Sunday, February 05, 2006

What is Arabic for 'jurisdiction'?

I have some of the cartoons in question right in front of me, and it would seem that a couple of them are intended to be inflammatory. Cartoons by their nature are mocking and crude renderings of the subject, but is the issue the provocative nature of some of the drawings, or the fact that Mohammed is portrayed at all. If the latter is the case, I say 'screw it'! Those drawings were written in a country far away from anyplace where Islam is the established religion, drawn and published by non-Muslims. They are totally outside their jurisdiction, yet the rioters seem to presume that Islamic law is applicable everywhere to everyone.

Some of the cartoons are a little mean-spirited, but I cannot pretend to understand what all the collective rage is about. I would like to know, if Islamic people feel that they are being defamed, that Islam is being protrayed as a particularly violent religion, that it rubs some salt in some historic wounds (starting with the Crusades), or that they feel some sort of direct connection to Mohammed, and believe that his feelings were hurt somehow.

It just feels like a sort of collective victimhood. I don't know the complete history of Islam but I do believe that some atricious acts were committed by Westerners against them throughout history. Perhaps there was too much meddling from the British Empire and eventually, the United States. But can what they have been through be easily compared to the Holocaust? At least the Jews have reason to feel victimized since it is still a living memory for many. Black people in North America are another good example of an abused culture, but what is with the protests in Muslim countries? They get mocked from a faraway country, couldn't they at the most dismiss the publishers of the cartoons as ignorant? Why do they take it to heart so? Does any other religion (other than the Scientologists) react so strongly to having their beliefs and founders disparaged?

If they accuse the cartoonists of hate speech, I have to ask,'What is hate speech'? It just seems to me that if a non-Muslim anywhere does something that a practicing one cannot, such as draw a stick-figure of Mohammed, then it is considered making fun of Islam and is subject to Islamic law. What should be done at the very most is, that warnings should be placed on publications that some editorial content may be offensive to Muslims, if it portrays Islam and Mohammed in a less than flattering light; so they will not have to see it, and thus, have their feelings hurt. Other than that, if you don't want to ever see Islam or Mohammed ever being made light of, then the only solution is to go where it never happens. All people of all races have to put up with hurtful things and ignorant people. Either learn to cope, like the rest of the world does, or go back home and practice your beliefs without any disparagement. Do not even think about imposing your religious laws and beliefs on people living abroad.
(Anyone grasp the irony of that last sentence?)

1 comment:

The Tiger said...

What this sort of stuff has succeeded in doing is convince me that there are in fact higher and lower civilizations. And that some people just can't be reasoned with.

Sadly, I think there is going to be a clash over this, and soon.

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