04 Feb 2006

Barbarians versus Cowards

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The Islamic position:

Syrian demonstrators invaded the Danish Embassy in Damascus and set fire to the building. In Gaza, protesters burned Danish flags chanting “Death to Denmark,” and gunmen stormed the European Union office. Radical Islamists pronounced a fatwa against the 500-strong Danish garrison in southern Iraq. In Kashmir, shops closed in protest. Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami party offered a bounty of 50,000 Danish kroner for the murder of the Danish cartoonists. Jihadi websites are calling for suicide bombings in Denmark. Hezbollah’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, declared if Muslims had carried “out the fatwa of Imam Khomeini against the renegade Salman Rushdie, the scum who are insulting our Prophet Mohammed in Denmark, Norway, and France would not dare do so.” In a mosque in Ramallah inside the Palestinian territories, protesters shouted, “Bin Laden our beloved, Denmark must be blown up.” In Nablus, Hassan Sharaf, an imam at a local mosque told worshippers at his sermon “If they want a war of religions, we are ready.'”

The Western elites’ response:

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour, announced: “I find alarming any behaviors that disregard the beliefs of others,” and launched investigations into “racism” and “disrespect for belief,” and asked for “an official explanation” from the Danish government.

In its first official comments on the caricatures, the Vatican, while deploring violent protests, said certain forms of criticism represent an “unacceptable provocation.” “The right to freedom of thought and expression … cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Major American newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, refused to publish the cartoons.

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw criticized newspapers that published the drawings. And State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper declared: “These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims… We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

They may be ready for a war between religions and civilizations, but we are going to need different leadership before we are.

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