February 5, 2006
“Offensive” Cartoons

I’ve been trying to figure out what the big deal is about the drawings printed by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark. First, I wonder which of the drawings is supposed to be Muhammad? They all look different! Is any picture of any vaguely Arab-looking man supposed to be banned as an insulting image of Muhammad? Or maybe only those with beards and turbans? By that stricture, no picture of Khomeini, al Sadr, or any of the mullahs could be printed. That’s ridiculous!

Second, even the rioters seem to agree that these drawings are not, themselves, offensive. The only thing I’ve seen them bring up is that the drawings are “insulting Islam” — because they show a man someone can convince himself looks like Muhammad, which he can convince himself is prohibited by Islamic tradition. But, as Michelle Malkin notes,

In response to the notion that the West (or Islam) has ever followed the prohibition against depicting Mohammed, Zombie has created the “Mohammed Image Archive,” which contains dozens of Mohammed images from throughout history.
One set of images on that page are labeled as “Modern Iranian Icons,” and are freely available today in Iran. Another includes images from across the Muslim world from prior centuries. Those images and others demonstrate that, if such a prohibition exists, it has been honored in the breach (i.e., not at all) throughout Muslim history.

It seems to me that someone was looking for an excuse that could be used to stir up trouble. This is consistent with the drawings, themselves, which were published last September. It is consistent with the fact that there was little adverse reaction until much later. And it is consistent with the fact that the leadership of the Islamic Society of Denmark had to create additional images — which are offensive — to gain the controversy any traction.

For the record, here are the twelve cartoons all the fuss is supposedly about.



   

The cartoonists who drew the last two images (below) seem to have had some idea of the kind of responses that might come from some of the local flock.

All twelve of these images are from the Face of Muhammad site, where the words that appear on some of them have been translated into English.

Now it turns out the the leadership of the Islamic Society of Denmark went to the Middle East to “create awareness” about the cartoons that were published in Denmark. Evidently, however, they know the Danish drawings are inoffensive — nothing to get disturbed about — but don’t want to admit they cooked up the whole issue. So they created some additional graphics of their own (see right, from Gateway Pundit here and here) that really are offensive. As Gateway Pundit says, “Evidently, the originals were not offensive enough for the trip!” (See, too, the coverage in the CounterTerrorism Blog, including here and here. There are also several other related posts.) And yet, the additional graphics created by Muslims to stir up other Muslims still aren’t as bad as the ones regularly aimed at Christians and Jews in the Middle East press.

[UPDATE: It seems to me the main reason the Islamist leadership, and those in the protests they hire, don’t want U.S. and European newspapers republishing the Danish cartoons is simple — they don’t want people to see that their riots are “put up jobs” and that there’s really nothing behind their “outrage”.]

To avoid other assertions, here is an image of the page on which the drawings were published in Denmark on September 30, 2005 (left).

As for me, I tend to agree with Cox and Forkum’s take on the issue (below).

UPDATE: These two cartoonists have captured the cultural differences involved in these “cartoon wars.” The cartoon on the left is from Filibuster Cartoons via Zombie’s Mohammed Image Archive. The cartoon on the right is from Trever in the Albuquerque Journal.

For my money, though, the best comment is from Cagle. Probably no one would think the Danish drawings were of Muhammad if they weren’t being told so by their religious leaders. And isn’t that truly a fitting conclusion for the “cartoon wars”?


 


February 17, 2006
Those Who Insult Islam

Looks to me like it’s these folks (and their
compatriots) that are an insult to Islam.
If these are its adherents, it’s self-insulting.

By the way, I think I’ve figured out two reasons why the Islamist leadership and demonstrators are trying so hard to prevent other newspapers from printing the Danish cartoons, most of which don’t even purport to show Muhammad:

  1. It’s a power thing, to demonstrate they can control other countries and societies — against their own laws — without the necessity of actual conquest.
  2. They don’t want people to see there’s really nothing behind their “outrage”.

 

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