Sunday, February 19, 2006

A thorny crown :: Andrew Sullivan The Daily Dish
Silence says as much as words or acts, sometimes more

Gratuitous, arbitrary offense of someone else's faith is not a laudable exercize of free speech. It's an abuse of such freedom. But context is vital. Bob cites an example of portraying Jesus with a crown of thorns made up of dynamite sticks, after an abortion clinic bombing. I'd say that's a perfectly legitimate comment after an act of violence performed in the name of a religious figure who preached non-violence. Many Christians would share the sentiments of the cartoonist.
. . .
The world has been terrorized for decades now by murderers who specifically cite Muhammad as their inspiration. It is completely legitimate speech to point that out. Not to point it out - to remain silent in the face of it - is an act of denial.

The reason that so many Muslims are offended is not just because any depiction of Muhammad is taboo; but because the conflation of Islam and murder is now firmly fixed in the global consciousness. I can understand why the repetition of that fact should upset many peace-loving Muslims. But that is not the fault of cartoonists. It's the fault of the Muslim terrorists, and the failure of mainstream Muslims to condemn them sufficiently, ostracize them completely, and prevent them effectively from further mayhem. At this point, in my judgment, further appeasement of these religious terrorists is counter-productive - and actually enables the extremists in their simultaneous intimidation of moderate Muslims.
. . .
self-censorship is a slippery slope. Practising it after acts of mass murder runs a real risk of inviting more of them. As ACT-UP used to say, "Silence = Death." Which is why the Islamists want as much silence as possible.
To paraphrase the cartoonists: Now that we have your attention - as words never have - where is the outrage and condemnation at those who put on the cloak of Mohammed to carry out acts of hate? Because that message would be more effective coming from you.

UPDATE: Jackie Mason, comedian - "They [the cartoonists] weren't insulting their religion, they were satirizing a fanatic." Naturally, being fanatics, they applied The Fanactics Insult Standard of Justice. (Via The EclectEcon.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said it, the majorit of Moslems who are the main victims of fanatic violence find themselves victims of prejudice as well. There is no relationship between the freedom of speech and the freedom to spread prejudice. Besides, Moslems have spent every effort to condemn, fight, and reject those fanatics, and if you don't believe it ask yourself why are the fanatics always hiding!

1:57 AM  

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