Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Dipping my toe in political waters...

Just been to Neil's where his "conciliatory parade" to my comment was "pissed on". He has absolutely no right to take offence or feel outraged or angry at being pissed on. Absolutely not, SHE has the right conferred on her by freedom of speech to piss on him and his "conciliatory parade".

I frankly had absolutely no intention of posting on this issue. Call me whatever you feel like but I just CANNOT STAND ARGUMENTS. Specially sterile arguments. I believe that by definition arguments are sterile, no one listens to no one and every one hears whatever they wish to hear. So, for those who believe that the protestors should have acted in a mature way, which is easier said that done, how do you make yourself heard when they're entangled in their emotions.

This whole situation just shows how fragile we are. How easily we respond to provocation, whether it was meant as such or not. Don't go playing with my heart, you'd be closing the door to any rational discourse.

Put the "radicals and terrorists" who use Islam to justify their deeds aside for a minute. Let's have a face à face, you and I, the "rational Muslim". I am against violence, I condemn terrorism. How am I supposed to FEEL when watching TV I hear about these cartoons of the Prophet and see a cartoon showing him with a bomb in his turban? I was appalled, angry, I felt guilty for believing in a Freedom which led to this.

I've read a lot about whether the Danish Government is going to "cave in" or not to the demands of apology. Is this all what it comes to?

Dr. Tariq Ramadan is right when he says, in the Herald Tribune, that just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you have to do it. That's what's called civic responsibility, he says. Jack, that's what i meant when i said: "This whole situation is tragic, more so, since it could have been avoided so easily."


Neil said...

I still think this whole matter has nothing to do with the Danish government, or any government. You can't blame the victim of a crime. If I make fun of you, and you burn my house down, it is YOU, not ME that is going to prison -- even if I started things with my words. I might understand why you did it, and even feel your pain, but you still deserve to go to prison. Even if you think the first guy was wrong for saying anything. And whether you like it or not, it's not a crime for him to say what he wants. That's free speech.

Jack's Shack said...

Let's say that I agree with you that it could have been avoided. Does that mean that the people torching embassies and threatening to kill people are right.

Have you seen the cartoons in the Arab press? They routinely print some of the most heinous and offensive things that you think of. It is hypocrisy.

Or how about this response which is not even directed at the people who originally printed the cartoons.

IRAN'S largest selling newspaper announced today it was holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
"It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper - which is published by Teheran's conservative municipality.

He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression.

"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.

suleyman said...

Images of Muhammad are common amongst Shia, but these are only images of the prophet *before* he received his revelation. There is an artist in Iran by the name of Oranous Qasemi (Who is a Muslim) who sells copies of her famous painting of the prophet as a boy over the internet.

However offensive some of these images may be, the response on the part of Muslims has not been proportional. Calling for people to be killed and burning buildings over drawings is beyond absurd. I can't understand that level of anger. I can't wrap my mind around how people could be made so angry over drawings.

Freedom of speech shall be limited if, and only if, the speech in question violates the rights of another. It may offend the other, but it is well within one's legal right to offend everybody's sensibilities.

At least in the U.S. it is.


Fitèna said...

The response or the reaction to the cartoons is certainly not propotional, and torching down embassies or killing people is certainly not right, Jack. Am certainly not justifying this reaction in this post. Just explaining how, in my point of vew, it came to be.

Suley, thanks for the enlightenment and I quote you here : "Freedom of speech shall be limited if, and only if, the speech in question violates the rights of another. It may offend the other, but it is well within one's legal right to offend everybody's sensibilities."

I guess, we just have to learn to be adults and live with it like Neil says.


Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

hey nice blog. thanks

Jack's Shack said...


I do want to clarify something. This may sound a bit like I am speaking out of turn, but I think that one of the biggest problems that Islam faces is that it is the radicals who seem to be doing all of the talking.

What I mean by that is we hear comments and rhetoric from people like Osama Bin Laden, from Zarkawi and others who provide religious approval for acts of violence.

I read and am told by Muslim friends and coworkers that these people are not representing the majority of Muslims and that they do not practice real Islam.

I can accept those claims, but I have to say that unless more Muslims stand up and denounce those who think that violence is appropriate there will be a problem with the image of Islam.

Unless you take a stand and say that they do not speak for you, you allow others to set the tone and help to shape opinion.

That is a challenge that only Muslims can take on.

Fitèna said...

Jack, you're 100% right there! But just because you don't hear those who do say that the radicals are not speaking for them does not mean that they're not taking stands!
I might think am paranoid here but it seems to suit many people just fine that the pacifists are not provided the means and the necessary media coverage to be heard. All the focus is on the radicals which provides sufficient reason to justify some political stands!!!


Jack's Shack said...


What you say makes sense, but you face a challenge. And that challenge is to be heard.

The radicals may be small but their actions are considered by many to be representative of all of Islam.

Without condemnation on a larger scale there will be a belief that there are no moderates.

I understand that the radicals may receive more media coverage, but it is possible for others to get it as well.

Faisal ... said...


There is a saying in England that states: 'The minority makes the rule'.

In this situation it is true on both sides. The far right westerners against the far lefters of the Muslim world.

I think that it is nearly impossible to come to a compromise between far rights and far lefts, whatever the debate is.

These cartoons were more than free speech especially when some of them showed what was meant to happen. They were racist and very provocative so as to promote hate speech. There definitely is a law in England that states how illegal hate speech is.

Abu Hamza is in jail because of this. The leader of the BNP (a far white-right part in the UK) nearly went to jail because of this.

Jack, you have a point that we have to stand the challenge of promoting the true Islam. We have to prove that the Islamic terrorists are wrong just like the anti-islamists, as they print fake quotes from the Quran and Hadith to show our religion as horribly immoral.

Let us muslims and westerners (though this comparison is ridiculous it is being used by most media at present. There are many muslims who are westerners too) live in harmony just like us Mauritians do.

Faisal ... said...

We have to strongly and openly condemn these cartoons in the Arab press too.

Anonymous said...

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