) free speech; 2) personal, considered responsibility and 3) categorical condemnation for the mindless and despicable use of any form of violence, large or small, as a substitute for rational debate.

But I am equally against #4, the shameless, immoral and depraved attempts to use propoganda and subterfuge to advance rationally and morally indefensible agendas.

Were it not for the Volokh Conspiracy, which enabled me to connect a few dots, I probably would not have seen so quickly that the illegal domestic surveillance issue and the cartoon controversy issue are, in fact, merely two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
2.8.2006 8:50pm
Glenn W Bowen (mail):
the fact is any reaction we see like this by this element of islam is a ploy- and if it isn't met head on, they gain from it.

it has been proven:

to negotiate with them is fruitless.

they don't tell the truth or abide by agreemments, and such agreements are always heralded as great moments in peaceful negotiation.

if they don't represent the majority of muslims, why don't we hear from the majority of muslims otherwise? and if they don't represent the majority of muslims, what's the difference, they're the ones with the guns and the bombs.

they will not be stopped by negotiating with them, pandering to them, or aquiescing to them.

we cannot fear them.
2.8.2006 8:59pm
minnie:
A.S., I would hope Eugene doesn't waste a whole lot of his time responding to a hired hand like you.

I suppose that it's unavoidable that the better a blog gets, and we all know this is one of the few best, the more it's going to attract a different type of troll. Not the lunatic fringes that trade insults with each other on the partisan blogs, but the, loosely speaking, "people on the payroll."

Notice the "talking point" of the day: "Let's get a lot of American newspapers to publish those cartoons. This way we can reve up the violence and scare the public into turning the other way while we burn the Constitution. Let's frame it as a 'free speech, we shall not be cowered issue' so they'll be too ashamed to argue otherwise. Maybe it will provoke some actual violence on these shores, so we can justify even more illegal spying on everyone. Go forth, minions, and spread the word."

I must say it's disheartening having to scroll by all the A.S., Polaris, Ditty, Tom Holsinger and many others' posts to get to those of Justin, Volokh Watcher, Medis, Wintermute, Marty Lederman, Evelyn Blaine and a host of others, including the moderators, who are interested in intelligent discussion of issues, but I don't know what the remedy is. I just hope this particular brand of better prepared troll is not encouraged to come out in more numbers and destroy this site. If they do, I personally would advise using the guillotine.
2.8.2006 9:19pm
magoo (mail):
I thought this WashPost editorial was especially good, and much better that most of the cartoon-related postings on this otherwise insightful and thoughtful blawg:

EXTREMISTS AND political opportunists across the Muslim world are rushing to exploit the controversy over the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Late to the game but conspicuous in its crudeness is the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which yesterday oversaw a second day of demonstrations outside European embassies while a newspaper it controls announced a contest for Holocaust cartoons. The Taliban is probably behind violent demonstrations in Afghanistan, including one directed at the largest U.S. military base in the country. And the Bush administration has rightly fingered the secular but cynical government of Syria for orchestrating the burning of embassies in Damascus and Beirut.

A clash of civilizations between Muslims and the West is the fondest ambition of al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, from Britain to Indonesia. But it also is a convenient refuge for authoritarian regimes hoping to resist the rising pressure for political liberalization in the Middle East. That explains why Muslim outrage over the original publication of the cartoons in Denmark was patiently cultivated not by Osama bin Laden but by the Egyptian and Saudi governments. According to an account in the Wall Street Journal, Egypt's ambassador in Denmark worked with local Islamic clerics as they prepared an inflammatory propaganda campaign about the cartoons for dissemination through the Middle East last fall. In December a delegation of the Danish militants was received by senior clerics and government officials in Cairo, where the manufactured outrage contrasts with the quotidian persecution of a Christian minority and publication of anti-Semitic libels in the government-controlled press.

Europeans, too, have participated in the stoking of passions, if for different reasons. The cartoons, whose vulgarity and offensiveness are beyond question, were published as a calculated insult last September by a right-wing newspaper in a country where bigotry toward the minority Muslim population is a major, if frequently unacknowledged, problem. The Danish government depends for support in Parliament on a far-right populist party with an anti-immigrant agenda: Maybe that's why Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrogantly refused to meet with ambassadors from Muslim countries last fall, when the controversy might have been defused.

Last week, as protests escalated in the Middle East, European newspapers in Spain, France and Germany rushed to republish the cartoons, claiming they were defending freedom of speech. But there is no threat to freedom of speech in Europe — no newspaper was prevented from publishing the cartoons, and demands by Muslims that European governments impose such censorship were quickly dismissed. In reprinting the drawings the European papers demonstrated not their love of freedom but their insensitivity — or hostility — to the growing diversity of their own societies. It is just such attitudes, more than any insult to Islam, that have inspired much of the Muslim resentment toward the West, and the growing anger of Muslims who live in Europe.

The few heroes in this sordid episode reside not in continental newsrooms but in the Middle East. In Jordan, where freedom of speech really is at issue, two editors bravely republished the offensive cartoons; they now face prosecution. In Iraq, the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani condemned the Muslim inciters. It's not an accident that these Arab voices of reason are also leading proponents of democracy: They, more than anyone, are the ones deserving of the West's support.
2.8.2006 9:43pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
There is a use for our side in this cartoon issue.
When van Gogh was killed, the thought was it's just a lone wacko.
When the Madrid trains were bombed, it was just a foreign terror effort.
When the London trains were bombed, it was a question of how come the perps hadn't assimilated.
The focus was, purposely, narrow, in order to avoid unpleasant conclusions.

With this, we find that the Islamofascists have a rule. We must live by it or face violence.
It is not at all a stretch to expect the next demand, should this one succeed, be, say, non-Islamic women must dress more modestly or face violence. Oh, wait. It's already that way in Scandinavia. I guess I mean it will be that way here. Is there any reason to expect that caving on this will keep the pressure off?

Universities have been the most active in making feigned offense an actionable complaint, and making sure that due process is not in the picture. There is no shortage of attempts outside of the campus to use the same tactic. There is no reason to think the Islamofascists are too dumb to figure it out.

Unlike on campus, though, the Muslim mobs will kill you if you don't go along with it. Usually, the response to this is that it hasn't happened and how do you know it will. I expect that will be the response this time--reflex is hard to expunge--but it won't convince many people.
2.8.2006 10:01pm
davidgold (mail):
Many of the discussions are really silly. Apologists of radical Islam with elegant explanations of poverty, etc.... are running out of excuses.
If poverty in and of itself sufficient to trigger such behavior why don't we see other poor populations ( such as the majority in India) act this way? How can this type of behavior in the most Orwellian of worlds be condoned? Apart from the fact that the Muslim world exclaims that they don't need Western help ( except when there is an earthquake in Pakistan).
Holocaust denial, suicide bombers, kids with signs saying that non-muslims should be exterminated, beheading homosexuals and non-muslims in their home countries, 9/11, bizzare conspiracy theories, etc... This is all but a very small number of manifestations. But people will continue with explanations for this nihilistic, fatalistic and basically evil culture predicated on a sense of honor, shame, complete delusional cruelty and "perceived" dignity. Apparently not enough has triggered a real response. Sadly, it seems that there will be additional wake up calls before the real wake up will take place.
2.9.2006 12:19am
minnie:
Davidgold. Good try.
2.9.2006 3:38am
Federal Dog:
Another poster has correctly identified another possible (and obscene) value of the French word cons. It is perfectly clear, however, that the word is not being used in this context to refer to female genitalia: Words must always be correctly interpreted in context. Here, it clearly means "asses," and any assumption that this refers literally to anatomy is another bad one. It's a very common term in French that usually does not refer to a woman's anatomy: "Quel con!" would mean "What an ass!"


The whole cartoon legend would therefore read:


Mohammed overwhelmed by fundamentalists: "It's hard to be loved by asses!"


There is no need to add needless misinterpretation of French slang to this matter. It is incendiary enough as is without getting the language itself wrong too.
2.9.2006 8:11am
Nevermind (mail):
Quite an interesting piece in the NYT this morning about the origins of these protests, essentially arguing it's an anti-democratic backlack instigated by repressive Arab governments—"you really want democracy? don't you know it means the Prophet will be disrespected? "

It certainly wouldn't be the first time they have pulled that stunt.
2.9.2006 9:31am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Suspicion of foreigners goes a long way for politicians almost anywhere.

It's hard to figure out how the West can encourage reformers without the very fact of Western support being used against the reformers...
2.9.2006 11:05am
jgshapiro (mail):
Self-censorship can be just as problematic as governmental censorship, especially when it is motivated by fear of violent retaliation. So whether to republish is an issue of free speech, contra magoo and minnie and those that view this just as jingoism against muslims. There is more to the issue of republication than just solidarity or antagonism.

There have been thousands of articles discussing the cartoons and the riots in the past week. Yet, hardly any of the articles actually reprinted the cartoons, even in part. Therefore, most people don't know what the cartoons looked like, or were forced to rely on a description by the reporters. Sure, you can find the cartoons on the web, but the average reader of these articles probably won't take that step, and therefore wouldnt know that 9 of the 12 cartoons are hardly inciteful in any respect.

Ask yourself whether a newspaper that believes it is newsworthy to repeatedly report on the riots has a duty to print the material that may have motivated them to give readers the ability to judge for themselves the context of the riots.

And ask yourself what your reaction would be in other contexts if a newspaper refused to reprint offending material that was material to a news story lest those that are offended be further offended. Should newspapers have refused to reprint the pictures from Abu Ghraib because they offended some people, including muslims? I don't know how you could accurately report on that story without including at least some of the pictures. I think the same applies here with respect to the cartoons.

I doubt there would be any issue about republication if not for fear of retaliation. It would just be expected in a story of this nature.
2.9.2006 3:28pm
Broncos:
Has anybody been found an english translation of the original editorial/article that accompanied the cartoons? I found a short excerpt on wikipedia, but not the full context.

If these cartoons were published in the U.S., I'd say 3 of the more putatively offensive ones are don't libel Islam as a whole, but are directed at violent fringe beliefs. I wrote this in the comments yesterday (different thread), and two other commentors had different takes on it. Although Denmark isn't really known as a hotbed of prejudice, I've since heard some disturbing things about the newspaper, and would like to see how they portrayed the cartoons. Did the accompanying article/editorial portray the cartoons as a critique of fringe Islam, or did it set a context that insinuated that Islam(ic immigrants to Denmark) is/are inherently violent? Or, the 3rd option: It just decided to print whatever was sent, regardless. (in which case, it would be important to know what stances the newspaper has taken in the past.)

Anyway, I'm really just asking for an english translation to begin with.
2.9.2006 6:32pm
Ian B (mail):

The cartoons, whose vulgarity and offensiveness are beyond question

Beyond question to who? Thats the question. By Western standards, the majority of the cartoons are at worst mild satire, with nothing that would be percieved as particularly crude or offensive. Even the 3 "worst" cartoons are mild compared to visual or verbal satire of Christianity that is permitted in most of Europe or North America (for instance, "Jerry Springer: The Opera" that caused a significant protest campaign from evangelical Christians when the BBC screened it in the UK). As an Evangelical Christian myself, if the cartoons had been about Jesus rather than Muhammed, i would have been mildly offended by some of them, probably amused by others. I might have written to the newspaper in question with a protest against the attitude expressed in the cartoon, attempting to argue reasonably that it was a misrepresentation of Christianity. But I would certainly not have sugessted that the paper should have been prevented by law for publishing it, or have threatened violence against the cartoonists/editor etc.

I still think this remains at the heart of the Free Speech dimension of the controversy: Who decides what is or is not acceptable in a Danish newspaper? The population and democratic government of Denmark, or the Muslim world? Should what is offensive, distasteful or blasphemous be prohibited by law? Most Western countries have long ago decided, I think rightly, that the freedom to speak out, to publish opinions and to have uncensored debate on all issues, is more important than the right of people not to be offended, and that it is censorship that should be strongly restricted, not speech or publication.

The refusal of the Danish Prime Minister to meet with the representatives of Islamic countries, or to apologise for allowing the publication of the cartoons, stands in this context. Wikipedia cites a Danish newspaper (unfortunately, I can't read Danish so I cannot confirm properly) as saying the reason he refused to meet Islamic leaders is that he was informed they were going to demand that the Danish government punished the newspaper that origianally published the cartoons. He refused to meet them, because as he has made clear repeatedly in statements regarding the right of free speech in Denmark, this is not a subject for discussion. The Danish constitution protects the right to free speech, a Danish court has already found that the cartoons fall under this protection, end of story as far as the Danish governments responsibility is concerned. Or do you consider the Danish Government should appeal against the court decision, or try to alter the Constitution, because a particular exercise of the right to free speech has caused widespread offence leading to official protests and unofficial violence in the Islamic world? But this would undermine the entire conception of a legal right to free speech, one of the major purposes of which is to lessen the ability of people to silence criticism and opposition by intimidation and violence- i.e, they are exercising a legal right, and the attempt to stop them doing so is an attempt to prevent them exercising a legal right, and therefore possibly itself illegal.

I am not saying that there can be no discussion of whether there should be any limits to the right of free speech, or where those limits should be, or whether the cartoons even if legally acceptable stepped over bounds of good taste or offenciveness expected in a national newspaper. But such debate must be carried on in a legal, civilised fashion, without threats of violence. And it must start with acceptanc of the facts that every newspaper in North America or Europe (at least) that has published the cartoons has been within its legal rights to do so- and therefore that the press in the West also has the right to expect to be able to publish such cartoons without fear of illegal violence against its staff.

It is particularly in regard to the last point that I personally think that publishing the cartoons has, due to the response of many Muslims, become a statement: It is the statement that the press in a free country has the right to publish what it wants, and will not be intimitaded from doing so by the attempt to change Western norms of freedom of speech, not by discussion, debate or democratic action, but by violenc eand the threat of violence.

Actually, someone who posted above has already said it best:

Riots or no riots....irrational fears of ideas should not cause us to choose to diminish our natural freedoms in the face of threatened or actual violence. To the contrary. The national and world press that has had the courage to reprint the images involved are acting in the highest interest of liberty and the collective best interest of the world community, and of all faiths and beliefs, secular and otherwise.



A couple of other points:

"In reprinting the drawings the European papers demonstrated not their love of freedom but their insensitivity — or hostility — to the growing diversity of their own societies." (magoo)

When it comes to sensitivity, there is a real question at stake: Do we allow our standards to be set by the most sensitive, the least liberal (in the classic sense) members of our society?

It should be noted that an Egyptian newspaper (yes, Egyptian) republished six of the cartoons in October- in an article strongly critical of them. They recived very little notice at all. The wave of protests that has swept first the Middle East, then Europe, was a result of the "tour" by a group of Danish Islamic clerics in December 05 - the tour that included 3 other never-published cartoons of far greater crudity and offensiveness. (The leaders of the group claimed that these cartoons had been sent to Muslims in Denmark, and that they displayed them "to show the attitude to Islam in Denmark. So far, despite being challenged, they have provided no proof that these cartoons originated in Denmark, or were sent to Muslims there).

In other words, there is reasonable evidence to believe that these protests are far from spontaneous, but are the product of deliberate "stirring up" of the Muslim world by European Muslims. The purpose? Well, what are the protestors calling for? Answer: The enforcement of censorship of the insult to Islam in the European press by European governments, retroactively (punishing those who published) and in future. Acceptance of national and governmental responsibility for the actions of a free press (demands for apologies from government figures). And violent punishment, including death in some cases, by any means legal or extra-legal, on those who produced and published these cartoons.

Are these demands acceptable, or even being put in an acceptable way?

I think clearly not, and the action of the those newspapers who have since published is their answer to that question also.

Ian B.
2.11.2006 10:01am
starimomak (mail):
Thanks to Evgeniy for the support, I was mildly surprised.

But man, what's with Bernstein. That's a picture of Saturn, man, not a Jew. Saturn, if I remember right, was the child Uranus and Gaiea. In Greek, Hronos, i.e. time. Overthrown by Zeus, pater. Common theme in Indo-European mythology, the whole oedipal thing. And yeah, devouring the young, that too pre-dates the Jews arrival in Europe. By about 1000 years. So,, Goya's painting has nothing to do with Jews. Sometimes, it's just not about you guys. Really.

PS Curiousity. grad=gorod , vlach=volokh? How did a Jew end up named after such a shadowy ethnic group?
2.11.2006 10:02pm
nzdev (mail):
What is wrong with a religion that carries on the way these extremist(muslims) carry on about a cartoon.
As far as I am concerned the cartoons depict the prophets followers exact. Peaceful people, far from it. Extremists looking for trouble under any stone they stumble over.
The world is too small for this stupid religion.
2.12.2006 4:17am