The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, February 03, 2006


After more than four months of relative silence, the MSM in the US has finally begun to cover the Arab world’s protests concerning newspaper cartoons of the Prophet, Mohammed.* Stated simply, many Moslems believe that their religious doctrine trumps freedom of the press, even when the press publishes in a Non-Islamic, democratic country. That anything even remotely offensive to Islam must be banned outright. That refusal to ban such materials is a catalyst for violence.

An article in the The New York Times provides background:

The trouble began in September in Denmark, when the daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons lampooning intolerance among Muslims and links to terrorism. A Norwegian magazine published the cartoons again last month, and the issue erupted this week after diplomatic efforts failed to resolve demands by several angry Arab countries that the publications be punished.

Moslems argue that the cartoons are offensive, and from their point of view, I’m sure they’re right. Like many cartoons, they are not in the best of taste.

And yet, the Moslem community appears considerably less offended when cartoons and articles in newspapers throughout the Moslem world continually contain blatantly anti-Semitic material. Very few, if any “moderate Islamic voices” condemn this material.

Jewish groups have protested over the years, but not once have they advocated violence against the cartoonists or the citizens of the countries in which the Arab newpapers publish. They have never invaded an Arab embassy protesting anti-Semitic material, nor have they threatened people with weapons or issued “Fatwahs” associated with the material. Islamists have done all of these things, and threaten to do more. Very few, if any, “moderate Islamic voices” condemn this Islamist reaction.

My message to Moslems is simple: You can’t have it both ways. If you feel no need to condemn anti-Semitism in your newspapers, it seems a bit hypocritical to protest cartoons lambasting Mohammed in European newspapers. But then again, I’m trying to use reason to argue a group out of a position they never reasoned themselves into.


Absolute must reading on the broader cultural implications of this controversy, the WoT, and the relationship between Islam and the West can be found at The Belmont Club. Spend a few moments reading it.

* It's reasonable to ask why MSM coverage was delayed for so long. I think the reason is this:

Many surveys indicate that editors and journalists in the main stream media tend to be left of center. This story presents them with cognitive dissonance. First, anything claimed offensive to Islam is a violation of political correctness and most editors and journalists subscribe to PC wholeheartedly. Second, any attempt to control the media violates freedom of the press anjd speech and is therefore a violation of a MSM birthright. Third, the Europeans have, in recent years, been held up as examples of nuanced, advanced culture, very PC, very peaceful -- not at all like the "blundering" US.

Yet, in this case, the Euros blatantly violate PC (with very little nuance )while at the same time those who feel offended (Moslems) violate freedom of the press. The US is not involved. Editors and journalists have had trouble sorting this out, and until recently, have chosen to make it a non-story, hoping that the dissonance will dissipate. It hasn't.