They still don’t get it…
How much more can you convince moderate Muslims that you don’t respect their culture any more than by printing caricatures of Muhammad wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb, while another shows him saying that paradise was running short of virgins for suicide bombers. Ask the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten.
I wrote about a similar situation involving the media salivated over reporting about Bin Laden’s niece posing for GQ Magazine. What I failed to mention in my earlier piece is that the so-called war on terror is not happening in the abstract. The terrorists and their would-be supporters respond to stimuli, which hearken back to the Bush administration’s often cited claim that we are in a fight to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. And while I am all for free speech, is printing articles disrespecting Islam and the prophet Muhammad really helping the cause for freedom and democracy?
Furthermore, Denmark has troops in Iraq (about 500 give or take) and they have already been exposed for torturing Iraqi prisoners, so what in the world was the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten thinking? Maybe they were thought they were supporting the troops. But let’s keep it real, the terrorists are not easily dissuaded from their aims but the terrorists do not represent the majority of the Muslim population. Therefore, it is probably not wise to disrespect Islam because this will only encourage more people to join terrorist organizations.
This is what really gets me heated though; these caricatures were first published in Denmark on September 30, 2005. Muslim ambassadors in Denmark complained to the Danish PM on October 20th. So someone tell me why between January and February, reprints of the cartoons appeared in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Norway? That is a three month window!! So this clearly means that the papers in these countries had no respect for the fallout these cartoons raised and wanted to throw gas on the fire.
And to top it off, “Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world ‘betrays a lack of understanding’ of press freedom as an ‘essential accomplishment of democracy’.” A lack of understanding!! Are you serious? Now let’s flip the script and have publications in Muslim countries print cartoons that have Jesus and the Virgin Mary having sex. Now I could be wrong, but I don’t think Western countries, or any country for that matter, would look at the cartoons and say, “Thank goodness for free speech!” There is a line that has been crossed repeatedly during this war that makes winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and Muslims-at large unreasonably difficult.
But apparently, the powers that be don’t get it yet.