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06 February 2006


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Charles Cameron

Once again, no feautures are shown -- I read this as a milder variant on the total rejection of images, a subset in which it is the face as such which may not be shown... I believe there was a film of Mohammed's life a few years back which used his POV to avoid showing his features...

W. Patrick Lang


a picture is a picture. pl


and another notice he isn't being shown as a murder...No bomb on his head...We would not like our important people to be seen as such.. Yet again I wouldn't burn down a building because of a ink drawing either.


so, it isn't His depiction that is relevant, but how clear the image & what He is doing? feels like a slippery slope to me...

methinks the mullahs doth protest too much.

Babak Makkinejad

I would like to submit to your consideration a few observations:

Firstly, that each country and society has its own kitsch. And that kitsch is often sacrosanct. Muslims have their kitsch and Westerners have their own. I will guarantee that no mainstream comedian and editor in US would dare publish a denigrating caricature of Dr. Martin Luther King.

I would also like to point out that the core cultural identity of Western European Civilization and its derivatives in North and South America consists of 3 traditions; the Legacy of Rome, that of Christianity, and lastly the tradition of (personal) Liberty of Northern Europe. In this manner, this Civilization has an embarrassment of (cultural) riches. Not so for Muslim people.

For almost all Muslims, Civilization begins with Islam. Caricatures of the Prophet of Islam, the Perfect Human Being of later Islamic Tradition, are rightly considered a direct attack on the core identity of individuals and their culture.

I am actually surprised that the reaction has not been that severe; most Muslim populations do not seem to have been that agitated. There are no news of violent reactions from India, Indonesia, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, etc.



If you have a moment google in the words, Dr.King, Boondocks, and Al Sharpton. It concerns a cartoon that was shown on TV last month concerning Dr.King.

These Danish cartoons came out in September. It is only now that we see the reaction? Odd, in my book despite all the proffered reasons for the delay.

Can we agree on a couple of things? Maybe? The reaction in Syria and Lebanon may be directly related to events that have to do more with the Assad govt's insecurity, than with core identities? (to the limited extent I accept there are such things and they can be identified and quantified)

Further, could this possibly be a reaction to Hamas' victory? And the showing of the Moslem Brotherhood in the recent elections in Egypt? Could it be that some govts wish to buttress there religious and nationalistic credentials?

Now of this is to diminish the anguish we now see in Indonesian cites. And in Pakistani and Iranian cites as well. Lets see… what if any similarities do those countries have? These riots did occur, did they not, AFTER the riots in Syria and Lebanon were viewed on TV?

Alas I have nothing but questions….but I have a lot of them.


but wait.

Both of these do not show the face of the Prophet. Isn't that where the 'line was crossed'?

Babak Makkinejad

I was hoping to make 3 points: that all societies have their kitsch and so-called sacred cows; that Muslim cultural experience is fundamentally very different that of the Western societies (now in their post-Christian phase) and lastly that of the more than one billion Muslims in the world not that many seem to have been involved in any protest activity at all. ( I recall teasing a Russian by calling her Anna Stalinova and she was offended even though she had earlier claimed that I could not offend her!)

Furthermore, as to the delayed-reaction, I am not surprised; the reaction to "Satanic Verses" also started in a rather small way in India and then spread.

As far as various states & governments taking advantage of this issue to buttress their political standing that’s just business as usual; “Hurry, wrap yourself in a flag, any flag!”. But this also works both ways; it undermines the government authority in those states that did not do so; in my opinion.

I agree with you about the role of Television in all of this. In fact, in my opinion, I believe strongly that if certain types of violent programming were banned then crime rates would fall. (I recall a movie called “Escape from New York” 25 years ago in which the terrorists smashed Air Force One into the World Trade Center. I recall another movie about the same time in which a terrorist put a bomb in a radio-cassette player and gave it as a gift to an unsuspecting stewardess.)

Again, the number of protestors have not been very high considering the populations of the cities involved.

Regardless, I believe this type of events only seem to reinforce the belief by many people on either side that there is a war of civilizations being fought. The danger, of course, is that a political struggle among state and non-state actors could then become very difficult to manage and diffuse; in my opinion.


For starters, I would never intentionally insult any religion. I do believe however, that a religion ( or the followers of.. )whose foundation is shook as a result of a cartoon(s) may wish to consider some spiritual soul searching...the similarity of Robertson, Falwell,and Dobson in the constant defense of all things Israel - for the specific reason that Jesus will have a hard time returning because the new zip code throws him off - is pretty darned far-fetched and not lost on me, either.

Johnst - Did you ever read Frank O'Connor's "Guests Of The Nation"?


Seems like the cartoons were published to prove a point. Point was proved. Question: was the point seriously in dispute? That is, did anybody learn anything that made the whole exercise worth warm spit?


Just remember colonel. I said it here first. AL qaeda agitprop is far more sophisticated than any smart bombs we can build. It's embeded deep in the concept of mass religion and public discontent.

watch these rioting. if somebody gets shot, a couple people die, that person WILL become a martyr, and his buddies WILL avenge him. The snow ball starts.

The way we conduct war is annual budget and weekly operational review.

religious wackos seeks reward in after life and do the war over decades onto next generation. (as long as the social condition support the attitude.)

W. Patrick Lang


You should have learned:

1-Islam is not a pacifist religion.

2- There are many of the values of our civil religion which Muslims do not share. pl

W. Patrick Lang


I would say that you are bending over backwards to accomodate the fanatics. There has been too much of that. pl


There you go. MY CASE and point. The carpenter flunky on wood plank joke is perfectly logical too. It's a perfectly logical sardonic cartoon. How did you feel then? the no show messiah was a popular joke too.

Polarization is the key word. a slightly odd random event being magnified into the media machine, spin-counter spin, ... crank it up hard.

The religious fanatics feel wronged, Fox news type talking head hammered it with even more wingnuts wackiness logic. ..etc

People already get shot in afghanistan. winning score for Al qaeda, since now they have proof the unjust violent being perpetrated on muslims. (nevermind it was a panick reaction by security guards)

Like I say, those wackos who still think 'clash of civilization' talk is a good idea.... we gonna get one soon by keep doing this.

Fox news is already busy upping the "western civilization must unite' against Islam." rethorics today. Rummy is thumping chess about "Iran" is terrorists. I give it few more days until some stupid whitehouse operative making comment about crusade.


time for more pop-corn. Wingnut versus wingnuts time.


that Muslim cultural experience is fundamentally very different that of the Western societies (now in their post-Christian phase)

Posted by: Babak Makkinejad | 07 February 2006 at 02:51 PM

nope. on the contrary. We know what piss them off, and they know what piss us off. This game has been around since mid 12th century.

Only naive fool will say "we don't know those moslems" and they are aliens.


We know exactly why they are pissed. And they also know exactly what sets us off.

ask yourself. if that cartoon is about other religion... say 'Mosses' or 'Jesus' ya think it will get published and people will start compiling excuse about "free speech" or art history angle?

be honest...

(hence my point. we know exactly what we are doing. And we know exactly why we are doing it.) Peace, free speech, bla bla... It's all high horse fluff talk when it comes right down to it.


oh yeah my whole point to all this.

Remember Shia vs. Sunni vs. Kurds that we fondly think as another strategy to control Iraq and make a quick fix.

We can't even handle a cartoon, and somebody want to have an inter-ethnic/religion war in natural cultural equilibrium?

brilliant, simply brilliant. When shia vs sunni animosity in the past 300 years is re-awaken. I want to know how those supposedly smart planner in Pentagon going to stop the inter religion strife.

Now pardon me, while I long oil and gold and short Dow and greenback.


Islam certainly has some growing up to do. I know of no sweeping worldwide demonstrations w/ destruction & violence resulting directly from a cartoon about Christianity or Judaism in the past few centuries (does anybody?). Islam has had no Reformation-like experience & is in bad need of this rite-of-passage. Hopefully, it is a robust enough faith to grow up. In the meantime, lets pray it doesn't wreck the car & burn down the house.


"I know of no sweeping worldwide demonstrations w/ destruction & violence resulting directly from a cartoon about Christianity or Judaism in the past few centuries"

Remove a qualifier or two, and it's a lot easier to find examples (especially if you factor in modern communications in the mix).


PL: didn't need this exercise to know that. I suppose what I got out of it was

(3) Muslim governments are boundlessly cynical when it comes to exploiting religion.


Ked: no growing up allowed, gate of ijtihad closed in the 11th century. PL is making the point that Islam is militant, fundamentalist and intolerant. Um, we ought to have known some or all of this but I guess we get to re-learn it.

Charles Cameron

The gates of ijtihad may have been been closed (at least for the Sunni), but that doesn't by an means prevent reformation. Reformation, in Islamic terms, occurs every century through the actions of a reformer known as a Mujaddid.

Interestingly, bin Laden has been the subject of a recent 460 page study claiming for him the title of Mujaddid.


"Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday accused Iran and Syria of deliberately seizing on the dispute over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad to incite violence." (International Herald Tribune)

Nice to see that the Ice Princess isn't above using the situation to further the neocon agenda. More inflammatory soundbites for the domestic audience. I can almost see the thought balloon above her head: "Hmm ... a Southwest Asian conflict, and we're not involved. How dare they ignore us in favor of a bunch of cheesy Danish ... hey wait, we can use this! I'll have my husband ... uhh, the President, call for moderation to shut up the home crowd, and then ...."

Meanwhile the Saudis and Iranians are brokering with the Chinese, and Iraq continues to burn. But never look back - the road to democracy leads through Tehran and Damascus.



just wait until she convinces GWB and the EU to withold aid to the Palestinians for being too democratic.

Why push for hudna when you can incite conflict?


Charles Cameron, the film you refer to was actually made back in the 1970s, it was financed by the governments of several Muslim countries but still managed to annoy some people, oddly the director was the same man who produced all the 'Halloween' "teen-slasher" films and for the past decade or two had been attempting to make a film about Saladin however he died last year in the Syrian hotel wedding bombing.
For those who keep saying something along the lines of 'I know of nothing like this happening in the Christian or Jewish world' try to imagine if European newspaper(s) had instead published a cartoon claiming the holocaust never happened, at minimum the cartoonist would be facing criminal prosecution, the paper(s) would face possible legal action and they would be receiving threats of violence from certain elements of the Jewish community [to avoid confusion, let me explain - I am not a holocaust denier and I have a very low opinion of those who are, I also have a very low opinion of states that set an Official Truth and punish those who deviate from it, in other words I believe in total free speech even for views I despise], in addition many of the European countries have very strict, archaic and medieval libel & slander laws – often is the case that because of a court injunction something can not even be mentioned or referred to unless a politician brings it up in Parliament – and just last year, or maybe it was 2004, a woman in Britain was arrested and detained for several hours for reading out in a park near Parliament the names of British soldiers who have died in Iraq because she was within a ‘security exclusion zone’ that surrounds parliament under Blair’s “anti-terrorist” laws.


hmm, in Britain campaigner for morals and decency Mary Whitehouse in 1977 brought a private prosecution for blasphemous libel against 'Gay News' for publishing the poem "The Love That Dares to Speak its Name" by James Kirkup, editor Denis Lemon was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence.
This but one, and a rather old one at that, of the thousands upon thousands of examples of europes "enlightened" free-speech. [and in 1922 a man was actually sentanced to 9 months hard labour for blasphemy!]

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