In the Middle East, Sudan and other Islamic areas, there are fliers handed out promoting the destruction of Danish, Norwegian and French buildings and killing of citizens of the respective countries. What is all this about?
Well, the Danish paper Jyllandsposten posted some caricatures of Muhammed the Prophet, and as most of us know, the muslim tradition states that you are not allowed to draw any pictures of the Prophet. Some extremists even think you shouldn’t paint pictures of anything living at all, since it would be a perverse reproduction of what God has created.
Jyllandsposten printed these pictures some time ago, on the basis of "protecting the freedom of speech". The Norwegian and Christian paper called Magasinet printed the same pictures on the same ground.
It was quiet for a while, (except Denmark,) until after the election.
Then all hell broke loose.
I must say that most of the organized opposition seems to be related to the current situation in Palestine (and Iran too), as the EU and the USA are discussing what to do in terms of financial aid after Hamas surprisingly won the election. Both USA and EU have Hamas on their terrorist-list, quite embarrasing if you ask me, and need to find a diplomatic solution without loosing their face.
Not everyone in Palestine is happy about the threat of loosing aid, not everyone is happy about Hamas winning, and in addition you have the printing of these images. After all, let’s try to understand, it would be provocing to any person of personal faith.
Now, hear my ramble.
The freedom of speech is a great thing. I make my best use of it every, single day. And I will not stand for threats or deaths related to a difference of opinion. We all have different opinions, but we should never harm anyone for them. This goes to both sides. Check out Voltaire on this matter.
My thought is that freedom of speech comes with certain responsibility. I don’t condone any censorship, nor any restrictions on this freedom, but I do hold that you are ultimately responsible for what you are saying.
And let’s not forget that with the freedom of speech, comes the freedom to shut the fuck up, the freedom to listen and the freedom to ignore.
I have come across some Christian blogs (USA, UK, Germany etc.) hosting these pictures and urging others to spread them, to "protect the freedom of speech". To me it sounds like you’re trying to compete with Islam, in a way, and bringing back politics and religion to it. Did any of you know, for instance, that there are a lot of Christians living in the Middle East? That you are making the local churches down there marginalized and vulnerable?
Please, Grow up.
This is not the first time a picture of Muhammed has been printed.
There were artworks of the Prophet made when he was still alive. But try to grasp the context. An Israeli once printed a picture characterizing Muhammed as a pig. It did not create the same kind of reaction as today’s more innocent pictures have. People just didn’t expect any better from Israel.
That is sad, and draws a picture of the hopelessness people portray their situation with. You should always expect the better.
And it means something good when muslims expected something better of us.
I’ve heard people laugh at this matter as trivial.
Yes, there can be no doubt that for some this is a political tool, and it is taken advantage of. But we can’t rule out that people are genuinly hurt too.
If some newspaper just printed some photos of child molestation (your kid or your cousin) on their front page on the basis of "protecting the freedom of speech", I would say they hadn’t understood the full consequence of freedom at all.
Freedom doesn’t come for free. You earn it. You earn it through showing some goddamned respect. And that’s my opinion.
Undoubtedly there are contexts where pictures of Muhammed will seem appropriate even for muslim people. I can’t find that anyone sensible finding a painting of Muhammed in a history book would react so fiercely. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the politicalization of human rights, a clash of relatives (Islam and Christianity) and inconsiderate people jumping to conclusions.
And ultimately, a lack of respect for your fellow man.