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By now, most of us know the narrative of the Danish cartoon scandal.  We know about the offensive cartoons themselves, and the cartoonists who by their own admission were out to provoke and offend.  We know about the violent actions of some Muslims in reaction to those cartoons.  We know about certain Muslim leaders who are manipulating this crisis, to attempt to achieve their own ends.  And we know about the cowardly actions of the Bush administration and the Vatican, who have condemned the cartoons and the choice to publish them (yet another thing President Bush has in common with the terrorists he claims to be fighting: both of them depise our freedom).  

My hero below the fold.

Most of us have come to the same conclusion, despite where we find ourselves in the debate over this issue: this is a story with plenty of villians and few, if any, heroes.  But there is a true hero in this story, a partisan on the side of freedom, who has made a great sacrifice.  His name is Jihad Momani.

Jihad Momani was the editor-in-chief of the Jordanian weekly newspaper Shihane.  On Thursday, Jan. 26th, Mr. Momani published three of the Danish cartoons in Shihane, running them alongside an editorial penned by Mr. Momani which said "Muslims of the World, be reasonable."

" What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?" asked Mr. Momani.

Mr. Momani was arrested the following day, after which he was sacked by the paper and the publisher pulled all issues from newsstands.  A few days later, another Jordanian, Hashem al-Khalidi, editor-in-chief of a weekly tabloid called Al-Mehwar which also reproduced a few of the cartoons, was likewise arrested.

In all the things that I have read about the Danish cartoon controversy, the best and most inspiring has been from Tim Cavanaugh, who wrote "If freedom of expression isn't dangerous, than it isn't worth defending."

How true.

Like most of the axioms of childhood, the old fable about sticks and stones and our invulnerability to the dangers of words is a lie.  Most of us know that before we've finished middle school, and have learned how words are often far more hurtful than fists.  But for reasons failing comprehension, many of us forget the lessons of youth as we enter into adulthood, and believe somehow that words can't hurt, or at the very least that words shouldn't hurt.  And because of that, we turn against hateful speech and attempt to suppress it, while at the same time claiming to still embrace the notion of freedom of speech.

My new hero, Jihad Momani, understands that there are more dangerous things than words, and that the danger is that essential things will not be said in a society that disallows dangerous expression.  He has made a great and personal sacrifice, something that no Danish cartoonist did by choice, to speak forbidden words.

If we are friends of freedom, we will stand united with Mr. Momani.  I urge each of you to contact the Jordanian embassy, and let the Ambassador, Mr. Karim Kawar, know that neither Mr. Momani or Mr. al-Khalidi should go to jail.  They will be having their next hearing in the next ten days, so I urge you to act quickly.  For the sake of all human's right to freedom.

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Telephone number: (202) 966 - 2664
Fax number: (202) 966 - 3110
E-mail: HKJEmbassyDC@aol.com

Thank you very much for your time.

Originally posted to Jay Elias on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:17 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As always... (4.00)
    ...thanks very much, and I hope we can all take the time to take action.  These are the true front lines in the battle for worldwide freedom.  Let us support those who dare to fight for it.
    •  Recommended (none)
      Recommended.

      I serve on the board of the Band of Brothers.

      by David Nir on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 11:07:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why will this person care? (none)
        I am all for action, but why will this representative of the "KING" of Jordan care at all what we say?

        We are well on our way to the days where we also have an unelected King, "The LYIN' King George" and of course he also doesn't want to hear anything from US citizens.

        •  Public pressure... (4.00)
          always makes a difference.  Not even George W can completely ignore the people he claims to represent.  Not forever.

          "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

          by the new yorker on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 12:41:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The writer will know of it (none)
          and that's the best gift he can get right now.

          Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

          by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 12:57:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't used to think so, but letters do make a (4.00)
          difference.  I rememember reading a story told by a former political prisoner in the USSR.  He related how he had been summoned to see the KGB Colonel in charge of the facility at which he was being held.  

          The colonel informed him (to his astonishment) that he was being released; he also held up a stack of letters from Amnesty International, and said, "Tell them to stop writing letters!"

          If this type of pressure even worked on the former Soviet Union and the KGB....

          Ian H

    •  interesting (4.00)
      that so many on this site are taking the side of the extremists and the enemies of free speech.

      nice diary.

      I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

      by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 12:11:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I find it depressing as well (4.00)
        we all complain about the creeping fascism of the Bush administration but when faced with the honest to god real thing, we demand sensitivity to the religious feelings of others.

        I had not heard about the fate of the Jordanian editor, I will write the Jordanian embassy today.

        •  Sadly not a surprise to me (none)
          We are well aware that the attack on liberty is coming, in our country, from a Labour Prime Minister and a large percentage of his fellow party members, like the former Home Secretary David Blunkett and the current Home Secretary Charles Clarke, both of whom have energetically pushed measures to extend imprisonment without charge for extended periods of time, and mandatory identity cards to be carried by the whole population.

          Unfortunately, there is a long and disgraceful tradition, on the Left, of antipathy to the rights of the people. I don't understand it, and I hate it, but I can't deny it's there (and boy do the conservatives enjoy pointing it out)

          Our Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was a firebrand lefty in his youth, which makes some people wonder where his totalitarian streak has come from. It hasn't come from anywhere, he was just always that kind of a lefty.


          Finem respice et principiis obsta—Consider the end, and thwart the beginning

          by Del C on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:33:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Empathizing with outraged, violent muslims? (4.00)
          Not me. I say...fuck 'em. Lashing out in violent protest because a newspaper published a fucking cartoon ridiculing Muhammad is archaic and INSANE, no matter how you slice it.

          And the same thing goes to all fundies of all religons who will take to violent protest because someone is making fun of thier "God" or voicing their opinon against any religon.
          To all fundies of all stripes and anyone who justifies their moronic actions I say...FUCK OFF.
          While i'm at it, i'm proud to say that any rational human is in favor of COMPLETE SEPERATION of church & state.
          Take "In God We Trust" off our fucking money. God is nothing more than an imaginary friend for adults...that's just my opinion. I'm not pushing for "In Aetheism We Trust" to be on our bills, so don't  shove "In God We Trust" down my throat. I don't trust in god, I'm in reality.
          Rant done.

      •  Beware of ultimatums... (none)
        this isn't as simple of an issue as "siding with free speech, or siding with the extremists."

        Let's not start getting into 'either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists' territory.

        "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

        by the new yorker on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:13:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in that case... (4.00)
          what would a third option be?  There is option one: protecting free speech and promoting free speech around the world.  Then there's option two: letting the extremists limit free speech through silence and inaction.  I suppose you could always follow option three though:  Pay lip service to freedom of speech, but actually do nothing about it.  What other nuanced stances are there that i missed?  Please enlighten me.
      •  I don't think it's a black and white as that. (4.00)
        Jyllands-Posten has been selective about applying the free speech rule.

        It refused to run cartoons showing Jesus because that might offend Christian readers:

        Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.

        The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

        And the sub-editor who commissioned the Muhammad cartoons told the International Herald Tribune on 1 Jan that he would draw the line at publishing a cartoon that would be offensive to Jewish readers:

        But Rose acknowledges that even his liberalism has its limits. He said he would not publish a cartoon of Israel's Ariel Sharon strangling a Palestinian baby, since that could be construed as "racist."

        So the newspaper does not believe in unlimited free speech.  It voluntarily places restrictions on itself and declines to print cartoons that could reasonably be expected to offend Christian readers or Jewish readers.  But it commissions cartoons of Muhammad including some which are just plain bland, but others that are crude caricatures of the stereotypical Arab and others that simply make the equation Islam=terrorism, and suddenly religious sensibilities can be ignored in the name of freedom of speech.  

        Why the differentiation in newspaper policy between Arabs/Muslims and everyone else?  That's a very selective insistence on "free speech", and it says something quite ugly about Jyllands-Posten's attitude towards its Muslim and Arab readers.

        •  if you think (none)
          a cartoon of "sharon strangling a baby" is equivalent to danish cartoons, then maybe you have seen different cartoons than i.

          I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

          by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:57:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I've seen the same ones (none)
            and presenting Muhammad as a hook-nosed, bigotted, bloodthirsty old deviant is no better than Sharon strangling a baby.
            •  Except for the fact that (none)
              Muhammad was just simply a pedophile (he married a six-year-old girl) and a warlord.

              Evil prevails only when good men do nothing

              by Mason6883 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:06:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are profoundly ignorant of Islam. (4.00)
                I'm not sure what it means to call Muhammad a "warlord".  How do you think people lived in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century when it was wracked by tribal warfare?  

                As for the pedophilia nonsense, one of the features of a tribal society at war is that there is a large number of widows and orphans who, due to the death of their husband or father, lose the protection of membership in a clan. This is a matter of life or death in a society where there is not a stable rule of law to protect the vulnerable, but only an understanding that all members of a clan will look after each other and avenge an act of violence against a vulnerable member.  

                One way that was devised by Arab tribes to protect the widow or orphan (in the case of girls) was for a male who was affiliated to a clan to marry them.  (Boys, like Muhammad himself, orphaned at an early age, would be protected by formal adoption into a tribe).  By marriage, they became part of a clan and enjoyed the protection of membership.  It doesn't mean you slept with them before puberty, if at all.  In fact, Muhammad not only had a child bride, but married several older widows too, with whom he doesn't seem to have had marital relations.  This suggests that Muhammad was marrying them for some other reason than sex or offspring, namely to extend tribal protection to them.

                It is very ironic that you should make such an ignorant, ill-informed comment about Muhammad as a "pedophile".  When I wrote earlier about the Danish cartoon portraying him as a "deviant", I was thinking of the one in which he is presented as an old, blind, stereotypical Arab flanked by the two young, veiled Muslim girls.  That cartoon draws on exactly the same ignorant, ugly, pedophile slur that you made, solely because you - like the Danish cartoonist and editors - know and care nothing about the society that Islam emerged in, and it's just easier to write him off as a pedophile than to educate yourself about how marriage was used to draw abandoned or vulnerable children into a clan in 7th century Arabia.

                •  not that i endorse the ad hominem (none)
                  but i rather doubt the grooms of children brides were all, or even mostly, saintly protectors

                  I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

                  by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:30:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Red herring - stop repeating this story! (none)
          This refusal to print cartoons of Christ thing is a total red herring.  Those cartoons were mailed to the newspaper completely unsolicited.  Try mailing anything to a newspaper unsolicited - it won't be published.  The Danish paper was polite enough to send the guy a rejection letter in which they apparently said, (1) your cartoons aren't funny and (2) they might offend.  Do you think that was a high level editorial decision or some intern trying to come up with some reasoned way of saying, "don't call us, we'll call you"?
          •  It is not a red herring. (none)
            One of the reasons the paper gave for not wanting the Christian cartoons was that they would offend. And yet they ran Muhammad cartoons precisely because they knew it would be offensive.  
            •  The point is one was solicited and the other wasnt (none)
              The newspaper sought a sampling of cartoons depicting Muhammad.  Some guy sent in a drawing of Jesus and didn't get published.  They are two completely different cases.
        •  As an ex-editor (none)
          I'd like to point out that voluntary restrictions from self imposed limits are very different from self censorship due to fear of death threats, violence and death.

          The newspaper printed the cartoons after they found that artists wouldn't illustrate a childrens book on the life of Muhammad because they were too scared of what would happen to them in response...

          As an ex-editor, and knowing other editors, I can assure you that most editors would view that as a free speech issue.

          Although I think it's more likely in the case of the UNSOLICITED Christian cartoons that the editor was politely saying "Fuck off and don't bother us again" given the dim view editors take on UNSOLICITED content. If anything they're lack of interest in printing racist cartoons shows that they're not a right-wing hate rag... I mean what kind of right wing hate rag shows any consideration to the "joos"?

          Us editors get very itchy fingers over free speech issues. Trust me, expecting editors to not publish on free speech issues in the most inflammatory way is like handing a pyromaniac a box of matches and expecting them not to set your house on fire.

          •  Editor? (none)
            they're lack of interest I believe you meant "their"...try to set an example for the less literate here who don't know the difference...

            But your comment is right on. There is this strange idea that you either print anything anyone flings at you, or you're "censoring" speech.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:38:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ex-Editor: I got too angry at writers to continue. (none)
              Being a total hypocrite I don't proof-read my own writing unless I'm getting paid for it. :) If a writer complained about that my reply would have been "I'm an editor not a writer".

              You should have seen some of my lambasting of writers who sent in unintelligble crap. They were replete with grammatical errors with the occasional spelling error slipping through the cracks.

              If anything I was somewhat suprised at how nicely the editor couched the rejection. It's certainly not the reply I would have sent.

              But then a girlfriend of mine who was a writer asked me to proofread and comment on a piece she was working on once. After that she always paid someone else to do it instead of getting me to do it for free. So I was on the extreme bastard end of the spectrum as far as editors go.

              Thanks for replying. It's good to see that some people get my point.

        •  You're making no sense at all (none)
          Voluntary restriction is exactly what the mealy-mouthed defenders of the rioters are saying the newspaper are calling for, and voluntary self-restriction is a right all the defenders of free speech recognise as surely as they recognise the right of free speech itself. So what exactly is your beef? Free speech means someone else is free to run the offensive anti-Christian cartoons, or the offensive anti-Jewish ones. Free speech doesn't mean they're forced to print anything you say they have to print.

          And if your point is that they're big hypocrites, well, of course they are. That's not illegal either. We're all already aware that they're ill-mannered numbnuts, so what kind of revelation the shocking news that they're being selectively  offensive could be, I'm at a loss to say.

          I'm getting a headache reading the absolutely nonsensical blithering of the cultural-sensitivity-to-arsonists crowd, I tell you. No thought, no logic, no sense. No basic structure to their position, just your straight Chewbacca defence: throw irrelevant chaff everywhere and hope it distracts someone.


          Finem respice et principiis obsta—Consider the end, and thwart the beginning

          by Del C on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:05:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know. Here's balm (none)
            from Salon:

            "Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam"

            Outspoken Dutch politician Hirsi Ali says the Danish cartoons should be displayed everywhere.

            She makes enormous sense.  

            Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

            by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:00:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  This isn't about free speech (4.00)
        And I say that as someone who is as near a First Amendment absolutist as is possible.  No government was trying to supress this speech, nor was it a legitimate view or part of a Polticial discourse.   Instead thenewspaper deliberate chose to publish images that wer as offensive as possible to Muslims solely for the sake of offending them.   Even in the US, such Speech is not protected  under the First amendment.  Even the Landmark BrandenBurg case which effectively dealt a death blow to the criminalization of unpopular speech, recognized an exception for "fighting words".  It defeined them as the sort fo speech that provokes and immediate and instinctual violent reaction from the listener. Such speech they reason was not speech at all because it didn't transmit any ideas, but was instead the verbal equivalent of battery

         On a larger scale that's all these cartoons were.  Not a point of view, not an unpopular ideology, but fighting words designed to provoke precisely the violent reaction they engendered.  For the paper to sit back and cast itself as a free speech martyr based on that reaction is ludicrous  since it wasn't speaking at all.

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:45:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not Sure I Agree 100%... (none)
          ...but this is one of the best comments I've read on the cartoon uproar.  If you're able to put up with some of the reaction you'll illicit, I think you should consider exanding it into a diary.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:51:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  eh? (none)
          i obviously didn't mean "free speech" in the strictly constitutional sense, because, for one thing, denmark is not subject to the constitution.

          your attempt to construe the cartoons as "fighting words" that would not be protected in the US is rather absurd.

          I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

          by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:59:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why exactly? (4.00)
            Fighting words are those specifically designed to goad the listner into a violent response.

            The newspaper did not publish these cartoons by chance.  They sought out and comissioned these cartoons, by their own admission, in order to provoke precisely the reaction they got, and to that end they made them as offensive as possible.   The goal of the paper was to create a nasty bit of poltical theatre to "prove" the valdity of their dislike of muslims.

            As such it was nasty, boderline racist, and wildly iressposible.  People are dead and dying all over the world because the paper desired to point and laugh at people it considers inferior.

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:28:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  they sought a response, yes (none)
              but did they really look to "incite an immediate violent response?" can you really say that the cartoons "are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to the truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality?"

              and, the fact that these cartoons are available in the US and 1) have not incited violence, and 2) are available, would seem to kibosh your argument.

              I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

              by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:39:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  This is absolutely correct. (none)
          No one can seriously contend that the free expression of Danes is constrained by the reactions of offended muslims around the globe.  Did the newspaper editors and cartoonists feel that they had to make a point of exerting their rights to free expression at the expense of seriously inflaming tensions between their nations and the Muslim world?  The purpose of their action was to deliberately provoke followers of the Islamic faith, and therefore to trump up their mainly right-wing political views that "there is a clash of civilizations between the free world and the Islamic world".  This was a political maneuver, plain and simple, and should not be lauded as a "defense of free expression."  That being said, the violent reactions we have seen are a naive means of responding to speech of which the rioters disapprove.  In my opinion, both sides here are partly to blame, just as a breakup, fight, or war is never entirely one-sided.  The editors should not have published cartoons with the deliberate purpose of inflaming the Islamic world, and those who have used the cartoons as a propaganda tool to spark hatred of the West should have applyed a more reasoned degree of pressure in order to convince all of us in the West that their religion deserves respect (which it does).
          •  How many times must a simple fact be repeated? (4.00)
            it doesn't matter whether publishing the cartoons was a defence of free speech or not. Defending their right to publish them is a defense of free speech.

            You keep harping on about the fact that they did something nasty. It doesn't matter.

            • They can publish offensive material if they like, because that's their right.
            • You can boycott the newspaper if you like, because that's your right.
            • You can boycott the whole country in which the newspaper was published, because that's your right.
            • You can publish coruscating condemnations of the newspaper if you like, because that's your right.
            • You can publish nasty cartoons about the country if you like, because that's your right.
            • You can burn their country's flag if you like. It's not a crime.
            • You don't get to prohibit publication because you found the material offensive. It's not a crime.
            • You don't get to commit arson, kidnap, assault or murder because you found the material offensive. Those are crimes.


            Finem respice et principiis obsta—Consider the end, and thwart the beginning

            by Del C on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:23:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not arguing... (4.00)
              against the newspapers' right to publish the offensive cartoons, rather I am questioning the prudence of doing so, given the current state of strained relations in the world today.  For the record, I am an absolute defender of the principle of free speech and expression, but that principle also protects my right to question the wisdom of others' speech and expression.  If you read what I wrote more carefully, you'll see that I condemn the actions of extremists on both sides.  The vast majority of Muslims, as well as Christians and others in the West, would like to live peaceably and go about their business.  Antics like what we have witnessed on BOTH sides merely perpetuate the cycle of war, misunderstanding, and ignorance.
          •  and how dare (none)
            newsweek run stories on the denigration of the koran at gitmo? did newsweek

            feel that they had to make a point of exerting their rights to free expression at the expense of seriously inflaming tensions between their nations and the Muslim world?  The purpose of their action was to deliberately provoke followers of the Islamic faith, and therefore to trump up their mainly right-wing political views that "there is a clash of civilizations between the free world and the Islamic world".  This was a political maneuver, plain and simple, and should not be lauded as a "defense of free expression."  That being said, the violent reactions we have seen are a naive means of responding to speech of which the rioters disapprove.  In my opinion, both sides here are partly to blame, just as a breakup, fight, or war is never entirely one-sided

            ahem.

            I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

            by The Exalted on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:33:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  So on that basis (none)
          do you propose to make publication of such material illegal? Or do you propose making legal the use of violence against the publishers?
          Pshaw.

          Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

          by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:45:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Neither but (none)
            This isn't about criminalizing the newpaper's actions so much as assigning them their full measure of blame for the resultant mess.  I can, like the State Dept and the Vatican, condemn their reckless irrepsonsibility in seeking out and publishing material calculated to cause riots, without  calling for censorship of the paper.

            Free speech does not mean you are absolved of the harm caused by such speech, particularly when you intended that harm to occur.  Just ask the Hutu broacasters facing War Crimes tribunals in Rawanda

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 07:21:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Points taken (none)
              but I still feel that deliberate offense is a valid logical method at times, particularly when it involves religionists insisting on restrictions on free speech designed to respect their sensiblilities. FUCK that. And if it takes an offensive cartoon or twelve to remind them that their worldview doesn't trump mine, I'm all for it.

              50. Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!

              1. With my Hawk's head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross.
              2. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him.
              3. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din.
              4. Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: for her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you!
              5. Also for beauty's sake and love's!

              The word of sin is RESTRICTION.
              Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

              Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

              by kestrel9000 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 06:45:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And that (none)
                is a perfectly valid viewpoint and One I endorse.   But I can't exactly rationalize the feeling but I feel it is one thing for a Neo-pagan or Wiccan (i'm guessing here) to openly challenge or even mock Christian or Islamic symbols that they find oppressive; and it's quite another for a dominant culture (Christian in Denmark)  to deliberately mock the deeply held beliefs of a minority; for no other end than to piss them off.   One seems to be a fight against opression, the other appears to BE oppression,  the sort from which progroms are made.

                Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

                by Magorn on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 08:01:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You guessed correctly (none)
                  but the Danish GOVERNMENT didn't print or even endorse the cartoons. That would be like blaming the White House for something that appeared in the New York Times.....uh....wait...I mean....yeah. What you said.
                  Hmmmmmm. (scratches head)

                  Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                  by kestrel9000 on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 01:57:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And a 4 (none)
                  for the sig line. Wicked cool.

                  Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                  by kestrel9000 on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 04:45:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Legalize idolatry (none)
      Excellent diary. I say legalize idolatry. What is wrong with it? Any scientific reason? Bin Laden videos are OK, painting and worshipping images are not! It has been part of human race since time immemorial. How cruel it is to ban visual sensory input from spirituality/religion.
      •  What are you talking about? (none)
        Anyone selling Bin Ladin videos in most Arab countries would be locked in the slammer immediately.
        •  Hypocrisy (none)
          Why do they have to sell when people can watch it on Al Jazeera. Islamic fundies use images/paintings/T shits/caps when it suits them. That is a clear form of idolatry. The same crowd will riot and kill when shoe falls on the other foot.
          Millions of people have been slaughtered in the past just because some murderous people could not tolerate others who have a different way to worship their God. Thats why I say attack the root cause...accept and legalize idolatry.

          Come on give one logical and scientific reason for opposing idolatry.
          Blind faith?

          •  Don't speak to me that way (none)
            The Great Ptah demands more respect. Hypocrisy my ass.
          •  Actually, it is not hypocrisy (none)
            there are divisions within Islam that account for the different use of pictoral representations of martyrs.  Sunnis and Shiites have very different views on the subject and most of the "icons" of martyrs you see on television are from Shiites.

            And, I could be wrong, but most of the pictoral representations of Mohammed in the Islamic world dating from the middle ages were made in Persia.

            Even within the Sunni branch, there is a vast differnce between Islam as practiced in say, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.  In Indonesia, many Muslims also worship the idols of local gods that existed in that region prior to the introduction of Islam by traders.

            As to the the main point of your post, legalize idolatry, Islam believes that only Allah can make law, now man.

            And Allah forbade idolatry.

            Please recognize that in Muslim majority countries, for them to say that men can overturn or modify the laws given by Allah is a non-starter.  

            My solution?

            Disallow the hadith as a basis for Islamic law.

            As to whether that is feasible?

            I don't know.

            Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

            by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:32:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Allah (none)
              This may be nitpicking and you probably already know all this. But I wish we wouldn't use the word "Allah". It means "God" in Arabic. In the Arabic version of the Bible, Christians worship "Allah" too. Same Semitic root as the Hebrew "El" that pops up in common names such as Michael and Daniel and Nathaniel. Why do we have to use the Arabic word when we talk about God? It sort of implies that Muslims worship a separate deity.
              •  Use of the word "Allah" (none)
                It sort of implies that Muslims worship a separate deity.

                They do worship a different deity.

                But then, I'm Hindu.

                Actually, this is a very involved theological point.

                In Hinduism, and, believe it or not, Hinduism is philosophically montheistic, all manifestations of the divine, whether they are locally worshiped as Shiva, Kali, Allah, Jehovah, the Virgin Mary, Odin, Apollo, etcetera

                are the attempts of finite limited consciousness to understand an infinite.

                And therefore, logically, all gods and goddesses are local manifestations of one infinite.

                The problem is that many Muslims, and yes, Christians too, have a limited understanding of the term monotheistic and think it is wrong to have different words for the infinite.

                So they insist on a single word, God, to refer to the infinite and won't allow for others to worship the infinite in their own way.

                So yes, I will use the word "allah", because I think the Muslims worship just one among many manifestations of the infinite.

                And I'll use the words Jehovah, Yahweh, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Satan, and the Virgin Mary to describe the various Christian gods and goddesses.

                Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:54:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This wiccan (none)
                  gave you a 4. Great comment.

                  Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                  by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:49:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But do you realize (none)
                  that "one god" of the Jews, Christians and Muslims is the same one? Not in the "philosophically monothestic" way, but it is actually the same "God" (Jehovah and Yahweh are spelling variations). I think that is the real reason the war between Israel and the Muslim Mideast is so nasty ... on top of the land dispute is a fight over who has the rights to God.

                  "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                  by Alice in Florida on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:06:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, they are not the same "god" (none)
                    Kripke's The Necessity of Naming

                    Would Benjamin Franklin still be Ben Franklin if he was a British Loyalist and opposed the Revolutionary war?

                    or
                    Rosenzweig The Star of Redemption

                    Allah is a primitive form/re-interpretation of montheistic polytheism. (The Star of Redemption is a dense and complex analysis of the differences between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.)

                    Just because Muslims state that they are the same God is not a reason to believe it.

                    If I re-named Kali, Yahweh, and said that she was the same god as the Christian god, and stated that now people should wear a belt of skulls, Christians would say that I'm crazy.

                    Mohammed took a bunch of names and a few stories from the Old and New Testaments and then wove an entirely different mythos around those names.

                    He also took historical figures like Alexander the Great and put them in the Koran.  But I think we can all agree that Alexander never saw the sun setting in a pool of black mud.  Oh, and that Alexander the Great never obeyed the commands of Allah - being the good Macedonian pagan that he was.

                    The 'Alexander the Great' in the Koran is not the Alexander the Great that really lived.  Mohammed just took an existing bit of folklore and embellished it.

                    And likewise, the Allah of the Koran is not the God of the Christian/Judaic testaments.


                    First Alexander traveled west until he saw the sun setting in a pool of black mud. There, on Allah's command, he punished the wicked inhabitants and rewarded the righteous. Next he traveled east until he found peoples who were constantly exposed to the flaming rays of the sun. They recieved the same treatment by Alexander's hands.

                    Finally Alexander traveled to the land of the Two Mountains. The backward peoples of this region were harrassed by Gog and Magog: the forces of chaos and destruction. Between the Two Mountains Alexander built a wall of iron blocks, joining the blocks with molten copper or brass. Gog and Magog were not able to scale the wall nor could they destroy it.


                    http://www.pothos.org/...

                    Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                    by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:56:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Correcting a typo: (none)
                      In the above post:

                      Replace:

                      Allah is a primitive form/re-interpretation of montheistic polytheism.

                      With:

                      Allah is a primitive form/re-interpretation of montheistic paganism.

                      Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                      by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:06:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  This argument is tedious in the extreme (none)
                      If Alexander in the Quran is not the real Alexander, then why don't you use the Arabic and call him al-Iskandar?
                      •  going off on a tangent? (none)
                        If you wish to dispute the main argument, how about answering it, instead of going off on a tangent, or characterizing it as "tedious"?

                        Unless you are unable to dispute the main argument so all you have left are attempts to distract attention from it?

                        Especially as in the Koran Alexander is called Dhu'l-Karnayn (Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Vol. IV, 1978) and so if I made the mistake of referring to him as al-Iskandar you would simply pounce on that 'error' as well?

                        The reason to refer to Alexander as Alexander is that that is the name most people in the DailyKos audience would recognize him by.

                        In any event, I have no wish or desire to shake the faith of Muslims in their ideology/religon.  That would be pointless as faith is ultimately an emotional attachment to an ideology that is not grounded in reason.

                        I am simply presenting to an audience composed mostly of non-Muslims a point of view and line of reasoning that holds that Allah is not the same as the Christian god(s).

                        And as this Diary is no longer on the Recommended List and it is unlikely that anyone will read these late comments,

                        Have a pleasant evening / Good night.

                        Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                        by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 10:50:26 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Your logic proves my point (none)
                        If Alexander in the Quran is not the real Alexander, then why don't you use the Arabic and call him al-Iskandar?

                        By the way, your logic proves my point.

                        If the god in the Quran is not the real God (the Judeo/Christian Jehovah), then why don't you use the Arabic and call him Allah?

                        But wait, I was calling him Allah.

                        It was you who objected to that.

                        Fortunately, my argument does not make a distinction as to which god is the real god, as they are all attempts by finite human minds to perceive an infinite, and so none are more or less real than any other.

                        Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                        by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 11:00:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I personally call him Alexander (none)
                          whether the character in the Quran or the one history paints as reality. I only asked you a question.

                          I've found that no one responds to comments unless they have an edge, hence my manufactured indignation.

                          I thought you were going to bed, jerk!

                          •  I did go to bed, now I awake (none)
                            I respond to comments posted to my comments even if they don't have "an edge".

                            In fact, I appreciate thoughtful requests for more elaboration or information.  

                            Philosophy is very tedious I'm afraid.  It's why I decided not to major in philosophy - it was just too boring.  Now I have to dredge my memory for those little bits of knowledge and analytical techniques that stuck in my mind - and given that I would nod off to sleep while reading Wittgenstein, not much stuck.

                            Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                            by republican with a small r on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 07:42:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Allah, Yaweh, and Jehovah and God (none)
                      in all the three religions refer to "the god of Abraham".  Since we are talking about one God and one Abraham, I am afraid you are wrong to say they are different.

                      By the way, the "primitive" adjective doesn't work well, since the Judaic version is MUCH older and is the basis for the Christian and Moslem writings about the same God.  How could it be "primitive" unless they all were?

                      •  later religons can be more "primitive" (none)
                        Progress is not a given in history.

                        Regression is possible.

                        Mohammed took from the Christian/Judaic myths various names and stories without understanding any of the theological constructions Jews and Christians had created over time.

                        Islam is concerned with outward displays of conformity - it is a strictly rule based religon.  You must be "seen" to conform.

                        The call to prayers is "come to prayer, come to success" and success is measured as worldly success.  The fact that Western Christian countries have overtaken Islamic countries in terms of material success is taken by many as a direct challenge to the truth of Mohammed's revelation. The earliest proof that Islam was the correct religon was the historical fact that those professing Islam conquered so much of the world.  

                        Now the "proof" of Islam's "truth", success, is no longer available and a spiritual crisis has emerged in the 20th century.

                        The meaning of jihad as an inward struggle was added by Sufis - and orthodox Sunnis regard Sufis as heretics.

                        Whereas in Christianity, the inward struggle is a central tenet of all of the denominations.

                        For a longer and better exposition of the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, read The Star of Redemption by Rosenzweig.

                        AS to the claim that Islam is an Abrahamaic religon, if you were going to start a new religon amongst a group of pagans -- it help to claim that you are NOT starting a NEW religon - simply rediscovering an OLD religon whose teachings were corrupted by the current practioners of it.

                        SO Muhammed claims that Allah has tried to reveal the truth over and over again - and each time the truth is corrupted by Satan.

                        Allah spoke to the Jews, and Abraham was a MUSLIM.  But his descendants corrupted the teachings of Abraham so Allah tried again.  Jesus was a MUSLIM.  And the followers of Jesus corrupted the teachings of Jesus.  So Allah tried again - this time through Mohammed.

                        And so now we know, because Khomeini tells us so, that when Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek" that those were the words of Satan.


                        Surely this cannot be the case. Jesus (pbuh), this great prophet of God, would never teach someone to turn the other cheek were he to be struck by an oppressor! Indeed, these are the words of Satan and not Jesus.

                        http://www.irib.ir/...

                        So, just because Mohammed claims to be worshiping the same god as the Christians and Jews, that is no reason for Christians or Jews to believe him.  They can decide if the god of Abraham would want Muslims to murder Jews wherever they are hiding.

                        The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: 'O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!
                        Hadith

                        Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                        by republican with a small r on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 07:34:50 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oops - typed too fast (none)
                          "Allah spoke to the Jews, and Abraham was a MUSLIM"

                          Technically, Jews did not yet exist when the God of Abraham spoke to Abraham.  According to the mythos, Jews descended from Abraham.  So Allah did not speak to the Jews, but to the ancestor (or father) of the Jews.  And this ancestor was Abraham - who according to Mohammed was a prophet of Allah and a Muslim.

                          Just as Alexander the Great was a Muslim.  See a pattern?  Mohammed was eager to claim that historical/mythical figures whose exploits were familiar to his local audience were also Muslims whose words/deeds were later corrupted by Satan.

                          And of course, that rhetorical trick is excellent just in case you might not accurately remember a detail of a biblical story.  If you preach a biblical story that you've taken from Christianity and then someone in the audience says, "Wait, that itinerant Christian preacher who came through last year told the story differently."  why you simply reply that the version in the Christian/Judaic testaments were corrupted by Satan, and your version is the "correct" version.

                          (Yes, my corrections may seem pedantic, but when you are trying to explain the intricacies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to Hindus, Hindus tend to notice and point out inconsistencies.)

                          Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                          by republican with a small r on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 08:21:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have the exact quote (none)
              of Muhammad banning idolatry? I would be interested to see under what context was it spoken.
              •  Who gives a fuck what Muhammad (none)
                or any other myth "god" thinks...
                Reality please.
                •  Over one billion... (4.00)
                  ...of your fellow human beings care.

                  And for that matter, I do too, even though I'm not a Muslim.  Please sell your intolerance someplace else.

                  •  it's you that's intolerant (none)
                    i think religous folk, muslim, whatever have a right to be here....apparently, because I don't fucking care about what ancient myth figures have to say about my morals, i don't have a right to voice that or be here? Your more than welcome to debate my aethiest values, or to tell me to fuck off...but to tell me that i need to "go someplace else" is ironic.
                    I'm not selling intolerance, science & data doesn't need to be sold, it just is.
                    •  It isn't about you... (none)
                      ...but have a modicum of respect for the beliefs of others.  I'm an atheist too.  But denigrating people for taking seriously the words of their Prophet is deeply wrong to me.  

                      Some other posters were having a useful conversation about the rules of the hadith, and how those rules impact the laws of Muslim countries and affect the present circumstance.  Your comment was derogatory, added nothing to their dialogue, and would make any person who is a Muslim deeply uncomfortable.

                      If you wish to refute religion, be my guest, although I doubt it will do you or anything much good.  But your comment doesn't refute religion.  Your comment tells people who do care about religion that they cannot talk about it in an open forum without having it denigrated by your opinion.  How wonderfully selfish of you.

                      •  real intolerance (none)
                        "Some other posters were having a useful conversation about the rules of the hadith, and how those rules impact the laws of Muslim countries and affect the present circumstance.  Your comment was derogatory, added nothing to their dialogue, and would make any person who is a Muslim deeply uncomfortable."

                        I agree my comment was derogatory, and it didn't add to their specific dialogue. However, part of my point was too make uptight, religous folk uncomfortable...since, they think anyone who doesn't believe like they do are GOING TO HELL!

                        http://islam.about.com/...
                        http://dying.about.com/...

                        Intolerance is violently protesting over cartoons, not being a smart ass blogger.

                    •  Easy, easy....... (none)
                      you can assert your rights without being belligerent toward the person you're talking to. I agree with you; I just think you oughta smooth out your feathers some. I know how you feel. That sort of thing infuriates me as well. But don't go burning this guy's embassy or his flag. Boycott his cheese if you must, I guess, but this discussion shouldn't be an invitation to a gunfight.

                      Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                      by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:57:28 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  agreed (none)
                        I guess after reading post after post of what's the prophet Muhammad think about this? Well, what does prophet Muhammad think about that? I just let my frustrations temporarily get the best of me.
                        In person, i'm always very tolerant of others religous belifs...it's just from my experiences, that's usually not good enough for most really religous folks....they either think your going to hell, eventually feel the need to "convert" you in some way, or both.
                        Whatever, my whole point being is that non religous folks extend themselves and go out of their way to make religous folks feel comfortable, while from my experiences anyway, it's RARELY recipricated...thus my venting statement "well who f***ing cares what Muhammad thinks."
                  •  Well, the F-bomb (none)
                    kinda detracted from the comment, but I have to agree with the intent......when people's religious sensibilities are offended, it's their problem, and if they take it and make it mine, then it becomes MY problem, and I will deal with it as appropriate within the civil law of the society in which I live. Which means if they do a Fred Phelps and scream at me about how I'm going to hell, I laugh, step around them or push them aside if necessary (like to get my woman into the abortion clinic), but if they show up outside my home with a can of gasoline and a torch, then I go outside and meet them.
                    With a shotgun.

                    Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                    by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:54:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Okay, but... (none)
                      ...you're conflating the actions of a few with all those who share the same basic framework of faith.

                      If Fred Phelps shows up at your home with a can of gasoline, you'll meet him with a shotgun.  Would you extend that to a Russian Orthodox who has no beliefs in common with Mr. Phelps except that Jesus is the son of God?

                      •  I hope I'm getting you.......... (none)
                        but if Madalyn Murray O'Hair and/or Anton LaVey showed up at my house with a gascan and a torch, I'd meet them with a shotgun too. Only now, I gotta shoot 'em in the head, 'cuz I saw Dawn of the Dead, and that's the only way to take the Living Dead out.
                        That goes for the Russian Orthodox too, or the Ba'hai, or the Scientologist, Thelemist, Santerian or wiccan, or anyone else who tries to burn my house down for any reason. I do not practice religious discrimination among those who try to do me harm. I defend myself by any means necessary. Including killing them if that is what the survival of my wife, my children or myself requires. Clear enough?
                        There's a diary up about "pansy liberals." The diarist originally used a different word than "pansy", but it offended too many people, so he changed it. BTAIM, it's a good one.

                        BTW, yours is a great diary. Recommended.

                        Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

                        by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:59:03 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Mohammed was a prophet, not a God. (none)
              •  Idolatry (none)
                 'Fight against the (the idolaters) until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme' (II.189 and VIII.40).

                And for some context:

                The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition, vol 16, pgs. 91-92


                    Jihad, an Arabic word meaning "struggle." As a religious duty theoretically laid upon all followers of Mohammed, jihad is based on the concept that the Islamic faith, since it is of universal validity, must be spread to all mankind, by force of arms if necessary. In classical Islam, jihad was to be directed against "people of the Book" (that is, possessors of authoritative sacred writings, above all Jews and Christians) until they submitted to the political authority of Islam, and against idolaters until they became Muslims. Sufi mystics, however, often considered jihad as a spiritual struggle against the evil within the self.

                Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:07:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  it's to keep you from noticing... (none)
        that religion doesn't have any bearing on the real world.  Therefore, the religious zealots (of all faiths) want you to ignore idols because they might remind you that you still live in the real world.  By demanding no idols, it keeps you focused on your internal, made up world of faith.  
    •  Empathizing with Muslim outrage?! (3.00)
      Not me. I say...fuck 'em. Lashing out in violent protest because a newspaper published a fucking cartoon ridiculing Muhammad is archaic and INSANE, no matter how you slice it.

      And the same thing goes to all fundies of all religons who will take to violent protest because someone is making fun of thier "God" or voicing their opinon against any religon.
      To all fundies of all stripes and anyone who justifies their moronic actions I say...FUCK OFF.

  •  Newsweek (4.00)
    has posted an interview with Momani conducted before the arrest:

    What do you think the answer is?
    Talking to each other face to face and resolving our problems frankly. What we are seeing here is a conflict between civilizations, West and East. We must put an end to this struggle because it simply isn't good for our future. We have to rebuild these relations and to do something positive to stop what is going on. And we have to start at home.

    What should the Muslim world do?
    We must forgive. We're talking about a foreign newspaper in Denmark, far away from the Muslim world. Maybe they didn't know they were doing something wrong and either way, they have apologized and the Muslim world must accept it. I'm not empathizing with them, I don't agree with them but we can't just go that far with our punishment. I feel we, the Muslims, are overreacting.

    •  that's right, Bish is a coward in this case... (none)
      It's very strange that the crisis over Danish cartoons depicting Mohammad doesn't have a catchy, Nixonesque name like Cartoon-gate. Maybe that will catch on. The current issue over these cartoons is obviously how much tolerance people should have for religious beliefs vs. how much people can run their mouths. However, the Muslim world has decided to make this a war between cultures and the only thing that Bush and his buddies were doing, was adding fuel to the fire by singing to the same tune as the Saudis and Iranians.

      Oh sure, Bush asked Saudis to help calm things down, but he was quickly satisfied with the typical Saudi answer of "maybe if we feel like it" and went back to cutting healthcare, education and emergency reconstruction funds from the federal budget because as we all know, smart, healthy people who don't need to fear flooding every time the wind picks up are just not good for the country. Meanwhile he's allowing every radical cleric to insult and trample every genuinely democratic country on the planet and demonstrating a complete and total lack of understanding of how things work in a free government.

      Ok, so the cartoonist went too far, but what does the Danish Prime Minister have to do with these cartoons? Did he commission the cartoonist to draw them? Does he oversee the paper? A lot of the world's Muslims just seem to be unable to grasp the idea that in democratic countries, the government has virtually no control of what its people choose to write, draw or say. To declare economic wars on Europe and pull out another wildly ridiculous anti-Semitic conspiracy, will only lead to an escalation of the Islamic crisis and the man who pledged to defend the entire Free World, (no bullshit folks, that's what our great leader promised) is doing nothing to quell the bloodthirsty extremists hell bent on killing Europeans, Jews and Americans for something a guy in Denmark drew last year.

      Iran recently announced a competition to make cartoons that mock the Holocaust and called the cartoons an Israeli conspiracy designed to get back at Muslims for the Hamas win in January. Well of course we know that the Ayatollah is full of it because the cartoons were published in September of 2005, not January 2006, way before the Palestinian election even took place and when Fatah was predicted to dominate at the polls and in the parliament. In the USSR, where I grew up, hatred of Jews was so incredibly intense that every single problem with the government was blamed on them no matter how obvious it was that the Russian leaders screwed up.

      Has Bush and his buddies told Iran that genocidal hatred is not appreciated by the global community? Have they demonstrated how Hamas and Fatah and other organizations had dedicated countless resources to promoting the myth that United States and Israel made a team that wants to eliminate Islam from the face of the Earth even though the Department of Homeland Security and even the NSA made public statements saying that they monitor the web sites and newsgroups where this myth is propagated among future jihadists? Have they said that the cartoon crisis has been blown out of proportion because Islamic extremists want to create hatred for anything non-Muslim in the Muslim world?

      Syrians, Afghanis, Lebanese and Indonesians have been destroying European embassies and of course the Europeans are not interested in starting a war with the Muslim world. After centuries of wars, Europe has figured out that the only reason to fight a war is self-defense. They've had empires and it divided their nations, destabilizing their former military and political might. Attacking a foreign embassy is actually an act of war against the nation which runs the embassy, so the Europeans have shown great patience and sensitivity in quietly withdrawing from the hot spots.

      Has Bush, the self-proclaimed savior of the free nations of our little blue planet, somehow stood up for Europeans? No... Of course not... The Europeans didn't follow Bush and fight in his private little crusade against Iraq and as well all know, if you're not with Bush when he feels like doing something, you will be public enemy number one and should you fall on hard times, it will not even enter his mind to help you out.

      In this time of need for international solidarity in order to diffuse a crisis that threatens to spill over into major warfare that could destabilize the world as we know it, Bush is showing himself as a petty, passive-aggressive little brat who talks tough, but when shit hits the fan, cowers and takes revenge on all those who disagreed with him a little while ago. So where is the big, tough, 80% approval ratings Bush who mercilessly crushed the Taliban and for a brief, few months headed the movement to protect the free world from radical Islamic opportunists itching to start a war between the Western World and the Muslim world?

      Figuring out how to dumb down American children and cut grandma's health coverage.

  •  My Letter (4.00)
    Mr. Kawar,

    I have heard that some newspaper editors in Jordan have been jailed for publishing the Danish cartoons satirizing Mohammed.  While I empathize with Muslim outrage, it is impermissible to allow emprisonment for religious or political purposes.  The emprisonment of Mr. Momani and Mr. al-Khalidi should be vigorously opposed by the US Embassy in Jordan.  Freedom of speech is the foundation of liberty itself.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Harkey

  •  This needs to stay on the frontlines here (none)
    for a few days to capture a larger audience.  

    Thanks Jay for the info.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:58:58 AM PST

  •  Great Piece Jay (none)
    We'll see about getting it some more attention.

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 10:10:38 AM PST

    •  Jeepers... (none)
      ...you weren't kidding.  Thanks.

      And thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this.  We all spend so much time looking at the very worst people in any given situation.  I think we can all profit some by spending some time contemplating the best ones as well.

  •  opps (none)
    YOu are about to fall off the page here....

    Just saw this short while ago and called the embassy...thought calling might get more attention than an email...spoke to nice enough fellow who said he would "make record" of my call.

    Just told him I disapproved of the needless insult to Islam in the Danish cartoons, particulary at a time when feelings in the world were touchy to begin with....AND that I understood the "laws" preventing pictures of this type in their country.....BUT...that the arrest of Mr. Momani and Mr. al-Khalidi just reenforces people's bias against countries that repress speech and perhaps Jordon should consider the "mitigating circumstances" in this case.

    I think he got my point without me presuming to  outright tell him his country needed to change their laws.

  •  Amazing (4.00)
    " What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?" asked Mr. Momani.

    And to think these incredible words came from a dude named Jihad. Strange world.

    Spare the poor people of Crawford, Texas. Send Bush a one-way ticket to the moon instead.

    by JacksonBlogs on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 11:53:36 AM PST

  •  I agree but. . . (none)
    . . . depending on the treatment he's receiving, jail may actually be the safest place for Mr. Momani right now.  I'm afraid I wouldn't give much for his chances on the street.

    Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

    by LarryInNYC on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 12:20:21 PM PST

    •  Actually... (none)
      ...according to the Reporters without Borders story linked at the bottom of my diary, Mr. Momani has been freed pending his next hearing, which should happen in the next ten days.

      I hope very much that he remains safe out there.

  •  Why are the liberals not outraged? (4.00)
    I may be way off base here, but I do not feel that the liberal blogs and newspapers have given this matter enough press. Why are they not vigerously standing up for the freedom of speech?

    It seems to me that we should be standing together with the Europeans on this issue. The Muslim reaction to these cartoons is ludicrist.

    We need to take a stonger stand on this. I feel as if the obvious absence of coverage on this story is doing an injustice.

    •  While I don't agree with how far the response got (none)
      burning embassies and such, and I do NOT agree that these two journalists should be imprisoned, I think I can understand why many liberals are not as outraged as one would expect.  

      There has been various diaries on this topic lately that I think may give you a better understanding on the many issues around these events going back to the original publication date in Sept. 2005.

    •  With which Europeans? (4.00)
      The ones who attacked the relatively powerless Muslim minority in their nation when they published these cartoons?  I think you can guess the answer.

      I think the response of the left blogosphere has been entirely appropriate.  Its outrage has been properly distributed among the guilty parties: the publishers of the cartoons, the governments who exploited them as a way to distract their citizens from their actual problems, and the minority who turned to violence as a result.

      •  I disagree (4.00)
        Too many have a facile attitude toward free speech.  Every advance in history toward reason from faith/CW/sacred cows of all sorts involved offensive free speech.

        Easy to pay lip service to free speech.  Hard to stand with the blasphemers when it counts.  It counts now, and many liberals are loathe to upset anyone.  That's a fatal weakness.

        Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

        by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:03:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A minstrel show (4.00)
          Isn't an "advance in history toward reason," and neither were these cartoons.  It would behoove liberals to understand the difference between speaking truth to power and using speech to demonize the powerless.
          •  Powerless? too condescending (none)
            They are far from powerless, those who make hay from this.  It is right to denounce disgraceful offronts to Muslims.  But the tepid support for free speech is even more disturbing.  

            It would behoove liberals (and anyone)  to accommodate several truths at once.  

            Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

            by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:47:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whatever. (4.00)
              I'd really like to know where, exactly, this "tepid support for free speech" is in evidence among the left blogosphere.  No, really.  Who has called for government censorship?  I very much doubt anyone has.

              Fact is, freedom of speech is not in danger in Europre as a result of this little brouhaha.  The equality of Muslims in Europe is probably more precarious.  Given that, I think it's entirely appropriate to focus on the latter rather than recite easy, self-righteous, and self-evident bromides about the wonder of free speech.

              •  truth sans bromides to be found (none)
                here

                No, fortunately govt. censorship isn't being recommended, but self censorship sure has been.    The "it's OK as long as no one's given unforgivable offense" line worries me.

                Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

                by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:27:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I think this is apropos... (none)
          John Stuart Mill said: "Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being `pushed to an extreme'; not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case."
      •  don't blame the publishers (none)
        Well, it's not like the muslims don't attack groups (both minority and majority) all the time.  If you look, you'll find countless published cartoons depicting jews as the devil.  Furthermore, the outrage of the muslim world comes after a long history of depicting muhammad in drawings, even though they claim drawing him is a sin.  Also, islamic groups that showed muslims the photos made 3 extra ones that weren't published oringinally.  These included one that portrayed muhammad as a pedophile.  So, the worst of the drawings actually wasn't even published in the danish newspaper.  Lastly, you might notice that no one is blaming the publishers for putting up cartoons like this one.  Why is that?
        •  The particular cartoon you referenced... (none)
          made fun of Christians.  Christians are a majority in Denmark, not a minority.

          "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

          by the new yorker on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:08:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  minority and majority don't matter (none)
            ok, but if you published the muhammad cartoons in majority islamic countries you would only get a worse punishment.  It's not about who is in the minority; it's about the oversensitivity of muslims to insult of their religion by nonmuslims.  In a civilized society, blasphemy of all varieties is allowed, or else we run the risk of cutting off the freedom of speech.  Muslims must accept this freedom because it is a fundamental right of all humans, but they don't, and that is a problem.  Therefore we must stand on the side of the publishers and there freedom of speech even if it means supporting someone that might have made a stupid decision.  It's better to side with the idiots than with the idiots that want to take your freedom away.  
            •  It's better not to side with idiots, period. (4.00)
              Which is why I'm not siding with a person who seems to believe that Muslims, as a whole, don't like freedom - a bullshit statement on multiple levels.
              •  not what i meant (none)
                I meant the muslims that form the public opinion in Jordan, the ones that have pushed Mr. Momani into jail, and the ones that make other people on this blog think that he might be safer in jail than on the streets.   Those muslims.  
            •  Hey hey (4.00)
              Muslims must accept this freedom because it is a fundamental right of all humans, but they don't, and that is a problem.

              I agree with what you just posted. And I know that when you're talking about Muslims it's code for "Muslims who don't accept secular values" just like when people talk about "Christian Homophobia".

              But it blanket statements like that support myths like; "these cartoons are an offence to all Muslims" or "Muslims are terrorists".

              So you might want to nuance the language a bit until "some people" stop accusing anyone who criticises Islam, as an ideology, of being a Xenophobic Racist Freeper engaging in hate speech.

              Not a demand... Just a suggestion.

              •  Nuances... (none)
                I might nuance my language, but before i do, i would like to hear about a grass roots moderate muslim cleric decrying terrorism.  So far I haven't heard of any.  All I've heard is non muslims telling me that the religion has been hijacked by extremists.  I would gladly stop using blanket statements, but first someone has to prove them wrong.  
                •  They have (none)
                  No. He does not. At Mount Arafat, Saudi Arabia, the chief Saudi religious voice on January 31 "decries terrorism in a Hajj sermon," according to the Associated Press. He declares that Muslims around the world are to give up on killers international. They are to put down terrorists -- just as vigorously as murderers are seeking to enslave and slaughter. He proclaimed that "those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith."

                  From here.

                  I get the impression that non-nutjob Muslims view their nuts the same way most Christians view Fred Phelps and abortion clinic bombers.

                  It's just that they, unfortunately for them, seem to have a lot of these nutjobs running around making all of them look bad.

                •  Doesn't the hero of this diary... (4.00)
                  ...Mr. Jihad Momani, prove that to you?  That there are moderate Muslims trying to express their loathing for the current situation and encourage reform?
  •  Mr. Momani (4.00)
    is a hero and a very brave man. I agree with everything he is saying except what I think is a false dichotomy he sets up.

    It is not as though there is prejudice against Muslims that is caused by these cartoons and prejudice that is caused by the brutal, reprehensible Islamic fundamentalism that is splashed across our television screens. These cartoons were meant to manipulate the emotions of Europeans in order to fan the flames of the irrational hatred of all Muslims based on the reprehensible actions of a very high-profile and powerful minority of the Muslim people. It in fact reinforces the extremist interpretation of Muhammed that this minority uses as an excuse for such attrocious acts, while stealing the Prophet from the millions of peaceful Muslims the world over. These are one and the same prejudices, and the kernel of truth named Al-Qaeda that props them up should never be allowed to excuse bigorty.

    When we witness the deplorable acts of fundamentalists, we non-Muslims could denounce not just the violence, but also the manner in which they hijack a great world religion and stand in solidarity with the people of a peaceful faith (as long as they are peaceful). But we spend more time talking about the free speech rights of these cartoonists. There is no question that these cartoons should not be censored by the government; but there is also no question that they are not journalism in any sense of the word and have no place in a newspaper. That is not a question of free speech rights. That is a question of recognizing when an entire people are being victimized by the Western Hemisphere for their few bad apples. And that is a very big deal indeed.

    Holocaust denial (to the extent something can be defined as such) is also not journalism and has no place in a newspaper. Exactly how is this situation different? These are not bright lines, but sometimes it's not a difficult question.

    Mr. President, have pity on the workingman...

    by Esgie on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 12:27:01 PM PST

  •  Juan Cole gives a chronological view (none)
    From a different perspective:

    Fact File on Reaction to Danish Caricatures

    It is being alleged in some quarters that the controversy over the Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is somehow artificial or whipped up months later by the Saudis. This is not true. The controversy began in Denmark itself among the 180,000 Danish Muslims. It was taken up by the ambassadors of Muslim states in Copenhagen. Then the Egyptian foreign minister began making a big deal of it, as did Islamist parties in Turkey and Pakistan. The crisis has unfolded along precisely the sort of networks one would have expected, and become intertwined with all the post-colonial crises of the region, from the foreign military occupation of Iraq to the new instability in Syria and Lebanon.
    ....

    Anyway, the allegation that this thing was fanned by Saudi Arabia does not seem to be substantiated by the FBIS record, which shows Egypt's secular foreign minister to have been among the main fanners of the flame. Minor members of youth wings of Islamist parties in places like Pakistan then got into the action. Nor is it true that things were quiet after the immediate publication of the cartoons. Nor is it true that the Danish prime minister or the Jyllands-Posten expressed any sympathy for the hurt feelings of Muslims early on. Indeed, they lectured them on being uncivilized for objecting.

    Cole covers the key events that happened between Sept 30 first "free speech" racist caricature publication and Jan 10 2nd  "free speech" re-distribution of racist caricatures.

    Western media has been almost exclusively focusing on muslim reactions after second re-release of racist caricatures.  

    •  Muslims are not a "race" (none)
      quote "free speech" re-distribution of racist caricatures.

      1. Islam is a religon practiced by people of many different races.  In this sense, the cartoons can not be "racist" as they target a religous ideology, not a race of people.  Also, in this sense or meaning of the word "racist", Islam is well known as an ideology/religon that rejects race as a basis for judging others.

      Quotes from the Koran:

      Among His proofs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors. In these, there are signs for the knowledgeable. (30:22)

      O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant. (49:13)

      According to the Koran, submission to Allah, being the "most righteous", is the criteria for being "the best among you".  

      2. In the second sense of the word "racist", discriminating against people because of their religon, which is the definition of the word given at the following site: http://www.wordreference.com/...

      Islam is extraordinarily racist as it has an entire corpus of laws and customs discriminating against Jews and Christians.

      See Wikipedia's entry for Dhimmi if you would like more details:


      It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam began to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesman for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      1. So before you start throwing around the word "racist", know that in the first meaning of the word, the cartoons are not "racist",
      2.  and in the second meaning of the word "racist", it is Islam that is  "racist".

      Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

      by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:38:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think most readers understand what I mean. n/t (none)
        •  Are you willing to call Islam "racist?" (none)
          I think most readers on a liberal blog are assuming that you are using the word "racist" as a derogatory term as well as a descriptive term.

          As a descriptive term:

          1. Under the first definition, neither the cartoons, nor Islam, are "racist".
          2. Under the second definition, both the cartoons and Islam are "racist".

          If you label the cartoons as "racist", then logically you should also call Islam "racist" as Islamic law concerning dhimmis is "racist" under the second definition.

          Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

          by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:04:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you willing to call Judaism racist? (none)
            Because Israel is guilty of discriminating against people because of their religion, e.g., Christians and Muslims are unable to buy land in most parts of Israel. Jews are given the right to almost immediate Israeli citizenship, whereas Muslims and Christians are not, etc.

            I mean, as long as we're tossing racial slurs around.

            Even Christian Denmark apparently doesn't allow Muslims to have cemeteries.

            •  My point was not to use the word (none)
              "racist" to describe the cartoons.

              I don't believe the definition of the word should include discrimination based on religon, only on race.  Save the word "racist" for those situations in which it actually applies.

              But, if you do use the word "racist" to describe the cartoons, then be consistent.

              Therefore, I would NOT call the cartoons, Islam, or Judaism racist.

              Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

              by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:40:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry (none)
                I misunderstood your comment

                Islam is extraordinarily racist as it has an entire corpus of laws and customs discriminating against Jews and Christians.
                •  I should have prefaced the sentence with: (none)
                  In the second sense of the word "racist",

                  I've found that when I type long comments, with quotes from source text, in this case the Koran, some people will get lost in the text and then take a random sentence out of the embedded context.

                  However, I often don't feel like spending an hour making each comment totally lucid.

                  It is a tradeoff between time and lucidity, and occasionally I err on the side of time.

                  In this case, given the sensitivity of the topic, I should have spent more time being lucid.

                  Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

                  by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:07:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Ptah... (none)
              ...please don't make the error of assuming that because Israel does something that something is because of Judaism as a faith.  Jewish nationalism and Jewish religion are two separate things.

              This is not a defense of Israeli policy (although we can talk about that someday too), but an acknowledgement that Judaism is practiced by millions of people outside Israel, who may or may not support Israel or Israeli policy.

    •  I agree with your quote (none)
      that it is not likely that Saudis are fanning the flames of the latest cycle of outrage.

      However, Syria has good reason to do so.

      Note that the most violent demonstrations and embassies destroyed were in Syria and Lebanon and the Syrian intelligence services still have a presence in Lebanon.

      Of course, now that the violence is spreading, the Syrian intelligence services can sit back and congratulate themselves on a job well done.

      Also note that the vast majority, 99%+, of Muslims are not rioting.

      Most Muslims would be happy to just express themselves peacefully by engaging in economic boycotts.  And economic boycotts are a form of free expression.

      Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making" Then you will find out the use of the world. - Keats

      by republican with a small r on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:56:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course 99% of Muslims are peaceful (none)
        and not rioting.  They are too busy voting for Hamas.

        Evil prevails only when good men do nothing

        by Mason6883 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:22:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh come on.... (4.00)
          ...look, I have as much reason to be furious about the Hamas victory as anyone here.  But this is a pointless comment, that serves no purpose but to dismiss 1/6 of the world's population.

          If one billion Muslims were rioting, you'd know.  You could see those fires from space.  This is a problem, and no moderate Muslim would say otherwise.  But let's not smear an entire people by virtue of what happens in a region where less than half of the world's Muslims live.

          •  Consider the sourse. (none)
            Except for the fact that (none / 0)

            Muhammad was just simply a pedophile (he married a six-year-old girl) and a warlord.

            Evil prevails only when good men do nothing

            by Mason6883 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:06:55 PM PST

            "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

            by Mike S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:38:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I get the distinct impression (none)
          that you do not like Muslims.

          "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

          by Mike S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:36:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  " Syria has good reason to do so." (none)
        And let's not forget that the reason no WMD were found in Eye-raq is because Saddam and the Clenis(TM) shipped them all to Syria!
    •  Guardian UK gives one, too (none)
      here

      NB:  It notes that (in October)  "ultra conservative Danish imams set off for a tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a dossier of cartoons and several others, unrelated to the Jyllands-Posten drawings, showing Muhammad with the face of a pig and as a pedophile."

      Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

      by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:27:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you seen the Guardian state what the (none)
        source of that quoted statement was, and if it was the from the Danish imams?  

        Is it reported if the imams stated from where they received the additional inflammatory/hate caricatures that the quote says they took down with them on their October visit to the Mideast?

        •  Nope. Just the chronology (none)
          Haven't perused all the articles on this yet, and there are many.

          Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

          by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:47:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  heros... (none)
    It is very rare in the modern day that you hear about a man as heroic as Jihad Momani.  Too often our art and literature depicts man as weak against the evils of thugs and tyranny.  Too often we hear of the man who says, "I love my freedom, but I'll pass this one up so that i can keep my other freedoms."  Momani said no, and stood up for what is right.  The question is, how will we respond?  Are we willing to accept that a true hero can be crushed? Or will we rise to his aid, protecting the freedom of speech that we love so much?  I know this sounds like war-mongering, but why should we allow a theocracy like jordan to dictate what an honest man like Momani can say?
    •  I'm on your side... (none)
      ...but it is important to know that Jordan is not a theocracy.  It is a Kingdom, but not one which enforces Sharia.
      •  oh, good to know (none)
        they still don't seem to be holding up freedom as any standard though do they?
      •  It's an autocracy (4.00)
        The arrest of Jihad Momani isn't unusual, actually, except in the sense that the threats by the mukharabat, and arrests that keep citizens and news outlets quiet and in line, generally pertain to criticism of the Jordanian Regime and its policies, and most don't get much publicity.  Generally speaking, I wish more would pay attention to the repressive tactics of our allies, not just when the speech is the type "we" like.

        Human Rights Watch:

        Jordan: Editor Prosecuted for Posting Articles by MPs
        Authorities Revert to Silencing Critics Through Repressive National Security Laws

        (New York, January 26, 2006) - The Jordanian government should immediately drop national security charges against Jamil Abu Bakr for posting articles written by parliamentarians on an opposition party website more than a year ago, Human Rights Watch said today.
        Abu Bakr, the editor of the party's website, told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors at the state security court on January 5 charged him with "belittling the dignity of the Jordanian state."


        Jordan: Slander Charge Signals Chill

        Revise the Penal Code to Guarantee Free Speech

        (Amman, December 23, 2004) -- Jordan's charging of a political activist with slander is intended to chill legitimate political debate, Human Rights Watch said today. A judge in Amman charged activist Ali Hattar on Tuesday with violating article 191 of the Jordanian Penal Code, which provides criminal penalties for the "slander" of Jordanian government officials.  
        Human Rights Watch said that the government detained Hattar last Sunday after he delivered a lecture entitled, "Why We Boycott America." The government released Hattar from custody on Monday, and charged him the next day. If found guilty, he faces up to two years imprisonment.  
         "Yet again, the Jordanian government is using the vague wording of its penal code to crack down on free speech," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division. "These charges fly in the face of the government's pledges to reform the political system and protect basic freedoms for Jordanian citizens."  

         
        •  You are right, of course... (none)
          ...and I'm always thrilled to see your highly informative posts.

          I'd be similarly thrilled to hear your thoughts on the Tim Cavanaugh article linked in the diary.

          •  Thanks.. (none)
            ..I think :) Cavanaugh makes some good points, but  below is his weak spot.

            But the Islamic explosion over the cartoons has been interesting. While you can't call the reaction good, it has been less bad than we might have expected, ranging from the legitimate (open criticism, demonstrations, boycotts of the offending newspapers) to the outrageous (violence, rioting, murder attempts), to something that resides between these two poles

            Putting aside for the moment he is looking at the situation rather clinically (I'm pretty sure the families of the people who have died or have been directly harmed in the last few days feel a little less sanguine.) Fact is we have no idea what the long time result of publishing and reprinting these cartoons in Europe will be.  My feeling is this episode has convinced many (who weren't convinced already) that there actually is a War on Islam by the West, and Islam is being singled as an object of scorn.

            I read an interesting piece in Foreign Policy Magazine a few days before this controversy erupted, that points out that what fuels Islamist terrorism may not be what many believe. That poverty doesn't produce terrorists, a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict isn't a cure-all, and young Muslim men aren't the most likely to turn to terror, but:

            "Perceived Threats to Islam Create Support for Terrorism"
            Absolutely.
            There is tremendous hesitance to admit that Muslim populations, on whose behalf terrorists claim to operate, have grievances or concerns that need to be addressed as a means to minimizing public support for terrorism. For some, this is the moral equivalent of negotiating with terrorism. This is unfortunate, because these grievances matter.

            In some countries, including Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, and more than 70 percent of the population believes that Islam is under threat. Support for terrorism feeds on the belief that large segments of the Muslim world are victims of ongoing injustice.

            There must be a more productive and responisble way to provoke dialogue between the West and the Islamic world then sticking them in the eye with a sharp stick, and waiting to see what happens.

            •  Wow... (none)
              ...thanks for the link.  And I assure you, I meant what I said in the most complimentary of ways.

              I agree that there must be a better way.  But I also think that it is uncertain if that better way would be found, and at this point, I'm willing to take what I can get.  If this situation has demonstrated anything clearly, it is that we do not understand one another, and that we must come to find some level of greater understanding.

              A new thought: can traditional Islam survive the threat posed to it?  Traditional Christianity did not survive the Enlightenment, and has been virtually wiped out in the modernized world.  What does the status of evangelical Christianity in the United States have to teach us about the future of Islam?

              I don't have answers to those questions, but I'd like to start asking them.

              •  Well.. (none)
                I think I we should stop bombing, oppressing, and lecturing them. Try putting ourselves in their shoes.  That's what I do when I want to understand a situation, pretend I'm there, experiencing what others are experiencing.

                A consistant, fair, just, and respectful foreign policy in the region would be a start.  I don't see Islam as the problem, it will develop as it will; I don't have any predictions, other than radicalism will grow if our current policies continue. I see the cartoons as counter-productive, if anything.

              •  btw (none)
                congrats on making the front page and the recommended list.  Well deserved!
                •  A belated thanks... (none)
                  ...I certainly didn't expect it.  I'm just glad because maybe, just maybe, this sort of support will make a difference for these two men, and make a difference for the future of Jordan.

                  Jordan, btw, is the only Arab country I ever visited as a civilian.  They are a wonderful and generous people, and they deserve all the best things in life.  I think a free press is one of those things.  Maybe this will be a tiny step towards them getting one.

                  •  You're welcome (none)
                    It's funny, Americans have such a positive view of Jordan, I mean the regime, mostly I guess because Noor is American, Jordan has good relations with Israel, and the regime is pro-American - so it gets a pass in the US media and from our government.  But few appreciate the repressivness of the regime towards its people.

                    The solution there is complicated, but I doubt there will be much liberalization until the I/P conflict is resolved - and I think that's a long time coming.

                    But yeah, agreed, every little bit helps.

  •  Muslim rage (3.50)
    Admittedly, I haven't been following this closely, but I'm not so sure I know the real narrative of the cartoon story.

    Did it ever occur to anyone that Muslim rage allows the Neo-cons a graceful exit from the Iraq and Hamas debacles, which have resulted from their failed and very cynical  "idealistic" "Wilsonian" "pro-democracy" nation building agenda?

    Now they can claim: see, there really is a clash of cultures, we were naive (but not to blame) to promote democracy.

    Muslim uprisings and jihad can be used to justify putting US foreign policy on a permanent war footing, one that that approaches the "crusades" that Bush now and then suggests.

    Timing is just right to divert attention from Bush's domestic troubles adn further jsutify widening middle east war at time when Iran air strikes appear to be next on the Bush agenda.  

    This cartoon episode recalls (I think it was published in Rolling Stone) a story about a Beltway consulting firm that did CIA black ops propaganda. The story laid out how the Iraq war propaganda campaign was built and implemented.

    Could the same folks be the puppeteers behind fomenting this?

  •  sane and sensible diary about ... (none)
    ... the cahrtune cahntraversy.  
  •  The importance of giving offence (none)
    For those who still don't see why free speech should make such a nuisance of itself, please visit Index on Censorship

    Edmund Burke once complained that Thomas Paine sought to 'destroy in six or seven days' that which 'all the boasted wisdom of our ancestors has laboured to perfection for six or seven centuries'.

    To which Paine replied: 'I am contending for the rights of the living and against their being willed away, and controlled, and contracted for, by the manuscript-assumed authority of the dead'. Paine had no time for custom, no reverence for the past, no notion of deference to authority.

    We could do with a few less Edmund Burkes and a few more Tom Paines today.


    Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

    by soyinkafan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:09:11 PM PST

  •  I've been hoping (none)
    someone would find this editorial. Unfortunately I can't follow the link because of my P O S cpu keeps freezing on me when I follow some links.

    Mr. Momani is exactly the type of person that we need to give a voice to. We need thousands more like him to counter act th people who are trying so desperately to enflame hatred. The moderate Muslim needs cover to raise his voice.

    I'm still uncomfortable praising the publication of the cartoons because it does harm to the moderates. It gives ammunition to the radicals and somewhat marginalizes anything the moderates say. I can't tell you how disgusted I am that I agree with Hewy Hewitt on this issue but I do. In a sense these cartoons undercut the west's contention that we are not at war with Islam and that it is a Religion deserving of respect.

    The refreance to the bombing in Annan should hit home with the readership of that paper. It was a great opportunity for the moderates to speak out.

    The bombing hit home for my family because my mother was friends with the movie director who was killed with his daughter. It also turned out that my father in law had given him his first job in the states as a translator and remained friends with him for years after as he gained fame for the Holloween movies, IIRC.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:28:44 PM PST

  •  Heroes? Or Idiot-Provocateurs? (4.00)
    These guys were editors of two weekly  supermarket-style gossip tabloids in Jordan. Who in their right mind would throw gasoline on a fire at this late stage, in a country right next to Israel with a predominant muslim religion citizen base?

    Read the entire article and judge for yourself.

    Jordan editors held in cartoon row

    Two Jordanian tabloid editors have been arrested after their newspapers were the only Arab-based publications to print controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, a source said.

    The caricatures, which included depictions of the Muslim prophet as a knife-wielding bedouin and another as wearing a time bomb-shaped turban, have sparked widespread protests in the Muslim world.

    Hashem al-Khalidi, editor-in-chief of a weekly tabloid called Al-Mehwar which printed the cartoons in its 26 January edition, was arrested shortly before midnight on Saturday (2200 GMT), the source close to Khalidi told AFP.

    Jihad Momani, the former editor-in-chief who was sacked on Friday from the helm of the weekly gossip newspaper Shihane, was earlier arrested on the order of prosecutors for having printed three of the cartoons, a judicial source told AFP.

    Shihane published the drawings on Thursday, and the paper's publisher subsequently pulled all editions from the newsstands.

    Editorial

    The cartoons had appeared along an editorial by Momani appealing to Muslims to "be reasonable."

    Oh yeah. And that "be reasonable" at the end is a really nice touch too, almost guaranteed to set people off.

    I don't see any heroics here. In my mind the Jordanian scandal sheet editors' actions seems about the same order of "free speech" as people dressing up in KKK outfits and nazi uniforms and waving confederate flags to bait and taunt a black protest march.

    •  It's from aljazeera... (none)
      Not exactly the most unbiased source in the world right now.

      "In my mind the Jordanian scandal sheet editors' actions seems about the same order of "free speech" as people dressing up in KKK outfits and nazi uniforms and waving confederate flags to bait and taunt a black protest march."

      Censorship always starts with the extremists.  The problem is once it starts it never stops.  The Framers knew this when they wrote the consitution and Daily Kos is the last place I expected to have to defend it.  Freedom of speech belongs to the people, and as despicable as they are Nazi's and KKK are included.

      •  Is there something specific in that article (4.00)
        that you want to point out as being in error, or do you merely  wish to let us know that you agree with the Rumsfeld/Bush negative spin about Aljazeera.net?

        By the way, if you had clicked on the diary links you would have discovered that that same Aljazeera piece  was one of the listed sources of this Diary.

        •  To start... (none)
          giving us a little more of the editorials content than just a paraphrase of the headline would have been nice.
          •  DKos copyright respect guidelines (none)
            are~ 3 paragraphs/fair use, and I was at the max.  I would expect someone with a UID# as low as yours should know that well, though.

            Nothing to prevent you from quoting 2-3 para's from the editorial section of the same piece that you feel are important though.

            •  You misunderstand... (none)
              I wasn't referring to your quotation but to the text of the actual article.  Beyond paraphrasing the headline of jihad's piece it says absolutely nothing about its contents.  

              It ignores the earnest concilliatory message of article and focuses virtually exclusively on the publishing of the cartoons.  

              This seems to me at least to be an attempt at inflaming the situation further on aljezeera's part which leads me to conclude that it's biased.

  •  Free Momani! (none)
    Jail Chalabi!

    The name is not the thing named, the map is not the territory. -- Gregory Bateson

    by semiot on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:40:07 PM PST

  •  Well! (none)
    I just emailed the Jordanian embassy using the words "jihad," "chaos," "society," "suffer," "punishment," "vengeful," and "violence" in a request for the liberation of political prisoners.  I guess it's time to see if I'm on Alberto's buddy list!
  •  A question (none)
    Here's a question - this cartoon was published when?  September?  October?  Why the uproar now?  Could it serve anyone's interest to create this sort of distraction?  I've got a few ideas - anyone else?
    •  ANSWER (none)
      Some people think that ANSWER (not the regular people in ANSWER, but the very high-level leadership) is really a front for some other organizations, or maybe even some kind of FBI program designed to sniff out radicals.

      Circumstantial evidence: when ANSWER is planning a rally, it has very well-written, well-printed fliers on every lamppost around New York. In other words, it mobilizes what appears to be a super-active, super-expensive grassroots advertising campaign, which is way beyond what United for Peace and Justice can do on its own.

      Here's an article that makes it sound as if the London demonstrations, anyhow, might be backed by the "Socialist Worker's Party," which could well be an ANSWER affiliate, or maybe a parent of the U.S. ANSWER operation.

      If ANSWER isn't the right answer, then maybe Muslims Arab leaders who want to make trouble have figured out how ANSWER works and created their own version of ANSWER, or maybe the Bush Rovies replicated ANSWER overseas to foment violence so that they can justify attacking Iran in a few months.

      Note: I marched in the March 2003 ANSWER anti-war rally and had a great time and met some nice people there. I just think that ANSWER itself is mysterious and creepy, and it seemed as if the whole point of the ANSWER march was to march us all in front of a government office where the FBI could take our pictures.

      On the other hand, I actually know people who know people at United for Peace and Justice, and they seem to be very nice, real people.

  •  Private vs. Govt Actions (none)
    About Momani being fired and the publication issues being pulled off the stand: OK, in theory, I side with Momani, especially because he was trying to support informed discussion of the cartoons and he published the cartoons in an Arab country. He wasn't some rich, Volvo-driving white yuppie editor (or whatever the equivalent is in Denmark) who was intentionally insulting poor, downtrodden guest workers living in awful housing projects.

    On the other hand, the guy's boss had a perfect right to take offense and fire the guy, just as the publisher of the New York Times would have the right to fire an editor who started printing anti-Catholic or anti-Jewish screeds on the front page.  

    Similarly, I think it's fine if Dubya and the pope criticize publication of the cartoons. It's a free universe. They have a right to criticize whatever they want to criticize.

    The problem here is with Jordan arresting Momani and al-Khalidi.

    On the other hand, maybe Jordan officials figure that  putting those guys in prison is the only practical way to keep them safe from lynch mobs.

    Even the arrests are serious: This is not a case of a government arresting a critic who wrote about corruption. This is about a government responding to mobs with guns. Unless we Western folks can figure out exactly what evil people fanned the flames of hate and get those particular guys, I don't think we can play a productive role in this debate. Western interference is just going to make the mobs madder.

    In the short run, the best thing for Momani and al-Khalidi is probably to make huge, public efforts to let Muslims educate Westerners about how they feel about tasteless religious cartoons.

    In the long run, I think that we have to recognize that the people who organized the riots are potentially extremely, extremely dangerous. If the instigators were Bush Rovie agents provacateurs, they're terrifying. If the instigators were actual self-directed Muslim Arabs or Iranians, then they're terrifying.

    Of course, the fact that these folks (if they're not Bush Rovies) are coming along at a time when the Bush Rovies have discredited most international institutions is really troubling. Even if the Bush Rovies make a sincere effort to address this issue, I'll wonder if they are behind the rioters or are using anti-rioter programs to achieve unrelated evil ends.

  •  Champions of Free of Expression (none)

    "The Israeli Embassy in London has sent a strongly worded letter of protest to The Independent, following an editorial cartoon yesterday by Dave Brown, depicting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon biting the flesh of a Palestinian baby. In the cartoon, Sharon says: 'What's wrong? Have you never seen a politician kissing a baby?' The background shows Apache attack helicopters sending missiles from the cockpit with the message 'Vote Likud.' In her letter, Shuli Davidovich, the embassy's press secretary, writes: 'As Britain commemorates National Holocaust Day, I am shocked that The Independent has chosen to evoke an ancient Jewish stereotype which would not have looked out of place in `Der Sturmer', and which can unfortunately still be found in many Arabic newspapers' ... She adds: "One must be extremely careful to draw the line between legitimate criticism, and the anti-Semitism that often parades as such." Link

    Tactics for Suppressing Criticism of Israel

    "Their children's children shall say they have lied" - Yeats

    by Necons Will Ban Me on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:10:00 PM PST

    •  You'll just hijack anything... (none)
      ...won't you?
      •  Ooh a Loaded Word (none)
        Should I respond with, "you'll just bulldoze anything, won't you"?

        I think this cartoon crisis(TM) is evil.  It's like something dreamt up in the bowels of the Pentagon to fan hatred around the world.  It shouldn't even be discussed any longer until things cool off.

        Both sides suck: the tastless free speech absolutists and the violent defenders of a so-called "peaceful" religion.

        There are no good guys in this mess.  People should knock it off already.

        "Their children's children shall say they have lied" - Yeats

        by Necons Will Ban Me on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:08:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah... (none)
          ...because without the Pentagon, no one would hate anyone.

          And how exactly is a Jordanian who tried to speak his mind and was arrested for it not a 'good guy'?

          •  Well (none)
            ...because without the Pentagon, no one would hate anyone.

            Sure they would, it just wouldn't be so darn lucrative.

            And I'm done with the manufactured Cartoon Crisis(TM) and every destructive, self-righteous fool braying hysterically on either side.  

            Its fifteen seconds are just about up.

            "Their children's children shall say they have lied" - Yeats

            by Necons Will Ban Me on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:44:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Jay I have to admit.... (4.00)
            the first thing I thought of is, what if the New York Times printed the Pope sodomizing a 10 year boy or something about discounting the Holocaust, just to prove free speech? I think it was a really stupid thing to do in this day and age. The west has invaded a Muslum country, this plays to all their fears. I don't think these were innocently printed, I think people knew this was going to happen....just took a few months. We are seeing the "demonization" of a religion and a people...and unfortunately more people are buying to this mess on both sides, everyday. I can't think of a organized religion that has not been used in history to "murder, rob and invade". Not one.
            Now the neo-cons will use this as excuse not to print the abu grab photos that should be released.
            BTW...even when the first photos were printed, it did not solicit the same response as defaming the
            spiritual father of a religion, so obviously alot of Muslums are at the end of their humiliation.
            I am not arguing against free speech...just the stupidity of this action.

            Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

            by mattes on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:18:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well... (none)
              ...I am not sure where to begin, mattes.  There are two ways I can look at this, from the perspective of a person who works in the arts, and as an artist; or I can look at it from the position of politics.

              Because as an artist, I think that a cartoon of the Pope, particularly this Pope, sodomizing a ten year old is deserved, more so than any of the Danish cartoons.  Art has a responsibility to provoke and to incite.  Art is inherently dangerous, which is why Plato denigrates artists, and expels them from the Republic.  Art that is cautious and responsible has little to no value.  And I live in mortal fear of what could come to pass if we denigrate art for not being responsible.  And not only because I'll be out of a job.

              As a person interested in politics, I see the harm these cartoons do, and the profit in them is unclear.  They are not wholesome or decent, and they are meant to inflame.  And they are inflaming people who already are combustible, and for somewhat good reason.  It also forces a hand many would prefer unforced: that there is a clash of civilizations going on, although it is not one between the West and the Muslim world, but one of pluralism versus nationalism.  Although I hate to mention it, Israel is an excellent example of this; a nation at war with itself, because it cannot resolve its pluralistic values with its nationalistic identity.

              So the conflict becomes an internal one.  Which part of my identity is more important: my personal values, or my impersonal understanding of the world?  I don't have a clear answer.  Is it wiser to avoid the issue, to restrain our expression of our values to prevent the deaths of many?  I can't answer that either.  But I will say this, in defense of art and of the cartoons: for good or ill, they have cut through the rhetoric and reached the heart of the issue better than all the talk that has come since September 2001.  Whether that is a good or a bad thing is too large of a moral question for me to be able to answer.

              •  These cartoons were printed (none)
                in a newspaper, not in an exclusive art show.

                I remember buying a collection of books once, and included in this collection was a photo book. I opened the book to a photo of a naked man with a whip up his butt, I was new to the book business at that time and I knew I had in my hands what would eventually become a very collectible high priced book. YET, I could not look at the other photos and choose to throw the book away. Now 15 years later...what would I do if I knew I could get a couple thousand dollars for it. Don't know. What I do know is that the community I lived in...midwest/republican area would FLIP OUT if I put the book on display. Looking back I am glad I threw out the book....I used discression...responsiblity. Now, I think nothing about watching Queer As Folk or the L Word....and I get mad that there is no mention of these shows at award time....I guess it's all about timing and intent. At least for me. I would rather provoke for peace than war, and I don't like the people in power at this time.

                Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                by mattes on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:51:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  They are still art... (none)
                  Look, one of the fundamental qualities of art is that they do not articulate their meaning directly.  What is taken from the cartoons is not simply what the artist imbued them with, but what each viewer brings to them.  Intent on the part of the artist is only tangentially relevant.  Does Michelangelo's intent speak to those who visit the Sistine Chapel, or is it something else entirely?

                  I could go on and on about the philosophy of art (trust me, I'd love to) but I won't bore you or other readers.  All I can say is that it is hard to measure or judge whether peace or war will be the result of these cartoons in the long term, or if they had not occurred, that something else would not have resulted in similar circumstances.  And of course, the people in power in Denmark are not the people in power here.  But thanks for the thoughtful discourse.

                  •  We are floating on the same raft. (none)
                    Funny, I was just going to add a note, that the more our sporatic dialogue continues the more I like you, and recognize the "dilemma of the dichotomy" of the world we all live in. The internet is opening a doorway of discourse that has never been possible before. These are interesting times.

                    Artists reign! They are the canaries. The editors, I am not so sure about...

                    Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                    by mattes on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:36:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Editors = Pigs (none)
                      Trust me I used to work as one.

                      And if you don't believe me, just ask a writer about them.

                      They do, to try and defend them, get extremely  precious about the ideals of having a free press.

                      Artists on the other hand are amazingly wonderful people who produce thought provoking iconoclastic works that push the boundaries of acceptability.

                      For some unfortunate reason I find them very irritating to talk to. It's probably because I'm a pig. :)

                      •  Look what I found (none)
                        on other diary:
                          Oh it gets better my friends... (none / 0)

                        Cartoon editor Fleming Rose and the tentacles of PNAC?
                        Cartoons are a purposeful provocation

                            It turns out the editor who originally publshed the "offensive" Muslim cartoons is a disciple of Daniel Pipes and the "clash of civilizations" theory put out by Project for a New American Century. PNAC is the outfit that called for a "Pearl Harbor event' in order to initiate a global war against the Muslim world.

                        by thor on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 12:21:06 AM PD

                        Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                        by mattes on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 12:00:49 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes, link (none)
                          Where is the link?
                          •  See link above.. (none)
                            I would like to know if this is true.

                            Jay, if you are here, I'd like your comments. If the intent was to inflame, "commissioned"...don't you think some liability is in order? Not art but propaganda.

                            Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                            by mattes on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 08:08:25 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, mattes... (none)
                            ...here's the narrative of the cartoon story as I have pieced it together from various sources:

                            Some Danish artists were asked to illustrate a children's book about Mohammed, and refused, for fear of their safety.  After Pim Fortyn and Theo Van Gogh's murders, this is understandable.  When the Danish newspaper heard about it, they commissioned some of the same illustrators and other artists to do the cartoons.  They deliberately wanted the cartoons to obey no limits of good taste or respect.  Rather, they felt angry that in their own country, one of the most liberal in the world, artists would fear to illustrate a children's book for concern over their lives.  And because they felt that artists were being pressured into self-censorship out of fear, they felt that stepping clearly over the line would force the Danish community to confront the chill that had come over their right to free expression.

                            Now, I don't think that is wise, but I do think that it is right.

                            As far as the link goes, I think it is utter bullshit.  First of all, the Danes are some of the most liberal people in Europe.  I find the notion that they desire some "clash of civilizations" preposterous.  I also think we are starting to see just how much this crisis is a creation of certain interests in the Middle East - I'd like to bring your attention to this story, which is a scan of the cartoons published in an Egyptian paper in October.  Funny how the immediate outrage then didn't even make the news.  Because it didn't happen.

                            Second, I think the article makes its bias abundantly clear by repeatedly suggesting that the embrace of free speech by the Danes is posturing because they don't similarly welcome Holocaust denial.  That's simply absurd.  The writer's own insistence about making it about the Holocaust, and about Zionists makes this preposterous to me.

                            Daniel Pipes is a scumfuck, there is no denying that.  But this is a ridiculous conspiracy theory, backed up by no evidence, making outlandish claims.  And there is clearly an end that the article seeks - to lay the blame, and the target of Muslim anger, squarely on the backs of the Jews.  Reprehensible, in my opinion.  To suggest that free speech is "non-existent" in Europe because they will not support Holocaust revisionism is a loathsome lie.  The entire premise of the article is that Jews desire open war with Muslims.  How ridiculous.

                            Thanks for asking for my input.  I hope you don't consider that a mistake.  =)

                          •  No, mistake. I want your input, (none)
                            even if sometimes we don't agree. What I do believe is that both sides (whatever the original intent) are now using these photos to inflame the situation.  Also bothers me that Bush hired Daniel Pipes for anything. Somewhere around here is a story about how the same paper refused to print some obscene Christian drawings.

                            Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                            by mattes on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 06:00:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I appreciate that... (none)
                            I don't care much that Bush hired Pipes, even though he is a scumfuck - it isn't like Bush knows anyone who isn't or would give someone who wasn't a job.

                            The story about the Christian drawings is irrelevant for two reasons: first, they were unsolicited (in 2004, a year before they decided to print the Muhammed cartoons), and second, they aren't news.  Obscene art like 'Piss-Christ' involving Christian iconography is commonplace.  What makes the cartoons news is the self-censorship of the illustrators, and the fact that no one felt that this should be done.  There is a school of thought in the arts that taboo-breaking is a virtue, and by that standard, these a virtuous in a way that art that denigrates Christianity or Judaism is not.

                            Now, those are not my positions, but I understand the logic behind them.  You are correct about how the cartoons are being used by some now, but that does not impact why they were printed.  Question: do you believe that the paper should have forseen how their purpose would be used, and if so, did they have an obligation to self-censor?

                            P.S.- I put out another diary today on a totally unrelated subject if you have a chance to drop by it.

                          •  For a "free society" to function (none)
                            there absolutely has to be self-censorship. "I" could have predicted what would happen, how could they have not? There is no doubt in my mind that someone knew what the outcome of printing these cartoons would be. The very fact that the cartoons were solicited is offense, and ONE drawing could have made the point....why print so many? These hypocrites would not illustrate a children's book for fear of retaliation but would draw something intented to offend?? And what kind of a person goes to write a book about a religion for CHILDREN and then gets angry when they find out a religious teaching of said religion prohibits the illustrations and then takes the story to the press. Bullshit. Too convienently, the book was not intented for adults because they had to make a point about "illustrating Muhammad". SO WRITE the childrens book and illustrated from the perspective of Mohammad and explain/teach about idolatry. No need to show Mohammad.
                            The whole story stinks to me....(you asked).

                            Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                            by mattes on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 06:43:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wow... (none)
                            ...okay.  I didn't mean to get your dander up.

                            Putting aside the first aspect of your post for a second, these aren't the writers of the book.  And from what I understand, it was a book intended for Danish children to teach them about religious diversity.  I'm not sure that the publishers of the book knew (or cared) that according to most Muslims, artistic renderings of the Prophet are forbidden.  But the book was published, without the illustrations, and is unrelated to the issue except that it was the cause for the newspaper to commission the cartoons.

                            To some extent, this is all a tangential effect of a different problem.  The world has gotten smaller, and media that used to cater to a small audience is now worldwide.  So where is the line?  Do we make characters in American television shows not wear miniskirts because this will offend more traditional societies who can get these shows on satellite?  Because that is a real issue.

                            But before we go on, I want to ask a question: why is self-censorship essential?  What good has censorship in any form achieved?  And this question has real personal impact for me: I've helped make television shows and movies with horrific violence and full-frontal nudity.  Was that wrong of me?

                          •  LOL...I could feel my blood (none)
                            pressure going up.
                            I still think it was stupid for the editors to do this in the middle of a war.

                            Self-censorship is about knowing your audience. I don't personally like violence, shown to young people it desensitizes them. These are complicated issues. BTY, before being in books I managed a fortune 100 companies' video and meeting planning department and my sister owns a film equipment company in LA and Mexico City. Are you in LA? Full-frontal nudity, eh? Hope is not just girls!

                            I've been reading about the whole Google censorship thing....what I think is that because of our communication technologies, it's going to be very hard to stay insulated in any fashion for long. These are just band aids, I have read alot of SF, and who knows where we are going, it's unpredictable long term. I must admit I was quite the prude most of my life, now I don't know what I think, I take it step by step...then revise.
                            For some reason I have become addicted to the political scene and how it relates to world history, especially the middle east. DK is a fountain of information. I am glad I found it.

                            Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

                            by mattes on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 08:09:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Cheers... (none)
                      ...and the feeling is mutual.
  •  If that behavior is heroic, (4.00)
    would it also be heroic for Abraham Foxman of the jewish Anti Defamation League to publish modern anti-semitic cartoons in a contemporary (rather than a historical) context?  I think not.

    For once, I actually agree with the administration's straightforward line on this one.  Free speech must be guaranteed, but that's not carte blanche for insensitivity or insult.

    Instead of say, following Momani's example and insulting jews to prove he's not a partisan, Foxman and other jews should be demanding accountability for the treatment of Muslim prisoners in Guanatamo Bay, Uzbekistan, and the rest of the US gulag.  It's shameful that instead Foxman demanded an apology from Senator Durbin for mentioning the Nazis - as if the fact that the prisoners aren't jews justifies their abuse or makes due process optional.  Shame on Foxman, and on Durbin for acquiescing and making the apology!

    That would be heroic.  It would make headlines and be a dramatic, morally founded step toward world peace.  Muslims joining a Muslim-bashing party from the inside?  It just ain't.

  •  Unbelievable. (4.00)
    I just had a conversation with a young Muslim man about the cartoons. He works at the minimart (no, this is not bigoted snark) next to the radio station where I work. (Best pizza in town.)
    The conversation started with the lady working the register asking me what I was laughing at. It was a piece on Chicken Noodle Network Headline News, which is on the minimart's TV, about how Iran is having a Holocaust cartoon contest in response to  the Danish cartoons. I told her, "This is some of the most ridiculous shit I've ever seen." With which she agreed. Whereupon the young guy stopped  making his pizza and says to me, "No, you don't understand," and proceeded to tell me how any depiction of the Prophet is offensive to their religion. "I understand that", I told him, "but do you think that blowing shit up and burning shit down is the way to respond to that?" Whereupon he simply reiterated: "You don't understand how offensive it is." "Really? But the cartoons were published in late September." 'Well....maybe they didn't notice till now.."
    I kept hammering and hammering: "But is violence the solution to this? Does this justify burning things in the street? Hurting and killing people?"
    "You don't understand...you don't understand...."
    "I understand that no person may initiate violence against another. For any reason. Violence is only justified in defense of life and limb, home and family, and community. That's when the police come out with their riot gear, with their water cannons, with their tear gas and rubber bullets, and start putting the hurt on motherfuckers. Which is as it should be." I tried like hell to get a renunciation of violence out of him for all I was worth. Wasn't gonna happen. "Look, I think George W. Bush is the most evil man on the face of the earth.. He is destroying my country that I love, he to me is evil incarnate, but when I see a car with a Bush/Cheney sticker, I don't put a cinder block through the windshield. My right to speak freely trumps the right of others to be free from having their nose pushed out of joint." I then proceeded to describe this shirt and asked him if I was to wear that to Valley Mall on a Saturday afternoon, would that give some fundamentalist the right to beat the shit out of me? (I live in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley)
    "But you don't understand how offensive these cartoons are! You don't get it!"
    Sigh.
    Tiring of the circular discussion, I flashed a peace sign, and with a "Salaam aleikum" (which went unanswered) I went out to pump my eight drops of gas for five bucks, came home, ate dinner, and looked for an apropriate thread on dKos to post this in. I may well xpost it to the next open thread.
    I just don't know what to think. I'm deeply bothered by this - especially since I see this kid every day.

    Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

    by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:15:32 PM PST

    •  What If (4.00)
      You don't understand how offensive this is?

      Just open your mind and consider the possibility for a moment.

      "Their children's children shall say they have lied" - Yeats

      by Necons Will Ban Me on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:27:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't you feel more at home back over at (none)
      New Republic?
      •  Well, thank you for not downrating me (4.00)
        and it's FREE Republic. And what do you mean, BACK? I posted there once, and my post was deleted by a moderator before it ever made the thread. Yecch. I hang out here.
        All I can say is read my comment history and then tell me where you think I ought to be.
        Me:""Look, I think George W. Bush is the most evil man on the face of the earth.. He is destroying my country that I love, he to me is evil incarnate...."
        Yeah, I'd make a great freeper.
        I am not "anti-Muslim", although I will concede that I feel strongly that mainstream religious structures are an unfortunate social phenomenon. What I am is pro-free speech. I have the same reaction to cancelling an episode of Will and Grace because it may offend Christians, or to a woman I work with when she gets offended if I happen to say "Goddamn." Too fucking bad.  
        I see you missed my point entirely. I apologize for not adequately making myself clear, or for giving you the wrong idea about me as a person.
        I am saying that initiating riots in the streets over drawings printed in a newspaper is wrong under any circumstance. The cartoons are certainly gravely offensive to some, yes. But if offensive cartoons ever become an acceptable rationale for violence and rioting, then God/Allah help us all.

        Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

        by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:59:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No Class (4.00)
      Iran is having a Holocaust cartoon contest in response to  the Danish cartoons. I told her, "This is some of the most ridiculous shit I've ever seen."

      It's actually a pretty good parallel.  You know, I keep coming back to the word "tasteless".  A person could make fun of anything: the death rattle of Jesus Christ, Jews in gas chambers, fields full of victims of Pol Pot.  Anything.  You know why I don't support this stuff?  Because it sucks.  It SUCKS.  

      I had an uncle die a few years back - World War II vet, married a French woman after the war.  She died of cancer in Paris a few years after they were married.

      This man had so much class, always so polite and friendly and kind-hearted.  Always up-beat and positive.  He made everyone around him happy.  Classy.  He was classy.  Does anyone remember them?  I meet almost no classy people anymore.  None.  Our world is being Howard Sterned and Rupert Murdoched to death.  Where could it possibly end up but here?

      You want to wave around your free speech absolutism by making a billion people enraged and miserable, go ahead.  Just don't call the world you end up living in a civilization anymore - call it what it is: a fucking whorehouse.

      "Their children's children shall say they have lied" - Yeats

      by Necons Will Ban Me on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:41:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, THAT I can go along with. (none)
        in principle, yes. I don't go around deliberately offending people. There's no reason for it. But that is my social grace. Do you propose making that the law of the land? Do you propose abridging the First Amendment so that religious sensibilities will not be offended?
        And would you justify rioting and violence as an appropriate response to this? I didn't draw the cartoons, and I offer no defense of their artistic merit or societal benefits. You're right; that shit doesn't help.
        But I defend unflinchingly the right to create and publish them.
        I find Hal Turner's website horribly, horribly offensive - but I defend his right to operate it. I side with the ACLU in defending the rights of the Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois. You may be familiar with blogger Glenn Greenwald. Did you know that he is an attorney, and defended white supremacist Matt Hale? Now Hale is where he belongs, in a federal supermax, but do you condemn Greenwald for defending him?

        The men who had hated [the book], and had not particularly loved Helvétius, flocked round him now. Voltaire forgave him all injuries, intentional or unintentional. 'What a fuss about an omelette!' he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' was his attitude now.
            S. G. Tallentyre, referring to Voltaire. Often attributed to Voltaire.
            pseudonym of Evelyn Beatrice Hall

        It doesn't get much clearer than that. It appears to me that it is religion that trangresses this line of demarcation with the greatest frequency, and when this manifests itself as violence, zero-tolerance MUST be shown, or the rights of ALL
        of us are threatened. Offensive speech would not require protection were it not offensive, and ugly -just like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder.
        Don't legislate the subjective. That's a bad thing.
        This is not to say there is a dearth of civility and class in society. There certainly is. Another poster on this board once described a bit Howard Stern did about comparing the weight of buckets of elephant shit with the weight of human shit generated by "some fat fuck" as "amazing programming" that made him glad he went out and bought a Sirius radio. I shook my head so hard it almost fell off. I thought "What is this world coming to?" Yes, there is a surfeit of low-class behavior out there. No shortage of it whatever.
        But you don't BAN it. You may choose not to model it yourself, and I hope you do so choose, you may well react by modeling the exact opposite, and that's the ideal reaction. You may object in a civilized fashion, you may speak in the print or broadcast media, or on the internet. You may even do a peaceful sit-in. You might even block traffic at a major intersection until carried off in hancuffs by the police, as twelve patriots in Bennington, VT did the day the war started.
        What you may not do is destroy property, or injure or kill people. Period. That, my friend and fellow member of this fine community, is why things like tear gas and water cannons are unfortunately necessary - because my right to move safely about the community without fear of getting a fucking Molotov cocktail splatted open against the back of my head takes precedence over anyone's right to express their anger through violence. ESPECIALLY over some cartoons printed in a newspaper. And even if I drew them.
        As I said to the previous poster, who accused me of trolling over here from Free Republic, (hehehehe. I liked that. That was funny. I do have a user ID over there, but I'm banned from posting after one excursion. My screen name there is MaoCheTongue.) thank you for not downrating the comment. Good to see some people understand the ratings system. Please understand that that was a reaction to a conversation that I'd just had that left me in disbelief, after following this story since it broke. I spent a good portion of Sunday looking at various depictions of Mohammed through history, some quite offensive. One is in a Catholic church and it depicts a scene from Dante's Inferno. I can see where a Muslim would find that incredibly offensive. In fact, there was one attempt to burn that church down.  There was also, over the summer, a fire set at a church in Staunton, Virginia, because its national leadership had agreed to recognize gay marriage. Obviously, that pissed somebody off real good.
        If we catch them, what do we do with them?
        Why, we put them in jail, of course.
        Just sayin'.

        Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

        by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:32:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Middle ground (4.00)
      As a Muslim-American, I am caught between two poles: how do you simultaneously respect both the right to free speech and the need to respect religions?

      The fact is that images of Muhammad (or, for that matter, any prophet) are prohibited in Islam. There are pretty much no exceptions to this. [When making movies about Muhammad's life, he is neither shown on screen, nor heard.] Depicting him is considered taboo; caricaturing him is off the scales in that respect.

      Do I think the response was appropriate? No. Things have gone too far overboard--innocent people have been injured and killed in this debacle. However, should nothing have been said at all? No, because the cartoon was blatantly and intentionally offensive, and that really isn't right, either.

      The cartoonist, not being Muslim, has the right to draw whatever he wants. We have the right to think what he's doing (and the manner in which he's done it) is wrong. The response should be for Muslims to do everything within the constraints of the law and religion, but no further. [That means no killing, no violence, no bloodshed.]

      But why the ferocity of the response, you might also ask? Part of the problem is that the ruling elite in the Muslim world by and large is more concerned about the propagation of their personal power than solving the problems of their people. That means distracting them from complaining about local issues by finding other lightning rods, and this is about as shiny a rod as you can find these days. [The irony is that Islamic and Christian fundamentalism have far more in common than they'd like to admit.]

    •  What if you were raised in Iran (4.00)
      in the early 70s and your father was put to death for accidentally hitting the child of a minor western diplomat (my Aunt's brother) while riding a bicycle.  It didn't matter that the child was not hurt.  It did not matter the man waited for the police to come.  It did not matter that the child's father and mother begged that the life of this man to be spared.  Apparently you did not harm this child of a minor western diplomat and there were no extenuating circumstances.  There was no mercy. Period.

      Maybe you just don't get the rage.  I am lucky that I don't, either.  But,  maybe just maybe, instead of 'hammering and hammering' this clerk you could have spent a little more time listening to him.  Do you really think dismissing these events as 'ridiculous shit' changes his attitude in the least?

      ...despite those nets of tuna fleets...we thought that most of your were pretty sweet...

      by moira977 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:50:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good questions. (none)
        By "hammering and hammering", I meant that I was determined to get an answer to my question at any cost. He wouldn't answer it up or down. Yes or no: does this justify violence and rioting? I spent about fifteen minutes on this. I was rejecting the contention that the morality of the violence taking place was affected in any way by my understanding, or lack thereof, of the level of offense these cartoons caused. And "ridiculous shit" was not the term I used in conversation with the lady behind the counter......no, I take it back, yes it was. That was what I said. I said it, I meant it, and I stand by it. I was talking about the whole frickin' furball, up to and including the Holocaust cartoon contest in Iran. In context with the rest of the Cartoon Wars, I find the cartoon contest darkly humorous - although I find nothing humorous about the Holocaust itself.
        Mel Brooks' "The Producers" is being staged in Israel, and is doing surprisingly well, I hear. Note that the Orthodox Jews did not put out a death warrant on him like Pat Robertson did on Hugo Chavez - or like the one issued by religionists against a British novelist. Mein Kampf is still in print and is available at any public library. I can't recall the last time the JDL bombed a library because it shelved that book, or any other.
        And listening to him? Wherefore do you assume I didn't? I DID! That was precisely what I found so unsettling. He kept repeating, "You don't understand," and reiterating that Islam forbids any depiction of the Prophet........the only amplification he offered was to ask me what my reaction to material offensive to Christians would be, at which point I went into the bit about the shirt that I linked in the original post. It got to the point where there was nothing new either of us could offer, at which point the encounter concluded as described upthread. First time I ever threw out a Salaam Aleikum without getting an Aleikum Salaam back. That was telling. Or, maybe I fucked it up. I've always hung out with black people; maybe it's different outside the Nation of Islam. (And I've known a few of those.)
        I understand enough. I understand that violence is an inappropriate response to newspaper cartoons. Period. Black black no tap back.
        That's all there is. There isn't anything else. Civil liberties trump religious sensibilities. Am I intolerant?
        Yep. I'm intolerant of any suggestion that I compromise that principle. I would put my life on the line to defend it.
        That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Without apology.
        I'm sure the dialogue isn't over. I see this kid every day, and we've always gotten along real well. I look forward to future conversations with him, and not because I want to beat on him, but because he's a neat kid.

        Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

        by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:29:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It works both ways (none)
          Yep. I'm intolerant of any suggestion that I compromise that principle. I would put my life on the line to defend it.
          That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Without apology.

          Then, by that same principle, so long as people aren't resorting to violence, you can't have a problem with them denouncing the cartoons and calling for their censorship and suppression. That is their right, if they, too, are to have free speech.

          Right?

          •  A three year old (none)
            has a right to cry for candy, but that doesn't mean they'll get it.
            Absolutely. Cry away.

            Things fall apart-the center cannot hold...The best lack all conviction While the worst are full of passionate intensity (-9.25\-7.54)

            by kestrel9000 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:15:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I wish this (none)
          was actually just about the publication of 'cartoons'.

          ...despite those nets of tuna fleets...we thought that most of your were pretty sweet...

          by moira977 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:14:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  One thing that needs to be addressed (4.00)
    in all of this is the fact that the same newspaper, three years ago, refused to publish mocking cartoons depicting Jesus Christ.

    They are not, repeat NOT, fighting for free speech. They are USING the principle of free speech to hide and extend an inflammatory, racist, xenophobic agenda.

    If they were truly free-speech absolutists, then they would have published the Christ cartoons AND the Mohammed cartoons.

    But when it comes to free speech, you cannot pick and choose.

    If you do, you are a hypocrite with a hidden agenda.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:58:12 PM PST

    •  Thank you (none)
      Thank you for posting your view.

      Your argument has been debunked so many times that someone had to post a diary debunking it to save us poor souls from having to repost the same argument over and over and over again until we all got carpal tunnel syndrome.

      Yet again, thank you for posting your view. And have a nice day.

      •  Hey, why not (4.00)
        actually address the substance of the comment?

        It seems to me that rather than address the main point, which was that the same editorial board of the same newspaper refused to print similarly mocking cartoons of Christ, indicating serious hypocrisy and making a hash of the "Free Speech" argument, you chose to sneer and link to a diary that had absolutely nothing to do with what I said.

        That diary addressed press initimidation in the Middle East. It's an important topic and one that I would enjoy discussing in some other conversation.

        But this conversation is about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech and the use of freedom of speech to justify inflammatory, derogatory, insulting cartoons or articles...in my view, freedom of speech DOES in fact cover the posting/publishing of such material IF and ONLY if the publisher has shown that they are not hiding an agenda behind their caterwauling about freedom of speech.

        So, why don't you take your supercilious, snide, overweening tone and shove it.

        If you can't be bothered to respond to the comment and the substance of the comment, and are only able to refer to irrelevant side conversations in an attempt to play the superior intellect, then you should not be participating at all.

        Thanks for playing.

        The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

        by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:27:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hi (none)
          Thank you for posting.

          You seem to have only skimmed the diary not read it.

          Please read it again.

          Thank you for your time and tolerance.

          •  I read the whole thing. (none)
            Every comment.

            You seemed to have not understood anything I wrote, and seem not to understand or comprehend the point of this and similar conversations.

            Reading through your comments and diaries, I find myself wondering just what you do understand.

            You seem to be very full of yourself, cocksure and arrogant.

            You ain't all that.

            Address the issue.

            The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

            by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:33:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah (none)
              you've really raised the bar on discourse.

              "You ain't all that."

              Ah, the inspirational writings of RedDan.

              •  Address the issue. (none)
                Otherwise, you just sound like a petulant fool.

                The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:55:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I adressed it below (none)
                  and you need to get that twist out of your knickers. Your attitude and style aren't serving you well.
                  •  I addressed it above ages ago (none)
                    Here.

                    Before he even posted his original comment.

                    •  You think you addressed it. (none)
                      But you really didn't.

                      And your claims to be a former editor are funny...considering your laughable grammar, spelling and construction...or wait...maybe that's why the "ex"?

                      Or maybe your abilities are indicative of the general state of editorial offices in the media, which would explain an awful lot.

                      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                      by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:53:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Again (none)
                        simply a derrogatory style and lack of class on your part.
                      •  Thank you (none)
                        Thank you. For your amazing post free of all logical fallacies. Free, I cry, from any flaws. Shining like a diamond amid the dross of this cruel world.

                        I will edit your magnificent post to show my admiration and attempt to bring it to the true perfection it deserves.

                        You think you addressed it; But you really didn't.

                        And your claims to be a former editor are funny - considering your laughable grammar, spelling and construction. Or wait, Maybe that's why the "ex" is now an "ex"?

                        Or maybe your abilities are indicative of the general state of editorial offices in the media. This would explain an awful lot.

                        Forgive me any of the flaws in my humble, pathetic attempt to improve on such perfection. It has been many years since I quit my $40 an hour job as an editor and I fear my editing skills meagre as they are have all but left me.

                        Please... Please accept my lowly attempt at pleasing you with what little respect should be given to a lowly worm such as I.

                •  I see you've (none)
                  made the aquaintance of one of our new trolls.

                  "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

                  by Mike S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:13:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Two, apparently. (none)
                    The quality of trolls has fallen considerably.

                    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                    by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:23:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah (none)
                    good work defending the guy whose best arguments are

                    "You ain't all that."

                    and

                    "Otherwise, you just sound like a petulant fool."

                    Yet I am the troll.

                    Sorry I don't conform to your beliefs Mike, but at least argue with the substance of my posts and lose your crusade. If you believe in ideas, and a "reality-based" community... then engage in discourse, not attacks meant to slur me.

                    •  Heh. (none)
                      "at least argue with the substance of my posts"

                      Funny, doesn't that sound a wee bit familiar? Oh, wait! That's MY line.

                      "lose your crusade"

                      You mean the other crusade besides the one against all those "militant muslims"?

                      "engage in discourse, not attacks meant to slur me"

                      Errrr...I really have trouble believing you just wrote that with a straight face.

                      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                      by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:37:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (none)
                      ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snork, WHAT?

                      "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

                      by Mike S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:46:51 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank goodness (none)
    there are people out there who will fight for the principle of freedom and risk their jobs and livelihood to do it.

    This person is truly a hero.

    THere is no such right that a "religion" must be respected. The Muslim society around the world should and will hear more of that, because it is not civilized in a multi-cultural, multi-religious society to view it any other way.

    Also, the same people writing here who are claiming that "we should try to understand these people who believe they have a right to violence if they are offended" are the same exact people who hammer on the "religious right" whenever they do telephone protests and boycotts of television programs.

    It's simply far too hypocritical. The Muslims who are outraged deserve a far greater lesson of the freedom of speech than any of us need a lesson of self-censorship based on religions we don't believe in.

    I will say that it is obvious that there is a Muslim community here, and many of them do play this hypocritical card, bashing Christians whenever they like, but chiding others for even dreaming of criticizing the poor minority Muslims.

    It is a shame... but the Suicide Bombers are not heroes, they are scum... the terrorists are not heroes, they are scum, the militant fundamentalists are not heroes, they are scum, and  those who support them are not heroes, they are scum.

    This man willing to risk his life to attempt to convince reactionary Muslims to think twice about what they are doing is a hero by any measure available.

    •  Did you know that (4.00)
      muslims were among the most vocal in support of protests against "The Last Temptation of Christ"?

      Do you know why?

      Don't get me wrong - I think that such protests were stupid, and I think that the outrage over these cartoons is way, way overblown.

      On the flip side, I think that the people at that newspaper are entirely hypocritical, have a racist, xenophobic agenda and are hiding that behind "Free Speech" with the willing assistance of many who cannot see beyond their naive and willing misunderstanding of what free speech really means.

      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

      by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:37:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've looked at the cartoons more than a few times (none)
        now. Sorry... they are patently tame, and many of them are funny. This is a free speech issue, especially when such tame depictions are used to incite violence.

        There is nothing "naive" about my interpretation of free speech. Free speech is free and has no master... whether it be self-censorship or Muhammed. That is why it is even called "free".

        Now, if they supported the protests, it is likely because they also consider Jesus Christ a prophet. Unfortunately, they probably weren't supporting the freedom of the protest, but instead a restriction or ban of the speech and depictions about the prophet and the religion. Those who engaged in that are clearly enemies of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.

        •  And so how do you interpret the (4.00)
          fact that the same newspaper refused to publish cartoons depicting Christ in offensive or insensitive ways, saying

          "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them."?

          I interpret that as indicative of serious, fundamental hypocrisy. The fact that the same editorial board is now screaming and yelling about free speech indicates that they wouldn't know free speech from an anal lesion.

          And when we start talking about violence or intimidation against free press, why aren't we talking about multiple bombings of Al Jazeera HQ in Afghanistan and Iraq? Or the killing of journalists in hotels (tank fire), at checkpoints, and by snipers...all carried out by the US military?

          Or are those questions just too complicated to deal with?

          The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

          by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:54:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  From your link... (none)
            "In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten."

            "Unsolicited Cartoons"... that seems clear. I don't think that needs to be explained time and again because it is irrelevant. The paper has a right to print whatever it wants. They will likely solicit the work that they want.

            "I interpret that as indicative of serious, fundamental hypocrisy. The fact that the same editorial board is now screaming and yelling about free speech indicates that they wouldn't know free speech from an anal lesion."

            It actually has everything to do with their freedom of press and freedom of speech. They have a right to choose exactly what they will or will not print, and they are standing up for that right.

            "And when we start talking about violence or intimidation against free press, why aren't we talking about multiple bombings of Al Jazeera HQ in Afghanistan and Iraq? Or the killing of journalists in hotels (tank fire), at checkpoints, and by snipers...all carried out by the US military?"

            A lot of people do talk about that, but this is a current story which is causing massive turmoil around the world right now in places which are not warzones. It stands out.

            "Or are those questions just too complicated to deal with?"

            They aren't too complicated, unless you are confused about free speech and the freedom of the press. Most of us don't support US actions in the mideast, so it is not the best example for you here. Looking for "moral parity" of these militant Muslims with something that most of us disagree with is a silly exercise at best.

            •  Sorry, (4.00)
              But that editor's statements, and your own, are pretty weak tea. That's a cheap dodge at best.

              The fact that the Christ cartoons were rejected, and the explicit reasons given for that rejection, indicates a serious double standard.

              That double standard indicates that the cries of "Free Speech" in this case, are specious.

              The fact that unsolicited cartoons were rejected out of hand, and that the paper was actively looking for cartoons that were directly intended to insult a huge demographic speaks for itself.

              There is an agenda at work, and the editors and apologists for that agenda are hiding behind free speech.

              Don't get me wrong - I support the right to be stupid and say stupid things (I think insulting other peoples' religions is pretty stupid, even though I am strongly atheistic - I do not participate much in religious arguments unless directly asked).

              If that paper had published both cartoon series, I would have absolutely no objection whatsoever. But publishing one and not the other, just like allowing the KKK to march and speak and denying the Nation of Islam or the Black Panthers (which has happened in many US cities), is indicative of hypocrisy, double standards, and specific agendas.

              The free speech argument does not fly in this case, just as the right to free speech does not allow one to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

              The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

              by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:20:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Newspapers (none)
                aren't public propert, which is at odds with everything you wrote there.

                A newspaper has the right to print whatever it wants to print. They do not need to have images of anything that they don't want to, and that isn't a double standard.

                It is there freedom of speech and press to publish whatever they wish to. They aren't hiding behind it... it is the exact right they have with a paper that is their own private and intellectual property.

                "The free speech argument does not fly in this case, just as the right to free speech does not allow one to shout "fire" in a crowded theater."

                It actually does fly. People have a right to publish whatever they want to.

                You honestly believe they don't have the right to publish what they want to? Well I do.

                •  Your understanding of Free Speech (none)
                  is shallow.

                  A newspaper has the right to print whatever it wants to print.

                  No, it doesn't. In addition to libel and slander, newspapers have a huge list of things that they are not allowed to print, for numerous reasons (National Security, Public Safety, Incitement, and so on).

                  The right to Free Speech with respect to News Media does not include the right to publish whatever they want. Not even close.

                  The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                  by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:34:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your comments and mentality are shallow (none)
                    Opinion pieces, political cartoons, and satire are allowed any statement they wish to make, and receive the highest, most absolute protection of free speech.

                    Have you ever seen a political cartoon in a newspaper of Bush that would be considered libelous or slanderous? I'm willing to bet most have.

                    Truly, a paper can publish whatever they want, especially if they use these devices to do so.

                    •  Find me a cartoon (none)
                      of Bush, published in a major print newspaper, that shows Bush snorting cocaine.

                      Find me a cartoon showing Laura Bush running over her ex-boyfriend.

                      Find me a cartoon showing W fucking a goat. Or a cartoon showing W plotting with Osama and planning the 9-11 attacks.

                      If you can find me those kinds of cartoons, then you have a point.

                      If you cannot, then you need to think about the definitions of "Libel" and "Slander" and wonder why such cartoons have not been printed/published...because you know that such cartoons have been drawn or conceived.

                      The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                      by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:47:34 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Jay Leno did a skit of a Bush head with a sweeper (none)
                        for a nose and he cleared line after line of cocaine with it.

                        These things exist throughout society, and you can buy anti-semitic and anti-muslim books. I'm not your  personal researcher so you'll have to open your eyes a little wider and find that information for yourself.

                        I know the definitions of slander and libel... I was an Editor of the opinion section of a newspaper. Guess what... you do have a right to say what you want in print.

                        There are more than enough "white power" websites and books in our society to make your commentary entirely baseles.

                        •  You were an editor, too! (none)
                          my GAWD!

                          It's a swarm! Both you AND Kraant were editors!

                          What a coincidence!!

                          And you are flat wrong - you CANNOT print "whatever you want".

                          The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                          by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:59:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Except.. (none)
                            that I've done it. I've actually printed things that would make you squirm. I don't expect to see legal action any time soon either, but thanks for sharing your opinion and lack of experience on the issue.
                          •  It's not a question of (none)
                            printing things that would "Make me squirm" it's a question of basic journalistic ethics, the law, and the relationship between free speech and the press.

                            As an editor you are NOT allowed to "print whatever you want" - until we reach a basic agreement on that point, this discussion is pointless (and annoying).

                            The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                            by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:20:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well (none)
                            read the link I left for you below to actually get a grasp of the reality of libel and slander. They aren't what you think, and opinion, political cartoons, and satire all are capable of allowing a person to publish whatever they want and have a strong legal footing.
                          •  If you want to educate yourself though (none)
                            Here is the link through which you can easily scroll down to US law on the matter.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            Here's a money quote for you:

                            "In the various states, whether by case law or actual legislation, there are generally several "privileges" that can get a defamation case dismissed without proceeding to trial. These include the allegedly defamatory statement being one of opinion rather than fact; or being "fair comment and criticism", as it is important to society that everyone be able to comment on matters of public interest."

                            This is the standard I used as an editor, and most others do as well.

                        •  Oh, and the fact that (none)
                          you seem to be unable to discern between a website, a book, a newspaper column, an editorial, and a political cartoon leads me to believe that you were either a) not an editor of anything, or b) a really bad one.

                          The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                          by RedDan on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:01:02 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't see where (none)
                            I was not able to discern the difference. Free speech and free press are pretty universal in all of those areas. They all revolve around private property as published works.

                            I suppose you know something the rest of the world doesn't know, like the real discernible difference between avenues of free speech.

                          •  You're an editor too? Cool! :P (none)
                            The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

                            Did you notice the exquisite irony of someone with that statement as his .sig arguing what he is?

                          •  I certainly did notice the irony, (none)
                            and hope he took time to read the wikipedia libel link.

                            His slamming of you for "spelling and grammar" mistakes was particularly ridiculous. Most Editors live on their copy editors, and if they didn't, the copy editors would die of boredom.

              •  Thank you (none)
                If that paper had published both cartoon series, I would have absolutely no objection whatsoever. But publishing one and not the other, just like allowing the KKK to march and speak and denying the Nation of Islam or the Black Panthers (which has happened in many US cities), is indicative of hypocrisy, double standards, and specific agendas.

                The free speech argument does not fly in this case, just as the right to free speech does not allow one to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

                Thank you for your amazingly logical and coherant argument. I bow my head in awe and trembling at your  amazing skill in weaving your opinion. I am utterly convinced and submit unconditionally to you. I wish to be your love slave and bear your children.

                Yet again. Thank you for posting.

  •  Think you should add tag: hero (none)
    That's where I'd look to find this again.

    In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

    by AllisonInSeattle on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:38:49 PM PST

  •  Observation: Katrina exposed (none)
    poverty and racism in america to the world. And these danish cartoons exposed a lack of understanding of the Muslum religion and the amount of hatred simmering underneath the surface. Will anything change?

    Is it time for new democratic consultants? No accountability, no money.

    by mattes on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:50:08 PM PST

  •  While I agree that Mr. Momani is (none)
    trying to get people to embrace the freedom of speech, and that his effort is laudable, I don't know if your appeals will meet with any success.

    The laws in Jordan are not necessarily exact duplicates of our own.  Mr. Momani is likely to have directly violated a law in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  You see the word Hashemite has a meaning that may have some application in this case.  Hashemite relates to the fact that the Kings of Jordan claim descendence directly from the family of Mohammed the prophet.  Insulting the prophet in any way is indirectly an insult to the King.

  •  Free speech issue my ass! (none)
    This is a power issue. This is a large group of Muslims across the Muslim world trying to demonstrate their power over the West. They are exploiting our desire to understand and be sensitive to all cultures and our willingness to tolerate and even accept blame for acts of violence from "opressed" people. These Muslim leaders are waging a war against Western culture. They are much more numerous than we assume. They are not peaceful, understanding, or reasonable. They want to take away our freedom and make us live in poverty and despair like their own constituents. The Qur'an and the Muslim religion themselves are largely to blame for the rise of these extremists. They are flawed and easily manipulated to advocate the type of violence we see from Muslims every day. It is not possible to make peace with these people. They will continue to fight us wether or not we fight them back.
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