Yesterday's Register had a lovely piece of multicultural doubletalk from some of the leaders of Iowa's Muslim community.
Newspapers in Europe have published provocative, extremely offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Their spokespersons and governments have acknowledged the offense without apology, claiming that "the freedom of speech is absolute."I don't think that anyone is saying that freedom of speech is absolute - shouting "fire!" in a crowded theatre, libel and the like. But that's not really what they're talking about.
Muslims in Iowa unanimously support the freedom of speech and expression. However, [I knew that was coming - ed.] we also urge everyone to reflect on the effects of their free choices with compassion and empathy. Mere acknowledgment is not enough; an apology is very appropriate.Ah yes... the all powerful, always appropriate apology that the West owes, well... everybody. Who is to apologize? The Government of Denmark? Denmark didn't publish the cartoons, a private newspaper did. And to whom? The Islamists that pine for the return of the Caliphate and riot at any provocation or their "moderate" apologists who find offense in a series of editorial cartoons?
Again, here are the cartoons in question.
Crude...? Yes. Insensitive...? Yes. Harmless...? Abso-f'in-lutely.
Moral equivalence alert!!!
Like Christians a few years ago, American Muslims were outraged and offended by a government-funded display of art in which the crucified Jesus was in some body waste. We shared the justifiable anguish of Christians then, and Muslims would share the feelings of Jews if Moses were so offensively treated. All Prophets deserve our veneration and profound respect as God's messengers. We would like people of other religions to reciprocate our respect and veneration for all Prophets.The key difference in the "Piss Christ" controversy and the current situation was that the "art" in question that prompted the
Here's a topical, tasty example:
Akhbar al-Khalij, January 29, 2006 (Bahrain)
Caption: "The Penetration of Zionism to Denmark." The cheese, shaped like a Star of David, is labeled "Danish products." The text on the far left reads, "Boycott it!"
Or how about this classic depiction of blood libel:
Here comes the crux of the multi-cultural argument - emphasis mine.
While it is true that freedom of the press is essential in democracies, those who represent the dominant religion and the government have the responsibility to examine the impact of their free speech on those whose faiths and beliefs place them in the minority. Mutual, reciprocal respect for the faith and scriptures of other traditions is as essential as free speech in societies that aim to promote true democracy in Europe, North America and the Middle East.Ah yes, the dominant (fill in the blank) has a duty to cast off it's cultural hegemony, sit in a corner think about its sins.
Ya know, this would ring a bit more true if Saudi Arabia would allow non-Muslims to visit Mecca or even possess a Bible within their borders.
Also necessary for democracy are cultural self confidence and tolerance of criticism. That's what a heterogeneous society is about. That's what being an American is about. Tolerance - real tolerance, not lip service - is a two way street. Do not expect that you will be able to make the dominant culture (at least in this country... Europe on the other hand is up for grabs) accept all aspects of your religion and culture without comment.
Commentary is not the same as violence. Would that more of your fellow Muslims understood this and could vigorously condemn the violence against civilians, terrorism and religious intolerance in your own culture without the inevitable "but" that leads straight to a harangue against Israel and rants about Zionist control of the media.
Across the globe people must learn to differentiate between entities that distort the message of a religion in order to justify reprehensible acts of violence. Government-supported, simple-minded expressions of free speech without regard to reciprocal, mutual respect for others do not promote the sense of belonging necessary for a citizen's allegiance.Ah, the abhorrence of violence and the thinly veiled threat of treason in the same paragraph. Give up the First Amendment and we'll pledge this country our allegiance.
Ain't gonna happen.
If mainstream Muslims wish to stop criticism - and make no mistake these cartoons were a critique of radical Islamic violence - they had best see to their own house. Ironically, the violent rampage unleashed by the "cartoon Jihad" - does nothing but confirm the cartoons' message. The lack of even a nod to the violence occurring in Europe, the Middle East and Asia as the result of some friggin' cartoons makes me question the seriousness of Mr. Aigner, Mr. Dremali and Mr. Kahn to really address some legitimate issue the West could have with Islamic culture.
Self reflection and criticism are never easy but are salutary. Our culture tends to be self-reflective to the point of paralysis - think the NSA kerfluffle or just about anything in Europe. Islam on the other hand...